Raiders of the Lost Ark debuted in movie theaters in 1981, when I was only one year old. I don't remember the first time, nor how many times, I saw this movie - but I do know that I loved it as a child, and now I know I really enjoy it as an adult too.
Sure "movie making magic" has improved so much over the years that much of the special effects, dead mannequins, and sound effects sometimes come across as laughable - but at least they are somewhat believable (unlike some of today's outlandish impossible feats of human nature). There are some scenes that are undeniably real which sported no visual effects, besides perhaps speeding up the frame rate, which were refreshing. These were the moments in the film that made Indiana Jones real, gave him character, and made you want to see what he'd pull off next.
I think Andrew was the one who said, while we were watching Raiders of the Lost Ark last night, that a few of the scenes felt very much like James Bond. I think George Lucas and/or Steven Speilberg have come right out and said that some of the inspiration for the franchise was a Bond-like, American figure, in the 1930s and 40s. A few scenes feel more like Bond than others. Like the scene when Indiana is fighting the huge bald guy while the plane is in a perpetual spin and fuel is making its way towards a flame. The "setup" for the catastrophe and Indiana being the only one aware of what was happening certainly feels like a Bond moment.
Raiders is probably my favorite Indiana Jones film, and I think it is only because it was the first. The Last Crusade, which I'm looking forward to re-watching soon, is definitely in close second. I enjoy the subject matter of The Last Crusade more than Raiders, I think. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that they don't make movies like this anymore, and I'm beginning to wonder if The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will pale in comparison to Raiders, Temple, and Crusade. Chris thinks that they will have a ton of special effects. I'm hoping they don't. The trailer shows some special effects, and I do expect them to use effects in scenes where nothing else would make sense, but I'm hoping there is at least one or two scenes where Indiana Jones does it himself and not some digital double.