The quest for the Grail is not archaology. It's a race against evil! If it is captured by the Nazis, the armies of darkness will march all over the face of the earth!
—Professor Henry Jones Sr.
The third film in the Indiana Jones series.
Indiana had a troubled history with his father, Henry Jones, who was also an archaeologist. But one day, his father disappears when a major breakthrough is made in Henry's life's work, the search for The Holy Grail. Now Indy has to find his father and the Grail, while keeping Nazi Germany from once again getting their hands on an artifact that could make them all-powerful.
As for the movie series, though the original intent was five films, Spielberg and Lucas would decide to just end the series here - feeling it was best to go out on a high note and cap off a trilogy. Obviously, that didn't take and after a lengthy Development Hell, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released nineteen years later.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Multiple examples.
- Action Duo: Indy and Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery).
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Indy and his dad's conversation in the zeppelin.
- Actor Allusion:
- Donovan (whose actor played a Bond villain in For Your Eyes Only) shoots Dr. Jones, Sr. with a Walther PPK. Not only does Sean Connery get shot, he gets shot by his own gun.
- Also, the opening sequence has Indy getting Harrison Ford's scar (which originated in an auto accident) when using a whip for the first time as a teen.
- When Indy identifies the true grail, he says "That's the cup of a carpenter.". Harrison Ford worked as a carpenter before becoming an actor.
- This is a reference to Jesus Christ being the son of a carpenter; it might have nothing to do with the actor.
- Adolf Hitler: Indy meets Der Fuehrer. It's anticlimactic and hilarious all at once.
- Affably Evil: Walter Donovan, until he shoots Henry Sr., making him Faux Affably Evil.
- Age Cut: The transition between young Indy receiving the Fedora to Indy on the boat.
- The Ageless: Drinking from the Holy Grail grants this - so long as you remain inside the Grail Tomb.
- Artifact of Death: Any of the False Grails.
- Artistic License Engineering: There are quite a few things wrong with the King's Description Porn of the Rolls-Royce. First of all, it's not a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, but rather a 20/25 hp Rolls-Royce Barker Saloon, a smaller, less expensive model than the Phantom II. However, much of his description is wrong for both models. He claims the car has a 4.3 L engine; the Phantom II actually had a 7.7 L engine, while the 20/25 hp a 3.7 L engine, although it did have six cylinders. The power rating he states (30 horsepower) is wrong for both (the 20/25 hp was rated at 25 HP for taxation purposes, but actual power output is closer to 70, while the Phantom II was never given a power rating. His claim that it could go from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 12.5 seconds would be true for the Phantom II, but not for the 20/25 hp, which could do so in 14.5 seconds. The King's description would fit another model of Rolls-Royce - the 25/30 - almost perfectly.
- Asshole Victim: Donovan
- Balcony Escape: Done by Indy.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT call Indy "Junior".
- Big Bad: Donovan
- Bilingual Bonus: During the tank fight, one Nazi comments to Indy getting beat up by saying, "Those Americans, they fight like women." Then Indy hits him in the head with the periscope he was looking through.
- Book-Burning: The scene in Berlin
- Bookcase Passage: Fireplace subtype and descending stairs variation.
- Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Near the end of the climactic tank fight sequence, almost everyone, including Donovan, Ilsa, Brody, Henry Jones, Sr., and (probably) a handful of Nazis have abandoned the tank, which is now careening towards the edge of a very, very steep cliff. The only two people who are still oblivious to this fact are Indy and SS Colonel Vogel, who are locked in a rather vicious, back-and-forth fistfight. When they do manage to realize it (with seconds to spare), Indy's trademark fedora is whipped off the back of his head by a strong and sudden gust of wind as the camera focuses on his Oh Crap face.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Indy gives two very hard-hitting examples. First, as he argues with his father about traveling to Berlin to get the Grail diary.
Indy: This is an obsession, Dad. I never understood it. Never. Neither did Mom.
- And later, aboard the zeppelin:
Henry Sr.: Actually, I was a wonderful father.
- Captain Obvious: Both Indiana's father and the grail-guarding knight.
- Cassandra Truth: During a tense confrontation, Indy is told to surrender or else Elsa dies. Henry tells him its a bluff, as Elsa's a Nazi herself.
Elsa: You should have listened to your father.
- Casting Gag: Sean Connery was cast because Steven Spielberg and Lucas considered that the only man who could play Indy's father was James Bond.
- Catch Phrase:
Indiana Jones: "Don't call me Junior!"
- Chair Reveal: Donovan in the castle.
- Chekhov's Gun: Henry's umbrella he keeps carrying in his suitcase throughout the journey eventually proves to be very useful against incoming Nazi fighter planes.
- City of Canals: Venice itself.
- Continuity Nod: In the Venice catacombs, Indy identifies a carving on the wall as a representation of the Ark of the Covenant.
Elsa: Are you sure?
- Contrived Coincidence: As a teenager, Indy used a whip for the first time, giving him his chin scar, gets his fear of snakes, and his signature fedora all in the same day.
- Convenient Escape Boat: Subverted and inverted.
- Correlation-Causation Gag: In the library scene, Indy tries to break into a secret passage, causing loud echoes...coincidentally in time with a librarian stamping books. At one point, the librarian quizzically looks at the stamp.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Donovan appears to be the savviest person in the series, right up until he trusts a double-agent -- as though he didn't have a small army of people on hand to test it for him.
- Deadfoot Leadfoot: The tank operator.
- Dead Hat Shot: In the intro.
- Deadpan Snarker: Henry Sr. is great at this.
Henry Jones Sr.: Our situation has not improved.
- Description Cut: With Brody.
- Description Porn: The sultan wanting the Rolls-Royce.
- Disappeared Dad: Well, it's the motivation for Indy to chase after the Grail, but even when they were in the same house, they had no relationship. Especially after Indy's mother and Henry's wife passed away.
- The Dragon: SS colonel Vogel.
- Due to the Dead: Indiana treats bones and tombs in the catacombs without any care.
- Earthquakes Cause Fissures: After Elsa crosses the seal.
- Elderly Immortal: The Knight guarding the Grail. He is clearly into old age and admits to being past his prime, but drinking from it has kept him alive for centuries.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Elsa may be working for the bad guys, but she definitely does not approve of book burning and anti-intellectualism.
- Evil Cripple: Panama Hat walks with a limp by 1938.
- Fake Nationality: Welsh John Rhys-Davies plays Egyptian Sallah, Irish Alison Doody plays Austrian Elsa Schneider, and English Julian Glover plays American Walter Donovan.
- Fake Platform: Tiles that don't spell out Jehovah (with an I) are fake and will drop you into a deep pit.
- Femme Fatale: Dr. Elsa Schneider, after she stops pretending to be a Damsel in Distress.
- First Name Basis: At the end Indiana's father addresses him by name for the first time, having spent the entire movie calling him "Junior".
- Flanderization / The Fool: Marcus Brody.
- Foot Focus: Indiana and Elsa navigating the rat-infested Venetian catacombs.
- Foreshadowing: Multiple examples.
- When Indy meets Donovan, he's told "We're only one step away" from finding the Grail, to which Indy says "That's usually where the ground falls out underneath you.". Towards the end, when Elsa attempts to take the Grail out of the temple, it makes the whole temple collapse, and ground fell beneath her.
- "Friend or Idol?" Decision: Twice, with Elsa then Indy.
- Giant Mook: Recurring supporting actor Pat "Bomber" Roach as an S.S. officer, though his fight scene was cut.
- Gilligan Cut: Indy brags that Marcus Brody can blend into any crowd, no matter where he is. Immediately cut to Marcus wandering around the Very Proper British Man asking idiotic questions and standing out like a sore thumb.
- Grail Quest: The film features Indy undergoing this, under protest. As he tells a guardian of the Grail that attacks him and Elsa, he's not seeking the Grail; he's looking for his father Henry Jones, Sr., who went missing. When he and his father reunite, however, Henry convinces him to go back into enemy Nazi territory and seek the Grail after they barely escape with their lives because he says that the Grail must not fall into enemy hands. Indy just wants to take his dad home but can't argue with the logic that a cup providing immortality and constant healing to Nazis would be dangerous indeed. He ends up proven right; while they do make headway towards the tomb where the Grail is, the Nazis beat them to the punch and realize that Indiana is the only one who can traverse the various challenges and death traps; to incentivize him, Donovan shoots Henry Sr. in the stomach and tells Indy to hurry up or his dad will die. A man must be penitent, take a leap of faith, and choose wisely. Fail any of these tests, and you may lose your head, or your youth. Turns out there is no way to remove the Grail from the holy area; as soon as it goes beyond the giant cross on the floor, the whole space is set to collapse. Elsa dies trying to retrieve it from the collapsing ruins, while a healed Henry Sr. convinces Indiana to let it go in the rubble before pulling him upward. Indy is more than annoyed that the quest ended up being All for Nothing in that if he and Henry had gone back to England, which is what he suggested to do in the first place, the Grail never would have been found by the Nazis.
- Groupie Brigade: While in Berlin to retrieve the Grail diary, Indy gets tangled up in a mob of Nazis who are members of Hitler's fan club.
- Hand Signals: After Colonel Vogel gives a "move forward" signal, a World War I era tank rolls into sight.
- Hard Head: Indy knocks out quite a few Nazis with his bare hands, yet in the same movie getting hit with the (fake) Priceless Ming Vase only stuns him for a moment.
- Healing Potion: Water placed in the Holy Grail will heal the wounds of and even grant immortality to anyone who drinks it.
- Heel Face Turn: Elsa. Indy's speech in Berlin seemed to influence her thinking. Unfortunately, she remained obsessed with the Holy Grail to her demise.
- Indy Ploy: Lampshaded by Boy Scout Indiana as he descends to the excavation site.
What, what are you gonna do?
- Is It Always Like This?: Indy's father asks him this as they're escaping from Castle Brunwald.
- It Belongs in a Museum: Trope Namer. Indy says it to "Panama Hat" regarding the Cross of Coronado.
- It's the Only Way to Be Sure: The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword will do anything to safeguard the Grail's location, including setting fire to and completely destroying the knight's tomb.
- Karmic Death: Both Walter Donovan and Dr. Elsa Schneider die because of their overwhelming desire for the Grail.
- Lampshade Hanging: Henry directly calls out how the film treats his profession.
"You call this archaeology?"
- Land in the Saddle: Indy tries this one in the prologue sequence. The horse moves. The mooks chasing him repeat the process, but with a truck.
- Lighter and Softer: The film is more adventurous and light-hearted than the previous Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
- The Load: Henry Jones, Sr. (usually)
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Double Subverted, when Indy literally hands Hitler the book explaining everything about the Holy Grail, its location, and how to retrieve it safely. Hitler has absolutely no idea of the book's significance, and mistakes Indy for an autograph hunter.
- Meaningful Name: Colonel Vogel's name is German for bird. Fittingly, he gets thrown out of a zeppelin by Indy, and later goes off a cliff in his tank.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Boy Scout Indiana in Utah, 1912. Then the film AgeCuts from River Phoenix to Harrison Ford, under the fedora hat.
- The Mole: Dr. Elsa Schneider and Walter Donovan, who are actually working with the Nazis. Word of God is that Donovan was a double mole and Elsa seems perfectly willing to be one as well once she's actually holding immortality.
- Mondegreen: Indiana and Elsa during the boat chase
Indy: Are you crazy?! Don't go between them.
- Motorcycle Jousting: Indiana Jones charges a Nazi motorcyclist using a flagpole as an improvised lance.
- Nameless Narrative: In the flashback opening, the looters who steal the Cross of Coronado are credited simply as "Fedora" and "Panama Hat" (The former is addressed as Garth by one of his cronies).
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: The Holy Grail is hidden amongst other grails, and Indy must figure out which of them is the true Grail.
- Noodle Incident: Exactly how and when Marcus got lost in his own museum.
- Not in This For Your Revolution: Elsa Schneider states explicitly that she does not actually support or care for the Nazis' ideals, but rather only allied with them just to locate the Grail. Ditto with Walter Donovan.
- Indy tells Elsa that she chose her allies willingly, so it doesn't matter what her ideals are - they're already corrupted by the Nazis. Of course, Indy says it more succinctly:
Elsa: Is that what you think of me? I believe in the Grail, not the swastika!
- Off with His Head: One of the Grail traps.
- Oh Crap: In The Last Crusade, during the tank fight, Indy notices that the tank is about to go over a cliff -- and his hat falls off for the only time in the series. After he reaches safety, the hat is deposited next to him by the wind. Indy is also stunned when he finds himself face-to-face with Adolf Hitler himself.
- Omniglot: Jones tries to pretend that Marcus is also one of these... it's just that his familiarity is limited to dead languages.
- The Pen Is Mightier: Marcus utters the whole phrase after Henry uses the ink of his pen against one Nazi.
- Perspective Magic: The "leap of faith" scene.
- Pistol-Whipping: Marcus Brody is knocked out by a pistol wielded by a member of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword.
- Playing Against Type: Action icon/sex symbol Sean Connery as Indy's academic, somewhat aloof father.
- Playing Gertrude: Sean Connery, who played Indy's father, is just 12 years older than Harrison Ford.
- Plummet Perspective: Subverted. The Holy Grail didn't fall far -- but it might as well have.
- Priceless Ming Vase: It turned out to be fake. But Henry can only tell after he breaks it.
- Public Domain Artifact: The Holy Grail.
- Ransacked Room: Happens twice, one of which was Invoked.
- Rapid Aging: The fate of anyone who drinks from the wrong grail.
- Reality Subtext: Sallah is quite surprised at Indy's true name and the origin of his nickname, "Dog? You are named after the dog!?". George Lucas indeed named Indy after his pet dog, who was also the inspiration behind Chewbacca.
- Recut: Walter Donovan's line originally read "Precious valuables...donated by some of the finest Jewish families in Germany.". All later releases removed the word "Jewish" because of the Holocaust reference.
- Refuge in Audacity: "No ticket."
- Riding Into the Sunset: Indy, his father, Sallah, and Marcus at the end of the film.
- Rule of Symbolism: While Indy reads the grail tablet at Donovan's place, Donovan pours some champagne into champagne glasses.
- Running Gag: After Indy says, "X never ever marks the spot", everything has X marking the spot.
- "Ah, Venice!"
- Samus Is a Girl: Indy and Marcus are a little surprised to see that Dr. Schneider is, in fact, Dr. Elsa Schneider.
- Screams Like a Little Girl:The SS-Standartenführer utters orders and other screams of horror and rage in a very high pitch.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Indy has liberated the Cross of Coronado, he is told by the sheriff to hand it back to Panama Hat.
- Secret Legacy: Indy followed in his father's footsteps without even knowing.
- Self-Deprecation: When Indy tells Panama Hat that the Cross of Coronado "belongs in a museum", Panama Hat says "So do you!" Indy is a character in a 1989 movie who's an obvious throwback to 1930s action heroes.
- Self-Destructing Security: The Holy Grail is protected by many layers of secrets, guards and traps. The final resort, however, is that the Grail can never pass beyond "The Great Seal". Doing so results in the entire place self destructing and the Grail being lost forever.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Henry Sr. gives a brilliant one to Nazi Colonel Vogel.
Vogel: Tell me about this miserable little diary of yours. The book is useless and yet you come all the way back to Berlin to get it. Why? (slaps Henry with his glove) Why? (slap!) What are you hiding? (slap!) What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?
- Smug Snake: Donovan.
- Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: A Nazi fighter plane does this to Indy and his father as they're escaping by car.
- Stealth Pun: When Indy and Henry Sr. argue over traveling to Berlin to get the grail diary or going to Iskenderun to save Marcus, they're at a literal crossroads, with the road sign shaped like a cross.
- Storming the Castle: Castle Brunwald.
- Swarm of Rats: As seen in the catacombs under Venice.
- Take My Hand: At the end of the film, Indy says it to Elsa and later Indy's father says it to him.
- Tap on the Head: Multiple examples
- Throw It In: Sean Connery invented the "she talks in her sleep" line on the set -- Henry Jones Sr was originally conceived as more of a strait-laced professor. The cast and crew loved the line so much, it ended up in the film.
- Too Dumb to Live: Indiana Jones, yes, that Indiana Jones, is in a long cave where the floor is flooded with oil, or some other highly flammable liquid. It's dark, and he needs to see, what does he do? He makes a makeshift torch! He didn't figure it was safer to go back for a flashlight or anything, he just took a torch.
- Marcus Brody to an astounding degree as well. He puts himself up for the adventure, being completely unprepared, and manages to bumble his way through everything, including getting captured, but never killed.
- Indy's a lot less Genre Savvy compared to the other films. Henry Sr. called him out over his idiocy in bringing the grail diary to the place where he was being held hostage.
- Took a Level in Badass: Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) is initially portrayed as a Grumpy Old Man with discomfort and lack of experience in Indy's adventures (he sets the room on fire, he shoots the tail of his own plane with the machine gun, etc.). But moreover he reveals his hidden skills, becoming more like his son and evolving into a Badass Grandpa -- he manages to crash a Nazi airplane by making a flock of seagulls fly into the air, he blinds a Nazi soldier with ink from his pen and he even blows away a whole truckload of enemies.
- Treacherous Advisor: Both Walter Donovan and Dr. Elsa Schneider would qualify.
- Treasure Map: The Grail Diary.
- Understatement: "He chose...poorly."
- Vague Age: Alison Doody was 22 when Crusade was filmed, and while Dr. Elsa Schneider has no onscreen age, she has to be at least thirty.
- What The Hell Hero: Multiple examples.
- See Not in This For Your Revolution when Indy chews out Elsa over allying with Nazis, despite her insistence that she doesn't truly support them.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: A major source of friction between the Joneses Sr. and Jr. is that Sr. wasn't around much when Indy was a kid.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In addition to learning why Indy is afraid of snakes, we learn that his father is afraid of rats.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?: To bring the Grail Diary to a castle full of Nazis...
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Indy swapping hats with Elsa and posing as a Scottish art collector to trick his way into Castle Brunwald.
Butler: If you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!
- How dare he!
- You Called Me "X" - It Must Be Serious: Indy believes he can reach the Grail if he just reaches a little further... and then his father, who spent Indy's whole life calling him "Junior", says "Indiana. Son. Let it go." And that convinces him.
- You Dirty Rat: Swarms of these fill Venice's catacombs. Henry Jones Sr. fears them, just like his son fears snakes.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: A milder version of the Trope. The Grail Knight assumed Indiana was there to take his place after "vanquishing" him in combat. Mildly tearjerking in that the poor Knight was exhausted and ready to die for some well-earned rest.
- You Look Familiar: Ronald Lacey, who played Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark, appears uncredited as Heinrich Himmler at the book burning. Incidentally, Michael Sheard, who plays Hitler, was the runner-up to play Toht.
- You Were Trying Too Hard: While Indy and Henry Sr. are escaping from Castle Brunwald, Indy looks everywhere in a room to find a switch to reveal some sort of exit.
Henry: I find that if I just sit down to think...