Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft - Tomb Raider.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimon West
Screenplay byPatrick Massett
John Zinman
Story bySara B. Cooper
Mike Werb
Michael Colleary
Adaptation by
  • Simon West
Based onTomb Raider
by Core Design
Produced byLawrence Gordon
Lloyd Levin
Colin Wilson
CinematographyPeter Menzies Jr.
Edited byDallas S. Puett
Glen Scantlebury
Music byGraeme Revell
Distributed by
Release date
  • June 15, 2001 (2001-06-15) (United States)
  • June 28, 2001 (2001-06-28) (Germany)
  • July 6, 2001 (2001-07-06) (United Kingdom)
  • October 6, 2001 (2001-10-06) (Japan)
Running time
100 minutes
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[1]
Budget$115 million[2]
Box office$274.7 million[2]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 action adventure film based on the Tomb Raider video game series featuring the character Lara Croft, portrayed by Angelina Jolie. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, it was directed by Simon West and revolves around Lara Croft trying to obtain ancient artifacts from the Illuminati.

The film was released on June 15, 2001, and received generally negative reviews from critics, although Angelina Jolie was praised for her performance. Tomb Raider was the highest-grossing film on its opening weekend. A sequel, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, was released in 2003.


Adventurer Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) defeats a robot in an Egyptian tomb, revealed to be a training exercise arena in her family manor, where she lives with her technical assistant Bryce (Noah Taylor) and butler Hilary (Chris Barrie). In Venice, as the first phase of a planetary alignment begins, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of a mysterious artifact, "the Triangle," which must be completed by the final phase, a solar eclipse. Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) assures the cabal that the artifact is almost ready, but has no real idea of its location.

Lara's father Lord Richard Croft (Jon Voight), long missing and presumed dead, appears to her in a dream. Lara awakens to a mysterious ticking, and finds a strange clock hidden inside the manor. On her way to consult a friend of her father's, Wilson (Leslie Phillips), Lara crosses paths with Alex West (Daniel Craig), an American associate and fellow adventurer. Lara shows Wilson the clock, and he puts her in touch with Powell. Lara shows Powell photographs of the clock, which he claims not to recognize.

That night, armed commandos invade the house and steal the clock, bringing it to Powell. The next morning, a prearranged letter from Lara's father arrives, explaining that the clock is the key to retrieving the halves of the Triangle of Light, an ancient object with the power to control time. After misuse of its power destroyed an entire city, the Triangle was separated: one half was hidden in a tomb at Angkor Cambodia, and the other in the ruined city located at Ukok Plateau, Siberia. Her father tasks her to find and destroy both pieces before the Illuminati can exploit the Triangle's power.

In Cambodia, Lara finds Powell, who has hired West, and his commandos already at the temple. West solves part of the temple's puzzle, and Powell prepares to insert the clock at the moment of alignment. Lara, realizing they are mistaken, finds the correct keyhole; with only seconds left, Lara persuades Powell to throw her the clock. She unlocks the first piece of the Triangle, and the statues of the temple come to life and attack the intruders. West, Powell, and his remaining men flee with the clock, leaving Lara to defeat an enormous six-armed guardian statue. She escapes with the first piece; recovering at a Buddhist monastery, she arranges a meeting with Powell.

In Venice, Powell proposes a partnership to find the Triangle, and informs Lara that her father was a member of the Illuminati, and offers to use the Triangle's power to resurrect him; though reluctant, she agrees to join forces. Lara and Bryce travel with Powell, West, and the leader of the Illuminati (Richard Johnson) to Siberia. Entering the tomb, they discover a giant orrery, which activates as the alignment nears completion. Lara retrieves the second half of the Triangle, and Powell kills the Illuminati's leader to restore the Triangle himself, but the halves will not fuse. Realizing Lara knows the solution, Powell kills West to persuade her to complete the Triangle to restore West's and her father's lives. Lara complies, but seizes the Triangle herself.

In a "crossing" of time, Lara faces the memory of her father, who urges her to destroy the Triangle for good rather than save his life. Returning to the tomb, Lara manipulates time to save West and stab Powell, and destroys the Triangle. The tomb begins to collapse, and all flee but the wounded Powell, who reveals to Lara that he murdered her father. After a hand-to-hand fight, she kills Powell, retrieving her father's pocket watch and escaping the tomb.

Back in her manor, Lara visits her father's memorial and finds that Bryce has reprogrammed the robot, and Hilary presents her with her pistols, which she takes with a smile.




Tomb Raider went through many drafts and several writers, which resulted in production delays. In 1998, writer Brent V. Friedman, who had co-written Mortal Kombat: Annihilation the year before, penned an unproduced Tomb Raider script. Producer and screenwriter Steven E. de Souza, who wrote and directed the 1994 video game film Street Fighter, penned an early draft of the Tomb Raider script in 1999, but it was rejected by Paramount. The final draft of the script was attributed to five writers, including director Simon West.


Lara Croft was financed through Tele München Gruppe (TMG), a German tax shelter. The tax law of Germany allowed investors to take an instant tax deduction even on non-German productions and even if the film has not gone into production. By selling them the copyright for $94 million and then buying it back for $83.8 million, Paramount Pictures made $10.2 million. The copyright was then sold again to Lombard Bank, a British investment group and a further $12 million was made. However, to qualify for Section 48 tax relief, the production must include some UK filming and British actors, which was acceptable for a film partially set in the United Kingdom. Presales to distributors in Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain made a further $65 million. Showtime paid $6.8 million for premium cable television rights. In total, $94 million was put together.[3]


The announcement of the film generated significant discussion about who would be cast to play Lara Croft. Numerous actresses (and non-actresses) were rumoured to be on the shortlist to play her and countless others declared their interest in the role,[4] most notably Jennifer Love Hewitt, Famke Janssen, Jennifer Lopez, Rhona Mitra, Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diane Lane, Demi Moore and Denise Richards, with many considering the latter the favourite to win the role.[4][5][6]

The casting of Jolie was controversial among many fans of the Tomb Raider series, who felt she wasn't physically appropriate enough to play the large-breasted heroine; others complained about an American actress being hired to play a British character; others cited Jolie's tattoos and well-publicised controversial personal life.[6] Director Simon West dismissed these concerns and said, in reference to Jolie's penchant for sexual knife play, "it was always Angelina. I mean, Lara sleeps with knives and doesn't take shit from anybody. That's [Angelina] down to a tee."[6] Jolie wore a padded bra to increase her bust size when playing Lara. As she explained to NY Rock in June 2001: "C'mon, I'm not so flat chested to begin with. When I wear a tight T-shirt, I look a certain way. So it wasn't like we had to completely change me. You know, we just had to enhance me a little. I'm a 36C. Lara, she's a 36D. And in the game, she's a double D, so we took her down some. But we did give her a bit of padding there. For me, it was simply one size. So it was like having a padded bra. But no, I am not flat chested anyway. So we still made it Lara Croft, but we didn't go to any extremes. And Lara doesn't apologize for herself, and for having that, you know, recognizable shape. So I'm not going to apologize for her either."[7][8]

The film marked the feature film debut of television actor Chris Barrie, known for his role of Arnold Rimmer in the BBC science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf. English actor Daniel Craig adopts an American accent for the role of Alex West whilst Jolie, being American herself, takes on an English accent.[9] Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's father, plays Richard Croft, Lara's father in the film.


Principal photography for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider took place from July 30 to November 30, 2000. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Ta Prohm temple, located in Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. The film was the first major motion picture to be shot in Cambodia since Lord Jim in 1964, following the country's occupation by the Khmer Rouge regime.[10] In addition to on-location shooting, a majority of the film's production also took place on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios.[11] Hatfield House in Hertfordshire was used as Croft's home in the film.[12]



Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 15, 2001[13]
  • 69:01
  • 72:14 (including the additional track)
Singles from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Deep"
    Released: 2001 (promotional)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 soundtrack album to the film. The various artists soundtrack was released June 15, 2001. The Score was later released on June 25, 2001. The movie also featured the song "Lila" by Vas and a Piano rendition of "Largo" from Johann Sebastian Bach's Harpsichord Concerto no. 5 performed by Hae-won Chang. These were not featured on the soundtrack. Also used in the movie were elements of "Elevation (Influx Remix)" by U2. This was uncredited.

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."Elevation" (Tomb Raider Mix)U23:36
2."Deep"Nine Inch Nails4:08
3."Galaxy Bounce"The Chemical Brothers4:45
4."Get Ur Freak On" (Remix)Missy Elliott featuring Nelly Furtado3:10
5."Speedballin'"Outkast featuring Cee Lo Green[nb 1] and Joi4:56
6."Ain't Never Learned"Moby3:46
7."The Revolution"BT4:17
8."Terra Firma" (Lara's Mix)Delerium featuring Aude5:06
9."Where's Your Head At"Basement Jaxx4:43
10."Illuminati"Fatboy Slim featuring Bootsy Collins3:14
11."Absurd" (Whitewash Edit)Fluke3:40
12."Song of Life"Leftfield7:03
13."Edge Hill"Groove Armada7:00
15."Devil's Nightmare"Oxide & Neutrino6:04
Additional track in some versions of the album[14]
16."In Control"Die Toten Hosen3:13


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 25, 2001[13]
Length48 minutes

For the first Tomb Raider film, Nathan McCree was hired, though the producers eventually decided that a feature-length film needed a feature-name composer. Therefore, they hired Michael Kamen, despite the fact that his score for the similarly cult X-Men the previous year failed to arouse the interest of many of the concept's followers. Kamen wrote and submitted a demo for Tomb Raider, but no feedback on that music was returned by the director or producers. Only during the process of recording a second demo did Kamen finally hear back from the Tomb Raider team, and by then, the lack of enthusiasm for the relationship on both sides caused Kamen to seek other projects that were more promising to him (namely, the HBO show Band of Brothers, requiring 10 hours of music). Thus, the producers of Tomb Raider were forced to hire another composer at the last minute. The man hired for the last minute assignment was Graeme Revell.[15] He composed the soundtrack in less than two weeks.[16] He did not use the original Tomb Raider theme.

The CD was released through Elektra Entertainment, but as noted by Revell and after failed attempts to stop the pressings, the tracks were mislabeled. For example, the opening track includes both the Main Titles and Lara Croft at Home cues together. The resulting score was so poorly received [17] that the composer himself issued an apology through his website.[18] The track list was later revised.[19]

Original Motion Picture Score
1."Tomb Raider Main Titles"3:14
2."Lara Croft at Home"2:13
3."Powell and the Illuminati"2:58
4."Lara Dreams of Her Father"1:46
5."The Clock"3:01
6."Home Invasion"3:59
7."Alex West and Mr. Wilson"4:05
8."The Letter"1:25
9."Journey to Cambodia"2:00
10."Angkor Wat"7:36
11."Lara Battles Stone Monkeys"3:32
12."The Brahman"1:31
14."The Planetary Alignment"5:08
15."Lara Defeats Powell"3:38
Original Motion Picture Score (revised)
1."Tomb Raider Main Titles/Lara Croft at Home"3:14
2."Powell and the Illuminati"2:13
3."Lara Dreams of Her Father"2:58
4."The Clock"1:46
5."Alex West and Mr. Wilson"3:01
6."Home Invasion"3:59
7."The Letter"4:05
8."Journey to Cambodia"1:25
9."Angkor Wat"2:00
10."Deep in the Temple"7:36
11."Lara Battles Stone Monkeys"3:32
12."The Brahman"1:31
14."The Planetary Alignment"5:08
15."Lara Defeats Powell"3:38


Home media[edit]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was released on DVD and VHS on November 13, 2001; a Blu-ray release followed on June 3, 2008. A 4K UHD Blu-ray release followed on February 27, 2018.[20]

On the North American video rental charts, the film grossed $38.5 million in DVD rental revenue, as of December 2001.[21]


Box office[edit]

Tomb Raider was a box office success. The movie debuted at number one with $48.2 million ahead of Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Shrek,[22] giving Paramount its second-best debut and the fifth-highest debut of 2001. It beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist ($42.3) million for Scary Movie) as well as the opening record for a video game adaptation ($31 million for Pokémon: The First Movie), and is one of the highest grossing video game to film adaptations.[23][24] The movie has grossed a total of $274,703,340 worldwide.[2]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider earned positive reviews from 20% of 161 critics, with an average rating of 4/10. The site's consensus is "Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can't save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact".[25] According to Metacritic, which assigned the film a weighted average score of 33/100 based on reviews from 31 critics, the film received "generally unfavorable reviews".[26] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[27]

IGN gave the movie the lowest score, a 0.0 ("Disaster") rating, condemning everything from character performances to the ending.[28] Todd McCarthy of Variety said "[the film] has the distinction of being a major motion picture that’s far less imaginative, and quite a bit more stupid, than the interactive game it’s based on." McCarthy praises Jolie but says "everything else about this frenetic production is flat and unexciting."[29][30] A positive review came from Roger Ebert, who awarded the film three out of four stars and said, "'Lara Croft Tomb Raider' elevates goofiness to an art form. Here is a movie so monumentally silly, yet so wondrous to look at, that only a churl could find fault."[31]


The film was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, these awards included: Best Female Performance and Best Fight scene, but the film lost to Moulin Rouge! and Rush Hour 2 respectively. The film was also nominated for Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie - Drama. Angelina Jolie was nominated for the Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Award for her role in the film, but she lost to Mariah Carey in Glitter.[32]


Director Simon West would comment a decade after its release that the creation of Lara Croft was influenced by a film market that "wasn't used to women leading summer blockbusters".[33] This factor influenced his decision to cast Angelina Jolie who was not well known at the time, and not the studio's first choice (in contrast to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ashley Judd, and Jennifer Lopez).[33] West said that his decision to cast Jolie lay in the fact that "there hadn't been a female lead of an action-adventure film that had carried a film [by herself recently], and Angelina wasn't as big as some of the other actresses that were up for the part, who'd done bigger films and had a longer track record and bigger box-office grosses... Some of their [images] were safer than Angelina's, whose was quite dangerous. She had all sorts of thing written about her—some obviously not true. She was a young woman experimenting."[33] While Lara Croft's box office totals were the highest for a female-led action film at the time, and the film inspired theme park rides and led to a sequel, West stated in 2018 that "at the time, the studio was incredibly nervous at what the outcome could have been. I'm surprised it's taken so long [for other female-fronted action stories to rise up], because I thought that two or three years after, there'd be 10 other movies like it cashing in on its success ...[b]ut it's amazing how things work so slowly. But finally The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman have caught up!"[33]

Other media[edit]


Angelina Jolie returned in the sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. While it was viewed as a critical improvement over its predecessor, it did not repeat its financial success, grossing $156 million compared to the previous installment's $274 million.


GK Films first acquired the rights to reboot the film in 2011.[34] In April 2016, MGM and GK Films announced a reboot of the film starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft with Roar Uthaug directing.[35][36] It was released March 16, 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Green's featured performance is not mentioned in the soundtrack credits


  1. ^ "Lara Croft Tomb Raider". British Film Institute. London. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Pradeep Thakur: Angelina Jolie: The World's Most Powerful Celebrity?, Morrisville (NC) [without date], p. 99.
  4. ^ a b " answers your Tomb Raider burning questions". Entertainment Weekly. June 27, 2001. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Eila Mell (2005). Casting Might-Have-Beens: A Film by Film Directory of Actors Considered for Roles Given to Others. ISBN 9781476609768. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c David Hughes (2003). Tales From Development Hell: New Updated Edition. ISBN 9780857687319. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  7. ^ "Angelina Jolie's most thrilling decision: Robbing her breasts of their cultural power". Salon. May 15, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  8. ^ "Angelina Jolie On Filling Lara Croft's Shoes and D-size Cups". NY Rocks. June 2001. Archived from the original on December 2, 2001. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  9. ^ "Does Angelina Jolie's 'Tomb Raider' Hold Up?". GQ.
  10. ^ East, James (December 8, 2000). "The making of Tomb Raider in Cambodia". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  11. ^ D, Spence (May 23, 2001). "Interview with Tomb Raider Director Simon West". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Clugston, Harriet (November 15, 2017). "Eight movie scenes you didn't know were filmed in Hertfordshire". Hertfordshire Mercury. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Original Motion Picture Score". Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Various - Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Music From The Motion Picture)". Discogs. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  15. ^ "Tomb Raider (Graeme Ravell)". Film Tracks. July 7, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  16. ^ "TOMB RAIDER: Composer Graeme Revell - Creating a feature-film soundtrack in less than two weeks". March 27, 2013. Archived from the original on April 4, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  17. ^ "Filmtracks: Tomb Raider (Graeme Revell)". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "Tomb Raider (Graeme Revell)". Filmtracks. June 26, 2001. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  19. ^ Castillo, Phil (July 29, 2002). " NEWS". Archived from the original on August 10, 2001. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  20. ^ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider DVD Release Date". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Weekly video report: Top 20 rental titles". The Hollywood Reporter. Wilkerson Daily Corporation. December 2001. p. 19.
  22. ^ "Weekend Boxoffice Report: 'Lara Croft' Leaps Into the Big Game at No. 1". June 18, 2001. Archived from the original on July 1, 2001. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  23. ^ "Weekend Box Office". Box Office Guru. June 18, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  24. ^ "Video Game Adaptation Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  25. ^ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Metacritic. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  27. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  28. ^ Glen Oliver (October 26, 2007). "IGN: Tomb Raider Review". IGN. Archived from the original on October 26, 2007."Review of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". IGN.
  29. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 15, 2001). "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Variety.
  30. ^ Simon Braund (January 1, 2000). "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Empire.
  31. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 15, 2001). "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (review)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  32. ^ Wilson, John (February 11, 2002). "22nd Annual Razzie Nominations Announced". Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  33. ^ a b c d Nolfi, Joey (March 8, 2018). "Tomb Raider director fought for Angelina Jolie as 'wicked' Lara Croft over 'safer' actresses". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  34. ^ "'The Departed' & 'The Town' Producer Plans 'Tomb Raider' Reboot For 2013". The Film Stage. Archived from the original on March 18, 2018.
  35. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 28, 2016). "Alicia Vikander to Play Lara Croft in 'Tomb Raider' Reboot". Variety. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  36. ^ McNary, Dave (July 7, 2016). "Alicia Vikander's 'Tomb Raider' Gets 2018 Release Date". Variety.

External links[edit]