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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Due to her role and giving Donovan the fake Grail Elsa's character is open to a lot of interpretation, with some seeing her as a pragmatic opportunist, others as a selfish villain, and others as someone who started out selfish but grew to love Indy.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Elsa is severely traumatized, screaming her head off, as Donovan dies right in front of her eyes, from something she deliberately did to him no less, and yet in the next scene she acts as if nothing happened.
    • Most likely, she wasn't expecting Donovan to die like that - even Indy is visibly unnerved - and it was probably the fact that the Grail was within her grasp that helped her shift her focus.
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  • Awesome Music: Arguably the best and most nuanced of the Indy scores.
  • Contested Sequel: Raiders of the Lost Ark is frequently seen as the best film in the series due to its action scenes, our introduction to Indy, and plain old First Installment Wins. However, a number of fans see this film as the best; the story is tighter, the comedy is better, and the interactions between Indy and Henry not only show a complex relationship between the two but give the story another layer besides "find the MacGuffin". Some fans also point out that while Raiders has the more iconic scenes (the prologue, the opening of the Ark, etc.), Crusade has a surprisingly large number of iconic lines (see Memetic Mutation below).
  • Crazy Awesome: Hardly needs to be said in Henry Jones Sr.'s case. The man took out fighter plane with an umbrella and a flock of seagulls. While quoting Charlemagne.
  • Designated Hero: Young Indy is, let's be honest, a thief in the prologue, swiping the Cross of Coronado from the guys who found it because he thought he had better plans for it. Keep in mind Indy didn't know what Fedora and company (and their boss) were going to do with it (for all he knew, they were archaeologist-adventurers themselves!) — and even if he did, what made it his call to steal from them? We're presumably meant to be on his side, as when the film cuts to 1938... Indy's stealing the cross from Panama Hat and crew again.
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    • And Panama Hat and crew end up dying as a result. Granted, it's implied that Panama Hat and his crew were criminals...
    • There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance that the guys who had the cross are grave robbers. Which Indy became before he repented of it.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Henry Jones and Marcus Brody are notable examples. The Grail Knight too. Fedora is also very memorable despite only appearing briefly.
  • Even Better Sequel: There's a not-insubstantial group of people who consider this film to be even better than Raiders, due to the more emotionally involving story and the brilliant comic duo of Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. James Rolfe has this viewpoint, as his list of top 50 films shows.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Elsa. Oh goodness, Elsa.
  • Fanon: For a while some fans thought (or hoped) that drinking from the Grail at the end gave Indy immortality, or at least an extended lifespan and slower aging. An older, slower Indy in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ruined that idea. Then again, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles shows that Indy lived to at least his early nineties in the early 1990s, so perhaps drinking from the Grail did give him an extended lifespan, if nothing else.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
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    • The scene where Indy flies and crashes the plane becomes a bit winceworthy when, in March 2015, Harrison Ford was injured when he crashed his plane, which was also a WWII-era plane. Not helping is the line "Fly, yes. Land, no..."
      • Two years later he nearly caused a very bad accident when he landed in front of a plane about to take off, causing an investigation about whether he could keep his pilot's license.
    • The reason Marcus Brody looks sickly in a lot of scenes was because his actor, Denholm Elliot, was diagnosed with HIV blood poisoning in 1987 and would later die due to AIDS-related tuberculosis in 1992. Yikes.
    • Indy, disguised as a porter, punches Colonel Vogel and throws him off the zeppelin, saying to the passengers "No ticket!" afterwards. In April 2017, United Airlines got in trouble for forcing one of their passengers off an airplane by physically assaulting him.
  • Genius Bonus: The first trap someone has to get past to reach the Grail, is The Breath of God: "Only the penitent man shall pass." Several Hatay mooks get decaptitated by the razor-sharp blade when they don't know what to do, and even Indy himself only figures it out at the last moment: a pentitent man kneels before God. The bonus kicks in when just as he kneels, Indy has to also do a forward roll to avoid a vertical blade. The Knights set it up that way so that a Christian could pass (since he or she would only kneel with a bowed head), but a Muslim would be killed (since a Muslim kneels and bends forward to place their forehead against the floor).
    • The Brothers of the Cruciform Sword are a rather subtle allusion to the Priory of Sion, a hoax/conspiracy theory about an ancient order of knights who protected the symbolic Holy Grail, actually the supposed bloodline of Christ, (if that sounds familiar, it's the basis for The Da Vinci Code) while the Cruciform brotherhood protects the Grail as a physical artifact. Also, their specific cross—comparable to that of the Knights Templar or the Hospitallers or any other monastic order—is actually the Grail, not "really" a cross—notice how the topmost arms of it curve upward, just like a cup.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: Not that Donovan was a saint before it, but shooting Henry Sr. just to force's Indy hand in trying to reach the Grail.
  • Narm:
    • Halfway through his Rapid Aging, Donovan looks just like Doc Brown.
    • Indy lifting up his leg ramrod-straight as he prepares for the leap of faith. It's an incredibly unnatural looking motion.
    • The shot of Colonel Vogel falling down the cliff towards the camera with his tank. His over-the-top expression and the poor Chroma Key used add to the Narm.
    • Awesome as it is, the opening sequence gets a bit harder to take seriously when you realize it's positing that Indy picked up every single one of his trademark skills and quirks in a single afternoon.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Julian Glover sure has a habit of playing supposed allies who turn out to be villains.
    • A lesser example: Alison Doody was previously best known in the States as villainous Bond Girl Jenny Flex in A View to a Kill.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Grail Knight only appears briefly in the movie's final act, but he's still one of the most most memorable characters in the film, if not the franchise.
    • Also, Hitler, for somewhat obvious reasons.
  • Polished Port: Although the Graphic Adventure is best remembered for running through the Apple, Amiga, and MS-DOS compatible systems, the FM-Towns version is considered the better version through the use of a simpler interface, 256-color graphics, and Redbook Audio based on the film score. The game is still in English despite originally being released for Japanese consumption.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Nick Gillard, who was the fight coordinator for the Star Wars prequel trilogy, is the Nazi who watches Indy fighting through the periscope, and is knocked out after he mocks him.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The motorcycle escape.
    • The fight scene on the tank.
    • Donovan drinking the wrong grail.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The Chroma Key in the airplane chase is pretty shoddy, at least by current standards.
    • The python young Indy encounters on the circus train looks extremely fake. Especially egregious since Indy falls into a crate full of actual snakes almost immediately after that.
    • The Driving a Desk is incredibly obvious when the ocean liners close on the boat chasing Indy and Elsa in Venice.
    • When Vogel and the Tank fall of the cliff, the blue screen effects during the fall is pretty obvious.
    • The bookshelf behind Indy when he says "X Marks the Spot" is a remarkably cheap prop that has to been seen to be believed.
    • The rats in the burning tunnel are obviously immobile dolls.
    • If you look closely, when Elsa falls into the chasm you can clearly see her land on a mat of some sort. This was supposed to hidden by all the fog at the bottom but it doesn't quite work.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Generally seen as a big improvement over its predecessor, with some even arguing that it's an Even Better Sequel than Raiders.
  • Values Dissonance: Indy forcefully kisses Elsa when they meet up after the boat chase, which leads to her getting mad at him before devolving into passionate sex. As societal standards have changed, this is viewed as outright sexual harassment and even borderline rape.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The concealment of the bridge in the Leap of Faith scene is very convincing.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Temple Of Doom had a decidedly mixed reaction, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas admitting they let their personal problems interfere with their work. They explicitly sought to go back to the roots of the first movie - return to a more light-hearted adventure, as well as bringing back such elements as Marcus, Sallah and the Nazis. By all accounts, the duo succeeded.

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