Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)


Indiana Jones is hired by a businessman to track down the Holy Grail, a quest that brings him face-to-face with his father…

Seen before? Yes, loads of times. I first saw it at the cinema, aged 10: it was one of the highlights of my childhood. I can vividly remember the huge woofer of a laugh everyone gave to Sean Connery’s sarcastic “I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers!”

Best performance: Connery is just fantastic. His comic timing, especially in tandem with Harrison Ford, is a thing of joy. I’ve read that when Steven Spielberg and George Lucas came to cast Indiana Jones’s dad, they felt the only person suitable would be James Bond. They got it spot on. (Apparently, Connery ad-libbed the “She talks in her sleep” gag.)

Best scene/moment/sequence: There’s plenty of wonderful comic moments, great stunts, snappy dialogue and grisly touches. One highlight is an unrivalled run of gag-filled action in the desert: Dr Jones Snr is inside a tank, being held captive by Nazis, while Dr Jones Jnr is fighting them on top, around and hanging off the side of it. Both halves of the scene (inside and out) are inventive and exciting, and each wittily affects the other in haphazard ways.

Review: Another *corker*. There’s a deliberate return to many of Raiders of the Lost Ark’s successful elements – a lecture scene with gooey-eyed students looking up adoringly at Indy; Marcus Brody, who gets a lot to do; Sallah; Biblical mythology; the Nazis; a climax in a desert wilderness… But this is no pale copy or lazy retread. Firstly, a terrific 15-minute prologue gives us a perfectly cast River Phoenix as a young Indiana Jones (his fear of snakes, his scar, his hat, his skill with a rope – all explained). Then, of course, there’s Sean Connery, who’s constantly entertaining. The script is peppy, the action is fast-moving, the music is delightful, Ford is clearly having a ball, and the whole film is a riot from start to finish.

Ten Holy Grails out of 10.

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