Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

 
Thrilling third Indy actioner focuses on hunt for grail.
  • Review Date: September 13, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 128 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ingenuity, teamwork, and trying to do the right thing are ultimately rewarded, although some of Indy's methods are iffy. Standing up to bullies (in the form of the Nazi party) is a strong theme. The power of a father-son relationship is explored and emphasized.

Positive role models

Indy is a lovable anti-hero -- a self-interested scoundrel who isn't always a great role model but whose heart proves to be in the right place. He's brave, resourceful, loyal, and smart, and he's dedicated to preserving historical artifacts and protecting them from those who would misuse them. Henry wasn't the best father to young Indiana, but he proves how much he genuinely cares for his son.

Violence

Hand-to-hand combat, action-filled chases (boats, planes, tanks, more), beatings, and gun fights. Bad-guy minions are killed in fairly gruesome ways, including beheading. Indy uses a whip frequently. Henry is shot at point-blank range and almost bleeds to death. Lots of peril. Threat of fire and drowning. At one point, other characters briefly think a main character has died. A bad guy meets his end in a scene that could disturb younger viewers (potential spoiler alert: he ages extremely rapidly and briefly becomes a dessicated, mummy-like being before disintegrating).

Sex

It's insinuated that Indiana and his father slept with the same woman. Some kissing/embracing. Banter.

Language

Language includes "damn," "my God," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character lights a cigarette (accurate for the era). Indy and another character have champagne; later, Indy has a cocktail.

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?

It's 1912, and 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?

QUALITY
 

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.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Indiana Jones stands for. 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 24, 1989
DVD release date:October 26, 1999
Cast:Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Connery
Director:Steven Spielberg
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures, History
Run time:128 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence

This review of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old October 8, 2009
age 8+
 

Off For Ages 7 And Under; Iffy For Ages 8-10; On For Ages 11 And Up

Some blood: like the scene where Indy's father gets shot.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 8 years old June 7, 2010
age 9+
 

Haha!

I saw this movie when I was 5, and when the guy drank from the wrong Grail, I was REALLY scared. Now, I laugh at it. Good for 9+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byFigment95 February 8, 2010
age 11+
 
This movie shouldn't be marketed at kids. There's a lot of blood and gore, and the big finale includes decapitation. Not for kids, but good for teens.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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