Entertainment Fact or Fiction - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Movie Trivia

Continuing our series of entertainment fact or fiction.  This time it's all about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

Watching Indiana wrestle with a Nazi, the soldier at the periscope tells his teammates, in German, "The Americans! They fight like girls!"

In the scene where Indy has to choose which cup is the grail, he picks the right one by saying "That's the cup of a carpenter". It is said in the Bible that Jesus - like his mortal father Joseph - was a carpenter. Interestingly, as a struggling actor Harrison Ford used a book on carpentry from the library to start doing odd jobs and earn a living. He was working on George Lucas' house.

For the scene at the Nazi rally in Berlin (where Indy confronts Elsa and steals back the diary), Steven
Spielberg had all the extras who did the "Sieg Heil" arm salute also put their other arms behind their backs and cross their fingers.

When George Lucas met with Steven Spielberg to discuss a third Indiana Jones movie, he wanted to have it set in a haunted mansion. Spielberg had just finished Poltergeist (1982) and decided that he wanted to do something different. Lucas then came up with the idea of the Holy Grail and Spielberg added the idea of a father/son sub-story.

Harrison Ford nominated River Phoenix to play him as a teenager. When describing how he prepared for playing the role, Phoenix explained that he didn't really base his portrayal on the Indiana Jones character, but on Harrison Ford. So he observed Ford out of character before acting his part.

Two thousand rats were bred for the production (they had to be bred specially as ordinary rats would have been riddled with disease).

Most of the uniforms worn by the Nazis in the Berlin book burning scene are authentic WW2 uniforms and not costumes. A cache of old uniforms was found in Germany and obtained by costume designer Anthony Powell to be used in the film.

Harrison Ford cut his chin in a car accident in Northern California when he was about 20. In the movie, this cut is explained by young Indiana Jones cutting his chin with a whip.

Sean Connery was always Steven Spielberg's first choice to play Indiana Jones's father, as an inside joke to say that James Bond is the father of Indiana Jones. If that had failed, Gregory Peck and Jon Pertwee were back-up choices for the role. Spielberg had always wanted to do a Bond film but did Indiana Jones as a James Bond type character. In keeping with the James Bond theme, the movie has many Bond movie co-stars: John Rhys-Davies, Alison Doody, Julian Glover, Stefan Kalipha, Pat Roach, Eugene Lipinski and Vernon Dobtcheff.

Steven Spielberg is on record as saying he made the film for two reasons: 1) to fulfill a three-picture obligation he had with George Lucas, and, 2) to atone for the criticism that he received for the previous installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Indy's trademark hat, jacket, and whip currently reside in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. These items remained on display during filming of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), as they used numerous duplicates for their prop costumes.

Henry Jones senior was, according to backstory material written but not presented in the film, born in the 1860s, and was a Scottish university professor before emigrating to Utah, where Indy was born. He was roughly 75 years old in 1938. Sean Connery was only 58 at the time of filming (and only 12 years older than Harrison Ford), hence the beard and general "old man" attire his character wears.
Indy impersonating a Scottish lord at Castle Brunwald was a nod to this unspoken backstory.

Sean Connery and Harrison Ford wore no trousers during the shooting of the entire Zeppelin sequence (mainly because it was filmed in a very hot studio and Connery didn't want to sweat too much).

River Phoenix becomes the first actor to portray Indiana Jones as a teenager. The prologue sequence featuring young Indy inspired George Lucas to create the TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992) released three years later. Phoenix was asked to play young Indy in that series, but turned it down, since he didn't want to return to television.

Laurence Olivier was briefly considered to play the Grail Knight, but he was too ill to commit to the role.

Steven Spielberg's favorite of the first three "Indiana Jones" films.

When Henry climbs into the tank to rescue Marcus, he taps Marcus on the shoulder (scaring him in the process), after which Henry says "Genius of the restoration...", to which Marcus replies with "...aid our own resuscitation!" That particular phrase was originally an old toast that was traditionally given at the University Club in Manhattan.

When Tom Stoppard was brought in for rewriting the dialogue, specifically the lines for Henry and the Henry-Indy exchange. He was paid $120,000. After the film's release and success, he was paid another $1 million as a bonus. In "The Last Crusade: An Oral History," an article published in Empire magazine in 2006, Spielberg said about the Jr. and Sr. conversations, "It was an emotional story but I didn't want to get sentimental. Their disconnection from each other was the basis for a lot of comedy. And it gave Tom Stoppard, who was uncredited, a lot to write. Tom is pretty much responsible for every line of dialogue."

The temple right at the end of the movie exists, but not in Alexandretta. It is in Petra, in Jordan. However, there is no inside to it - the doorway that can be seen on screen is huge, eight or nine people shoulder to shoulder can easily walk through it. It leads to a huge empty square room carved from the top down over two stories high. Similarly, they would be unable to get "lost" down the valley as the valley stretches for about a mile or so, and there is no other route but out. The filming at Petra was visited by Queen Noor and her children.

John Williams inserts the Ark of the Covenant's theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) when Indy and Elsa come across a representation of the Ark on a wall in the catacombs below Venice.

Chris Columbus wrote a rejected draft in which Indy traveled to Africa and dueled a Monkey prince, but the script was also rejected because of too many negative African stereotypes. However, the tank chase sequence in the film was taken from his draft.

When Dr Jones Sr. scares the "seagulls" to fly up and stop the plane, they are in fact pigeons, and not seagulls, as seagulls are not trainable. If you look closely you can also see that there are a number of 'cut out' seagulls in the sand, which do not move as the others do.

When shooting in Venice, they were allowed to have complete control of the Grand Canal from 7am to 1pm for one day.

The character named "Fedora" in the credits (played by Richard Young) was in the script originally named Abner Ravenwood, Marion Ravenwood's father and Indiana's mentor who was mentioned in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

During the Castle Brunwald rescue, Dr. Jones Sr. expresses dismay at Indy inadvertently bringing the diary into enemy hands saying that he "should have mailed it to The Marx Brothers". Harpo Marx revealed in his autobiography that he once really had to smuggle a journal of important documents out of Russia to keep them from falling into enemy hands.

In the beginning of the film when Harrison Ford is teaching his class, he says, "...If it's truth you're
interested in, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall." This is a reference to Ford's own professor (Ford was in fact a Philosophy major), Dr. William E. Tyree, at Ripon College, Ripon, WI.

Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies make their last appearances in the Indiana Jones franchise as Marcus Brody and Sallah respectively. They were brought back to this film in order to give the film a lighter tone in contrast to the dark tone of the previous film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and due to their absences in that film. However, both characters are acknowledged in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

First Indiana Jones movie to receive a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. Although Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) was instrumental in the development of the PG-13 rating, the MPAA only gave it a PG-rating.

On the insert of this movie's soundtrack album, Steven Spielberg wrote that this film was the tenth project he and composer John Williams had worked on together.

Unable to keep his hat on during the scene where he was chasing the tank on horseback despite trying glue, tape, and newspaper wedges, Harrison Ford pretended (in a "Making Of" special) to staple the hat to his head.

In the movie the grail is located in the Republic of Hatay near the city of Alexandretta. There actually was a Republic of Hatay from 1938 to 1939, after the region was granted independence from French Syria and before it became a province of Turkey. The capital of Hatay was Alexandretta before 1939 when the city's name was changed to Iskenderun and the capital moved to Antioch. An early title indicates the movie's action takes place in 1938.

Series Trademark: Begins with a match cut of a rock in Utah which is reminiscent of the Paramount Pictures logo. See also Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

Kevork Malikyan (Kazim) lost the role of Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) to John Rhys-Davies, but was remembered by Steven Spielberg for this movie.

Two of the baddies in the film - Michael Sheard as Hitler and Julian Glover as Donovan had previously been baddies in an earlier Harrison Ford - Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as Admiral Ozzel and General Veers respectively.

Amanda Redman was asked to play the female lead but passed because of her fear of rats.

Indy's leap from horse to tank was performed by legendary British stuntman Vic Armstrong.

After Indy and Elsa kiss and hit the bed, Indy looks up and says, "Ahh, Venice", which is a nod to author Thomas Mann, who wrote the line in his 1912 book, "Death in Venice".

Harrison Ford and Sean Connery passed up three subsequent opportunities to work together. Connery accepted a role in The Hunt for Red October (1990), while Ford declined the role of Jack Ryan, which went to Alec Baldwin instead. Ford later took over the role in Patriot Games (1992).
Ford and Connery both declined the roles of Alan Grant and John Hammond, respectively, in Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993). Connery declined to return to the role of Henry Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

Both tanks (the hero tank for full shots and process tank for closeups of action) now reside at the Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly the Disney/MGM Studios) in Disney World in Florida, although the process tank is no longer on display.

When it came to filming the rat scene, the producers inquired of their insurer, Fireman's Fund, whether they were insured if the animals were for some reason indisposed, due to illness, an accident, or simply because they refused to perform. This was a delicate issue, as one lost day of filming can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet the experts at Fireman's Fund were able to reach a compromise which pleased both sides. They asked the director what would be the least number of rats needed for a dramatic shot. If different camera angles were used, 1,000 rats would probably be sufficient, came the answer. Thus Fireman's Fund underwrote the world's first insurance policy with a 1,000-rat deductible. 1000 mechanical rats were also used in the scene. To help achieve the sound of
thousands of rats, sound designer Ben Burtt actually used the higher registers of thousands of chickens.

Denholm Elliott had been diagnosed with AIDS shortly before filming began, and was seriously ill on some days.

According to the address on the package he received from Italy, Indy teaches at Barnett College. The name of the school was adopted and more prominently used in later media (e.g. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992))

St. Barnaba Church in Venice is an ordinary church. The huge indoor library shown, was filmed elsewhere.

The production had two tanks for the tank chase scene; one of them was made of aluminum. The whole chase took about 10 days to film, instead of the projected two days.

The difficulties shown by the tank-driver in maneuvering the vehicle were very realistic. The Mark I tank --or indeed, any World War I tank-- was so unwieldy that its manufacturers rushed to produce an upgrade; the Mark IV was ready in only one year's time.

After fleeing Castle Brunwald and eluding the Nazi soldiers on motorcycles, Indy and his father come to a fork in the road with a sign indicating left (North) to Berlin and right (South) to Venice. A third city is barely visible on that same sign, pointing at the direction the Joneses just came from, and it indicates the road to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics.

Director Steven Spielberg included the opening scenes as a tribute to his own experiences as a Boy Scout.

WILHELM SCREAM: after the first grenade has been thrown in the desert gunfight scene.

The idea of an airplane being carried by an airship was actually taken from the U.S. Navy airships U.S.S. Akron and U.S.S. Macon. Each airship, slightly smaller than the Zeppelin shown in the movie, actually had a trapeze (also known as a "sky hook") under the belly of the airship, and hangar space inside for up to four small planes. The planes were intended to act as scouts that used the airship as a flying aircraft carrier. The builders of the Hindenburg also attempted, with help from the Navy, to
install a similar trapeze on the Hindenburg shortly before her disastrous last flight in 1937. The idea was for the small plane to act as a mail courier. However, the pilot was unable to "hook on" to the trapeze consistently, the experiment was abandoned, and the trapeze was removed from the Hindenburg before she departed for her final flight. In The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), the character of Kessler was based on that pilot, WW1 German ace Gen. Ernst Udet.

Indiana notes that in Latin, Jehovah begins with an I, not a J. This is quite correct, especially given that the knight who recovered the Grail acquired it during the First Crusade. The First Crusade ended in 1099. In the time of the Roman Empire, J was merely a variant of an I, hence the resemblance between their lower case forms i and j. The original pronunciation was very much like an I or Y. Its use as a soft g sound dates to no earlier than the fifteenth century.

Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) and Pat Roach (Gestapo) are the only actors to appear in all three films in the original trilogy. Roach played Giant Sherpa/First Mechanic in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)' and Chief Guard in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). A scene was filmed where Indiana Jones knocks him unconscious aboard the zeppelin, extending a running joke in the series of
Ford's character knocking down Roach's characters in every movie; however, the scene was not used in the final cut, so the only presence of Roach remaining in the movie is the shot of him running behind Vogel toward the zeppelin. "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" is also the last film in the franchise with Roach, who would pass away in 2004.

Sean Connery becomes the first of three Oscar winners to appear in the Indiana Jones film series. Jim Broadbent and Cate Blanchett would later appear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).

A sign leading up to the tribune at the rally says "Staff Officers only" ("Nur für Stab(s)offiziere", which in German means the rank of major or higher), which is probably why Indy chose the rather conspicuous uniform of a colonel.

According to the comic book adaptation of this film, Colonel Vogel's first name was Ernst. Julian Glover was slated to play this role before being reassigned to the character Walter Donovan.

The four horses used in the final scenes outside the temple were loaned to the film personally by King Hussein of Jordan.

When indy's bag is caught on the gun and is being dragged along the wall no stuntman was used, Harrison Ford did it himself the crew just went along with shovels tipping dirt and clay on him from above

Decades before this film, Sean Connery appeared in Marnie (1964), as the lover interest for Tippi Hedren. Just the previous year, Harrison Ford appeared in Working Girl (1988) as the love interest for Hedren's daughter, Melanie Griffith.

Harrison Ford recommended River Phoenix to play the young Indiana Jones after Phoenix had played his son in The Mosquito Coast (1986).

Henry Jones Sr. calls Indy "Junior" 16 times. He calls him Indiana only twice. He also calls Indy "son" 4 times and "boy" three times. Indiana tells his father not to "call him Junior" (or that) 3 times, and almost does a 4th but was interrupted. Indiana calls his father "dad" a total of 54 times, 4 times when his father isn't there.

The music playing in the scene where Indy meets Adolf Hitler is adapted from the "Königgrätzer Marsch" by Johann Gottfried Piefke (1815-1884), combined with another song, "Hohen Friedsberg."

Lowry Digital Images, the same company that cleaned up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), North by Northwest (1959) and Sunset Blvd. (1950), cleaned up over 100,000 frames for two versions of each film in the trilogy for DVD release.

Three of the lead actors in this film have shared a film role with their own real-life sons. Harrison Ford's son, Ben, was used for a digital face replacement for the 30th anniversary version of Blade Runner (1982). He also shares his own role in this film with River Phoenix, who played his son in The Mosquito Coast (1986). Sean Connery played Robin Hood in Robin and Marian (1976), a role that Jason Connery would play in 'Robin Hood (1984)(TV)'. John Rhys-Davies also appeared in that series as King Richard, a role played by Connery in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). Julian Glover previously appeared (with Ford) in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). His character, General Veers, was later voiced by his son, Jamie Glover, in the Star Wars video games.

Michael Byrne's character is named Vogel. "Vogel" is the German word for bird.

Tom Stoppard did uncredited rewrites on the script.

Although all of the scenes involving the Frederick Jaeger character were cut from the film, he can still be seen in the background of one shot set inside the Berlin airport. Billy J. Mitchell and Jerry Harte, despite being credited in the end titles, were cut out of the final print.

This was the last film for veteran cinematographer Douglas Slocombe.

It's no coincidence that Sean Connery was cast as Indys father. One reason is because the Indiana Jones series borrows a lot from old adventure movies, much like a son will gain traits from his father. The trait passed down from Connery is that of James Bond, in that James Bond is always finding ridiculous ways to escape life threatening situations, this is seen in many Indy movies, like in the
tank scene in Last Crusade, or the bobsled scene in Temple of Doom

During pre-production, the character 'Donovan' was originally called 'Chandler'.

The tank that Indy fights is a replica of a British/American Mark VIII, manufactured in 1918. Its
armament consisted of two six-pound guns and seven machine guns; only 107 were produced due to the end of the war. The tank shown in the film has a turret replacing the large cupola for the commander/driver, and no machine guns; it is also much faster than the real Mk VIII's.

The only Indiana Jones film in which one of the female leads is not listed as second billing.

Last cinema film of Paul Maxwell.

Ronald Lacey:  Himmler in the Nazi Berlin parade. Lacey previously played Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). He is seen behind his friend Michael Sheard who plays Adolf Hitler in this film.

Alex Hyde-White:  Henry Jones, Sr. in 1912. Hyde-White's face is never shown, his lines are dubbed by Sean Connery.

Isla Blair:  wife of Julian Glover plays wife of his character Donovan. Credits list "Mrs. Glover" as playing "Mrs. Donovan."

The gun used to shoot the Sean Connery character is a Walther PPK, the same model as Connery's James Bond gun.

Indy's true name is finally revealed in this movie: Henry Jones, Jr. In the previous two films (and in this film, up until the final minute), he has only been referred to as "Indiana Jones" and variations thereof. ("Dr. Jones", "Indy", etc.) The name Indiana came from a dog in both the movie and real life: George Lucas' Alaskan malamute dog who lived in the 1970s. A dog of this breed is seen in the film when young Indy (River Phoenix) returns home with the cross in his hand.

Donovan's death sequence by rapid aging was the first all-digital composite. In previous films involving computer generated visual effects (i.e., Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) and Willow (1988)) CG elements were output to film and added to final film print using optical printers. For "Last Crusade" ILM scanned several filmed makeup transformations of "Donovan's demise" and "morphed" the elements together digitally. By doing this, film (was for first time) scanned, digitally manipulated, and output back to film rather than arranging film elements with an optical printer. It took a week to film this death scene.

At the climax when the temple first starts to split apart, one of the sounds employed is someone rubbing on a balloon.

Elsa is the only love-interest in an Indiana Jones movie who turns out to be a villain, and also the only love-interest who dies by the end of the movie.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Movie Trivia2

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
PG-13 | 2h 7min | ActionAdventureFantasy | 24 May 1989 (USA)

When Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. must follow in his father's footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the Holy Grail first.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Jeffrey Boam (screenplay), George Lucas (story)
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody