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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 68
Fresh: 60 | Rotten: 8

Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

69

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4

Lighter and more comedic than its predecessor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade returns the series to the brisk serial adventure of Raiders, while adding a dynamite double act between Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 762,607

My Rating

Movie Info

The third installment in the widely beloved Spielberg/Lucas Indiana Jones saga begins with an introduction to a younger Indy (played by the late River Phoenix), who, through a fast-paced prologue, gives the audience insight into the roots of his taste for adventure, fear of snakes, and dogged determination to take historical artifacts out of the hands of bad guys and into the museums in which they belong. A grown-up Indy (Harrison Ford) reveals himself shortly afterward in a familiar classroom

PG-13,

Action & Adventure

Jeffrey Boam

Oct 21, 2003

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (8) | DVD (34)

Not surprisingly, Ford has most of the action here. But Connery -- in what is often a test of a true actor -- shows how much you can do with an essentially passive part.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fans of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' Indiana Jones series may rest assured that the latest installment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, is fully up to, as well as virtually indistinguishable from, its predecessors.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Last Crusade lacks the novelty of Raiders (and, by the way, the flat-out breathless pacing of Temple of Doom), it's an entertaining capper to the trilogy.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is not so much a bad film as a machine-like one lacking the same energy as the original, which it most resembles.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even if he's considerably more battered than his nearest competitor, Indiana quits at the top of the heap. It's just that the heap isn't what it was eight years ago. It's been almost flattered to death.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Captures some of the sense of fun that infused the first movie while using the addition of Sean Connery to up the comedic ante and provide a father/son dynamic.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the most wonderful lark. It is also a class act.

December 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It has a grand scope and epic scale, still, but we're left with a larger idea of the man wearing the fedora.

August 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Take a good look at this movie. In fact, go back four or five times and take four or five good looks. In this imperfect world, you're not likely to see many manmade objects come this close to perfection.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

What we want from Spielberg and Lucas is plenty of action, and plenty of laughs. And that's just what they deliver.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

As usual, the action is on an epic scale and delivered with breathless enthusiasm and much panache by director Steven Spielberg.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The Last Crusade is a step backward for [Spielberg], but backwardness is an integral part of the Indy series right from its kiddie-matinee origins.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

benign slapstick.

October 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Strange Horizons

Thrilling third Indy actioner focuses on hunt for grail.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Last Crusade is pure kicks, and I would never fault this spunky blast of quips and near-misses for trying to vanilla its way back into the hearts of millions.

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

It shows us Indy's origin and even ends with him riding off into the sunset after completing the ultimate quest of finding the Holy Grail. I mean how do you top that?

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

...it's impossible to deny the film's status as the very best of the series' sequels...

May 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

This is reportedly the last time producer/writer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg will treat movie fans to an Indiana Jones adventure, and it's pretty obvious they were determined to send Indy riding off into the sunset in style.

May 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star | Comment (1)
Kansas City Star

There's considerable pleasure in watching these two lions spar, but sometimes Last Crusade mistakes dotting every I and crossing every T for detailed character development.

May 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comments (2)
Slant Magazine

Connery brings out a vastly appealing dorky-kid side of Ford we haven't seen before in the Indy films, and Ford parries with Connery angrily yet lovingly.

May 21, 2008 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The third installment of the Indiana Jones story sees Dr. Jones in search of his father who disappeared while searching for the Holy Grail. Spielberg obviously learned from his mistakes of the previous film, and recaptures the spirit of the original. The film opens with a fun comic strip origin story featuring River Phoenix and once again religious myth, which is so ingrained in the popular consciousness it rarely fails to engage the necessary sense of wonder, forms the premise of the story. He replaces the irritating sidekicks with affable buffoons Marcus Brody and Sallah who return from the first film and Alison Doody spends her 15 minutes of fame as a kind of glamorous 30s Bond girl. But most importantly of all we get to meet Henry Jones Sr. Sean Connery was an inspired casting choice and Ford and Connery's brilliant father-son bickering is hilarious, especially during the best section of the film as Indiana rescues his dad from the clutches of the evil Nazis, the natural enemies of our heroes. The equal of the original film and one of the best sequels ever made, The Last Crusade proves once again that Steven Spielberg is a master when it comes to popular entertainment.
December 28, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The most interesting aspect of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is, surprisingly enough, the relationship between Indiana Jones and his father Henry (played by non-other than Sean Connery). While the two certainly joke and fight evil together, the underlying tension between them is always apparent. Henry was never really there for his son, but, as he puts it, that lack of presence actually made Indy the great man that he has grown up to be.
The rest of the film is great. Steven Spielberg has still managed to find creative ways to test Indy's fear of snakes, and his ability to face impossibly odds to retrieve mystical artifacts that prove to have direly terrifying consequences. This time around, he's on a quest to find the Holy Grail, and no doubt some strangely sinister people are after it as well. As always, Last Crusade continues the franchise's ability to provide unique and incredibly fun adventures.
April 27, 2013
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

More spiritual and emotional than the first to instalments, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is just as inspirational as is it is an entertaining action/adventure. Personally, this is my favourite film of the franchise, not just because I had the most fun with it, but because the story is realated to many things, including God, and it works beautifully. Everything in this film pays off in the end and the direction is out of this world impressive. There was never a time when I wished it picked up the pace or slowed down. Everything was the right speed, the characters were interesting, we get more backstory of the Jones family, and the last 20 minutes almost had me in tears of the sheer beauty the film presents. This is a fantastic adventure!
April 9, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Film franchises are subject to the law of diminishing returns. If a sequel is sub-par compared to the original, it's very unlikely that any third instalment could redress the balance, let alone be the best film in the series. Even if a sequel turns out to be good, or even slightly better than the original, the third instalment of a trilogy is so often the weakest film - Army of Darkness and Mad Max 3 being very good examples.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade would therefore seem like a lost cause. Not only is it following a sequel which dropped the ball (Temple of Doom), but it comes five years after Harrison Ford last wore the fedora. In that time Steven Spielberg had attempted to branch out into more 'serious' dramatic work with The Colour Purple and Empire of the Sun; any return would have a tinge of reluctance to it. But once you look beyond the reputation of threequels or the long production process, you are left with an astonishingly good film, which refines everything that made Raiders of the Lost Ark great and brings a whole lot of new things to the table. Forget Jaws, forget Raiders, forget anything else: this is Spielberg at his absolute best.

The move back to the territory of Raiders is a very conscious one. Spielberg said that he wanted to make a film that reminded both him and the audience of why they fell in love with Indy in the first place. Not only is the tone much more light-hearted and the plot more quest-driven, but the opening sequence plays through almost the exact same beats of the opening to Raiders. We begin with the Paramount logo over an actual mountain, before tracking towards men walking through a deserted area and Indiana going into a place where he isn't supposed to be. There is the enigmatic reveal of the man in the hat (not Indy on this occasion), followed by the unveiling of a valuable object and an elaborate chase.

The way I've described this opening, you might be quick to pass off Last Crusade as a desperate rip-off of the original. In fact, the film takes everything that Raiders got right and makes it that little bit better. The jokes are funnier, the pacing is faster, the interaction between the characters is a little more complex, and surprisingly there is more depth to the story. This film is the perfect example of how popcorn films can be made with both brains and heart; not only can they be slick and efficient in their execution, but they can make you really feel for the characters in a way that brings out the substance of the story.

Much of the substance takes the form of the mythology of the Holy Grail. It's still ultimately very silly - the Holy Grail has about as much to do with Christianity as flaming sacrifices have to do with Hinduism. But as with Raiders, the mythology is watertight enough so that the themes surrounding the Grail come out while working as a plot device. You can still view the Grail and the diary as McGuffins if you want to, but the film is more intelligent than Raiders in its connection of plot and theme, always inviting you to read more in without demanding it at the expense of the action.

Each of the themes that emerge finds the history of the Grail and its keepers matching up with the present circumstances of the characters. Henry Jones Sr. has devoted his entire life to the pursuit and discovery of the Grail, just as the knights and the holy order have dedicated their lives to protecting it. Both Indiana and the Nazis are more active and opportunistic in their approach, but they make very different moral choices which ultimately determine their fate. While Donovan and Elsa are ultimately greedy, believing in the Grail only for the sake of acquiring its power, Indiana truly makes a leap of faith, respecting its power and acknowledging his own humble status.

Last Crusade, like many of Spielberg's films, is about sons trying to reconcile with their fathers (and vice versa). As before the script ties up the central relationship with the mythology of the Grail, giving the interplay between father and son a great deal of weight, and in turn making the stakes seem higher once we have invested in them. Both Temple of Doom and Last Crusade attempt to flesh out Indy by taking us back before the events of Raiders, but Last Crusade is far more effective in showing how all his little tics, fears and attributes came about.

As a result of the opening, Indiana's motivation shifts from a slightly more principled form of thrill-seeking to an attempt to either win approval from or spite his parents. The differences between father and son in approach are ultimately outweighed by their similarity of moral belief and passions - right down to falling for the same woman. Their relationship reflects the distance between God and Man, with Man searching for power and approval from other sources, and ultimately reconciling through an admission of the father's greatness and a mutual expression of love. As silly as it might seem in what is essentially a big-budget B-movie, the relationship between Henry Jones and 'Junior' is really quite powerful.

A lot of the film's appeal in this regard comes from the brilliant performance of Sean Connery. Early on in the production Connery said to Lucas and Spielberg: "Listen, I'm [Indy's] father. Whatever he's done, I did it first, and I did it better." By all accounts he brought a lot of ideas to the production about set-pieces and character, and the film crackles and sparks whenever he and Ford are playing off each other. Despite being only 12 years older than Ford, Connery carries himself brilliantly, with just the right balance between doddery incompetence and surprising ingenuity. It's arguably Connery's best work since Bond, and perhaps his last truly great performance.

The supporting cast of Last Crusade are also fantastic. Denholm Elliott's role shifts from a father or mentor figure in Raiders to cosseted comic relief; there's a great deal of natural comedy that emerges from putting a man who "got lost in his own museum" in such great amounts of peril. Julian Glover, who got the role through his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, is a perfect fit for Walter Donovan, with the suave, well-dressed and well-spoken exterior disguising a dark, ruthless heart. And Alison Doody is very good as Elsa Schneider; while her character isn't as resourceful as Marian Ravenwood, she makes Elsa appealingly conflicted; we know what side she's on, and yet we keep asking questions about where her loyalty truly lies.

One of the biggest boons of Last Crusade is its humour. In Temple of Doom the warmer, more playful scenes only came in short spurts - for instance, the bedroom scenes with Indy and Willie playing mind games with each other. In this film the jokes flow freely, with each and every scene either containing witty dialogue or a great physical gag. Not only is the film edited far better than Temple of Doom (at least in terms of pacing), but the humour compliments and adds to the characterisation, rather than serving as a welcome break from uninviting imagery. There is no better example of this than when Indy runs into Hitler with the grail diary: the Fuhrer has the key to great power in his grasp, but he mistakes it for an autograph book, signs it and moves on.

Even if all you cared about was the action set-pieces, Last Crusade delivers them in spades. There are so many great scenes to choose from, with each action scene lasting for just the right amount of time, serving the plot while being memorable in its own right. The tank chase is particularly brilliant, with Spielberg using every possible camera angle to wring the most of one massive prop. The fights are inventive, the editing is superb, and John Williams' music is (no pun intended) note-perfect throughout. It's one of the best scenes in the whole series, and considering how high the bar was set by the Raiders truck chase, that's saying something.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a brilliant and breathless masterpiece which takes the crown hands down as the best film in the Indy series. It has all the strengths of Raiders with none of the flaws of Temple of Doom, refining everything that has gone before and then throwing in a great deal more humour and heart. Whether you're looking for sentimentality with substance or just two hours of popcorn fun, you'll struggle to be disappointed by this expertly-crafted thrill-ride. It is one of the greatest films of the 1980s and the best film of Spielberg's career.
March 16, 2013
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

    1. Dr. Henry Jones: I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers!
    – Submitted by Adam O (7 months ago)
    1. Dr. Henry 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.
    – Submitted by Adam O (7 months ago)
    1. Walter Donovan: He sticks out like a sore thumb! We'll find him.
    2. Indiana Jones: The hell you will. He's got a two day head-start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan. He speaks a dozen languages and knows every local custom. He'll blend in, disappear and you'll never see him again. With any luck he's got the grail already.
    3. Marcus Brody: Uh, does anybody here speak English?
    – Submitted by Adrian D (13 months ago)
    1. Dr. Henry Jones: The search for the Grail, is not about archaeology. If captured by the Nazis, the armies of evil will march across the face of the earth! Do you understand me?
    2. Indiana Jones: This is an obsession, Dad. I never understood it! Never! Neither did Mom.
    3. Dr. Henry Jones: Oh yes she did! Only too well. Until she kept her illness from me.
    – Submitted by Adrian D (13 months ago)
    1. Dr. Henry Jones: (When he learns Indy brought back his diary) I should've mailed it to the Marx brothers.
    2. Indiana Jones: Would you take it easy?
    3. Dr. Henry Jones: Take it easy? Why do you think I sent it home in the first place? So that it wouldn't fall into their hands!
    4. Indiana Jones: I came here to save you!
    5. Dr. Henry Jones: Oh yeah, and who's gonna come to save you, Junior?!
    6. Indiana Jones: I told you...(grabs machine gun and shoots Nazis) don't call me 'Junior'!
    – Submitted by Cody H (14 months ago)
    1. Dr. Henry Jones: (When he learns Indy brought back his diary) I should've mailed it to the Marx brothers.
    2. Indiana Jones: Would you take it easy?
    3. Dr. Henry Jones: Take it easy? Why do you think I sent it home in the first place? So that it wouldn't fall into their hands!
    4. Indiana Jones: I came here to save you!
    5. Dr. Henry Jones: Oh yeah, and who's gonna come to save you, Junior?!
    6. Indiana Jones: I told you...(grabs machine gun and shoots Nazis) don't call me 'Junior'!
    – Submitted by Cody H (14 months ago)
View all quotes (33)

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  • Indiana Jones und der letzte Kreuzzug (DE)
  • Indiana Jones et la dernière croisade (FR)
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