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The Holy Grail

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on

Plot Overview

Daniel's accusers fed to lionsThis film chronicles in three acts the development of the Indiana Jones character. In 1912 young Indy (River Phoenix) gets his impetus for field work through member­ship in the Scouts. His mother died from an unspecified illness, and he had no sister, just boy scouts and a dog, (“It was just the two of us, Dad. That was a lonely way to grow up”) so he's a little undeveloped in relating to women. That helps to explain his being continually single later in life. He acquires a whip through accidentally being thrown in with a circus lion. On a scout expedition he gets paired up with their bugler fat Herman (J.J. Hardy) showing he's part of the unpopular crowd, probably due to his academic achievements inspired by his father Prof. Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) an amateur archaeologist.

the word and prayerold bookWe glimpse his father praying as he reads an illuminated manuscript (“May he who illuminated this illuminate me.”) His father did not inculcate religion in Indy—he “taught you self-reliance,”—but some of it no doubt rubbed off.

3 at desksMethodology is importantThe film teles­copes ahead to 1930. Professor of Archeology Indiana “Indy” Jones (Harrison Ford) is a popular lecturer and a gifted orator. He's got a silver tongue. He has along the way shed what religion he may have had. “Archeology is the search for fact, not truth,” he tells his students. “If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's Philosophy class is right down the hall.” His dad having disappeared on some quest in a tumultuous Europe, Indy takes off in search of him and meets Henry's female Austrian assistant Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody.) He uncharacter­istic­ally offers her a carnation that he steals on the spot. Before long he's stealing a kiss, which she reciprocates taking him by surprise. “Leave me alone, I don't like fast women,” he tells her. However, they do have an experience that she'll “never forget how vonderful it vas,” after which Indy is hooked on fast women.

The Last SupperAt long last they're about to recover the Holy Grail while “meddling with powers you can't possibly comprehend.” This concept could well be illustrated by British author Richard Beard who writes of: “Spencer's mother, rejected for ordination, prov[ing] she still believes in miracles by telling Spencer he's destined for great things. She says that a belief in miracles is at the centre of Christianity and there­fore Western civilisation—” (148) Indiana will habitually stumble upon relics that have the miraculous associated with them, taxing his resolve to distance him­self from Christianity.


The end of their quest for the holy grail involves a riddle:
Professor Henry Jones: When we get to Alexandretta, we will face three challenges. The first, “The Breath of God. Only the penitent man will pass.” Second, “The Word of God. Only in the foot­steps of God will he proceed.” Third, “The Path of God. Only in the leap from the lion's head will he prove his worth.”

Indiana Jones: What does that mean?

Professor Henry Jones: I don't know. We'll find out.

Well, that sure helps. And that doesn't even include the guardian knight's admonition not to remove the chalice beyond the great seal.

card playersThe action in the story lends itself to comparison with one of Kenny Rogers's songs concerning a chance encounter with “The Gambler” on a train to nowhere. He offered his fellow passenger the advice that “the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.” The refrain of the song goes:

You've got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away, Know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

This wisdom of the gambling man's repartee is old as the hills and was passed on by a raconteur, Agur in Proverbs 30:1, whose four meta­phors offered the same life advice as did Rogers's Gambler. That we find in, (Prov. 30:29-31) “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A grey­hound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.”

Gambler's Royal
FlushWe have Agur's “lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any,” we have Rogers's “know[ing] when to hold 'em,” and we have, “The Path of God. Only in the leap from the lion's head will he prove his worth.” In the movie we see Indy having to take a worthy leap of faith, especially for one who doesn't believe in miracles.

volunteers neededWe have Agur's “king, against whom there is no rising up,” we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to fold 'em” and we have, “The Breath of God. Only the penitent man will pass.” A penitent king doesn't experience any uprising. There's a whole pile of Nazi “volunteer” bodies who couldn't figure that one out.

dwarf goatWe have Agur's “he goat also,” we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to walk away,” and we have, “The Word of God. Only in the foot­steps of God will he proceed.” Indy is presented with a Twister™ challenge with a twist. He must eschew a modernized spelling of the sacred name.

We have Agur's “greyhound,” Rogers's “Know[ing] when to run,” and what happens when some fool crosses the great seal with the chalice in hand. Here at least—if you'll pardon the conflicted metaphor—we're on solid ground. When the floor of the grotto cracks open and the roof starts to cave in, he better make tracks out of there right quick.

The gambler gave the advice:

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

Indy will collect an honorarium whether he secures the prize or not.

Production Values

” (1989) is a sequel to “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” though this one is set earlier in time than both of those. It was directed by Steven Spielberg. It was written by Jeffrey Boam, George Lucas and Menno Meyjes. It stars Harrison Ford, Sean Connery and Alison Doody. The cast also included Denholm Elliott as Dr. Marcus Brody, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, and River Phoenix as Young Indy. The acting was all up to snuff for an action flick.

MPA rated it PG–13. It was loaded with action, and the special effects did a righteous job. The humor in it actually worked. Runtime is 2 hours 7 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Indy's fight to the finish with Kazim (Kevork Malikyan,) leader of the Brother­hood of the Cruciform Sword, elicits this death challenge: “My soul is prepared! How's yours?” The movie leaves us in doubt regarding the state of the souls of Indy and his father, but after all, this is not a faith-based movie, demonstration of faith contained in it not­with­standing. We get the usual shenanigans we've come to expect, plus some needed back­ground on Indy's life. It should satisfy fans of the franchise, fans of the genre, and newly acquired viewers to boot.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Beard, Richard. Damascus. Copyright © Richard Beard 1998. London: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1998. Print.

Rogers, Kenny. Songwriter Don Schlitz. “The Gambler.” Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Pub. LLC. Web.

Lions den picture is copyright © Sweet Publishing. Licensed by FreeBibleimages. Creative
Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.