Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 22, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2013
Definitely the best of the Indiana Jones films. An effective use of comedy in an action/adventure film that doesn't take itself too seriously. I recommend this film for a fun, worry-free weekend evening.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2010
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!
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
March 2, 2013
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.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
October 22, 2012
Harrison Ford's latest story as the legendary adventurer is bigger and better than the 'Temple of Doom' and is just as enjoyable as the original masterpiece. This time, Indiana is once again in a race against time to get the Holy Grail before the Nazis. This time, Denholm Elliot reprises his role as Marcus Brody and Sean Connery is introduced as Indiana's father. This is likely to be the strongest sequel in the franchise.
Super Reviewer
½ July 22, 2012
Very close to five stars. This is the most rewarding of all the Indiana Jones films due to deeper messages and the addition of Sean Connery to the cast.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2007
Indy has to rescue his father Henry (Sean). He goes to Europe and gets entangled with the Nazis in search of the Holy Grail. Good storyline. Great action.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2010
A hugely entertaining adventure that offers everything that made Raiders so successful and more: exhilarating action scenes, a lot of hilarious dialogue with perfect timing and also the pleasure of seeing Harrison Ford and Sean Connery together.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2007
Very rarily does a sequel match the greatness of the original, but with "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" it all shines just as brightly. There's nothing I don't love about this stellar adventure gem, that tells us more of Indy's backstory and invites us to some of the key events that made him what he is. In the heart of the film, we also have the strained and intricate relationship between Indiana and his father Henry (played by a wonderful Sean Connery), that adds a bit of family drama to the plot and makes it perhaps the most emotionally powerful in the whole series. That scene towards the end where they rescue each other from certain death, is two incredibly touching moments, that I regard as among the finest in all of Hollywood's long history. The hilarious interplay between Ford and Connery gives it quite a humorous touch as well, with some of the most memorable lines of dialogue ever written for cinema. Nowadays, we'd be lucky to even get one such piece of extraordinary wit. The only thing in this film that can be considered a flaw is the awfully dated blue-screen effects. Easily neglectable, however, as you're having too much fun to be bothered by such trifles. Because in all other regards, this is pure adventurous perfection. A phenomenally entertaining entry, in a trilogy that never withers, but just gets better and more valuable as time trudges on (and yes, I'm saying "trilogy", because I refuse to acknowledge the fourth film as part of the franchise). Simply put, it's Spielberg at his very best and a masterpiece of which qualities I doubt will ever be re-created. Now, if only it could have ended here, with Indy and his friends riding off into the sunset. Then I could have slept really well at night, knowing there would never be any aliens to drop a deuce upon my childhood memories. But alas, the fridge was nuked nevertheless.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2010
This is the definition of a good blockbuster flick.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2007
And here ends the original trilogy. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a bit of a return to the series' roots, which involved seeing Jones' day job as a professor, bringing back John Rhys-Davies & Denholm Elliott and being a little bit more light-hearted than the previous entry. This is overall the best sequel, in my opinion. It's also great to see Indiana Jones' backstory expanded a bit, and bring his father in on things. Sean Connery gives one of his best performances in this film, and his role as Indy's father is totally believable. River Phoenix also does a great job of channeling Harrison Ford during the opening moments when he plays Indy as a teenager. This is also a much more fun and enjoyable film than the last. It's less focused on the supernatural and more about the spiritual, which is part of why it was successful... I think so, anyways. This would be the last really good Indiana Jones movie, and perhaps it should have stayed that way. Although you may think I'd just plain hate the next film, you may be a little surprised by my opinion of it.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2011
If you asked me which of the three is my favorite, I would probably have to say this one. I really liked how Jesus Christ and The Holy Grail were incorporated into the treasure hunt in this film. The action was non stop and the movie never lost its originality or identity for a second. Aside from the new 4th Indy film which I have yet to see, this was an amazing way to end a couldn't have been better.
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2006
I must say sorry to Steven Spielberg before, because IMHO this one is the weakest Indiana Jones movie if it's compared to the first two movie.. It's true that he hire Sean Connery and River Phoenix in this movie, but that doesn't help because the story is a little predictable, especially about Dr. Schneider true identity.. And some scenes that supposes to be funny didn't make me laugh, while the ending just questioning me : Is Steven Spielberg trying to make a joke with making Indiana Jones to live forever?? I just can't imagine to answer that question.. I will reviewed the fourth installment very soon, but compared to the first two movies, I must say this one is the weakest, even though it is still enjoyable to be watched..
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2008
This third installment in the Indiana Jones saga still stands as the best. Starting with a flashback in the beginning featuring River Phoenix, we delve a little deeper into the world of Indiana Jones. Adding to the usual formula of Nazis, artifacts, and that stylish whip, we have the intoxicating presence of Sir Sean Connery, one of his best roles to date, a femme fatale that double crosses anyone in her way, and the temptation of something as forbidden and mythological as the Holy Grail. Spielberg and Lucas pulled out all the stops for this film as retribution for the previous film, and this was supposed to be the last and greatest of the trilogy. It still stands as a testament to the fortitude of movie making magic, and the intellect and creativity it takes to make an original film.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2011
I enjoyed this film, much better than Temple of Doom. Brings us back to a great plot, cool puzzles, and great mysteries. It had well done action and effects and was probably the best sequel besides the fourth. Such a wonderful movie.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2011
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the third entry of the franchise, and is by far one of the most thrilling, exhilarating films of the series. Also it's one of my personal favorite films. The film has one terrific cast of actors, and incredible plot, non stop thrills and action. Indiana Jones is on the search of the Holy Grail after his father goes missing, only to discover he is held hostage by the Nazis and now must race against the Nazis to find it. Sean Connery stars along side Harrison Ford as the senior Jones, and he is perfect in his role, humourous and smart. This is one of my favorite Connery performances and he is a wise choice to play Indy's father. The Last Crusade is a terrific third sequel, and usually the third film in a trilogy sucks, but in the case of The Last Crusade its one of the best third entries in a trilogy ever. This was a trilogy until Crystal Skull in 2008. The Last Crusade is a non stop action film that provides great fun for the viewer. The story, acting and directing are top notch, and it's simply a brilliant film. The Last Crusade is one of the best Indiana Jones adventures. I personally think that The Last Crusade is the most epic of all the Indiana Jones films and of all of them, it's my favorite because it offers a highly interesting story, and top notch thrills that I feel is some of the best the series has to offer. A must see favorite. Just when you thought a third film in a franchise gets tired, formulaic and lacks substance, The Last Crusade delivers an exciting adventure that everyone will enjoy.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
The third in the series offers much of the same, but throws in Connery as Indy's dad. This movie is a lot funnier than the other two. I really like it, it's not as good as the others, but it was good.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2011
Its hard for me to decide which of the latter two "Indiana Jones" films are better. I enjoyed "Temple of Doom" but it was indeed silly. In terms of story, "The Lasst Crusade" is better. In the film, Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. reunites with his father, Henry Jones, Sr. to find the legendary Holy Grail. Yes, you guessed it. The Nazis are after the artifact as well.

The story George Lucas decided to go with is better than "Temple of Doom". Instead of going on a quest to find fake magical stones, they look for the Holy Grail instead. They stuck with the biblical object theme statred in "Raiders".

The acting is good. Harrison Ford is great and Sean Connery delivered. The supporting cast also did well. The visuals are very cool and the cinematogrpahy is perfect. The structure of the film is pretty good. I really enjoyed the opening scene.

However, "Indy 3" didn't deliver the entertainment value that the first two did in my opinion. But it is still a cool and fun film. Thats the point of the series!

"I'm like a bad penny, I always turn up."
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
While it has its share of problems (a little too corny from time to time), this is a much improved sequel over the disappointing 'Doom'. The addition of a masterful actor like Sean Connery pays huge dividends here, as the relationship between father and son is a very smart and creative central one for us to look at, compared to say, just Indy and another woman. Again, it gets a little to goofy at times but for the most part I enjoyed the ride. The ending is hypnotizing, just like the conclusion of 'Raiders'. Although nothing close to a masterpiece, it is still a worthy addition into a much celebrated series.
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