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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has lots of hand-to-hand combat, action-filled chases, and gun fights. Main characters are in near-constant peril, and one is shot point blank and almost bleeds to death. Minor characters are killed in somewhat gruesome ways, including beheading; a bad guy meets his end in a fairly disturbing scene. There's a bit of kissing/banter, and it's implied that two men have slept with the same woman. Language is mild, and there's ultimately a strong message about the importance of the father-son relationship.
What's the story?
At the start of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, in 1912, young Indiana Jones (River Phoenix) risks his life to save Coronado's Cross. But his father, Henry (Sean Connery), isn't impressed. A jump to 1938 finds Indy (Harrison Ford) discovering that his father has vanished while searching for the coveted Holy Grail. Off to Venice, where Indy is followed by a secret brotherhood dedicated to maintaining the secret of the grail. Indy finds his father, but a run-in with Nazis leads to a whole new set of problems. Can father and son save one of the world's most precious relics from Hitler's minions?
Is it any good?
The chemistry between Ford and Connery is fun to watch. Both actors have impeccable timing and are obviously enjoying themselves. While some of Indy's previous sidekicks were annoying, Connery's character is a worthy companion and foil. Since father and son have a past, you care about their relationship.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade also includes the return of Indy's milder-mannered side -- a hero who can be tremendously awkward when not battling bad guys or untangling ancient mysteries. Much of the movie's success is due to a tongue-in-cheek attitude that begins when young Indy can't find the rest of his Scout troop and loudly declares that "everyone is lost but me." Ahh, that's the Indiana Jones we know and love.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Indiana Jones stands for and how he shows that in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If he's a good guy, why does he break the rules? Is that OK? What separates him from the "bad" guys? Are real-life bad guys as thoroughly evil as the ones in movies?
What are the effects of the frequent use of cartoonishly evil Nazis as "bad guys" in action movies? Does it trivialize or obscure their real atrocities, especially the Holocaust?
How does Last Crusade compare to Indy's other adventures? Which one do you like best?
- In theaters: May 24, 1989
- On DVD or streaming: October 26, 1999
- Cast: Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Connery
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, History
- Character strengths: Courage, Humility, Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 128 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.