The films that helped make Indy’s introduction so iconic.
When George Lucas and Steven Spielberg set out to make Raiders of the Lost Ark, better known as the film that introduced Indiana Jones, their intention from the ground-up was to create a cinematic environment, atmosphere, and tone that hearkened back to the days of adventure serials, the very kind of stories that had helped to shape their imaginations as children. Being students of all cinema, though, they didn’t stop there. Films by directors like Orson Welles, Michael Curtiz, David Lean, Robert Aldrich, and, of course, Akira Kurosawa contributed to the execution of Raiders, specifically helping to elevate by sheer filmmaking prowess the plotline from B-action territory to a level more intelligent and artful, while still retaining its more basic appeal.
For proof of this, check out the following video from Glass Distortion that compares frames and scenes from Spielberg’s flick to those from Yojimbo, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, Kiss Me Deadly, and a few others (all listed below the embed). Seems that as well as being the birth of inspiration for a generation of filmmakers, Raiders was also the culmination of inspiration for an earlier generation.