Since human recollection, no dream has been greater than that of immortality. Already in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the most beautiful literary works to date, which was carved on clay tablets in Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago, authors who are unknown today send the king of Uruk on a quest for eternal life. At the end of the epic, however, Gilgamesh must realize that he wastes his real life and its values. Thousands of years later, a well-known filmmaking team sent what is probably the loveliest archaeologist of all time on a similarly adventurous journey of discovery. More precisely, a search for the cup that caught Jesus’ blood at the Crucifixion, the chalice that promises eternal life. So let’s go on the quest for the Holy Grail with Harrison Ford and Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
THE CUP OF LIFE, THE HOLY GRAIL
In the past few days, we experienced terrible fates. Such as the death of Anne Heche, who succumbed to her injuries after an accident. Or Olivia Newton-John, who lost her fight against cancer. Thousands of people suffer similar destinies every day. The older we get, the more we worry about our end. However, it is the course of life, and we must live with it.
No question, how enlightened we may be, there will be no one who would refuse a sip of the cup that bestows everlasting life. What could we experience? How could we enjoy our lives? Moreover, how much knowledge could we acquire, and how much experience and talent could we develop?
JESUS & THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE
The history of the Holy Grail stretches through the last two thousand years. It is said to have been the cup from which Jesus drank with his disciples at the last supper. A few days later, an apostle named Joseph of Arimathea caught Jesus’ blood during his crucifixion in a cup. Furthermore, it was Joseph who laid Jesus’ body in his own rock tomb. From here, the Savior rose three days later, if you believe the legend.
It’s certainly what the Knights of the Round Table did, who gathered around King Arthur. The purest of them, Parzival, finally found the Holy Grale on an island protected by knights with red crosses on white robes. The description is very reminiscent of the members of the Templar Order. Since Arthur’s death about 1,400 years ago, if he really existed, the Grail is lost. So today, no one knows what happened to the mystical vessel.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE CHARACTERS
No one? That is not right. Because someone knows what became of the Grail, and, luckily, he even shares his knowledge and adventures with us. Of course, our favorite hero, Indy, finally finds what he is looking for in his third adventure, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Before that, however, he must pass many challenges and tasks. One of them is those stupid Nazis. That these guys always must get in his way. Already in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Germans caused many problems for Indy.
HENRY JONES Sr. AKA JOHN CONNERY
This time, however, it gets much worse. Because Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr., was kidnapped by these bastards. Of course, Indy wants to free him. And so his path leads to Austria and then directly to Berlin. Into the lion’s den.
This is where the Joneses hope to find the senior’s diary. In this small book, Jones Sr. has written down his entire Grail research over decades. After the detour to Berlin, there is even an autograph of the Führer in the book. How did that get in there?
Together, father and son go on an unbelievable adventures, in which Jones Sr. asks his son:
“You call this archeology?
Sean Connery needs no introduction. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find the Grail either. Therefore, the most Scottish of all Scots passed away almost two years ago.
He not only made James Bond a cult. In addition, he has shown that he masters all genres, from drama to history. Still, among all his films, apart from the James Bond series, his role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the cherry on the cake.
ELSA SCHNEIDER AKA ALISON DOODY
So, a race against evil begins, in which the beautiful Elsa plays an important role. As beautiful as the Austrian doctor is, she is as mysterious. What is Elsa up to? And what role does Indiana Jones or his father play in her game? Moreover, can she resist the lure of the Holy Grail?
Alison Doody is a successful actress and model to this day. She started her career with a big bang. In 1985, she starred as Jenny Flex in James Bond’s A View To A Kill. Then, Sean Connery had long since retired as Bond. Thus, Alison Doody played alongside Roger Moore. However, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade remained Alison’s biggest hit.
MARCUS BRODY AKA DENHOLM ELLIOTT
Indiana’s English colleague is still a bit bumbling. He even got lost once in his own museum. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, however, bookworm Marcus Brody surpasses himself. He bravely wants to protect his friends and help them find the Grail. In doing so, he discovers that the old saying “The pen is mightier than the sword” is also true in action.
Unfortunately, Denholm Elliott survived Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by only three years. Just a few others could portray a “typical” Brit like the London-born actor. Aside from Indiana Jones, of the 125 films Elliott has starred in, Trading Places is one of his biggest successes. Here, he played a – what else – typical English butler alongside Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Lee Curtis. The film is really worth seeing.
SALLAH AKA JOHN RHYS-DAVIES
Like Brody, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade reunites us with another old confidante, Indy’s sidekick, Sallah. Sallah has already supported Indy in his adventures in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This time, too, the cuddly Egyptian follows his friend everywhere. Rhys-Davies has played quite a few guys throughout his career. In Indiana Jones, he plays the Egyptian Sallah very believably. In the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, he plays the Russian General Leonid Pushkin. Another success was the role of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings saga.
WALTER DONOVAN AKA JULIAN GLOVER
Walter Donovan is an American businessman and museum patron of the university where Indiana Jones works. It is he who asks Indy to go in search of his father and the Holy Grail. Before Indy’s departure, he gives him good advice not to trust anyone. Will Indy stick to it? Apart from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we also know Julian Glover from a James Bond film. He played Aristotle Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only (1981). We also saw the actor as General Maximilian Veers in The Empire Strikes Back or heard him as the voice of the giant Acromantula spider Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
INDIANA JONES JR. AKA RIVER PHOENIX
Even the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is incredibly spectacular. After young Indiana Jones has stolen the Cross of Coronado from grave robbers, he is chased through the desert by the sinister figures. During the turbulent chase, we learn how Indy gets his whip and scar. We see why he is so afraid of snakes and from where he got his hat. We also discover a cute Alaskan Malamute at his father’s house. Of course, insiders know that the name Indiana comes from Geroge Lucas’ then dog, an Alaskan Malamute. So, we get a quick rundown of what we love Indiana Jones for – among other things.
River Phoenix plays the young Indy. At the time, many probably hoped that the opening sequence would introduce him as Harrison Ford’s successor in the role. Because at that time, Ford was approaching 50, and River was considered a rising new Hollywood star. Unfortunately, fate had a different take on Phoenix. He died of a cocaine overdose on October 31, 1993.
THE INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE ON BLU-RAY
For me personally, Indy’s third adventure isn’t just the best of the series. But I rank Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in the cinematic’s top 10 of all time. Moreover, the film ranks number 1 for me.
Because no matter how often I watch the film, it always remains exciting, entertaining, and emotional. The story and the arc of suspense immediately captivate me and let me forget reality for 128 minutes. Sean Connery spreads an incredible amount of charm and irony as Henry Jones Sr. Alison Doody is responsible for the thrill and sex appeal. Denholm Elliott exudes warmth and intimacy, while Sallah provides humor.
Of course, there’s the incomparable Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The only word that describes the interaction with Sean Connery is awesome. Rarely has there been such a close connection between the two main characters. When I watch their interaction, it seems like the motion picture camera was invented just for this very moment, when the two superstars meet.
Furthermore – and this is seldom the case in action movies – the story is coherent from start to end. While Henry Jones Sr. initially seeks enlightenment, he eventually finds it through adventures with his son. The mix of suspense, entertainment, education, history, action, and brilliant humor make Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade timeless and always worth seeing.
Now, as a remastered version, even more. Because never before have we seen so many details, being able to enjoy such brilliant colors and crisp, sharp images. Especially, as a steel book version, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade looks great in a package with the other parts on every shelf.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE BONUS FEATURES
The only downer is, as with the other versions, that, unfortunately, the bonus material is small. There is just a trailer. That would, of course, have been a highlight for old fans. It would be a great feature even for new hobby archaeologists. So, they could lose their hearts even more for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Although, that’s more of a theme in Temple of Doom.
THE X MARKS THE SPOT
Nevertheless, since the X marks the spot, we give Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade full 10 points. The film and the other parts are a must-have for every film collection.
What, you only stream? Then order a Blu-Ray player quickly. For Indy alone, this investment is definitely worth it. Read more about what are the best players soon.
WIN AN INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE STEELBOOK*
*The deadline for entries is August 25, 2022. Legal recourse is final. The competition is only valid in Europe.
Text: Marco Kokkot
Images: Paramount Pictures 2022. All Rights Reserved.