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Film / Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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"The quest for the Grail is not archaeology. It's a race against evil! If it is captured by the Nazis, the armies of darkness will march all over the face of the earth!"
Professor Henry Jones Sr.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 adventure film and the third entry in the Indiana Jones film series. It is directed by Steven Spielberg, who directed the previous two films in the series, with the screenplay written by Jeffrey Boam and the story written by franchise creator George Lucas and Menno Meyjes.

Indy (Harrison Ford) always had a troubled history with his father, Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery), also an archaeologist with a lifelong dream of finding the location of the Holy Grail. This obsession drove a wedge between father and son, and the two have hardly spoken to each other for years. But in 1938, Henry mysteriously disappears while seemingly on the cusp of a major research breakthrough. Now, Indy has to find his father and the Grail, while keeping the Nazis from once again getting their hands on an artifact that could make them all-powerful.

The film also stars Denholm Elliott as Marcus Brody, Alison Doody as Elsa Schneider, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah and Julian Glover as Walter Donovan. During the filming of the 1912 prologue sequence (featuring River Phoenix as an adolescent Indy), George Lucas saw the potential of a prequel series. He would soon develop and produce The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

As for the movie series, though the original intent was five films, Spielberg and Lucas would decide to just end the series here — feeling it was best to go out on a high note and cap off a trilogy. Obviously, that didn't take, and after a lengthy Development Hell, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released nineteen years later in 2008, and with a fifth and final film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, released in 2023, the original plan was finally completed.

You call this trope-archaeology?

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    Tropes A to E 
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Indy and his dad's conversation in the zeppelin.
  • Action Prologue: The opening chase sequence and Traintop Battle.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • While taking cover from the German fighters, Henry exclaims, "those people are trying to kill us...! It's a new experience for me." From the mouth of Sean Connery, this is a hilarious inversion. Apart from the number of characters he's played who have been murderously attacked (sometimes successfully), in Real Life, Connery was menaced at gunpoint at least once, by his co-star Lana Turner's boyfriend, mob enforcer Johnny Stompanato, and later received a death threat from the Los Angeles mob.
    • Donovan (whose actor, Julian Glover, played a Bond villain in For Your Eyes Only) shoots Dr. Jones, Sr. with a Walther PPK (befitting himself as a Nazi collaborator). Not only does Sean Connery get shot, he gets shot by his own gun.
    • Also, the opening sequence has Indy getting Harrison Ford's scar (which originated in an auto accident) when using a whip for the first time as a teen.
    • Donovan dies in the same manner as his character Scaroth killed Professor Kerensky in the Doctor Who serial "City of Death".
    • Indy telling his father that he can fly a plane but can't land one is hilarious knowing that Harrison Ford is an accomplished private pilot in real life. Well, for the most part.
    • Indy figures out which cup is real because he knew that Jesus was a humble carpenter, which was Harrison Ford's profession before becoming an actor.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Henry Sr. actually chuckles at his son's quip.
    Henry: I'm as human as the next man.
    Indiana: I was the next man!
  • An Aesop: There's a running theme of unconventional solutions to problems, as embodied by Henry Jones. This kind of thinking does Indy well when he has to get the Grail alone - Donovan's terrible fate comes about from choosing an obvious flashy Grail rather than actually thinking it through. There's also a theme of self-reliance: Indy and Henry work hard for everything they get, while the bad guys' entire plan is basically "get the Joneses to do it, then steal the results". This again backfires on Donovan when he relies on Elsa to choose the Grail rather than thinking for himself.
  • Age Cut: The transition between young Indy receiving the Fedora to Indy on the boat.
  • The Ageless: Drinking from the Holy Grail grants this - so long as the Grail remains inside the tomb. Although, given the knight is extremely frail, it seems that while immortal they are not completely immune to aging.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: The villain shoots Indy's dad in the stomach specifically because he wanted him to die slowly, forcing Indy to recover the Holy Grail which could save him.
  • All That Glitters: The Holy Grail that grants its user immortality is kept inside a room with cups of all shapes and sizes. The old Knight Templar who guards it explains that the final test to prove oneself worthy is to pick out the right one. Donovan allows Elsa to choose for him, and accepts the gem-studded golden chalice she selects as worthy of the son of God. It's the wrong one, and when he drinks he decays into a pile of ashes within seconds. Indiana then chooses the real Grail by remembering that Jesus was a carpenter and would've had a plain cup, not one made of gold.
    Templar: He chose... poorly.
  • All There in the Manual: A few extra details are revealed in the Novelization:
    • Indy wasn't merely caught trying to steal the Cross of Coronado on that ship — it was the climax of an elaborate ruse by Panama Hat to trap and kill Indy, the Cross being the bait. Panama Hat did this because someone wanted to buy the Cross from him (which Panama Hat was desperate to sell because of how badly his finances had been hit by the Great Depression). The buyer stipulated that, as part of the deal, Indy had to be killed. Indy later suspects that the mystery buyer was Donovan, who — in addition to being just the sort of person who would want to own such an artifact — would've wanted to eliminate him in order to stop him from trying to find his father.
    • When Indy reads the Grail diary, he notes that there are six stages of the quest which are represented by animals. He encounters each animal (or a representation of that animal) in the correct order during his adventure. The last is an eagle, which is Indy's spirit animal — the result of a Navajo spirit quest that he undertook when he was 18.
    • Indy's linguistical skill is the result of his father forcing him to learn several foreign languages before he was 18. In Berlin, he thanks him for this.
    • What Elsa said in her sleep that made Henry realize she was a Nazi — "Mein Führer".
    • After the airship has taken off, Indy knocks out a Gestapo agent (who he shoves into the same compartment as the steward) and cuts the radio wires. When the airship turns around, he checks the compartment and realises that the agent has come round and repaired the wires. The steward, who has also recovered, recognises him as the man who knocked him out, forcing Indy and Henry to escape by way of the biplane. A drunk WWI fighter ace who happens to be on board (probably the guy in flying gear seen chatting with passengers before the airship takes off) tries to give chase in a second biplane, but he's so drunk he forgets to start it, and crashes.
    • After being revived by the Grail, Henry asks the Knight why he looks so old. The Knight says it's because for every day he did not drink from the Grail, he aged a year.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Kazim, who after leading the attack on the Germans in the canyon is just about able to utter some last words of warning to Donovan.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: The butler who guards the entrance to the castle that Henry Sr. is held captive in is not pleased with Indy and Elsa disguising themselves as Scottish aristocrats and rebukes them by sarcastically proclaiming himself as "Mickey Mouse". Indy then knocks the butler unconscious after their cover is blown.
  • And Starring: The opening cast roll ends with "and Sean Connery as Professor Henry Jones".
  • Angry Fist-Shake: Vogel does this when he sees the zeppelin he was thrown out of by Indy taking off.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Donovan brags to Marcus that they're about to retrieve the greatest artifact known to mankind, Marcus grimly retorts, "You're meddling with powers you cannot possibly comprehend." Donovan takes no notice but Elsa gives Marcus a troubled look, revealing her own reservations about the quest.
  • Artifact of Death: Any of the False Grails.
  • Artistic License – Cars: The King of Hatay's Description Porn of the Rolls Royce he's given (donated by an American traitor).
    Rolls-Royce Phantom two. 4.3 liter, 30 horsepower, six-cylinder engine, with Stromberg downdraft carburetor, can go from zero to 100 kilometers an hour in 12.5 seconds. And I even like the color.
    • For one, it's not a Phantom II, it's a smaller, cheaper 20/25 hp Rolls-Royce Barker Saloon, and that description is wrong for either car (the Phantom II had a 7.7 L engine and a twin jet downdraft carb made by Rolls, the 20/25 hp a 3.7 L six-cylinder with an SU type carb), the power rating is wrong for both (the 20/25 hp was rated at 25 for taxation purposes, but actual power output is closer to 70 HP, while the Phantom II was never given a power rating. The 20/25 went from 0-100 in 14.5 seconds. The description does match the 25/30, which did have a 4.3 L engine with a Stromberg downdraft carb rated at 30 HP.
    • The motorcycles used to chase Indy are clearly dirtbikes (Honda XL 500s, to be exact) in disguise as BMWs.
    • Though it stretches the definition of "car", the tank used by the Germans appears to be a mock-up of a Tank Mark VIII, an Anglo-American design that only saw service with the US Army. There's no clear reason why the Germans or anyone else would have one in the Middle East.
      • The tank is explained as being owned by the King of Hatay, who had it modified with a turret, and given to the Germans in exchange for the Rolls Royce, detailed above.
    • There were no Kübelwagens in 1938. Ferdinand Porsche wouldn't develop them until 1940. Also, the two seen in the film are given to the Nazis by the Hatayan sultan along with the tank and trucks (they have the Hatayan symbol on them). This is likewise impossible, as Germany never exported the Kübelwagen.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Underground catacombs in Venice. Think about that for just a few moments note . Also, crude (?) oil in said catacombs. Where did it come from?
    • The opening is set in Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah. If you've been there, you know most of the scene and ensuing chase don't make much sense. The film opens with the Boy Scouts heading southeast along the Park Avenue formation. Next, they're seen heading northeast toward The Organ and Tower of Babel. While it looks pretty cinematically, it means they'd have to have been wandering in almost a complete circle for a couple of miles. Then they're heading south along the Balanced Rock, then they've somehow doubled back over 5 miles and are riding northeast near the Three Gossips. Then they'd have to ride over 7 miles back the way they came to get to the Double Arch. If they'd just rearranged the sequence of shots, it would've made far more sense. Also, there's no cave at the Double Arch. On top of that, the entire train sequence is purely for spectacle. It's over 16 miles across desert terrain from the Double Arch back down to Moab, and there's certainly no train that would've gone in that direction and passed through a forested area. The only place anywhere near there that looks remotely like that background is the La Sal Mountains, about 30 miles southeast of Moab.
    • The trail to the Holy Grail starts in Iskenderun, which was originally known as Alexandretta. The city is located in the Republic of Hatay, which is now a part of Turkey. Meanwhile, the Temple of the Sun is actually Al-Khazneh at Petra, Jordan. They're almost 900 kilometers apart, completely across Syria and 2/3rds of the way through Jordan. Let's just say getting there in a tank would be difficult.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Ordering her fellow Nazi officers to go take care of the Jones boys, the female SS officer waves her gun around, which is pointed at her fellow officers.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • It's implied that the knight was from no later than the Third Crusade (1189–1192). The problem is that the first recorded usage of the name "Jehovah" as in the "Path of God" trap the knight set up (or, "Iehovah", as Indy remembers only too late) isn't till 1270. Although it's possible that the knight set up the trap later.
    • The letter "J" itself didn't evolve into an independent letter until the middle ages. Before that, I and J were both used interchangeably, essentially the same letter. This raises an obvious question about the "Path of God" trap; why was the "J" even there?
    • The Castle Brunwald is said to be on the Austrian-German border, and the motorcycle chase scene actually features the security posts on said border. The problem is, the movie is set in 1938, and the Austrian-German border only existed until mid-March of that year. Theoretically, the action could be set in the first few months of the year, but several factors—including a lake that's not frozen over and the abundance of leaves on the trees—point to a timeframe in the spring or summer, making this unlikely.
      • Though the existence of Hatay means it's September 1938 at the earliest.
    • The Cross of Coronado is said to have been given to Coronado by Cortés in 1520. Pretty remarkable considering that in 1520, Coronado was a ten-year-old child still living in Spain and Cortés was conquering the Aztecs on the other side of the Atlantic.
    • The Joneses board a zeppelin to escape Berlin. However, the Hindenburg Disaster happened in 1937, which effectively ended the zeppelin commercial travel industry. The Last Crusade takes place in 1938.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Vogel wears a period-correct black SS uniform, but with a white shirt instead of the mandatory brown one.
    • When in Hatay, he switches to gray Allgemeine-SS uniform, but with an incorrect red Nazi armband and again without the mandatory brown shirt.
    • The German soldiers in Hatay wear something like tropical Wehrmacht uniform (indicating that they are from the regular army and not SS troops) but again with the red Nazi armband, that never was authorized to wear with any field uniform.
    • Indy borrows the uniform of a senior army officer, but with collar patches of NCO.
    • As a whole, the fact that Vogel, relatively low-ranking Allgemeine-SS (uniformed and hierarchical, but largely civilian organization) member is able to boss around the SS-Verfügungstruppen (separate SS branch and an actual military wing of NSDAP) in the castle and the regular German army (that wasn't answering to SS at all) in the Hatay is rather implausible.
    • Women were serving in the SS only in an auxiliary capacity.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • In the catacombs, Indy discovers a stream of petrol and uses a rag plus a bone to create a naked flame torch, which he navigates the rest of the way with. This would realistically ignite the fumes from the petrol and cause an explosion.
    • The tank sequence gets it wrong both ways. When a hapless Nazi driver accidentally impales his car on the tank's main gun barrel, Vogel orders the tank gunner to fire to clear the blockage. It sends the car flying away in one neat clean piece without shredding it but does no damage to the tank, when it reality a blockage of that size would probably have destroyed the entire turret if not the entire tank (generally, shooting a 75mm explosive shell at anything at point-blank range, let alone a car's fuel tank, is a bad idea). Conversely, in this very same action sequence Indy blocks the much smaller side sponson gun with a rock shoved down the barrel, which probably would be harmlessly ejected in real life but in this movie when fired the blockage peels the whole barrel apart like a flower.
  • Artsy Beret: Invoked. Indy borrows female lead Elsa's beret and puts on a ridiculous accent to pose as an effete Scottish art collector in Castle Brunwald. The beret is the whole disguise. It doesn't work.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!:
  • Author Appeal:
    • The Joneses having Parental Issues, a recurring motif for Steven Spielberg.
    • Also, Nazis getting their just desserts. Noticeably, when Donovan is reduced to an ancient pile of bones, a wind blows away some of the dust, prominently revealing his Nazi Party pin.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Indy and Henry may have a strained relationship, but in the end they'd do anything to protect one another. Indy went as far as nearly feeding a man whom he thought killed his father to a boat propeller. Whilst Henry tried to save him from falling, when he tried to get the grail.
  • Back for the Finale: Sallah, who previously aided Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, turns up midway through this film and helps the heroes until the climax.
  • Back in the Saddle: In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marcus implied that he used to be an Adventure Archaeologist like Indy, saying "You know, five years ago, I would've gone after [the Ark] myself." This, therefore, is his first adventure in a long time — and poor Marcus is in way over his head.
  • Bad Boss: Colonel Vogel blows up a carful of his own men after they accidentally get their car impaled on his tank's gun barrel. Then the tank crushes the car's wreckage, just to seal the deal.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the opening sequence, two teenaged Boy Scouts seem to stumble upon a certain fedora-wearing archaeologist at work, until he turns towards the audience and we see it isn't Harrison Ford, with the date (1912) revealed and one Boy Scout calling the other "Indiana".
  • Bait-and-Switch Sentiment: At the castle, Jones Sr. mistakenly knocks out Indy with a vase. When the dust clears and Indy turns out unharmed, Jones Sr. expresses his relief which Indy takes for a sign of compassion from his father. Until it's revealed that Jones Sr. was only happy that the vase that got broken in the process was fake. Granted, Jones Sr. DOES apologize for hitting him, but Indy is still understandably miffed.
  • Balcony Escape: Performed by Indy at Castle Brunwald to reach the room where his father is held without getting detected.
  • Bathos:
    • The dramatic scene of Indy tossing Vogel out of the parking Zeppelin is followed by him explaining the incident as a blind passenger removal to the shocked crowd of passengers who then eagerly produce their tickets to avoid the same treatment.
    • A classic example when an anguished Henry thinks he sees Indy fall off a cliff, and nearly loses it while mourning the son to whom he never properly expressed his love. It's a tremendously moving scene ... until a very bedraggled Indy walks up behind them, wondering why they're all staring over the cliff.
    • And of course, there's the famous one-liner delivered by the knight, after watching Donovan rapidly age to death in a genuinely horrific scene.
      He chose...poorly.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Indy and Elsa after Indy discovers their rooms were ransacked. Following Indy giving her a rundown of how their situation is Serious Business, he gives her a Big Damn Kiss, and:
    Elsa: (Yanking her lips away) How DARE you kiss me?! (Beat; grabs him with a passionate kiss)
    Indy: Now leave me alone—I don't like fast women—
    Elsa: (Nibbling on his ear) And I hate... arrogant men...!
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT call Indy "Junior".
  • Big Damn Heroes: During the fight on the tank, Indy is trying to keep Henry from rolling under the tank treads, with Vogel punching him in the back, when Sallah comes up on horseback and rescues Henry, allowing Indy to focus his attention on fighting Vogel.
  • Bilingual Bonus: During the tank fight, one Nazi comments to Indy getting beat up by saying, "The American, he fights like a woman!" Then Indy hits him in the head with the periscope he was looking through.
  • Binocular Shot: When Indy observes the trek of Nazis moving towards the Temple of the Sun.
  • Blatant Lies: While trying to shoot the fighter planes, Jones Senior machine-guns the tail off their own aircraft.
    Indiana/Henry Jr.: Dad! Are we hit?
    Henry Sr.: More or less... (fake gravitas) Son I'm sorry, they got us.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • The Grail Knight when Donovan drinks from the wrong cup and suffers the consequences.
      "He chose...poorly."
    • And from Marcus Brody, when Henry knocks out a Nazi by spraying him with ink from his pen, causing him to slip and hit his head.
      Marcus: The pen is mightier than the sword!
    • From Henry, after blowing up a plane with a flock of birds:
      Henry: I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne! "Let my armies be the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky."
    • Indy after he has Vogel Thrown from the Zeppelin:
      Indy: (to the incredulous passengers watching) No ticket. (everyone frantically pulls out their tickets and starts waving them to Indy)
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Double-Subverted. Vogel wants to kill Indy and Jones Sr. immediately upon acquiring the Grail diary, but Elsa suggests keeping them alive in case they can't acquire the missing pages from Marcus Brody. However, upon learning about five minutes later that Brody has already been captured, Donovan gives orders to kill them immediately… by which point the Joneses have already begun to escape.
  • Book Burning: Indy and his father catch up to Elsa in Berlin, where she's weeping at the incineration of numerous books.
  • Bowel-Breaking Bricks: Near the end of the climactic tank fight sequence, almost everyone, including Donovan, Elsa, Brody, Henry Jones, Sr., and (probably) a handful of Nazis have abandoned the tank, which is now careening towards the edge of a very, very steep cliff. The only two people who are still oblivious to this fact are Indy and SS Colonel Vogel, who are locked in a rather vicious, back-and-forth fistfight. When they do manage to realize it (with seconds to spare), Indy's trademark fedora is whipped off the back of his head by a strong and sudden gust of wind as the camera focuses on his Oh, Crap! face.
  • Brick Joke: Indy emphatically states to his University students that "X never, ever, marks the spot." See "X" Marks the Spot below for the rest.
  • Call-Back: Henry Sr. muses while perusing his Grail diary, "May he who illuminated this... illuminate me." He later states he was seeking "illumination" at the end.
    • When Henry says "I didn't know you could fly a plane.", Indy says "Fly, yes. Land, no.", referring to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where he didn't know how to fly. Apparently, Indy has learned to fly but still hasn't gotten the grasp on landing yet.
    • It would appear the Germans eventually figured out the trick Indy and company used to hide the truck carrying the Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark as they pull off a similar ruse when capturing Marcus Brody.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Indy gives two very hard-hitting examples.
    • First, as he argues with his father about traveling to Berlin to get the Grail diary.
    Indy: This is an obsession, Dad. I never understood it. Never. Neither did Mom.
    • And later, aboard the zeppelin:
    Henry Sr.: Actually, I was a wonderful father.
    Indy: (incredulously) When?
    Henry Sr.: Did I ever tell you to eat up, go to bed, wash your ears, do your homework? No, I respected your privacy and I taught you self-reliance.
    Indy: What you taught me, was that I was less important to you than people that have been dead for several hundred years and in other countries. And I learned it so well, that we've hardly spoken for twenty years.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • Elsa convinces Vogel to keep the Joneses alive after their capture at Brunwald as a backup option in case they failed to obtain the map from Brody.
    • Also this exchange at the end:
      Walter Donovan: [pointing a gun at Indy] The Grail is mine. And you're going to get it for me.
      Indiana Jones: Shooting me won't get you anywhere.
      Walter Donovan: You know something, Dr. Jones? You're absolutely right. [Shoots Henry Jones in the stomach]
  • Captain Obvious: Indiana's father.
    Henry: These people are trying to kill us!
    Indy: I know, Dad!!!
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • During a tense confrontation, Indy is told to surrender or else Elsa dies. Henry tells him it's a bluff, as Elsa's a Nazi herself.
      Elsa: You should have listened to your father.
    • With his dying words, Kazim warns Donovan that the grail will bring damnation upon the unworthy. Not that Donovan would listen to him.
    • Donovan warns Indy to not trust anybody. Including himself, it seems.
  • Casting Gag: Sean Connery was cast because Steven Spielberg and George Lucas thought the only man who could play Indy's father was James Bond, and because the whole franchise was born out of Spielberg's desire to direct a James Bond movie — so in every sense of the word, James Bond is the father of Indiana Jones.
    • Several actors in the film were in Bond films before. Julian Glover (Donovan) was Bond villain Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only; John Rhys-Davies (Sallah, who had been in the first film, granted) was KGB General Pushkin in The Living Daylights; Alison Doody (Elsa) was Jenny Flex in A View to a Kill, and Vernon Dobtcheff (Castle Brunwald Butler) was Max Kalba in The Spy Who Loved Me. Michael Byrne (Vogel) was cast much later in a small role in Tomorrow Never Dies (the Navy commander).
    • Not a gag, but Julian Glover (Donovan) and Michael Sheard (Hitler) were both in The Empire Strikes Back (also Lucasfilm, of course). Glover was General Veers, commander of the ground forces assigned to Vader's Super Star Destroyer Executor, who led the assault on Hoth. Sheard played Admiral "You Have Failed Me For The Last Time" Ozzel. The General tried to talk Vader out of killing him, so this is the second time that Glover had tried to prolong Sheard's life (well, save that Donovan wants the Grail for himself).
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When Henry Sr. tries to burn through the ropes tying him and his son to their chairs, but drops the lighter and sets the rug on fire.
    Henry Sr.: Junior, I've got to tell you something.
    Indiana: Don't get sentimental, Dad. Save it 'till we get outta here.
    Henry Sr.: The floor is on fire. See?
    Indiana: What?
    Henry Sr.: And the chair!
  • Chair Reveal: Donovan in the castle.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The bridge in the 'Leap of Faith' test is painted to look exactly like the opposing wall, making it functionally invisible from the approaching side. After Indy steps onto it, the camera rotates slightly to show off the trick to the audience, though Indy clearly still can't see it.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    Indiana Jones: "Don't call me Junior!"
    Henry Jones Sr.: This is intolerable!"
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The title.
  • Chase Scene:
    • In the prologue where Panama Hat and his thugs chase Indy who snatched the Cross of Coronado from them.
    • Fleeing Castle Brunwald, the Joneses are pursued by Germans on motorbicycles.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Henry's umbrella he keeps carrying in his suitcase throughout the journey eventually proves to be very useful against incoming Nazi fighter planes.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kazim. He tries to kill Indy in Venice, but they part on relatively good terms. During the battle in the desert, he brings The Cavalry.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Elsa was after the Grail and the Grail alone.
  • City of Canals: Venice itself.
  • Cobweb Jungle: In several caves, most notably in the grail cave.
  • Collapsing Lair: The cave starts to collapse and fissures appear when Elsa tries to cross the seal with the grail.
  • Comically Small Demand: The Germans offer the Sultan of Hatay a large bribe consisting of "treasures donated by the most powerful families in Germany." The only thing that interests the Sultan, however, is the Rolls Royce that the Germans drove up in. In exchange for the car, he gives the Nazis the removal rights for the Holy grail and even throws in an armed escort, including a tank. The novelisation fleshes this out by pointing out that the Sultan is already fabulously wealthy and has plenty of treasures of the kind being 'donated' already, and so from his perspective this is a Comically Small Bribe; he just happens to be keen on cars.
  • Contempt Crossfire: Elsa is visibly distraught at seeing the Nazis burning books, and is shocked that Indy thought she would give up the diary for incineration. Indy refuses to let it change his opinion of her since she's still working for them.
    Elsa: Is that what you think of me? I believe in the Grail, not the Swastika.
    Indy: You stood up to be counted with the enemy of everything that the Grail stands for, who gives a damn what you think!?
  • Continuity Nod:In the Venice catacombs, Indy identifies a painting on the wall as a representation of The Ark of the Covenant.
    Elsa: Are you sure?
    Indiana: (Shrugs with a smirk) Pretty sure....
    • During this exchange, the Ark's theme music is briefly heard.
  • Contrived Coincidence: As a teenager, Indy used a whip for the first time, giving him his chin scar, gets his fear of snakes, and his signature fedora all in the same day.
  • Convenient Escape Boat:
    • Subverted in Venice, while Indiana and Dr. Schneider are fleeing members of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. They find a boat and try to escape, but the Brotherhood members also find boats, pursue and catch up to them.
    • Invoked when Indy and his dad are trying to escape Castle Brunwald. They find several boats and Indy acts like he's going to use one of them to escape, fooling even his father. However, he's really trying to trick the Nazis into thinking they used the boat: he actually plans to escape using a motorcycle with attached sidecar.
    • The zeppelin conveniently carries a biplane which Indy and his father board as soon as they notice the zeppelin changing course.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: Invoked by Indy who ripped out the map from his father's diary, rendering it useless to the Nazis.
  • Conveniently Precise Translation: When Indy translates the lower part of the shield inscription at Donovan's place, the result is flawless and even poetic on his first attempt.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Indy falling onto the tank's continuous track.
  • Cool Car: The Sultan fanboys over the Rolls-Royce Phantom II, and there's a good reason he did. However, the car in the film was actually a Rolls-Royce Barker Saloon, which was nothing to sneeze at either.
  • Cool Train: A young Indy fights mooks aboard a circus train, complete with wild animals.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: In the library scene, Indy tries to break into a secret passage, causing loud echoes... coincidentally in time with a librarian stamping books. At one point, the librarian sets the stamp down and just looks at it.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Panama Hat's operation to recover the Cross of Coronado in 1912 is what puts Indy on the path to becoming the Indiana Jones we know and love (to say nothing of a recurring thorn in his side over the next quarter of a century).
  • Crescent Moon Island: The Holy Grail is kept in a chamber located in a crescent moon-shaped valley, which is indicated in the clue to its location in the journal.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a Middle Eastern group tasked with protecting the Holy Grail, ambushes a German/Hatayan column in the desert seeking it. However, they're armed only with bolt-action rifles against German troops who have hand grenades, machine guns and a tank. Naturally, they are all killed quickly, only succeeding in slowing the column.
  • Dating Catwoman: Indy and this movie's Big Bad Elsa clearly have this dynamic. While they originally hook-up before Indy learns that Elsa is secretly working for the Nazis, both of them show some serious affection for one another over the course of the movie, with Elsa betraying Donovan and Indy trying to save her life in the end.
  • David vs. Goliath: In case you're wondering why Indiana Jones is one of the most badass characters in film history, Spielberg and Lucas kindly provide you with a scene where Indy goes up against a Nazi tank armed with nothing but a horse and a small rock and winning.
  • Deadfoot Leadfoot: The tank operator, inadvertently saving Indy from getting crushed to death. In this case it's more realistic because the driver falls forward onto a throttle lever rather than a pedal.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Panama Hat is implied to have died on his exploding freighter off the coast of Portugal when his hat is seen floating in the water near a swimming Indy.
  • Death by Irony: Donovan tells Indy, before Indy searches for his missing father, not to trust anybody. Then near the end of the film, when it comes time to choose the Grail, he fails to heed his own advice and relies on Elsa to choose for him, remarking that not being a historian, he has no idea which one to pick. She intentionally hands him one of the false ones, thus sealing his fate with irony.
  • Death by Materialism: Elsa, when she is hanging over the fissure created, she tries to grab the grail, ignores Indiana's pleas to give him her other hand and winds up falling to her death for her greed. Henry Sr. notes that she didn't really view the Grail as a holy relic, just an amazing historical artifact.
    • Donovan too, in a way. Elsa picked for him the largest, golden, jewel-incrusted chalice as the Holy Grail, and he went with it without a question because he thought, since Jesus is the King of Kings, it was the one most fitting to have belonged to a king.
  • Decoy Getaway: At Brunwald, Indy fakes an escape with a Convenient Escape Boat in order to buy time for their real escape via motorbike.
  • Decoy Hiding Place: When Fedora thinks he found teenage Indy hiding in a chest on the train only to find it empty and Indy already off the train.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The old knight makes an attempt to attack Indy but can barely lift his sword, and is clearly relieved that Indy "vanquished" him.
  • Defiant Captive: Despite being held captive by Donovan and his Nazi cohorts, Marcus doesn't hesitate to talk back to them.
    Walter Donovan: Care to wet your whistle, Marcus? (holds up a water canteen)
    Marcus: I'd rather spit in your face, but as I haven't got any spit...
    Walter Donovan: Well Marcus, we're on the verge of the recovery of the greatest artifact in the history of mankind!
  • Description Cut: Indy brags that Marcus Brody can blend into any crowd, no matter where he is. Immediately cut to Marcus wandering around the Very Proper British Man asking idiotic questions and standing out like a sore thumb. Indy reveals to his father while alone that he was bullshitting the Nazis.
  • Description Porn: The sultan wanting the Rolls-Royce.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The only movie in the series where this happens. Justified by she was Too Dumb to Live.
  • Disappeared Dad: Well, it's the motivation for Indy to chase after the Grail, but even when they were in the same house, they had no relationship. Especially after Indy's mother and Henry's wife passed away.
  • Discouraging Concealment: The Holy Grail is an ordinary, worn-down drinking goblet placed alongside an array of shiny, elaborately-decorated ones. The idea is that Jesus was a working-class man and couldn't have afforded anything as grand and expensive as anything else on the shelf.
  • Disney Death: Sallah, Henry, and Marcus mourn Indy after seeing the tank he was riding on go over the cliff. Meanwhile, a very alive Indy walks up behind them and curiously looks over their shoulders, wondering what they're staring at.
  • Disney Villain Death: Averted with SS Colonel Vogel; we see his corpse hitting the ground and the tank rolling on him. Played straight with Elsa, who attempts to retrieve the Holy Grail when Indy's holding on to her hand, only for said hand to slip out of the glove it's in, causing her to fall into a bottomless pit.
  • Disturbed Gulls: Weaponized by Jones Sr. when he has an "Eureka!" Moment realizing how to down a plane that was menacing them.
  • Distracting Fake Fight: Indy and his father are held at gunpoint by a group of Nazis at Castle Brunwald. They then start an altercation with each other over the Grail Manuscript which they are now about to lose to the Germans. Indy uses this moment of turmoil to grab the machine gun from one of the baddies to gun down the entire group of them.
  • Dive Under the Explosion: Diving under a coffin.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In-Universe much of his teaching scene revolves around discouraging his fellow students from going on the same adventures he did. He goes on to tell his students that most archealogy is done in the library and not out in the field.
  • Double Take:
    • Upon Indy rejoining the rest of his allies after he seemingly falls to his death, his father looks to him briefly to see who just joined them, then continues mourning him. It takes a good few seconds for the realization to hit him.
    • When Henry Sr. reveals that he knew Elsa was a Nazi due to how she "talks in her sleep", Indy nods in acknowledgement, then there's a pause... and then he looks back to his father in sheer disbelief as he realizes how Henry Sr. would have been in such a position to hear a woman talking in her sleep.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Henry couldn't see that the way he was treating his son would drive a wedge between them.
  • Due to the Dead: Averted by Indiana who treats bones and tombs in the catacombs without any care.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: After Elsa crosses the seal.
  • Eat the Camera: Vogel's Oh, Crap! face zooms in to the camera when he falls to his demise.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When their convoy is ambushed on their way to the Grail Temple, Vogel immediately assumes that Indiana Jones is responsible and leading the attack. A perfectly logical conclusion given the track record of Indiana Jones when dealing with Nazi Germany, but he happens to be wrong as the ambush was the work of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Two for Henry. The opening sees him so invested in his Grail diary that he ignores the fact that Indy has the Cross of Coronado. When Indy is rescuing him from Castle Brunwald, he brains Indy over the head with a vase, thinking him to be a Nazi (who came in through the window), and is immediately more concerned about the vase than Indy's head.
  • Eternal English: Despite being stuck in a cave for centuries with no indication of contact with the outside world, the Grail Knight from the First Crusade speaks perfect 20th-century English.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: We get a brief glimpse of Donovan's loving wife during his introduction.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Elsa may be working for the bad guys, but she definitely does not approve of book burning and anti-intellectualism.
    • Tellingly, Indy doesn't buy it:
      Elsa: I believe in the Grail, not the Swastika!
      Indy: You stood up to be counted with the enemy of everything the Grail stands for; who gives a damn what you think!?
    • There's also the look on her face and her reaction when Donovan shoots Henry Sr. Donovan has to snap at her to "get back!" after she runs over to help him.
    • In the end, Elsa deliberately hands Donovan the wrong cup, dooming him to die.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Well, boat in this case. During the chase scene, when the guys chasing Indy don't quite make it out from between the two large ships, the boat explodes with such force that part of the keel is ejected. The worst that should have happened is the boat getting dented a bit and maybe capsized.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As bad a man as Donovan is, Indy is clearly struggling to resist the urge to warn him when Elsa deliberately hands him the false Grail. And while she's awaiting the grisly spectacle with something like barely suppressed glee, Indy has a solemn expression on his face the whole time, clearly knowing exactly what's going to happen next and that it's something he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy.
  • Evil All Along: Donovan and Elsa turn out to be working for the Nazis.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Donovan only cares about finding the Grail for the promise of immortal life, which is why he deserves his Karmic Death. Elsa only cares about the Grail as an archaeological find, which is why she ignores the Knight's warning that the cup cannot leave the temple. Elsa is also clearly stunned to realize that Indiana wouldn't stoop to any depths in order to find the Grail.
    • Donovan also accepts the gaudy cup because it is "fit for a King of Kings." He doesn't realize or care that Jesus was a carpenter, and would drink from a plain wooden cup.
    • Averted when the elderly Knight informs Donovan that he must select the true Grail from a multitude of phonies. As ruthless as he is, Donovan doesn't bother wasting his time trying to threaten the Knight into revealing the true Grail, as he knows a medieval knight would never betray his solemn duty.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Elsa does this after she's revealed to be a Nazi collaborator, switching from conventional dresses to far more masculine styles of clothing, with accouterments of leather.
  • Exact Words: Just before Indy and Marcus depart for Venice, Donovan warns Indy to be very careful and not to trust anyone. That includes Donovan himself, something the industrialist lampshades to Indy when his true colors are revealed.

    Tropes F to N 
  • Face Death with Dignity: Kazim isn't intimidated by Indy threatening to have him chopped up by a boat propeller, especially as Indy would die as well.
    "My soul is prepared, Dr. Jones! How's yours?"
    • When the temple starts to collapse, the Grail Knight calmly waves goodbye to the Joneses, content to be freed from 700 years of service.
  • Facial Dialogue: Indy and his father have a brief conversation in facial dialogue when Henry reveals that the reason he knew Elsa was a Nazi was she talks in her sleep.
    • The expression of serene, almost eerie calm on Elsa's face is all the audience needs to know that she intentionally gave Donovan the wrong Grail.
    • When Elsa is searching through the room of fake Grails for Donovan, Indy and the Grail Knight share a silent conversation that goes something like "She knows that's not the real Grail. What happens when Donovan drinks from the wrong Grail?" "I have no idea, but it won't be pretty."
  • Failed a Spot Check: This nearly gets Indy killed during the climax of the Tank fight. He's so focused on pummeling Vogel that he doesn't realize the Tank's nearing the edge of a cliff until it's almost too late.
  • Fake Aristocrat: Indy tries to gain entry to the German castle where his father is being held by pretending to be Lord Clarence MacDonald. The castle's butler doesn't buy it.
  • Fake Platform: Tiles that don't spell out Jehovah (with an I) are fake and will drop you into a deep pit.
  • Fatal MacGuffin: The Holy Grail does in fact grant eternal (or at least much extended) life, and healing for the sick and wounded. However, as a test of character, it's kept in a room full of wildly varied cups and those on a grail quest must choose one among them and drink from it. Choosing poorly will result in the drinker aging several thousand years in a few seconds and decaying away into dust. Also, any attempt at removing the true Grail from the premises will result in an earthquake that will make it impossible to leave the place the grail is kept. Elsa plummets to her death when she refuses to give up trying to retrieve the grail. Indy almost suffers the same fate, but is saved when his father, whose life has been spent pursuing the grail, tells him to let it go.
  • Finger in a Barrel: One of the most badass examples in film history, when Indy plugs the side gun barrel of a tank with a tiny rock while riding on horseback.
  • First-Name Basis: At the end Indiana's father addresses him by name for the first time, having spent the entire movie calling him "Junior".
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Indy meets his father at the castle, he is shocked to learn that the Nazis were after the Grail diary. Cue the Nazi officer, informed by Elsa, entering and demanding the diary from Indy.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: After Indiana loses during his first attempt to retrieve an artifact Fedora tells him "You lost today, kid. That doesn't mean you have to like it", a catchphrase Indiana used in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Forceful Kiss: Indy forces a kiss on Elsa in Venice. She scolds him for it but then goes for another kiss herself.
  • Foreshadowing: Multiple examples.
    • When young Indy comes home, there's a shot held on the dog seeing him arrive, which seems to be a pointless reaction shot. It's later revealed the dog is Indiana, and Indy (whose real name is actually Henry as well) is nicknamed after him.
    • There is also a subtle yet noticeable length in which the camera focuses on Donovan pouring a drink toasting to Long-Life for Indy and himself, foreshadowing with cruel irony the nature of his demise when he drinks from the fake Grail.
    • When Indy meets Donovan, he's told "We're only one step away" from finding the Grail, to which Indy says "That's usually where the ground falls out underneath you.". Towards the end, when Elsa attempts to take the Grail out of the temple, it makes the whole temple collapse, and ground fell beneath her. There is also the pitfall trap in which stepping on the wrong letter while spelling God's name will cause the ground to fall out from beneath you.
    • "Archaeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it's Truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is just down the hall. So forget any ideas you have about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure and X never, ever marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research and reading. We cannot afford to take mythology at face value." Indy goes on to spend the rest of the film proving his own lecture wrong — In the library, it's the Roman numeral X that marks the tomb entrance, a lot of Grail mythology is indeed taken at face value and much of the quest involves following a map to find the treasure. Admittedly, the reading and research for the necessary facts had already been done by Henry Jones — forty years of research to prepare for a couple of weeks of action.
    • Elsa telling Indy he has his father's eyes. Initially, it can be taken as a casual remark on family resemblance, but then it's revealed just how well she knows Indy's dad's eyes...
    • Kazim's intel to Indy, which reveals Henry Jones Sr. is behind held at a castle on the Austrian-German border. It's the first hint that the Nazis are involved in the Grail Quest.
    • Indy's dad's house has a representation of a knight walking over a chasm with no visible bridge. Guess what the third trial entails...
    • The nameless Nazi mook who is carried off on the tank track and presumably fatally thrown into the tank's path foreshadows the fate that Henry nearly suffers himself a few minutes later.
    • Donovan's three-man escort. They surround Indy in a threatening manner and it seems like he's in for an unpleasant time - before the smash cut to him enjoying Donovan's swanky penthouse. It's our first hint that Donovan is actually the villain.
  • Four Is Death: All four tests guarding the Grail have multiple ways of killing those who seek it. The first test has decapitation and bifurcation. The second and third tests cause those who step the wrong way to plummet to their deaths. The fourth and final test causes those who choose poorly to age rapidly and crumble to dust.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: After Elsa hands Donovan the cup, watch her closely. She turns towards Indy and shakes her head, and also just barely smirks in the background after Donovan takes a drink. Behind her, the Grail Knight also looks away, foreshadowing that he knows that's a false Grail and what's about to happen Donovan.
    • As Indiana runs back with the Grail to heal his father, you can see the cuts on the left side of his face and his lip have been healed.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: The climax sees Indy dangling over a chasm, with one hand held by his father and the Holy Grail within reach of the other. Knowing how important Grail is to Henry, who has spent his entire life looking for the Grail to the detriment of their relationship, Indy tries to extend his fingers to retrieve it, but Henry tells Indy that his hand is slipping and implores him to let the Grail go and give him his other hand so that he can pull him up. It's this moment where Indy realises that he's more important to his father than the Grail, and gives Henry his other hand to be pulled to safety.
  • Funny Background Event: When Marcus is offered water by Donovan and stops to snark at him before taking it, he never actually gets to drink - Vogel snatches the canteen from him to take a swig before relaying plot-relevant info to Donovan. Marcus's annoyed glare in the background is amazing.
  • Genre Blindness:
    • Indy's a lot less savvy compared to the other films. Henry Sr. called him out over his idiocy in bringing the Grail diary to the place where he was being held hostage.
      • He does, however, wisely tear a few pages out, making the diary useless without them.
    • He also misses a huge red flag when Elsa is taken hostage at gunpoint and urges Indy to surrender to her captor. No Damsel in Distress that's actually on the hero's side ever does that, and what's worse, his dad is right there with him, warning Indy that it's a setup.
      • Indy's Genre Blindness could arguably be justified in-story because of his father's presence/involvement. Between his complicated history with his old man and worrying for someone not suited to fieldwork, Indy's off his game.
  • Genre Savvy: Colonel Vogel. He correctly urges Donovan to let him kill the Joneses when they've been captured at Castle Brunwald (though he does grudgingly accede to Elsa's counter-argument that they need to keep them alive until they receive confirmation Marcus and the Diary have been recovered). He also correctly concludes that the Joneses didn't risk going to Berlin to recover the Diary for more sentimentality (as Indy lied to Elsa). Vogel correctly deduces that the Joneses know something and that Diary is still crucial even without the Map (though he's unable to convey this to Donovan before the Tank Chase begins).
    • That being said, Vogel's also Genre Blind. He leaves Indy and his father tied up alone to escort Donovan and Elsa to their cars (which gives the Joneses their opening to escape).
  • Giant Mook: Recurring supporting actor Pat "Bomber" Roach as an S.S. officer, though his fight scene was cut.
  • Groupie Brigade: While in Berlin to retrieve the Grail diary, Indy gets tangled up in a mob of Nazis who are members of Hitler's fan club.
  • Gun Struggle:
    • During the Venice boat chase, one of the Brothers of the Cruciform Sword jumps onto Indy and Elsa's boat and he and Indy struggle over the Brother's gun, with two bullets narrowly missing Elsa.
    • Henry and a German fight inside the tank over a pistol.
  • Guy in Back: Indy's dad plays this role when they steal a German fighter. Unfortunately, he shoots off their own tail.
    Indy: Dad! Were we hit?
    Henry, Sr.: More or less. Son, I'm sorry. They got us.
  • Hand Signals: After Colonel Vogel gives a "move forward" signal, a World War I era tank rolls into sight.
  • Hand Stomp: As Indy is desperately holding onto the cannon of the Nazi tank, Colonel Vogel grabs a shovel and starts hitting Indy's hands with it.
  • Hard Head: Indy knocks out quite a few Nazis with his bare hands, yet in the same movie getting hit with the (fake) Priceless Ming Vase only stuns him for a moment.
  • Hats Off to the Dead: Indiana Jones is on top of a tank as it topples over the edge of a cliff. After it falls, Sallah, Indy's father and Marcus Brody rush over to the edge of the cliff and look down. Since it appears that Indy has fallen to his death, Sallah takes off his fez.
  • Healing Potion: Water placed in the Holy Grail will heal the wounds of and even grant immortality to anyone who drinks it.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Near the climax of the tank fight, Indiana fights against Vogel, but had to stop when Henry Sr. winds up getting knocked onto the tank's tread. He uses his whip to catch him by the ankle to prevent him from getting crushed to death all while Vogel attacks him. Once Sallah gets Henry Sr. to safety, Indy turns his attention to Vogel and proceeds to smash his face repeatedly on the tank's roof.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: An old male peasant is replacing a hubcap on his old car when it pulls away from him without warning. Indy, of course, is at the wheel.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: The fighter pilots chasing Indy and Henry in their car fail to hit them as they only manage to shoot the ground behind them.
  • Hollywood Torches: Indy created one from a bone, rags and petroleum while exploring the catacombs under Venice.
  • Holy Grail: The Nazis are seeking the grail to make their armies immortal.
  • Holy Is Not Safe:
    • While the Holy Grail itself is (relatively) safe, it is protected by a number of lethal traps, including dozens of Fake Grails. Drinking from a Fake Grail causes a horrible death by Rapid Aging.
    • The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword is willing to do anything to protect the Grail, including murder.
  • Humble Hero: Because Indy remembers Jesus Christ was born from common origins, he's able to see that the right Grail is the simple cup a carpenter would have drunk from.
  • Hypocritical Humor: On a meta-level. Indy is stunned that his father actually slept with Elsa, saying "It's disgraceful. You're old enough to be her father—her grandfather!". Harrison Ford is 24 years older than Alison Doody, and Sean Connery was only 12 years older than Ford, so they're both old enough to be her father.
  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Markus turns away in disgust when another head rolls in his direction at the temple. This way he looks straight into the barrel of a Nazi gun.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: This is why Henry didn't suspect Donovan until it was too late: he knew the man was greedy and amoral, but it was unthinkable to him that this would extend to selling out his own country, least of all to the Nazis.
  • Immortality Field: Drinking from the Holy Grail extends the drinker's life ... but it cannot be taken outside the Grail Temple's Great Seal because it will cause the place to collapse. To continue extending one's life, one must stay in the temple and repeatedly drink from the Grail like the Grail Knight, as supported by an excerpt from the Novelizationnote .
    The knight descended the rest of the stairs. "Many times my spirit faltered, and I could not bear to drink from the cup, so I aged, a year for every day I did not drink. But now at last, I am released to death with honor, for this brave knight-errant cometh to take my place."
    • It's mentioned that the other two knights reappeared over 100 years after disappearing on their quest for the grail (presumably having spent considerable time in the temple) and died of extreme old age within days of returning to civilization.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The novelization reveals Panama Hat has become this by the time Indy catches up to him in 1938 (thanks to the economic fallout of the Great Depression).
  • Improvised Weapon: A flagpole, a fountain pen, and an umbrella are all used for dispatching various mooks.
  • Indignant Slap: Henry Jones, Sr. is telling Indy that they have to go to Berlin to retrieve his diary, as it contains vital clues to finding the Holy Grail. Indy is more concerned about Marcus Brody. Henry says that Marcus would agree with him. Indy's reply, "Two selfless martyrs. Jesus Christ!" Henry slaps him at that point, and informs him that it was for the blasphemy.
    Henry Sr.: The quest for the Grail is not archaeology; it's a race against evil. If it is captured by the Nazis, the armies of darkness will march all over the face of the Earth! Do you understand me?
  • Indy Ploy: Lampshaded by Boy Scout Indiana as he descends to the excavation site.
    Other scout: What, what are you gonna do?
    Indy: I don't know. I'll think of something.
    • He says it again when he and Elsa are trying to figure out how to get into Brunwald Castle.
  • Inexplicable Cornered Escape: A teenage Indiana Jones is trying to escape several pursuers while on a circus train. He ends up in the caboose (which is full of magician's equipment) and hides in a box. When a pursuer enters, the box opens but Jones is gone. The pursuer opens the rear door of the caboose and sees Jones running away down the railroad tracks. The box was a special magician's box with a hidden escape mechanism.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: While watching the German convoy, escorted by a tank, Henry expresses some concern, to which Indy assures him they're well out of range. Then the tank fires a shell which destroys Sallah's car some distance behind them.
    Sallah: That car belonged to my brother-in-law!
  • Ironic Echo: When Henry first sees Indy gun down a few Nazi soldiers, he exclaims "Look what you did!" in shock. A mere few days later, while stuck in a tank, Henry blows away an incoming truck of Nazi goons with the side gun. Marcus exclaims "Look what you did!" in response, in the same tone to boot.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Indy's father asks him this as they're escaping from Castle Brunwald.
  • It Belongs in a Museum: Trope Namer. Indy says it to "Panama Hat" regarding the Cross of Coronado. Twice. The second time, he gets it thrown back at him (see Self-Deprecation, below).
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword will do anything to safeguard the Grail's location, including setting fire to and completely destroying the knight's tomb.
  • I Warned You: When Donovan's true colors are revealed, the industrialist reminds Indy that he did warn Dr. Jones not to trust anyone.
  • Just Plane Wrong:
    • The biplane Indy and his father fly from the zeppelin is a Tiger Moth RAF trainer. It's unlikely the Luftwaffe would have a British biplane as, although there were trade agreements, they had a decent selection of their own planes to choose from.
    • Indy and his father take a zeppelin flight from Berlin. Zeppelins only departed from Frankfurt and Friedrichshafen, not Berlin. Further, its designation is D-138. All zeppelins designations were "D-LZ (number)", and even if this is meant to be consistent with real zeppelins, no zeppelins were built past the D-LZ130 Graf Zeppelin II, and commercial passenger zeppelin travel ceased after the Hindenburg disaster.
    • A borderline example is the fighter plane that chases Indy in the biplane, which is played by a postwar Swiss Pilatus P-2 trainer. The P-2 was based on the Arado Ar-96, a German trainer and while it may seem odd for a trainer to be used, many were armed with MG 17s and bomb racks for armaments training, meaning their use may have been the result of a training unit being the closest when the orders came down the chain of command. It's possible that it was actually meant to be an Ar-96, with the P-2 simply being used as a stand-in.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Downplayed when the Joneses go to Berlin to retrieve the Grail Diary. Part of the risk is the Nazis think the only relevant pages (the Map to the Canyon of the Crescent Moon) are with Marcus; they don't know Henry Sr. recorded clues on the Grail Temple's defenses. So, if the Joneses get caught, the Nazis are rightly going to wonder why they risked braving the heart of Hitler's domain to retrieve a now-worthless Diary — especially as one would've expected them to flee Germany to try and hook up with Marcus (as they didn't know he'd been captured when they escaped Castle Brunwald). To disguise the true motive, Indy intentionally misdirects Elsa (who is shocked that he came back for the Diary) by playing up his father's sentimentality and making her think Henry Sr. didn't want it incinerated. Elsa buys it (between her own horror at the Nazis' anti-intellectualism and her own conflicted feelings for both Jonses).
    • However, it then gets subverted later with Vogel. Unlike Elsa, he sees right through the misdirection. Vogel correctly deduces the Diary's still in play and the Jonses were trying to hide something (though he's unable to convey this to Donovan before the Tank Chase).
  • Karmic Death: Both Walter Donovan and Dr. Elsa Schneider die because of their overwhelming desire for the Grail. Indy himself almost suffers the same fate for the same reason, but his father's intervention saves him.
  • Kick the Dog: The Nazis' attempted bribe to the ruler of Hatay of a large chest of gold and silver objects 'donated' by "some of the most prominent families in Germany". This being the Nazis, it's not hard to guess who they were taken from.
    • It was originally explicitly stated. A last-minute Bowdlerization removed the adjective "Jewish" from the description of said donors.
    • Vogel also has a supremely douchey moment when he blows up a carful of his own men that was blocking the tank's main gun after accidentally crashing into it. To make matters worse, they're explicitly shown to still be alive and trying to free themselves when he fires. Then the tank crushes the exploded car.
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: Early in the film, Indy finds himself surrounded by several tough-looking men... and is brought to Donovan's office, who apologizes for taking such measures before asking for Indy's help. Ultimately subverted when Donovan turns out to have been Evil All Along.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    "You call this archaeology?"
    • When Indy and Henry Sr. are being pursued by Nazi airplanes:
    Henry: I think they're trying to kill us!
    Indy: I KNOW, DAD!
    Henry: Well, this is a new experience for me.
    Indy: *rolls eyes* It happens to me all the time. Come on!
    • When Indy miraculously survives riding a tank over a cliff, we see Marcus pointing to Indy and then the shattered tank below as he mutters to himself, clearly questioning how Indy is alive.
  • Land in the Saddle: Indy tries this one in the prologue sequence. The horse moves. The mooks chasing him repeat the process, but with a truck, which is rather better-behaved.
  • Leap of Faith: Referred to by name, as Indy has to jump into what looks like a bottomless pit onto a very narrow bit of land painted to be identical to the environs.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Amusingly subverted. Indiana gives a lecture, but he spends all his time warning his students that the Adventurer Archaeologist trope is never true to life. Then, of course, he promptly goes on to spend the rest of the film doing exactly that.
    • Played with: said adventure was only possible because his father had spent his life doing actual archaeology.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Henry Jones on several occasions, which shows where Indy clearly got it from.
    • During the tank chase, he manages to take out one Nazi soldier with a pen and then doesn't hesitate to grab the controls of the side sponson gun and blow away a whole truckload of Wehrmacht soldiers. Earlier in the film, he successfully manages to make a Nazi fighter pilot crash by scaring a flock of birds into his path.
    • Even Marcus gets a moment when he gives the Nazi who's strangling Henry a good whack across the skull with a discarded artillery shell.
  • Lighter and Softer: The film is more adventurous and light-hearted than the previous Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In some ways, it's even lighter than Raiders, with a considerable amount of comedy.
  • Literal-Minded: When escaping the fighter planes in a biplane.
    Indiana: Dad! Eleven o'clock!
    Henry: (checks his watch) What happens at eleven o'clock?
    Indiana: (annoyed and points in the directions of his left) TWELVE! ELEVEN! TEN! ELEVEN O'CLOCK! FIRE!!!
  • The Load: Henry and Marcus are both lifelong scholars, not adventurers, and thus are only hindrances out in the field with Indiana. Though Henry manages to adapt his thinking to be more helpful as the film goes on.
  • Low Clearance: In a pursuit between a Nazi pilot in his plane and Indy and his father in a car, they reach a narrow tunnel which breaks the plane's wings off as it grinds on the road humorously by the car it was pursuing before exploding at the end.
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: Henry specializes in this.
    • First he accidentally presses the lever that transports him and Indy into the secret command center at Brunwald.
    • A little later he activates a secret exit from the attic by leaning backwards on a chair.
  • MacGuffin: The Grail diary. However, the villains think the only thing they need from it is the map, which Indy had already removed. Once they capture Marcus Brody and the map, they lose interest in the diary and Elsa decides to keep it as a "souvenir" (and presumably spare it from being burned). It turns out the Jones need the diary since it contains information on how to avoid the traps. Unaware of it, Elsa was surprised Indy came to Berlin to retrieve it and Colonel Vogel questions Henry Sr. of its supposed importance.
  • MacGuffin Blindness: The Holy Grail's in front of them, and they know what it is, but they don't know which one it is. Classic Needle in a Stack of Needles, but Elsa is able to convince Donovan to drink from the wrong one.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Subverted when Indy literally hands Hitler the book explaining everything about the Holy Grail, its location, and how to retrieve it safely. Hitler has absolutely no idea of the book's significance, and mistakes Indy for an autograph hunter.
    • Invoked by Donovan when he holds Indy at gunpoint, demanding that Indy face the traps to get the Grail. When Indy refuses, Donovan forces him into going by shooting Henry Sr.
  • Made of Incendium: A small fire caused by a dropped Zippo lighter turns into an uncontrollable blaze incredibly quickly, especially in the middle of a stone castle.
  • Make Them Rot: The Big Bad falls victim to this by choosing the wrong Grail to drink from.
  • Masquerade Enforcer: The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword will do anything to safeguard the Grail's location, including setting fire to and completely destroying the knight's tomb.
  • May–December Romance: Indiana calls Henry out when he realizes they both slept with Elsa.
    Indiana: It's disgraceful, you're old enough to be her... her grandfather.
    Henry Sr.: I'm as human as the next man!
    Indiana: I was the next man!
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • While Indy is taking on the second trial, he doesn't notice Donovan and Elsa behind him, preparing to follow in secret.
    • When Donovan is about to drink from the Grail, Elsa shoots a very sour glance at Indy (followed by a Traitor Shot of her). Meanwhile, Indy is struggling with this compulsion to tell Donovan he's making a bad mistake.
  • Meeting-the-Parents Sequel: Indy's dad is introduced.
  • Mickey Mousing: The playful soundtrack when Young Indy tries to Land in the Saddle but fails.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The opening sequence of young Indiana in 1912 Utah trying to save the Cross of Coronado from tomb robbers shows us how he developed his Indy Ploy skills, picked up the use of the whip, developed his fear of snakes, and where he got that cool hat. Then the film Age Cuts from River Phoenix to Harrison Ford, under the fedora hat.
  • Motorcycle Jousting: Indiana Jones charges a Nazi motorcyclist using a flagpole as an improvised lance (to his medieval historian father's visible delight).
  • Mugged for Disguise:
    • Indy beats up a Nazi officer for his uniform at the Nazi book-burning rally in Berlin, but unlike in Raiders, he gets a perfect fit from the start.
    • Later, he follows a zeppelin attendant to an off-screen area to get his uniform as Nazi agents approach him and his dad. Amusingly, much like the example in Raiders, the zeppelin attendant's uniform is too small for Jones. He manages to squeeze into it but is visibly uncomfortable.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Elsa is crying during the anti-intellectual book burning at the Nazi rally.
  • Mystical Cave: The Holy Grail is kept in a candlelit shrine in a remote cave, and can't be removed from the cave. In between the cave mouth and the shrine are three tests of worth for anyone who tries to approach.
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: When young Indy, a teenage Eagle Scout, is fighting a grave robber on top of a circus train car, a rhinoceros starts poking its horn through the roof. As the thug pins Indy down, the horn comes up between their legs, this distraction allows Indy enough time to push off the thug and escape.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The Holy Grail is hidden amongst other grails, and Indy must figure out which of them is the true Grail.
  • Never My Fault: Jones Sr. refuses to believe that the almost non-existent relationship between himself and his son is his fault.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Henry Sr. subverts this at the Berlin airport, then plays it straight aboard the zeppelin during Colonel Vogel's search. Unfortunately, Vogel sees right through this.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: At the end neither Indy nor the Nazis have the Grail. It's lost forever as the interior of the Grail Temple is swallowed up by an earthquake.
  • No Name Given: In the flashback opening, the looters who steal the Cross of Coronado are credited simply as "Fedora" and "Panama Hat". (The former is addressed as Garth by one of his cronies.)
  • Noodle Incident: Marcus "got lost in his own museum". No context is given, but it's used to point out how above his head and helpless he is. The Ultimate Guide has stated that Marcus specifically got lost in the museum's archive room. Still no context.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Elsa Schneider states explicitly that she does not actually support or care for the Nazis' ideals, but rather only allied with them just to locate the Grail. Walter Donovan is also unconcerned with the Nazis' philosophy. However, after Donovan dies the camera lingers on the swastika pin amidst his ashes as they're blown away by the wind, suggesting that he was not as different from them as he claimed to be.
    • Indy tells Elsa that she chose her allies willingly, so it doesn't matter what her ideals are - they're already corrupted by the Nazis. Of course, Indy says it more succinctly:
    Elsa: Is that what you think of me? I believe in the Grail, not the swastika!
    Indiana: Yet you stood up to be counted with the enemy of everything the Grail stands for. Who gives a damn what you think?!
  • Not Now, Kiddo: When Young Indy comes home to present the Cross of Coronado to his father, the latter cuts him off and demands him to count to twenty in Greek.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying Over You: The film has Indy apparently falling off a cliff with a tank, the group with him leans over to see the tank hit the ground and not notice him crawling up a set of vines a few feet down. Indy notices the group mourning him and leans over himself to see what they're looking at only for the group to notice him soon after.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Elsa tries to pull this on Indy after being revealed as The Mole. Indy isn't having it. At the end of the film, when she falls to her death because of being unwilling to give up on the Grail and Indy is barely able to resist doing the same, so it seems she wasn't entirely wrong.
    Elsa: [Coyly] Don't give me that look. We both wanted the Grail. I would have done anything to get it. You would have done the same.
    Indiana: [Quiet disgust] I'm sorry you think so.
  • Novelization: The film was novelised by Rob McGregor. More details here. McGregor went on to write a further six novels detailing some of Indy's adventures in the 1920s.
  • Nuclear Candle: Indy's zippo lighter illuminates a large area at the catacombs under Venice.

    Tropes O to Z 
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Baking soda was applied to Sean Connery to create Henry's bullet wound. Vinegar was applied to create the foaming effect as the water from the Grail washes it away.
  • Off with His Head!: The first of the Grail traps is a circular saw blade at neck level, hidden behind a mass of cobwebs. Those who fail to show penitence before God (by kneeling) get their heads sliced off, as the last guy before Indy and at least one unfortunate schmuck before him find out.
    • Much more subtly, there is a second sawblade that erupts through the floor. Given this is a Crusade-era trap, it is theorized that this second blade is purely to kill Muslims who bend forward after kneeling. It would also deal effectively with any would-be raiders who, observing the severed heads of their comrades rolling down the passage, might try to beat the trap by crawling through the tunnel.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • During the tank fight, Indy notices that the tank is about to go over a cliff — and his hat falls off for the first time in the series. After he reaches safety, the hat is deposited next to him by the wind.
    • When Henry Jones Sr. attempts to use Indiana's zippo lighter to burn through the ropes tying them up, he accidentally drops it, setting the whole room on fire.
    • Vogel's face is one when, while trying to arrest Jones. Sr., he turns around to give a piece of his mind to the flight attendant demanding to see a ticket... and sees that it's Indy about to deck him.
    • Vogel gets another one during the tank chase when he orders the tank to turn in pursuit of Indy... and then realizes they're about to hit a car coming towards them.
    • Indy's reaction when he sees the shadows at their table and realizes the zeppelin is changing course.
    Indy: We're turning around. They're taking us back to Germany!
    • A really, really, really near-tragic example when Henry Jones Sr. and co think that Indy has fallen to his death with the tank as it went over the cliff. As the crushing realization sinks in that his only son is dead (or so he thinks) Henry Sr. is visibly devastated and laments that he never told his son "anything" (presumably that he loved him). Fortunately, Indy turns up alive and well.
    • Indy gets another one of these when he realizes the point of the first "test of God" is to kneel, and that he's about to get his head chopped off. He ducks and rolls in time to avoid the razor.
    • Indy gets a barely restrained one when he suddenly comes face-to-face with none other than Adolf Hitler himself. Fortunately, his Nazi disguise causes the Fuhrer to mistake him for a fanboy officer, and Indy walks away with a new addition to the Grail Diary ... Hitler's autograph.
    • The dramatic musical sting that plays when Donovan drinks from the wrong Grail signals that he has just enough time to realize that he chose poorly before being reduced to dust.
      Donovan: What's happening to me...?
  • Omniglot: Jones tries to pretend that Marcus is also one of these... it's just that his familiarity is limited to dead languages.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Indy accidentally pulls this on three Nazi mooks with a pistol. He is visibly surprised when it happens.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, as a few jokes come from the fact that both Indy and Henry can be referred to as "(Dr.) Jones".
    Donovan: Colonel! Jones is getting away!
    Vogel: [having just captured Henry] I think not, Herr Donovan.
    Donovan: Not that Jones, the other Jones!
  • Only Good People May Pass: Invoked with the Temple of the Sun, in which there are three challenges to finally get to the Holy Grail, and only those who are "pure of heart" (by Medieval Christian norms) can pass them. Even passing all the challenges, the Grail itself should be chosen wisely to avoid a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: One way of interpreting how to get past the three trials to reach the Grail. It definitely applies to the fourth and final trial of figuring out which cup in the Grail room is the real one. Donovan, being neither a scholar nor a true believer, is expecting a gaudy cup fit for a king of kings, while both Indy and Elsa know the true Grail would be that used by a humble carpenter.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Despite playing an American character with the accompanying accent, there are several instances where Julian Glover's British accent slips through into Donovan's dialogue. For example, "J-oh-ns is gettin' away!"
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: The Grail Knight just happens to always be sitting or standing in a pillar of pale blue light, while most of the environment around him is orangish-brown.
  • Out of the Frying Pan:
    • When Jones Sr. and Indy escape from the room on fire via the turning fireplace, after originally pulling a 360 and ending up right back where they started, they wind up in the Nazis' main office where a band of soldiers opens fire on them.
    • When young Indy comes face-to-face with a snake on the circus train, he pulls a rolling maneuver to get away, only to fall into an entire vat of snakes instead.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Indy carries Elsa this way when she gets squicked out by the Swarm of Rats in the catacombs under Venice.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted. Indy swapping hats and jackets with Elsa and posing as a Scottish art collector to trick his way into Castle Brunwald. The butler isn't fooled though.
    Butler: If you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!
  • The Pen Is Mightier: Marcus utters the whole phrase after Henry uses the ink of his pen against one Nazi.
  • Pet the Dog: The scene in Berlin is the first step in the movie's attempt to make the audience hate Elsa a little less after her betrayal is revealed. She's distraught watching the Nazis burn books, and — as she points out — she refuses to scream and get Indy captured or killed.
  • Piggybacking on Hitler: Donovan makes it plain he has no interest in the Nazis or their agenda, and is only making use of their resources to get his hands on the Grail. He apparently didn't know what happened to Belloq making the same argument ("This... this is history!") in Raiders.
    Walter Donovan: What do you say, Jones? Ready to go down in history?
    Indiana Jones: [contemptuous] As what? A Nazi stooge like you?!
    Walter Donovan: A Nazi? [chuckles] Is that the limit of your vision? The Nazis want to write themselves into the Grail legend, take on the world. Well, they're welcome to it, but I want the Grail itself, the Cup that gives everlasting life. Hitler can have the world, but he can't take it with him. I'm going to be drinking my health when he's gone the way of the dodo.
  • Pinball Projectile: The tank driver is killed by an errant bullet that ricochets off several surfaces before hitting him in the forehead.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Marcus Brody is knocked out by a pistol wielded by a member of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword.
  • Plot Parallel: As Spielberg describes it, the search for the father IS the search for the Holy Grail.
  • Plot-Triggering Book: At the beginning, young Indy tries to talk to his father, who's too busy writing his diary about Holy Grail lore to listen. In the present, Indy gets a strange package from Venice before being approached by Walter to lead an expedition to find the Holy Grail after the previous leader disappeared. When he refuses, Donovan reveals that his father had been the previous leader. And Indy realizes that the package was actually his father's diary, setting the stage for Indy to look for his father and the Grail.
  • Plummet Perspective: Subverted. The Holy Grail didn't fall far — but it might as well have.
  • Poison and Cure Gambit: Donovan pulls a variation of this trope by shooting Indy's father in the stomach to coerce Indy into retrieving the Grail.
    Donovan: You can't save him when you're dead. The healing power of the Grail is the only thing that can save your father now. It's time to ask yourself what you believe.
  • Poisoned Drink Drop: When Walter picks the chalice he believes is the Holy Grail, he takes a drink from the water font. Initially, nothing happens, but then he seizes up and drops the chalice before rapidly aging and dying.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Indiana and Elsa during the boat chase.
    Indy: Are you crazy?! Don't go between them!
    Elsa: Go between them?! Are you crazy?!
    Indy: I said go around!
    Elsa: You said "Go between them!"
    Indy: I said DON'T go between them!
  • Portal Statue Pairs: There are two lion statues at the entrance to the Temple of the Sun that harbors the Holy Grail.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: It turned out to be fake. But Henry can only tell after he breaks it.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Colonel Vogel does this to Indiana Jones by threatening to shoot Elsa Schneider. It was a bad move.
  • Put on a Bus: Downplayed, but Marion Ravenwood. Chronologically, this is 2 years after Raiders and her and Indy's reunion and reconciliation (as opposed to Temple, wherein Marion's absence was justified due it taking place the year before Raiders). Yet, Marion's nowhere to be seen and she isn't even mentioned in passing. The unstated implication is her and Indy's second romance didn't work out and they went their separate ways (something Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will subsequently confirm).
  • The Radio Dies First: Indy sabotages the zeppelin's radio to prevent Vogel from ordering it turned around. It's only partly successful, as the zeppelin eventually turns around because the radio is dead.
  • Ransacked Room: Happens twice:
    • Before Indy leaves the United States, Henry's house was ransacked by Nazi agents.
    • After Indy reaches Venice both his and Dr. Schneider's rooms are turned upside down. It turns out that Dr. Schneider's room being ransacked was Invoked, as she was a Nazi spy and the ransacking was staged.
  • Rapid Aging: The fate of anyone who drinks from the wrong grail (or at least the specific one Donovan drank from).
  • Rapid Hair Growth: Donovan drinks from a false Holy Grail and suffers from Rapid Aging, including having the hair on his head grow very quickly.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Colonel Vogel ordering the chest of golden objects to be brought forward.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • How could Indy get away with punching a Nazi officer on a zeppelin and tossing him overboard in the middle of Germany? "No ticket."
    • Indy gets caught up in a book-burning ceremony with the diary the Nazis have been desperate to get their hands on, and then he bumps right into Adolf Hitler himself. What does he do? Hands over the diary so Hitler can autograph it.
  • Reminder Failure: Henry Jones Sr. kept a notebook so he wouldn't have to memorize everything, so when he loses it, retrieving it becomes a major plot point.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Henry Jones Sr. unintentionally tosses his son's "lucky charm" when it burns his hand.
  • Revisiting the Roots: After the lukewarm reception of Temple of Doom, this movie is designed to emulate the same basic pattern as Raiders. Opening gambit with the recovery of an artifact (made unique being it starts with Indy as a kid and includes a Time Skip), giving a lecture back in the states, then recruited for a job. On top of that Marcus and Sallah return, Nazis as the bad guys and the MacGuffin has Judeo-Christian origins. The movie also veers away from the grisly violence and dark atmosphere of Temple, settling back into a breezy (but still perilous) adventure with mostly Bloodless Carnage and doubling down on comedy, right down to a whimsical score in most of Henry Sr.'s scenes.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Indy, his father, Sallah, and Marcus ride off on their horses towards the sunset at the end of the film.
  • Rule of Symbolism: While Indy reads the grail tablet at Donovan's place, Donovan pours some champagne into champagne glasses.
  • Rule of Three: Subverted. Henry has found clues to three tests guarding the Grail and recorded them in his diary, but when Indy gets past them all, he finds a previously-unmentioned fourth: finding the true Grail among a sea of copies.
  • Running Gag:
    • After Indy says, "X never ever marks the spot", everything has X marking the spot.
    • "Ah, Venice!"
  • Saved by the Coffin: The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword sets fire to the tomb complex Indy and Dr. Schneider are exploring for clues to the Holy Grail. The pair overturn Sir Richard's stone coffin as shelter from the flames.
  • Save the Villain: Indy genuinly attempts to save Elsa from dying. Sadly, Elsa choses to go after the Grail and dies.
  • Saw Blades of Death: On the path to the hiding place of the Holy Grail, the first trap is a pair of whirling saw blades that come out of the wall and floor. If the person trying to pass by isn't on their knees, the saw blade in the wall will cut off their head.
  • Say My Name:
    • The heavy kid in the opening scene addresses Indy four times by his name in short succession so the audience understands that this is Indy as a kid.
    • Henry addressing Indiana by his preferred name (as opposed to "Junior", which was what Henry, Sr. had been using up to that point) is what saves Indiana from his Friend-or-Idol Decision.
  • Scenery Porn: Just look at those shots of the Utah desert. And that's just for starters.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Word of God challenge where Indy must step on the lettered tiles that spells out the name of God, Jehova. Naturally, Indy steps on the J tile first, in which he almost fell to his death. After getting himself back up, he mentally dope slaps himself as he remembers that in Latin, Jehova begins with an I.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The SS-Standartenführer utters orders and other screams of horror and rage in a very high pitch.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Indy has liberated the Cross of Coronado (although not in the most legal way), but is told by the sheriff to hand it back to Panama Hat.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • When Indy returns without Donovan and heals his father, the Hatay and German Mooks flee the temple.
    • Fans often joke that Indy's iconic Fedora does this deliberately, when it flies off his head, just before the tank he is on plummets over the cliff.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Harrison Ford (the one riding a horse) is about to shoot you while Sean Connery stares elsewhere.
  • Secret Legacy: Indy followed in his father's footsteps without even knowing.
  • Secret Room: While trying to escape from the fiery blaze consuming the dining room of Castle Brunwald, Indy and his father accidentally stumble upon a communications room of the Nazis that's hidden behind the fireplace.
  • See the Invisible: After crossing the "invisible" bridge in the "leap of faith" test, Indy tosses a handful of sand onto it to make the edges more obvious for the return trip.
  • Self-Deprecation: When grown-up Indy tells Panama Hat that the Cross of Coronado "belongs in a museum", Panama Hat says "So do you!" Indy is a character in a 1989 movie who's a Genre Throwback to 1930s action heroes.
  • Self-Destructing Security: The Holy Grail is protected by many layers of secrets, guards and traps. The final resort, however, is that the Grail can never pass beyond "The Great Seal". Doing so results in the entire place self-destructing and the Grail being lost forever.
  • Shout-Out: While Marcus Brody's bumbling around the market, he manages to make a W.C. Fields quote: "No, I never drink water, fish make love in it!"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Henry Sr. gives a brilliant one to Nazi Colonel Vogel.
    Vogel: Tell me about the book, this miserable little diary of yours. We have the map; the book is useless. And yet you come all the way back to Berlin to get it. Why? (slaps Henry with his glove) What are you hiding? (slap!) What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?
    (Henry catches Vogel's hand before he can slap him.)
    Henry: It tells me that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!
  • Sigil Spam: The interior of Berlin airport is plastered with Nazi flags.
  • Significant Name Shift: It's an important moment when Indiana's father addresses him by name for the first time, having spent the entire movie calling him "Junior". And not just his given name (which they share), but the one his son has chosen for himself.
  • Smash Cut: The first scene with adult Indy shows a close-up on his smiling face, right before he gets it punched hard by one of the baddies.
  • So Much for Stealth: Young Indy making a noise during his rope climbing in the opening scene which alerts the baddies.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Teenage Indy after falling in a crate full of snakes. He pulls a snake out after escaping the train car and another eventually slithers out of his sleeve when one of the treasure hunters tries to take the Cross of Coronado from him.
  • Squish the Cheeks: During the tank battle, Indy's face gets squashed against the lens of a periscope. The German watching it seems rather amused.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: A Nazi fighter plane strafes Indy and his father as they're escaping by car.
  • Stealth Pun
    • When Indy and Henry Sr. argue over traveling to Berlin to get the Grail diary or going to Iskenderun to save Marcus, they're at a literal crossroads, with the road sign shaped like a cross.
    • Water taken from the Holy Grail grants immortality and can heal wounds. Considering who it used to belong to, it's probably safe to say that the cup is a way to make real holy water.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted with Henry and Marcus who hold their ears in the tank after the first rounds are fired at Indy.
  • Surprise Inspection Ruse: When trying to infiltrate the castle where his father's being held hostage, Indy poses as a Scottish art conservationist there to inspect the castle's tapestries. The Nazi at the door doesn't buy it at all, so Indy has to cold-clock him to get inside.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Since Indiana is out so often on adventures away from his job as a teacher, many of his students haven't gotten their papers graded on time for graduation and his secretary has got a backlog for him so full, it's probable that Indy would've been fired for gross negligence, if not for the fact that his close friend, Marcus, happens to be a man of influence within the college note .
  • Swarm of Rats: As seen in the catacombs under Venice.
  • Take a Third Option: The film's plot has Indy seek the Holy Grail when he finds out his father went missing in his own quest for it. Along the way, he fights with a group called the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword who are the Grail's protectors. After the battle, their leader Kazim asks him "Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for your glory or for His?" Indy replies that he's only seeking the Grail to find his father. Satisfied, Kazim wishes him luck and tells him where his father is.
  • Take My Hand!: At the end of the film, Indy says it to Elsa and later Indy's father says it to him.
  • Tank Goodness: The Germans use a tank to escort their convoy in Hatay. Unusually for this trope, the tank has multiple smaller guns, including a pair of sponson mounts on the sides, rather than a single turreted BFG. Amusingly, the tank in question appears to be a Tank Mark VIII, which served with the US Army and nobody else.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Although a WW1 model with the guns in side sponson mounts, the Hataian tank also has a turret because hey, that's what tanks have, right? Notably, the turret is never used at any point in the fight, and indeed its presence should have negated Indy's trick of disabling one of the sponson guns. As a rule, tanks of the era typically featured a single large gun in a turret, or multiple smaller sponson-mounted guns, very rarely did they have both.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • After he enters Castle Brunwald, Indy knocks the butler unconscious with a punch to the face.
    • Averted when Indy's father tries to knock out Indy by breaking a vase over his head. Indy stays conscious and is annoyed with his dad.
    • During the fight inside the tank:
      • A German soldier is knocked out when a periscope handle hits him on the back of the head.
      • Another soldier is rendered unconscious when Marcus Brody hits him over the head with an object.
  • Technically a Smile: Elsa's smile after Donovan drinks from the Grail is about as non-smile a smile can get.
  • Temple of Doom: The Temple of the Grail is full of traps that take a lot of knowledge to pass, and has a tricky test at the end.
  • Tempting Fate: A classic of the series' humor.
    • When the leader of the gravediggers has Indy cornered on the train top.
      Baddie: There's no way out of this. (cue Indy dropping through the ceiling into one of the train cars)
    • After they just drove trough the burning remains of a crashed plane:
      Henry: Well, they don't come any closer than that! (A bomb promptly tears up a huge crater right in front of their car.)
    • When watching the Nazis from afar:
      Indy: Dad, we're well out of range. (Boom!)
    • And:
      Indy: Shooting me won't get you anywhere.
      Donovan: You know something, Doctor Jones? You're absolutely right. (shoots Henry)
    • Henry ends up lampshading this when Indy tempts fate onboard the passenger zeppelin, "When we're in the air, with Germany behind us? Then we'll be safe." Jones the elder called it, as the two are forced to bail on a fighter plane.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The villains of the movie. Even the Fuhrer makes an appearance!
    Indy: Nazis. I hate these guys.
  • Title In: Various locations are introduced with on-screen text.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Theatrical Trailer spoils the Donovan is actually working with the Nazis twist. Ironically, it doesn't spoil the Elsa's also a Nazi twist.
  • Traintop Battle: The Action Prologue has Young Indy getting chased along a line of circus train cars.
  • Traitor Shot: When Donovan starts choking after drinking from the false Grail, the camera immediately focuses on a very pissed Elsa.
  • Tranquil Fury: Indy's anger at finding Elsa at a Nazi Book Burning in Berlin. "Fraulein doctor."
  • Trash Landing: When Indy throws Nazi Colonel Vogel out of the moored Zeppelin, he lands on a pile of suitcases.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Both Walter Donovan and Dr. Elsa Schneider would qualify.
  • Treasure Map: The Grail diary.
  • Try and Follow: Indiana and Elsa pilot their speedboat between two large ships while being pursued by the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword. Somewhat subverted because they both know it's an insane maneuver, but Elsa mishears Indy's instructions to go around the ships, not between them.
    Indy: Are you crazy? Don't go between them!
    Elsa: Go between them? Are you crazy?
  • Understatement:
  • Unholy Ground: How Indy's dad describes Berlin.
    "My boy, we're pilgrims in an unholy land."
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Neither Donovan nor Elsa seems bothered or indeed surprised by the appearance of several centuries-old medieval knight. Indy does interact with him but is more concerned by his father's situation.
  • Villain Ball: Really, Donovan, all you had to do was hand the "grail" to Elsa and say "Take a sip". Of course, he's probably not thinking very clearly at this point.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Donovan, in more ways than one, after he drinks from the wrong chalice, effectively sealing his fate. He realizes that Elsa had tricked him, since she had picked out the chalice in question, and as his body decomposes, he tries to attack her and take her to hell with him. Luckily for her, Indy intervenes.
  • Visual Pun: While walking through the Venice catacombs, Indy stops to say "Oh, rats" and we pan down to see swarms of rats.
  • Weapons Breaking Weapons: One of the Nazis' porters is sent into the traps guarding the Holy Grail. The first trap, the Breath of God, slices off his sword blade and his head almost simultaneously. Indy finds that the Breath of God is a set of high-speed circular saw blades.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Jones Sr. always made Indy feel like, to use his own words, people who had been dead for centuries were more important to him than his own son. By the end of the adventure, however, Indy knows for sure just how much his dad loves him and how proud of him he is. Henry is explicitly proud of his son after the latter destroyed the tank and Vogel with it.
  • We Named The Dog Indiana: The Trope Namer. It turns out Indy derived his nickname from his beloved childhood dog.
  • Wham Line: When Donovan tries to persuade Indy to help him find the Grail.
    Indiana Jones: You've got the wrong Jones, Mr. Donovan. Why don't you try my father?
    Walter Donovan: We already have. Your father is the man who has disappeared.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The surviving half-dozen German soldiers flee the temple and are never seen again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Henry is shocked after Indy gunned down a whole group of Nazis at Castle Brunwald.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: A major source of friction between the Joneses Sr. and Jr. is that Sr. wasn't around much when Indy was a kid.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: To bring the Grail diary to a castle full of Nazis...
    Henry: I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In addition to learning why Indy is afraid of snakes, we learn that his father is afraid of rats.
    Henry: I wish I could have been there!
    Indiana: There were rats, dad.
    Henry: ...Rats?
    Indiana: Big ones.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Heard when Kazim and his men attack the Nazis. Specifically, from one of the guys that gets blown up by a Nazi grenade.
  • Worthy Adversary: In the Young Indy intro, the bandit Fedora sees this in Indy. At the end of the scene, when the Sheriff makes Indy hand over the cross back to Panama Hat, Fedora graduates to Stealth Mentor.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He doesn't follow through with it, but Indy comes very close to strangling Elsa when he finds her in Germany at a Nazi rally, and it's made quite clear that the only reason he doesn't do so is that he would get caught.
    • He also had no trouble trapping the female Nazi officer in a burning room because she had a gun and was trying to kill him.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Indy gets suplexed by a Nazi mook during the tank chase scene. Said mook uses a German suplex, which is quite fitting.
  • "X" Marks the Spot: Refer to Brick Joke above. Later in the film, he finds a clue under a big Roman Numeral 10 on the ground. note 
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Indy believes he can reach the Grail if he just reaches a little further... and then his father, who spent Indy's whole life calling him "Junior", says "Indiana. Indiana. Let it go." And that convinces him.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Swarms of these fill Venice's catacombs. Henry Jones Sr. fears them, just like his son fears snakes.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: A milder version of the trope. The Grail Knight assumed Indiana was there to take his place after "vanquishing" him in combat. Mildly tear jerking in that the poor Knight was exhausted and ready to die for some well-earned peace of mind. Though considering that the grail ended up in the middle of a chasm, the knight won't be able to drink out of it anymore. Note that he seems to be fine with this judging by the smile he gives Indy before being sealed in.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: While Indy and Henry Sr. are escaping from Castle Brunwald, Indy looks everywhere in a room to find a switch to reveal some sort of exit.
    Henry: I find that if I just sit down to think...
    (he sits down on a chair, which leans back and opens a stairwell which Indy falls into)
    Indy: (yelling) Dad!
    Henry: ... the solution presents itself!

Alternative Title(s): The Last Crusade


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Walter Donovan chooses poorly.

How well does it match the trope?

4.98 (62 votes)

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