Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • Time: 127 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott


Indiana Jones, famed adventurer and archaeologist acquires a diary that holds clues and a map with no names to find the mysterious Holy Grail- which was sent from his father, Dr. Henry Jones, in Italy. Upon hearing from a private collector, Walter Donavan, that the mission for the Holy Grail went astray with the disappearance of his father, Indiana Jones and museum curator Marcus Brody venture to Italy in search of Indy’s father. However, upon retrieving Dr. Henry Jones in Nazi territory, the rescue mission turns into a race to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis do- who plan to use it for complete world domination for their super-race. With the diary as a vital key and the map with no names as a guide, Indiana Jones once again finds himself in another death defying adventure of pure excitement.


  • The Last Crusade takes the franchise back to the more familiar origins of Raiders.

    The film starts with Indiana Jones’ first adventure, where River Phoenix takes on the role of Indiana Jones. Phoenix is an absolute pleasure to watch on screen, not only does he show some resemblance to Harrison Ford, but he even throws in some of his actions and facial expressions. He deserves the most credit for the action sequence that he undertakes on the circus train. The circus train revisits the franchise as B movie material and it does so with a twist. You learn how Jones develops a fear of snakes, how he uses a bull whip and how he develops a scar on his chin. It has to be one of the greatest scenes of the whole film.

    Ford delivers his usual business as Jones in terms of his acting and activity in terms of the action sequences. However, Sean Connery steals the show and he does so in a more subtle manner. Considering that he was one of the main influences for the Indiana Jones character, he did not just revisit his origins, but instead played completely the opposite as a academic, calm and reserved person. Nevertheless, he manages to top his son at whatever he did, including sleeping with the same woman, coincidentally escaping from the Nazis and bringing down a German mesherschmit by the means of seagulls. Alison Doody also Dr. Elsa Schneider deserves appraisal for her very convincing role as a female Nazi. Julian Glover is outstanding for his role as the main villain and both Jonathan Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliot return as Sallah and Marcus Brody return as more of a comic relief.

    The film continues to comprise many unforgettable scenes, including the tomb of Sir Richard, the boat chase in Venice, the rescue and escape of Henry Jones Sr. from the Nazis. There is also the Nazi blimp scene and the escape from the German mesherschmits, the reclaiming of the Grail diary from the Nazis, with a cameo of Hitler, the tank battle and the overall finding of the Grail.

    What is particularly touching is that it was not just a case of finding the Holy Grail, but it was instead a story of father and son finding one another.

    The film ends warmly, as the Jones Jr., Jones Sr., Sallah and Brody ride off into the sunset, which will be the last time we ever see this quartet together on screen together. It is this scene that will always be remembered for their completion of “The Last Crusade”.

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the third installment of the successful action-adventure series created by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. It is my personal favorite, and in my opinion, it slightly eclipses The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which is widely considered to be the holy grail of action-adventure movies and the best in the series. The Last Crusade is closer in thematic material and narrative structure to Raiders than the second installment, The Temple of Doom (1984), which is more ominous and at times uneasy to watch, rather than spectacular and great, silly fun.

    In The Last Crusade, there is a new element added to the plot: the father-and-son relationship. Here, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) teams up with his archaeologist dad, Henry Jones (Sean Connery), to locate the cup of life that brings the promise of immortality before the evil Nazis do. Connery’s character is written with the intention to provide comic relief as well as to further our understanding of the man with the iconic fedora and whip. Scenes in which both father and son are in the same frame are the most hilarious, with the humour arising not only from the awkward relationship that they share, but also from the sarcasm they have for each other.

    The Last Crusade also boasts top-notch action sequences including a lengthy battle between Indy and co. against the villains and their humongous tank that ends with the best laugh-out-loud moment in Indy cinema. The Last Crusade also features John Williams’ best score in an Indy film; he sticks to more melodious tunes this time round with the introduction of a couple of new key themes that evoke the spirit of the quest and enhance the aforementioned father-son relationship. With this film, Spielberg continues the escapist tradition that is the hallmark of all Indy pictures.
    As a strong morality tale against greed, The Last Crusade is one of the best offerings of its genre and is a marked improvement over The Temple of Doom. It should have been a fitting end to the popular series. Sadly, Spielberg indulged and made one too many.

    GRADE: A (9/10 or 4.5 stars)
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