Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Julian Glover, Alison Doody, River Phoenix and John Rhys-Davies. This film is the third released, though the twenty-fifth chronologically, in a series of film and TV productions about the adventures of the heroic fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones.
When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. (played by Sean Connery) vanishes while pursuing a life-long search for the Holy Grail, Indiana must retrace his father's steps in the hopes of rescuing him; and the Grail; from the clutches of the Nazi military machine.
Production[edit | edit source]
Indiana Jones artist Drew Struzan created the film's distinctive artwork. Also like the previous films in the series, the soundtrack was composed by John Williams.
The opening sequence, with River Phoenix as the young Indiana Jones, was shot at the end of production. The rock formations during the opening credits belong to Arches National Park, outside of Moab, Utah. The circus train was shot on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. As the exterior for the fictional Venetian church-turned-library.
After producing the three Indiana Jones movies in the 1980s, no further movies have been made by Lucas or Spielberg in the Indiana Jones series as of 2006. However, a fourth film is currently in pre-production, and is scheduled for a 2007/2008 release.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
The film begins in 1912, with young Boy Scout Indiana Jones (River Phoenix) trying to save the Cross of Coronado from grave robbers. This early adventure explains his use of a whip, his fear of snakes, and the scar on his chin (all of which occur aboard a moving circus train), as well as his fedora and overall taste in clothes. The story then segues to 1938, with an adult Indy (Harrison Ford) on the looters' ship, the Coronado, off the Portuguese coast, finally retrieving the Cross and donating it to Marcus Brody's (Elliott) museum.
Later, he is summoned to meet the wealthy Walter Donovan (Glover), who informs him that his father, Henry Jones Sr. (Connery), vanished while searching for the missing half of a clue to the location of the Holy Grail, which has the power to grant eternal life. Indy and Marcus travel to Venice to meet Dr. Elsa Schneider (Doody) to retrace his father's footsteps. Inside the library where his father was last seen, Indy finds that an "X" (inlaid in the floor) literally marks the spot. When he smashes through the floor, he finds ancient catacombs, in particular the tomb of Sir Richard, a knight of the First Crusade, which holds information needed to find the Grail. Indy is chased by six members of The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a secret and fanatical religious cult that protects the Grail. In a motorboat chase by the nearby dock, Indy kills all except the leader, Kazim (Kevork Malikyan). After Jones convinces Kazim that he is looking for his father, not the Grail, Kazim tells him that his father is being held in Castle Brunwald near the border between Austria and Germany.
Indiana finds his father, but they are betrayed by Schneider and Donovan, who are working with the Nazis. His father's kidnapping had been staged to get him to solve the mystery of the Grail for them. Indy and his father escape and go to Berlin, to retrieve his father's diary, which contains all that Professor Jones has learned about the Grail. Meanwhile, the Nazis capture Brody in Iskenderun, Turkey, and learn the starting point for the quest.
Donovan and Schneider take Brody with them, and are tracked down by Indy, his father and Sallah (Rhys-Davies), bent on rescuing their friend. Eventually their paths cross and lead to a confrontation, which also involves Kazim and his men. Kazim and his men attempt to stop the Nazi caravan, but outgunned and outnumbered, they are killed by Donovan's men. Indy's father attempts to rescue Brody from the tank, but is himself captured and put in the tank with Brody. Indy jumps onto the tank and rescues the captives. Donovan's aide, Colonel Vogel (Michael Byrne), is killed when the tank drives off a cliff with him still in it.
The quest reaches its climax at the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, in Hatay near Iskenderun, the site of temple housing the Grail. Donovan captures Indy in the temple and shoots his father, forcing him to retrieve the Grail to use its healing powers to save Professor Jones' life. Indy, guided by the diary, circumvents the deadly booby traps, reaching a room where a knight of the First Crusade, kept alive by the power of the Grail, has hidden it amongst many false cups. Donovan and Schneider follow. Schneider identifies a golden, bejeweled cup as the Grail and Donovan impatiently drinks from it. It turns out to be her way of ridding herself of a rival for the Grail; Donovan dies in a very grotesque manner, aging rapidly into dust.
Indy picks out the true Grail, a plain cup with a gold interior, worthy of a humble carpenter, and proves it by drinking from it without harm. The knight tells him not to let the Grail go "past the Great Seal" inscribed at the entrance. Indy fills the Grail with water and uses it to heal his father. Schneider then tries to leave with the Grail and crosses the Great Seal. The building starts to collapse and she loses her balance at the edge of a newly-formed crevasse. Indy grabs her hand, but she greedily reaches for the Grail, tantalizingly just out of reach, with the other and falls into the abyss. Then Indy loses his footing and finds himself in the same situation, with Professor Jones keeping him from following Schneider. He also tries to get the Grail, but his father tells him to "let it go" and he reluctantly obeys. The Grail is lost forever as they escape the crumbling temple. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ends with Henry Sr. revealing that "Indiana" was the family dog's name; Indy, his father, Sallah and Marcus then ride off into the sunset.
Reaction[edit | edit source]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade received very positive reviews from critics, On Rotten Tomatoes, The film has a score of 87% based on 71 reviews with an average score of 7.91/10.
This installment in the Indiana Jones series has more humor than the previous two films. The humor is mainly shown through the relationship between Indiana and his father. Also Marcus Brody is a less serious character than his previous appearance in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, being described as a museum curator who "once got lost in his own museum". The lightheartedness of the movie especially contrasts to its predecessor Temple of Doom, which is usually cited as the "darkest" in the trilogy. Despite being regarded as some to be derivative of the original film, it is often regarded as the second best of the trilogy, and sometimes, the best.
The Last Crusade is estimated to have grossed over US$197 million in the United States and $277 million elsewhere. These sales figures put the film second to Batman in the United States and first globally for 1989.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing.
Cast[edit | edit source]
|Harrison Ford||Indiana Jones|
|Sean Connery||Professor Henry Jones|
|Denholm Elliott||Dr. Marcus Brody|
|Alison Doody||Dr. Elsa Schneider|
|Julian Glover||Walter Donovan|
|River Phoenix||Young Indy|
|Robert Eddison||Grail Knight|
|Alex Hyde-White||Young Henry (scenes deleted)|
|Paul Maxwell||Panama Hat|
|Isla Blair||Mrs. Donovan (as Mrs. Glover)|
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Track listing[edit | edit source]
- "Indy's Very First Adventure" – 8:14
- "X Marks The Spot" – 3:12
- "Scherzo For Motorcycle & Orchestra" – 3:54
- "Ah, Rats!!!" – 3:41
- "Escape From Venice" – 4:25
- "No Ticket" – 2:46
- "The Keeper Of The Grail" – 3:24
- "Keeping Up With The Joneses" – 3:38
- "Brother Of The Cruciform Sword" – 1:56
- "Belly Of The Steel Beast" – 5:29
- "The Canyon Of The Crescent Moon" – 4:18
- "The Penitent Man Will Pass" – 3:24
- "End Credits" (Raiders March) – 10:37
Video games[edit | edit source]
In 1989, Lucasfilm Games released both a graphical adventure game and an action game of the same name, based on the film. In its era, the adventure game is generally considered one of the best of its genre, right along with Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. There are also two completely different games for the NES called "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", with no subtitle to differentiate the two versions. The newer game of that title is a port of the action game, while the older game was a different action game. There was also an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade game released for Game Boy and Game Gear. Lucasfilm games are also currently producing a new Indiana Jones game for the next-generation games consoles, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Harrison Ford and Pat Roach are the only actors to appear in all three films in the trilogy (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). In Last Crusade, Roach appears only briefly as the Nazi running alongside Vogel towards the Zeppelin. He was to fight Indy as he and Henry Sr. try to steal the biplane from the belly of the zeppelin, but the scene was cut as Spielberg felt it made the film run too long.
- River Phoenix, who plays the younger version of Harrison Ford's character, played Ford's character's son in The Mosquito Coast. Ford personally recommended Phoenix for the part, citing that of all the young actors working at the time, River Phoenix was the one who looked the most like himself when he was around that age. Ford had also offered advice to Phoenix on how to stay grounded in the high pressure world of Hollywood and was reportedly grief-stricken when he heard of Phoenix's death four years later in 1993.
- When Indiana and Elsa are in the catacombs under the Venetian church-turned-library, Elsa points out a mural. Indiana says it is the Ark of the Covenant, to which Elsa asks "are you sure?" Indiana replies "Pretty sure." Indiana would know this because the focus of Raiders of the Lost Ark was his search for the Ark. There is also a musical cue from Raiders playing during this exchange.
- When Indiana, in Berlin disguised as a Nazi officer, accidentally gets Adolf Hitler to sign his father's journal, the Führer's signature as it appears in the film bears almost no resemblance to Hitler's actual signature, which looked like this:
- In the Boy Scout Scene, Indiana Jones is a Life Scout. There are several claims as to why this is:
- He was supposed to be an Eagle Scout, but the badges are not given out to anyone other than Eagle Scouts, so he had to be just one under. (Critics of this theory note that a costume department with a big budget could have just had one made.)
- Indiana Jones was a Life Scout in honor of Eagle Scout Steven Spielberg's father who had died recently and who earned the rank of Life Scout in his youth.
- Indy, born in 1899, would have been 13 at the time, and Eagle was much more rigorous and much less seldom earned until older, until well into the 1940s.
- In The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the reason why the elderly Indiana appears so spry for his advanced age may be linked to drinking from the Grail.
- The stunt where Indy jumps from a horse down on to a tank — performed by legendary stunt man and coordinator, Vic Armstrong — was voted one of the 10 best stunts of all time by Sky Movies viewers in the UK in 2002.
- The interior of the Zeppelin sequence was filmed in the blistering heat of Spain. Neither Ford nor Connery wore pants during the conversation at the table to get longer takes before having to wipe the sweat from their faces. (Connery's character is wearing a tweed suit and Ford's character had a leather jacket in that scene.)
- There is a curious German sentence in the movie: when Indy and his friends are cornered by the German troopers in the Grail temple, one of them shouts in German, "Das ist ein Überfall!" Literally meaning, "This is a robbery!" or "This is a heist!" which bankrobbers yell to intimidate their victims, and thus unrelated to the scene. It remains unclear whether it is supposed to be a hidden joke or a misinterpretation of the foreign language material. Earlier in the film, during the fight on the tank, soldiers inside the tank watch as Indiana is in a fistfight. One of the soldiers asserts "The Americans - they fight like girls" in flawless German and then gets knocked out by the periscope.
- Connery's hair and beard, and Ford's sideburns lengthen during two scenes: after the motorcycle chase and after the tank goes off the cliff. These two additional scenes were filmed after principal photography had ended.
- Last Crusade was the first Indiana Jones movie to receive an MPAA rating higher than PG, the recently created PG-13. This was the certificate Spielberg himself was partly responsible for.
- Tom Stoppard performed uncredited rewrites on the dialogue for this film as a favor to George Lucas.
- Sean Connery, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, and Julian Glover all appear in the James Bond series of films. Connery was 007 himself for 6 films, (1 unofficially); Doody was a Bond girl in the 1985 movie, A View to a Kill; Rhys-Davies was a Russian general in the 1987 movie, The Living Daylights; and Glover played the villain in the 1981 movie, For Your Eyes Only. Steven Spielberg has said on numerous occasions that he would have liked to do a James Bond film.
- The march played by the Nazis in Berlin is the Königgrätzer Marsch by Johann Gottfried Piefke. It was known as Hitler's favorite march and was often played during his public appearances.
- The unnamed fedora-wearing man in the beginning of the film was originally written as Abner Ravenwood, the father of Karen Allen's character in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The references were cut from the final film.
- The humorous scene at the end, in which Sallah laughs at the knowledge that Indy was named for the dog is actually true. George Lucas once had an Alaskan Malamute named Indiana.
- The scene where Henry Jones Sr. accidentally shoots off the tail of his own plane came from the script for Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Short Round accidentally blew the tail-rudder off their plane in a dog-fight over India, which was the original reason the plane crashed.
DVD release[edit | edit source]
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released on laserdisc and VHS in 1990 and on DVD in October 2003. A VHS release in 1999 and the DVD release was packaged with the previous two theatrical films in the series: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Under the supervision of director Steven Spielberg and sound designer Ben Burtt, the three original Indiana Jones films were remastered in 2012 and made available in stores on November 19th, 2013. The HD restoration of included:
- Teaser Trailer (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Re-Issue Trailer (HD)
- Digital Copy (available via iTunes)
[edit | edit source]
- Official Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade site
- The Indiana Jones Wiki
- TheRaider.net - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, extensive coverage
- Film Sculptor Special Effects Sculptor who worked on the film
- Pictures of Venice including the "library" used in this film
- Indiana Jones Fansite
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the Internet Movie Database