Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody
Plot: When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father's footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the Holy Grail first.
Harrison Ford recommended River Phoenix to play the young Indiana Jones after Phoenix had played his son in The Mosquito Coast (1986). Ford said that of the young actors working at the time, Phoenix looked the most like him when he was around that age.
Harrison Ford cut his chin in a car accident in Northern California when he was about twenty years old. In the movie, this cut is explained by young Indiana Jones cutting his chin with a whip.
Watching Indiana wrestle with a Nazi, the soldier at the periscope tells his teammates, in German, "The Americans! They fight like girls!"
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.
Two thousand rats were bred for the production (they had to be bred specially as ordinary rats would have been riddled with disease).
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.
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.
The prologue sequence, featuring young Indy, inspired George Lucas to create the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992). Phoenix was asked to play young Indy in that series, but turned it down, since he didn't want to return to television.
The temple in Petra, Jordan (which doubled for the Grail Temple in Alexandretta) became a very popular tourist destination after the film.
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.
Originally, Elsa was going to be the one that shoots Henry Jones, Sr. and drink from the wrong Grail.
Steven Spielberg used doves for the seagulls that Henry scares into striking the German plane, because the real gulls used in the first take, did not fly.
The Nazi costumes were genuine, and were found in Eastern Europe by Anthony Powell's co-designer Joanna Johnston, to whom he gave research pictures and drawings for reference.
Dr Jones notes to Indiana that they named their dog Indiana. George Lucas had a dog named Indiana that inspired Indiana Jones's name.
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)) CGI elements were output to film, and added to final film print using optical printers. For "Last Crusade" ILM scanned several filmed make-up transformations of "Donovan's demise" and "morphed" the elements together digitally. By doing this, film was (for the 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.
Early ideas were to end the film with an elaborate escape from the temple and valley. However, Steven Spielberg later reconsidered when he realized that the movie had already reached its emotional climax in the previous scene, where Henry saves Indiana, and the two men finally find what they were looking for.
After the mixed reaction to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Spielberg chose to compensate with a film that toned down the violence and gore.
Connery improvised the line, "She talks in her sleep", which was left in because it made everyone laugh.
Lucas wrote the role of Indiana's father as "a crazy, eccentric" professor resembling Laurence Olivier, whose relationship with Indiana is "strict schoolmaster and student rather than a father and son"
Connery initially turned the role down as he is only twelve years older than Ford who would play his son