Produced by George Lucas and director Spielberg, the third chapter of the Indiana Jones series, which began with the 1981 smash hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and continued with the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” is the weakest of the trilogy, which might explain why it became the last installment-until the new episode, 19 years later.
Credited screenwriter Jeffrey Boam, with major help from Lucas, Kaufman and others, has turned the adventure into a multi-generational saga, adding Freudian tension between Indy and his father archeologist (Sean Connery, just after winning a Supporting Oscar for The Untouchables) and with a subplot that involves Indy as a young boy (played by the gifted River Phoenix).
This time around, the team embarks on dangerous odyssey to find the Holy Grail and keep it from the evil Nazis, who desire it due to its powers o eternal-life. The beautiful femme in this yarn is a spy named Dr. Elsa Schneider, replacing Kate Capshow, who had played the female lead in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, after which she became Mrs. Steven Spielberg.
There is good onscreen rapport between Ford, Connery and Phoenix in this saga, which is closer to the original literary source materialthe weekly seriesthan the previous chapters. But despite some frills and thrills in the f/x department, and good visual and sound editing (which won an Oscar), the story feels tired and conventional, lacking the narrative energy and drive of the first and second pictures.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Original Score: John Williams
Sound: Ben Burtt, Gary Summers, Shawn Murphy, Tony Dawe
Sound Effects Editing: Ben Burtt, Richard Hymns
Oscar Awards: 1
Sound Effects Editing
The winner of the Original Score Oscar was Maurice Jarre for David Leans epic, A Passage to India, which also was nominated for Best Picture.
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)
Dr. Henry Jones (Sean Connery)
Young Indy (River Phoenix)
Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott)
Dr. Elsa Schnedier (Alison Doody)
Walter Donovan (Julian Glover)
Vogel (Michael Byrne)
Kazim (Kevork Malikyan)
Grail Knight (Robert Eddison)
Produced by Robert Watts
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Jeffrey Boam, based on the story by George Lucas and Menno Meyjes, and characters created by Lucas and Philip Kaufman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe, Paul Beeson, Robert Stevens
Editor: Michael Kahn
Music: John Williams
Production design: Elliott Scott
Art direction: Fred Hole, Stephen Scott, Richard Berger, Benjamin Fernandez, Guido Salsilli
Costumes: Anthony Powell, Joanna Johnston