I didn't see Raiders at the cinema when it was first released. I was was about 14. I was kind of aware of it, I loved Star Wars and I knew Han Solo was in it ( unbelievable now but this was '81; no internet, only 3 TV channels, and they were a bit rubbish,) and that was it. In '82 however there was a TV show I was obsessed with called "Tales of the Gold Monkey". Set in the 1930's it was all about the exploits of an adventurer called Jake Cutter. I loved it. I remember talking to my aunt's new boyfriend about it, and he told me about Raiders, what it was about and how it was EVEN BETTER than Gold Monkey. I found that hard to believe but pestered my mum to rent a copy from the local video store, ( "Bulldog Videos" it was called. I remember I had a crush on the woman who worked there, but I was 14, she was about 30. 'Twas not to be. )
I remember watching it for the first time, with my dad, my heart racing at the relentless pace of it, and being blown away. Indy was the coolest man I had ever seen. And that was a major statement! I'd grown up with Bond films, both Connery and Moore, Captain Kirk, Batman, and more recently Luke Skywalker AND Han Solo.
Indiana Jones was better.
Yes, EVEN BETTER than Jake Cutter and his Gold Monkey!
Incidentally, Wife bought me Gold Monkey for Christmas, (she's heard the above story more than once) and while its nothing like as good as I remember, I still enjoy it from a nostalgic point of view. And of course I now realise that it's a blatant rip-off of Indy. But that's ok.
And that's the real trick isn't it; Gold Monkey isn't as good as I remember; it's corny, cheap looking with some questionable performances, but Raiders is as good today as it's always been. I firmly believe it's a masterpiece.I loved it when I was 14, I love now at 48.
Ps. Nice idea for a thread, a pity it's called "its so dead around here"