Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dirty Harry, Shrek 2: films on TV today

Harrison Ford cracks the whip, Clint Eastwood packs a piece, Antonio Banderas flashes his blade: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

Raiders of the Lost Ark ★★★★★
1.45-3.35pm BBC1


The four Indiana Jones movies have made a combined $1.9 billion at the worldwide box office. Here’s the 1981 original, conceived by producer George Lucas in the image of Saturday morning serials and given energetic, witty life by Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. The iconic set pieces! The boulder prologue! The audacious Spielbergian revenge on the Nazis! Harrison Ford gets the character right from the start – crumpled, irritated, making it up as he goes along – and Paul Freeman and Ronald Lacey make terrific villains. The Temple of Doom follows tomorrow and The Last Crusade on Wednesday.

Dirty Harry ★★★★★
9.00-11.05pm ITV4

This was the influential first outing for San Francisco’s own avenging angel, who dispenses rough justice with the aid of a .44 Magnum. Clint Eastwood (reportedly suggested for the role by Paul Newman) is in his lean, mean prime – and he credits director Don Siegel as a major influence on his own directorial career.

Shrek 2 ★★★★
3.50-5.15pm BBC1

Shrek is finding it even less easy being green in this smart sequel that sees him clash with his royal in-laws, who are less than happy when they meet the hero who rescued their daughter. Antonio Banderas joins the cast and makes an impact as the voice of the dashing Puss in Boots.

Tower Heist ★★★
6.55-9.00pm Film Four

Apartment block manager Ben Stiller teams up with petty thief Eddie Murphy to help his co-workers get even with greedy fat cat boss Alan Alda in this zany caper. Stiller is his usual underdog self, and Murphy brings a lot of energy to his role. The actual tower used for the heist  belongs to Donald Trump.

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! ★★
6.15-8.00pm BBC2

Yes, it’s shamelessly sentimental, and Martin Freeman’s not in it, but this follow-up to the 2009 comedy ticks all the boxes for families with younger children. David Tennant is a suitably exasperated replacement for Freeman as the new teacher who takes the class to a Christmas singing competition in Wales. And the young actors are a joy.


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