Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is full of winking humor that makes for a great palate cleanser for the child torture of Temple of Doom. But it is the much more tongue-it-cheek style that keeps it from being as immortal a film as Raiders of the Lost Ark. I have also seen this film so many times over the years that I have a personal interaction with it.
1. The Teaser-Trailer – Included on the Blu-Ray and shown in theaters when they didn’t have any real footage, it essentially highlights the 4 big names – Ford, Spielberg, Lucas, Connery – and sells the movie on just that and Raiders. More than enough I think.
2. The Prologue – Although it leans to the point of absurdity, the idea that all of Indy’s major attributes can be traced to one event is comic book superhero-esque. Here we learn where he got his whip, his scar, his fear of snakes, and his hat. Essentially we get superpower, weakness, and costume all at once. Here’s a behind-the-scene video of the opening.
3. River Phoenix – I shared my love of the Phoenix family previously. Here, Phoenix sells himself as a young Indiana Jones brilliantly even if he looks little like Ford and has hair ridiculously out of touch with the 1912 setting.
4. Efficient Indy – At one point Indiana knocks out 2 guys with one punch. Later in the film, he shoots 3 Nazis with 1 bullet. Extremely efficient.
5. The Book Stamp Librarian – A silly gag, but when I first saw the film in theaters, I thought the librarian who thought his stamp was making that loud noise was brilliant. I still do.
6. Petra – As a stand-in for the outside of the site of the Holy Grail, I fell in love with it from this movie. I finally got to visit in 2010. Although I didn’t find the lost cup of Christ (not that I think I’d be so welcomed by the Christian knight), Petra stands up in person as one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
7. “Nazis. I hate these guys.” – Most understated line ever?
8. The Girl is the Villain – I don’t particularly like Allison Doody’s performance. But since Spielberg originally wanted to make a James Bond film before George Lucas talked him into Raiders of the Lost Ark, it is fitting the one of “Indiana’s Girls” turns out to be a bad guy (and a Nazi, at that). Last Crusade has 7 different actors who have appeared in a Bond film including Doody in A View to a Kill and, of course, Sean Connery.
9. 47:55 – The point in the film when Sean Connery finally appears.
10. Sallah – Great to have him back and let’s hear it for the underrated John Rhys-Davies who is also Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
11. “That’s for Blashphemy” – Connery’s lisped reprimand of Ford is one I have repeated endlessly.
12. Three Phobic Animals – Most everyone is afraid of either snakes, insects, or rats. The trilogy includes one in each of them. I, personally, hate rats so this is always a hard scene to watch.
13. “He chose…poorly.” – Okay. That may be the understated line ever.