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4 Reasons 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' Is Secretly About Drugs

#2. Marion as Prisoner

Later in the movie, Indy discovers that Marion is a prisoner after mistakenly believing her dead. But he doesn't free her. Instead, he wants to keep her tied up. Or should we say "tied off." Look at the gag in her mouth and how nicely it compares to Ewan McGregor tying off in Trainspotting before his fix.

But that's not all. Before leaving, Indy says, "If you don't sit still the whole thing will be SHOT." Shot! Like a shot. (OK, in truth, this is probably not my strongest point, but some English professors appreciate bravado.)

Soon after, the white dress theme emerges again. Belloq, the French archaeologist and Nazi sympathizer, gives Marion a white gown. Here, another man is attempting to wash away Marion's past, but, once again, it is a failed attempt. As soon as she puts on the dress, she starts drinking again. Just like at Sallah's house.

Marion may be a booze hound, but at least without Indy around, she's being resourceful and trying to escape by drinking Belloq under the table. A few scenes later, however, this brave, resourceful woman who outdrinks barbarians, beats Arabs with frying pans, and throws a mean right hook is reduced to a cowering, whimpering girl when she's thrown into a pit with Indiana Jones. Suddenly, in his presence, that resourceful woman is gone and she is a child filled with dependency issues, whining about snakes like a cartoon housewife who's seen a mouse.

Maybe it's because Indy makes her revert to a child state. Or maybe it's because she hasn't fixed since that monkey died, and dark hallucinations have been known to accompany chemical withdrawal. Snakes are good. Even better? Corpses. She's jonesing for a fix. (Holy shit. Did you see that?) She's like Indiana Jonesing for a fix and seeing all sorts of scary shit. She is freaking out.

After they escape the pit, Indy needs a plan to steal back the ark. No one knows what he can do, and he admits he's making it up as he goes along. What does he turn to for assistance? That's right: a horse.


"Horse" is slang for heroin, kids. Don't believe me? Ask your deadbeat dad. Oh, he died when you were 3 from shooting junk? Sorry.

#1. Marion in Act III

Indy and Marion make it aboard a pirate ship in an attempt to be smuggled to safety. Guess what the captain gives her? A white nightgown. Yet another man with another failed attempt to purify Marion.


But succeeding in the watchita-watchita-be-bow-bow factor. Mrowr.

But now, Marion begins her 12 steps toward sobriety. I've never gone to AA, so I don't know what those steps are. Also, as I said earlier, no independent research beyond the confines of the source material will be done, so I'm not looking it up. But in any event, I'm pretty sure one of them is making amends, and here, on the boat, she and Indy seem to find some level of forgiveness. And hot monkey sex. (Holy shit. Monkey!)

But you don't need to have gone through a 12-step program to know that another stage is acceptance of a higher power, and, um yeah, there's a lot of that in Raiders. In the climax, both Indy and Marion recognize the power of the divine by not looking upon it. They close their eyes as a reverent acknowledgment of power. God smites the bad guys and rescues them.

But you gotta meet God half way on this stuff. You can't go back to hanging around with the same d-bags who messed you up and got you hooked on drugs in the first place if you want to stay clean. And that is Marion's big mistake. She sticks with Indy. In the final scene, she does not wear white. There is no white for Marion. She has not purified herself. She can't so long as Indy is around. As a testament to his corrupting influence, her final words in the movie, indeed the final words of the movie, are "Come on, I'll buy you a drink. Y'know, a drink." Sure, you could say that Indy only looks sad to hear this because he's bummed the U.S. government has just boarded up the Ark, but check out the face on him.

To me, that looks like a man saddened to learn that the young girl he corrupted when he was old enough to know better will never be free of her addictions so long as he's around. They walk off, arm in arm, her in gray, toward one more drink.



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