It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.

This week Raiders of the Lost Ark turns 30. And what mileage Indiana Jones has given us.

Raiders of the Lost Ark celebrates its 30th anniversary.

I saw the movie at the theater when it first came out. It was the summer movie. And I don’t know if you remember, but many reviews, while positive, considered the action scenes too much: ubiquitous and almost frantic. Raiders, it seemed, was something new and crazed. One of my best friends saw it, and came back wide eyed. She said: “I felt like I had to duck. It was insane.” So I knew I had, had, had to see it.

I saw it in Chicago, with my mom’s best friend from college. And we got lost on the way to the theater. We arrived late and scurried to our seats fifteen minutes after the showing had started.

The first scene we saw was Indiana Jones delivering a college lecture on archaeology. It was sedate. The biggest surprise came when the coed closed her eyes and Indy saw Love You written on her eyelids. Well, yeah. I could relate. It was Harrison Ford. But where was all the berserk action?

Still, we settled in, and of course the story quickly took off. We loved it. Every second of it. And when the credits rolled and the lights came up, we looked at each other and whispered: Should we stay here for the start of the next showing, to see what we missed?

In the hierarchy of bad things, this shouldn’t even have registered. And it shouldn’t have been difficult. Who would notice two quiet people slouching in their seats as the theater emptied? Except that my mom’s friend was sitting in the aisle in a fairly flashy electric wheelchair, and I’m sure I was clutching a 55 gallon drum of popcorn and enough Junior Mints to feed the greater Chicago metropolitan area. We weren’t inconspicuous.

But we risked it. Wild, I tell you — my youth was one long, mad, off-the-rails adventure. And then the lights went down again, and…

Oh my God. That’s how the movie opens? We watched with our mouths hanging open.

Indiana Jones. I may not have known that some day you’d come walking through my door. But I’m glad you did.

11 responses to “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.

  1. Oh yeah! And who can forget the “sword fight” scene? Which was made even funnier years later when I learned that this was an “ad lib” done when Indy was sick. One of the best movies!

  2. Meg,
    “Raiders” makes my top ten movies list, which is the list of movies that I can watch over and over again. There are better movies out there, but Raiders is excitement.

    And, your quote about the years, that is my favorite quote of all movies of all time. It is very telling in the scene and apropos to life.

    Thanks for writing and sharing.

  3. Loved Raiders when it first came out and now my 12-year old is a big fan of all four Indy movies.

  4. No Jujubes?!?
    Outside of Bogey, ain’t been no man that has ever sported a properly pinched tall wide brim fedora, as well as Harrison Ford 😉 .

  5. Pat: Peanut M&Ms are okay, but otherwise it has to be Junior Mints.

    And you’re right about the fedoras.

  6. And oh, doesn’t he look YOUNG in that poster.
    I think ROTLA is due for a rewatch chez moi.

  7. Hmm, I see there’s a new comment format. Nothing ever stays the same…

  8. Oh. My. God. I love Indiana Jones! I’m probably the only current 13 year old girl to, but what can I say! I have a thing for guys who can work the fadora! I saw them for the 1st time when I was only 7 years old, and my life was forever changed 🙂

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