Karen Allen breaks down the legacy of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ as the Indiana Jones film turns 40

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Four decades after the premiere of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” stars and fans alike continue to tip their fedoras to the debut of Indiana Jones.

Karen Allen, who starred as Marion Ravenwood in the adventure flick, believes the Harrison Ford-led film’s ability to connect with audiences across multiple generations has been the key to its longevity as it celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday.

“Harrison created this imperfect hero. You know, the hero who punches someone in the face and hurts his hand,” Allen told the Daily News.

“It’s a beautiful, classic kind of film that really lets people in, as opposed to a lot of those action films (where) you’re watching them but you don’t really engage with the characters that much. I think that there’s something that this captured where ... people really engaged with Marion Ravenwood and engaged with Indiana Jones. There’s this sense of being a part of it in some way.”

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” released on June 12, 1981, as the first installment to the popular franchise starring Ford as the titular archeologist.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is considered a trailblazer in the adventure genre, inspiring countless other films while featuring some of the most recognizable scenes in movie history, from Jones navigating booby traps to secure a golden artifact to Indy’s and Marion’s descent into the snake-infested Well of Souls.

“The fact that people are still talking about and loving this film and sharing it with their friends and family, and that it gets passed from generation to generation, is extraordinary,” Allen said.

“It’s just very rare for a film to maintain that sort of long-term interest. ... I think they wrote a wonderful screenplay,” she continued. “I think Steven did an extraordinary job ... directing it and creating these worlds of where the ark is and the Well of Souls and all of the exotic places that we shot the film in, and the worlds that it goes into.”

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” set the tone for a franchise that has released four movies, which are now available in a 4K Ultra HD set that came out this week. Ford is also returning for a fifth “Indiana Jones” movie due out next year.

Allen, 69, had only appeared in a few films before she landed the role of Marion, the determined daughter of an archeologist who dated Indy years before reuniting with him on their quest to find the magical Ark of the Covenant.

The actress enjoyed working with Ford, who originated the role of Han Solo in “Star Wars” before portraying Indy.

“He was, in a way, much more experienced with working in that kind of film than I was, so I learned a lot from him,” Allen said.

“I was always trying to pretend the camera wasn’t there, and then in a film like this, you really work with it. You have to be aware of where the camera is a lot of the time when you’re working. That was so new to me, and I felt so not good at it. For me to watch Harrison in some of his sequences and see how he worked was really helpful.”

Allen is thrilled to see how the legacy of the movie has prevailed.

“It’s such a beautiful film, and it’s so loved by people that I have just come to totally love the way that it has followed me and become so identified with me,” Allen said. “Here we are, 40 years later, and I’m still talking about it.”

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