Raiders of the Lost Ark is a flawless classic and my favorite film of all time. It is the benchmark of the action/adventure genre and features one of the most iconic heroes in cinema history.
Structurally, the script is driven by brilliant action sequences and effortless setups and payoffs. One of the most interesting choices is Indiana Jones’ “method of defeat” by which he finally wins the ark. After running, driving, swinging, punching and kicking his way through the entire film, his climactic action is a “soft” one: to close his eyes out of respect for the supernatural power of the Ark of the Covenant. The archaeology professor who didn’t believe in “hocus pocus” has learned to believe in something beyond history, saving his life and that of his love interest, Marion.
And even though it’s from 1981, it’s a perfect 110 minutes, adhering exactly to the modern Story Map paradigm! I guess those guys Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan knew a thing or two about movie pacing.
The E-Books Story Maps: How to Write a GREAT Screenplay and Story Maps: 12 Great Screenplays include Full Story Map analyses of 19 hit movies, primarily from the last decade.
These successful films are great examples of professional screenwriting in many different genres and budget levels aimed at varied audiences. I stand by each title as a strong example of its genre and as a primer to learn the screenwriting craft at the level that you need to be: the “submission ready” tier that makes a good script into a GREAT script.
Purchase the Story Maps E-Books in PDF format in a special discount bundle offer.
Good Luck and Happy Writing!
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Related: Video below about why the ending in “Raiders” works so well…