Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is the series favorite of many fans of the franchise. While mostly known for amazing action sequences, there are also many incredible little-known facts about this franchise. From way too many live rats for my liking to groundbreaking special effects, here are 15 facts you may not know about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

1. Jones Sr. isn’t much older than Indiana (Sort of)

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While in the narrative of the movie this definitely isn’t the case, actor Sean Connery is really only 12 years older than Harrison Ford. I don’t think anyone can notice this while watching the movie, the actors were able to capture a father-son dynamic incredibly well.

2. James Bond??

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The opening act of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is an obvious homage to the Sean Connery James Bond films, down to the very suit that Indiana is wearing. When it came to the next entry in the series, who better to cast as Indiana’s father than 007 himself!

3. More Bond!

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Julian Glover, who portrays the villainous Walter Donovan, also played Bond villain Aristotle Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only (though this is a Roger Moore led Bond movie). Additionally, Donovan uses a Walther PPK, the same gun favored by Sean Connery’s 007.

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4. Who Needs a Stunt Double?

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Like many of his other movies, Harrison Ford did many of the on-set stunts himself, luckily not injuring himself on set as he had in both of the previous Indiana Jones entries. Ford’s stunt double Vic Armstrong later said, “If he wasn’t such a good actor, he would have made a really great stuntman.”

5. Digital Revolution

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For Walter Donovan’s nasty rapid aging death scene, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) spent over a week filming what would be the first all digital composite put to screen. ILM, a renowned SFX company in the entertainment industry, has done the SFX work for both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.

6. River Phoenix

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The late River Phoenix was hand selected by Harrison Ford to play the young Indiana Jones seen in the prologue. Phoenix had previously portrayed the son of Ford’s character in the movie Mosquito Coast.

7. Clean Rats

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Rats were bred specifically for the movie, more than 2,000 of them. This was to guarantee they weren’t going to spread disease on set. Yuck.

8. Return to Form

The Last Crusade was made in part because of mixed reception to the darker tone of Temple of Doom. While many fans including myself love that entry, it’s great to see Indy beating up Nazis again. 

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9. Trains and Magicians

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The train carriage young Indiana enters in the prologue is called “Doctor Fantasy’s Magic Caboose”. It was named after producer Frank Marshall, who adopted the stage name “Doctor Fantasy” when performing magic tricks.

10. No Pants? No Problem!

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Harrison Ford and Sean Connery filmed the zeppelin table scene sans-pants because of excessive heat on set. I wonder how the extras in the background felt!

11. Cut for Time

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Actor Pat Roach, who played the hulking Nazi mechanic that Indy brawls with in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, returned for this entry. While his battle with Jones was ultimately cut from the final film, Roach can still be seen in a few shots during the zeppelin scene. 

12. Attention to Detail

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While Jones Sr. is clearly brought back to health after drinking from the Holy Grail, keen eyed viewers will notice it effect the younger Jones earlier. After drinking from the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones is not only rejuvenated, but his cuts from the tank sequence disappear.

13. The “Last” Entry

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Director Steven Spielberg and creator George Lucas initially planned for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to be the final entry to the series. We know now that this isn’t the case, but it explains the final scene of Jones and company riding out into the sunset. 

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14. Real Uniforms

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Many of the Nazi uniforms seen in the film, especially at the Hitler rally, are genuine Nazi officer uniforms that were found in Eastern Europe by costume co-designer Joanna Johnston. 

15. Original Plan

The original story followed Indiana Jones as he battled a ghost in Scotland then searched for the Fountain of Youth in Africa, with the original title being “Indiana Jones and the Monkey King.” Spielberg believed this was too much of a gamble and wouldn’t work. I’d have to say I agree.

Fortune and Glory

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There you have 15 facts you probably didn’t know about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I’m not sure I’ll be able to shake the idea of breeding over 2,000 rats, but I hope you enjoyed this list. For more on Indiana Jones, check out our YouTube video below for 15 Intriguing Facts about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

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