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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)



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Steven Spielberg wanted to direct a James Bond film, but was denied because he was an American. For millions of movie-lovers everywhere, this was not a bad thing, for afterward, Spielberg teamed up with George Lucas, and they created their own James Bond -- the dashing archeologist Indiana Jones -- every bit as famous now as his inspiration, and different enough to be more an original creation than a clone. Indiana Jones is just as free-spirited, adventuresome, and exciting as we'd all like to be, and therein lies much of his appeal. The first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark is his best, magnificently blending high adventure and good humor. At the time of its release, it was different from anything that had come before -- and unlike many trendsetters, it holds up as well today as ever. Today, it is difficult to envision anyone but the Harrison Ford playing the character, but did you know he was Spielberg and Lucas' last choice? Tom Selleck was preferred, but couldn't make it due to his Magnum, P.I. television contract.

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