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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)


Plot Summary: In 1938, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) learns from Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) that his father, Henry Jones, Sr., (Sir Sean Connery) was searching for the Holy Grail using an incomplete inscription from a stone tablet as a guide and has since vanished. Jones receives Henry's Grail diary from Venice and heads there with Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott), where they meet Henry's Austrian colleague, Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody). They soon undertake the quest to solve the clues and locate the Holy Grail as a means to find Henry. After searching through libraries, a Nazi-controlled castle, and even Berlin, they are led to The Canyon of the Crescent Moon where the Grail is kept. Will Indiana find the Grail or will he choose poorly?


Cast:

  • Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

  • River Phoenix as a younger Indiana Jones

  • Sean Connery as Henry Jones, Sr.

  • Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody

  • Alison Doody as Elsa Schneider

  • John Rhys-Davies as Sallah

  • Julian Glover as Walter Donovan

  • Kevork Malikyan portrays Kazim

  • Michael Byrne portrays Colonel Ernst Vogel

*Recognition:

  • The film was released in the United States and Canada on Wednesday, May 24, 1989, in 2,327 theaters, earning a record $37,031,573 over the 4-day Memorial Day weekend. Its Saturday gross of $11,181,429 was the first time a film had made over $10 million in one day. It broke the record for the best seven-day performance with a gross of $50.2 million, beating the $45.7 million grossed by Temple of Doom in 1984 on 1,687 screens. It added another record with $77 million after twelve days, and earned $100 million in a record nineteen days. The film eventually grossed $197,171,806 in the United States and Canada and $277 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $474,171,806.

  • Nominated for Best Original Score and Best Sound, and it won for Best Sound Editing

  • It was the last of the Indiana Jones movies until 2008's Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Did You Know:

  • Steven Spielberg is on record as saying he made this movie for two reasons: 1) to fulfill a three-movie obligation he had made with George Lucas, and, 2) to atone for the criticism that he received for the previous installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

  • Due to his commitment to this movie, Steven Spielberg had to drop out of directing Big (1988) and Rain Man (1988).

  • Harrison Ford nominated River Phoenix to play him as a teenager, having worked with him before on his favorite of his many movies, The Mosquito Coast (1986). When describing how he prepared for playing the role, Phoenix explained that he didn't really base his portrayal on the Indiana Jones character, but on Harrison Ford. So he observed Ford out of character before acting his part.

  • Most of the uniforms worn by the Nazis in the Berlin book-burning scene are authentic World War II uniforms, not replicas. A cache of old uniforms was found in Germany and obtained by costume designer Anthony Powell to be used in this movie.

  • Sir Sean Connery and Harrison Ford wore no trousers during the shooting of the entire Zeppelin sequence. It was filmed in a very hot studio, and Connery didn't want to sweat too much.

  • The temple at the end of the movie exists, but not in Alexandretta. It is in Petra, Jordan. However, there is no inside to it. The doorway seen on screen is huge - eight or nine people shoulder to shoulder can easily walk through it. It leads to a huge empty square room carved from the top down over two stories high. Similarly, they wouldn't be able to get "lost" down the valley, as it stretches for about a mile or so, and there is no other route but out. Steven Spielberg and his crew were guests at the Royal Palace of King Hussein and Queen Noor during the shoot in Jordan, and Spielberg was even brought to the temple by Queen Noor and her children.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Our most famous adventure seeker needs to find the source of his father's longest obsession with the hope that his father may admit his love for him.


Best Performance: Harrison Ford (Indiana)/Sean Connery (Henry)

Best Secondary Performance: Sean Connery (Henry)/Alison Doody (Elsa)

Most Charismatic Award: Harrison Ford (Indiana)

Best Scene:

  • Circus Train Chase

  • Venice Library

  • Escaping the Castle

  • Blimp Chase

  • The Trials

  • You Chose...?

Favorite Scene: The Trials/Escaping the Castle

Most Indelible Moment: You Chose...?


In Memorium:

  • Nickolas Davatzes, 79, American television executive, founder of A&E Networks

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Dr. Henry Jones: I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers.


Indiana Jones: Archaeology is the search for fact... not truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall.


Dr. Henry Jones: Indiana...Indiana...Let it go.


Dr. Henry Jones: [boarding a bi-plane] I didn't know you can fly a plane!

Indiana Jones: Fly? Yes. Land? No!


Sallah: Please, what does it always mean, this... this "Junior"?

Professor Henry Jones: That's his name.

Professor Henry Jones: Henry Jones...Junior.

Indiana Jones: I like "Indiana."

Professor Henry Jones: We named the *dog* Indiana.


First: "The Breath of God" - Only the penitent man will Pass. Second: "The Word of God" - Only in the footsteps of God will he proceed. Third: "The Path of God" - Only in the leap from the lion's head will he prove his worth.


Dr. Henry Jones: My boy, we are pilgrims in an unholy land.


Dr. Henry Jones: They were trying to kill us!

Indiana Jones: I know, Dad!

Dr. Henry Jones: This is a new experience for me.

Indiana Jones: Happens to me all the time.


Dr. Henry Jones: ...got lost in his own museum, huh?


Indiana Jones: It's disgraceful, you're old enough to be her... her grandfather.

Professor Henry Jones: Well, I'm as human as the next man.

Indiana Jones: Dad, I *was* the next man.

Professor Henry Jones: Oh... ships that pass in the night.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 5.5

Novelty: 4.5

Classic-ness: 7.25

Rewatchability: 8.25

Audience Score: 9.4 (94% Google, 94% RT)

Total: 40.4


Remaining Questions:

  • Explain how the Grail can't pass the great seal with medieval technology?

  • How do we get 50 fake Grails that can take your life? Is it just the water that ages you suddenly?

  • If the Nazis can't get past the Trials, why show up to claim the Grail? Wouldn't you just let them die on their own?

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