Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

indiana jones and the last crusade poster 1989 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Still a nice looking movie

Feels like rehash of Raiders of the Lost Ark, too jokey, takes away the mystery of Indiana Jones

Movie Info

Movie Name: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Studio: Lucasfilm

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): May 24, 1989

MPAA Rating: PG-13

indiana jones and the last crusade elsa catacombs harrison ford alison doddy

Yeah…I found the Ark of the Covenant once…so this Holy Grail is no big deal…mine was Old Testament

When Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) learns that his father (Sean Connery) has disappeared in his search for the Holy Grail, Indiana must travel to Europe to try to retrace his steps.  Meeting a woman named Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) who knew his father, Indiana learns his father might have actually uncovered the clues to finding the legendary cup.  Unfortunately, the Nazi party also wants the Grail and Indiana finds himself in a race against time to reach it before they unleash its power.  Teamed with his allies Marcus (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Indiana could be on a quest of his lifetime!

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is an action adventure film.  The movie followed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984, but the story chronologically follows Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The film was well received by fans and critics and won an Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing with nominations for Best Sound and Best Original Score.

While a lot of people liked Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade better than the previous entry, I was never that into the film.  There is nothing really wrong with the movie, but to me it feels like the franchise played it safe by rehashing the original film.

indiana jones and the last crusade sean connery harrison ford fire

Dad…you’re starting to piss me off…

The idea behind the Indiana Jones series is that it supposed to be a modern serialized story.  The first film was brave adventurer seeking treasure against an army…a combination of science and faith.  The second film was the daring adventure seeking as the “white hero” by journeying into a strange and foreign land.  The third film is a brave adventure seeking treasure against an army…again.  Temple of Doom was rather poorly received initially and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade tries to recapture the feeling of first film, but accidently did it too closely.  The movie does dive into Indiana Jones’ origins, but I don’t feel that was needed…he was a mystery hero with mystery fears and a mystery persona…they give up all the mystery of the character here.

What does continue to work is the cast for the most part.  Harrison Ford is solid as Indiana and he works well with Sean Connery who is actually only twelve years older than him.  I don’t love the Elsa character but she does fit the themes of the serial by representing a femme fatale type of character (something neither Marion nor Willie was).  I think the movie gets into some goofiness with John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliott who are too much comic relief and Julian Glover is almost a non-villain.  The movie features River Phoenix as the young Indiana Jones.

indiana jones and the last crusade knight robert eddison harrison ford

Mr. Knight, I wish that Laurence Olivier had played you like we wanted…

Visually, the movie is better than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which relied too much on chroma-key special effects.  The visual effects like the blimp scene and the flying scenes are a bit stronger than some of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’s scenes, but I think Raiders of the Lost Ark still look better than both since it crafted its story in a way that it could use more natural effects.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is fine.  It isn’t great, and it isn’t bad…it just feel like more of the same.  This “more of the same” is well-done more of the same but I really wanted more from this film.  Indiana Jones finally returned in a sequel in the 2000s with a story which at least explored another genre of serial (the space/alien serial), but also largely missed the mark.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was followed by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008.

Related Links:

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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