#WayBackWednesday – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

We’re all stuck in the house, right? There’s never been a better time to dig into those retro movies that you’ve always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. Personally, I’m a bit of a retrophile and tend to watch more older flicks than newer ones. On Fangirlish, you can now look forward to a retro review from me each Wednesday in this column. I’ll be highlighting one throwback movie a week, offering a spoiler-free review of the film, any throwback thoughts from my childhood, and where you can watch the movie yourself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy #WayBackWednesday.

When I was a kid and fell in love with Star Wars, I jumped in with both feet when it came to “films you may also like.” Indiana Jones was next on the list. I never owned any of these films growing up, but with every trip to the library during the summer, I’d max out my VHS rentals (three each go around). I’d alternate between the original Star Wars trilogy (original cut too!), and the three original Indiana Jones films nearly every single visit. 

I always wanted to be smart and tough like Indy. Not only was he brave and courageous, but he also used his wits and logic to work out the puzzles, find the artifacts, and save the day. And the guy’s got one hell of a punch too. Armed with a jump rope for a makeshift bullwhip, a belt over my shoulder, my dad’s old hat, 9 year old Ashley kicked butt and took names, digging for the Ark of the Covenant, escaping the Temple of Doom, and searching for the Holy Grail in the backyard. Indiana Jones is a staple of my childhood and today’s film for #WayBackWednesday is very special to me. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Let’s start by watching the original trailer.

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There are so many things to love about the Indiana Jones films–sweeping scores by master composer, John Williams, swashbuckling action, but the theme of punching Nazis is still quite relevant today. Created by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, it was a no brainer for me to jump to Indiana Jones after watching Star Wars

There’s a lot to love about The Last Crusade. Let’s start with the cast. Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Julian Glover, John Rhys-Davies, and the gone-too-soon, River Phoenix as young Indy. All give great performances, but it’s especially fun to see Harrison Ford and Sean Connery play off of each other in such a comedic way. 

Speaking of comedy, The Last Crusade, may just be the funniest of the original Indiana Jones trilogy. When rewatching for this review, I laughed harder than I remembered laughing at the film before. Ford and Connery have great chemistry and are very convincing as a father and son duo with a less than perfect history. Great banter and snarky commentary throughout make this a fun ride, just with dialogue alone.

Nostalgia aside, I think what I enjoy the most about the film is its mystery. The Last Crusade isn’t a whodunnit, but it has all the pieces of a fun cinematic puzzle film. The clues, the grail diary, and Indy’s final run to get the Holy Grail are all such fun to figure out. There are also some fun visual Easter eggs to watch for. In keeping with the knights/crusade theme, I especially enjoy the “joust” Indy has with a Nazi. 

While The Last Crusade does have plenty of laughs, I also appreciate the philosophical questions the film asks. “My soul is prepared, Dr. Jones. Is yours?” and “But you stood up to be counted with the enemy of everything that the Grail stands for,” both are especially poignant for me. I enjoy a movie that makes me laugh and makes me think. The Last Crusade does both.

If you’re looking for a fun all-around action film that combines comedy, excitement, food for thought, and a lot of heart, look no further than the final installment of the original Indiana Jones trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you do, I’ll say this. 

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is streaming on Netflix and will air Sunday, May 31, 2020 on CBS during the Sunday Night Movie segment at 8 pm ET. 

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