Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

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Director: Steven Spielberg.
Screenplay: Jeffrey Boam.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Denholm Elliott, Alison Doody, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover, River Phoenix, Michael Byrne, Alex Hyde-White, Richard Young, Kevork Malikyan, Robert Eddison, Ronald Lacey, Michael Sheard, Bradley Gregg, Alexei Sayle.

“Germany has declared war on the Jones boys”

Even before the days of Raiders Of The Ark, Spielberg had expressed an interest in making a James Bond movie but he couldn’t get the go ahead from Bond producer Albert Broccoli. Indy was just as good an opportunity for him, though, and who better to cast as Indy’s father than (the original) James Bond himself? It’s actually through the casting choice of Sean Connery that this third instalment of Indy’s adventures really takes flight and silences the critics of The Temple Of Doom.   

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In his third outing, Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) goes in search of his father, Prof. Henry Jones Sr (Sean Connery) who mysteriously disappears while searching for the Holy Grail. Once again, though, the Nazi’s are also in tow. After losing out on the Ark of the Covenant, they too want to get their hands on the Cup of Christ.

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By the time of this films release everybody was fully aware of Indiana Jones. With only two films under his fedora, Indy had already become an icon of American cinema. Every woman wanted him, while every man wanted to be him and with a fond familiarity people welcomed him into their homes. That’s the very reason why the opening of this third instalment is such a joy. It’s depiction of Indy in his youth is such a wonderful addition to his backstory and the late, great River Phoenix does an excellent job in capturing Ford’s mannerisms. We learn about his use of the whip and the resulting scar on his chin. We also get an insight into the procurement of his famous fedora and how his unusual name of Indiana originated from the family dog… (It was actually George Lucas’ dog that was named Indiana and it also served as the inspiration for Chewbacca in Star Wars).

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After being heavily criticised for his dark tone in Temple of Doom Spielberg finds the lighter side again and delivers the funniest and most gleefully entertaining of Indy’s adventures. The likes of Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies return from Raiders with more drawn out comical roles but, as mentioned, it’s the great interplay between Ford and Connery that’s the biggest draw here. The chemistry between them anchor a poignant family adventure while providing numerous comedic moments.

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Like the previous two, though, there’s no shortest of nail-biting action as World War II is on the brink and the Nazi’s are once again Indy’s foes, giving Spielberg another chance to put the Third Reich to the test. Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan are obviously his more personal films on the subject but with Indy he gets the chance to have fun with them again, leaving this instalment with more in common with Raiders as well as honing in on the biblical aspects of the story; Out goes the Ark and in comes the coveted Holy Grail and while the fourth film in the franchise – The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull – explores a misjudged science-fiction element, it confirms that Indy’s adventures are better left in the paths of the religious or the occult. Speaking of which, I will not be following this trilogy with a review of the fourth film as it pains me to speak ill of one of my favourite movie characters. Let’s just pretend that The Last Crusade was indeed, his last.

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Raiders may still be the absolute classic of them all but it’s hard to give a film with as much excitement and entertainment as this, anything less than top marks.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: Henry Jones Sr, was (according to backstory material written but not presented in the film) born in the 1860’s, and was a Scottish university professor before emigrating to Utah, where Indy was born. He was roughly 75 years old in 1938. Sean Connery was only 58 at the time of filming (and only 12 years older than Harrison Ford), hence the beard and general “old man” attire his character wears. Indy impersonating a Scottish lord in a scene at Castle Brunwald was a nod to this unspoken backstory.

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35 Responses to “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade”

  1. Oh, yes. Love the interaction between senior and junior in this one. Can’t launch the Raider of the Lost Ark without finishing with this. Fine review, Mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! That was exactly my thinking, Michael. If you start one, you have to do the others (well, almost all the others) 😉

      The interaction is just sublime here, though, isn’t it? It’s the film’s major draw and it’s surprisingly funny as result.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sterling review of an utterly amazing and adventure filled movie. Sean Connery was perfect casting as Indy’s dad and Alison Doody icy and beautiful. Loved the walk over the invisible bridge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, you’ve written a great trilogy of reviews about a great trilogy! Happy New Year to you mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review Mark and agree with the score. Even though Raiders is the best of the trilogy, I’ve watched Crusade the most. Always loved Connery’s performance, he and Ford have great chemistry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m in total agreement with you again, Charles. This is the one I’ve watched most as well. It was always a flip of the coin with me on what was the best. In hindsight, I’d choose Raiders for sheer quality but The Last Crusade I find the most entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Still watch this film every now and again. So much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a regular occurrence for me, Amon. I just love the original trilogy overall. The least said about the fourth the better.

      By the way, man! Is it your good self that I’m seeing writing for Total Film? Bravo sir! I’m impressed. Put in a good word will you?! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this film. Surely one of the greatest Part 3s ever made!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never seen an Indiana Jones flick. After reading this it seems like I am missing out on so much!! I’ll have to start at the beginning and work my way through them (and I’ll take your advice and skip the fourth one). Great read, I had no idea what these films were really like

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review. This is probably in my Top 10 movies of all time, and is easily my favorite in the series. I actually recently watched all 4, and gotta say that even the 4th had more appeal to me now than it did when it came out. It’s still a step down, but I personally feel that it was an 80’s movie made at the wrong time. A disappointment in ’08…but now that it’s had time to settle, and I can watch it without all the hype, it just seems to fit in more with the others now. That’s just my opinion though of course. I’ll probably do a review of the series myself soon.
    Your writing is absolutely excellent. I’ll be returning to read more of your stuff in the future FOR SURE! Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Top 10 of all time? High praise! I won’t split hairs on that, though. It’s just fabulous stuff. I’ve been a fan since I was youngster and it’s never gotten old for me.
      As for the fourth, I admittedly liked it when I first seen it but I’m the opposite of you: the more I see it, the worse it gets. I just can’t get over Shia LeBeouf swinging through the trees with monkeys. Lol.

      Thanks for dropping in, though. I appreciate it. Always glad to meet new bloggers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s just a movie that I have a lot of fun with. Obviously not saying it’s among the top best made, but it’s in my personal top favorite. I just love Connery and Ford being in such a great movie together.
        I hear ya with the 4th. There’s definitely spots where I roll my eyes, but there’s enough good in there for me to just kinda shove some of those stupid moments away. I actually really dig the ant scene for some reason.
        And absolutely! Thanks for the follow, I appreciate that as well!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Connery and Ford are a fantastic partnership. It’s a shame they couldn’t bring them together again for the fourth instalment. That said, the 4th does have some fine moments. Overall, though, it really disappointed me.

        Once I get my act together, I’ll have a little snoop round your sight. I’ve had a peek and like what I see but I’ll pay a proper visit soon. Nice catching up with you, man! An Indy fan is always welcome around these parts! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha thanks! Can’t wait to keep talkin’ movies with you in the future. Seriously, keep up the great work. I definitely like what I see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Likewise, my friend. Cheers! I do love to talk movies. That’s for sure! Talk soon. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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