The third and final film in the original Indiana Jones trilogy is definitely one of the most beloved in the entire franchise. The 1989 film was set two years after Indy’s first adventure in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and started with a flashback to a young Indy in 1912.
Unlike the poorly received second installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (which is noted for having a darker tone than the first movie), the third installment recaptures the original energy that made audiences fall in love with the character. But despite being well-remembered, there are plenty of interesting details surrounding the film that even the most hardcore franchise fans may have forgotten.
10 The Seagulls Are Actually Pigeons
The scene where Indiana Jones’s father Henry helps his son Indy destroy the Nazi fighter plane is memorable in itself. However, fans are definitely going to want to get a rewatch in after finding out this hidden detail. Apparently, the flock of birds that Henry uses to take down the plane are actually pigeons and not seagulls, as viewers are led to believe.
According to Goliath, seagulls cannot be trained, so what audiences see in the finished product is actually just movie magic. If fans look closely, they can see that there are still “cut-outs” of seagulls that remain unmoving among the rest of the birds.
9 Movie Magic Made The Boat Scene Appear More Dramatic
The high-stakes boat scene where Indiana Jones and Elsa Schneider escape the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword may have looked extremely dangerous. However, according to Cinemablend, it was actually just clever camera angles that made things appear so treacherous.
Of course, nowadays, digital special effects make achieving these incredibly daring scenes a much easier task, but back when The Last Crusade was being filmed, crews had to get a bit more creative with their techniques. Knowing this hidden detail only makes the hard work put into Indy’s adventurous scenes that much more impressive.
8 The Nazi Salute
Given the history, having to portray a Nazi is clearly a heavy burden for an actor to have to carry. According to EightiesKids, during the filming for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the film’s director Steven Spielberg had all the extras who had to perform the Nazi salute at the book burning rally in Berlin put their other arm behind their backs and cross their fingers.
Though visually, this cannot be seen by the audience watching the film, it is an interesting detail to learn and makes watching the scene where Indiana Jones confronts Elsa that much more interesting.
7 The Temple Is Real
An interesting fact for fans to learn about the third Indiana Jones film is that the temple is seen at the end of the movie actually exists in real life — it’s just not located where the movie says it is. The temple, known as Al-Khazneh (The Treasury), is actually located in Petra, Jordon, and not Alexandretta, which was actually a historical city in Turkey.
Similarly, the features of the temple are exaggerated in the film — you can’t go inside the real temple chamber today and even if you could, it wouldn’t have room for the wild adventure that happens in the film.
6 The Rats Were Bred For Filming
According to Sideshow, the scene in The Last Crusade where Indy and Dr. Elsa Schneider are trapped in a rat-infested and flooded catacomb actually used rats that were specifically bred for filming the movie. This breeding was done to avoid the real risk of using existing rats who may have potentially been carrying diseases.
So to prevent any possible mishaps, production ordered 2,000 rats specifically for filming. It certainly makes watching the Venice catacomb sequence with Indiana Jones and Elsa feel that much more ominous to viewers on a rewatch of the movie.
5 Ford And Connery’s Real Life Age-Difference
Director Steven Spielberg’s third movie in the Indiana Jones franchise, The Last Crusade, explores Indy’s relationship with his father Henry, with the legendary Sean Connery appearing as Henry Jones. However, despite the great chemistry between the two, fans of the franchise might be surprised to learn that the former James Bond actor was actually only 12 years older than Harrison Ford, his onscreen son.
This fun bit of trivia is a true credit to Connery and Ford’s acting skills for making fans of the franchise believe that the two could be father and son.
4 Harrison Ford’s Facial Scar Is Real
Not only does the third film in the Indiana Jones franchise provide a backstory for Indy (as seen in the opening flashback) and how he got his scar, but it’s also worth noting that Harrison Ford’s scar that’s seen in the film is actually the real deal. According to The List, he got the scar from a car accident, while a young Indiana got the mark from accidentally hitting himself with a whip.
Another fun detail fans might not have noticed is actually a mistake or goof in the movie. Ford’s scar is on his left side while young Indy is shown wiping blood off the mark on the right side of his chin.
3 Harrison Ford Actually Performed A Lot Of His Own Stunts
Just as he did for the prior Indiana Jones films, Harrison Ford performed a good amount of his own stunts. According to CNN, Ford performed them so frequently that he was pulled aside by his stunt double Vic Armstrong, who asked Ford to let him do some of the work.
Knowing that a majority of Indy’s actions scenes are performed by the actor himself only makes rewatching the sequences from this classic franchise that much more exciting.
2 Harrison Ford Paid Tribute To His Real-Life Professor
In one of the earlier scenes in The Last Crusade where Indiana Jones is addressing his students, the character refers to Ford’s former college professor in this statement – “Archaeology is the search for facts, not truth. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.”
According to FDL Reporter, the referenced Dr. Tyree refers to the real-life former philosophy professor, William Earl Tyree, who was Ford’s former teacher. Unfortunately, the real Tyree passed away in 2016, but you can still catch Harrison Ford’s tribute to his old teacher by rewatching the film.
1 Connery Was Cast Because He Played James Bond
Director Steven Spielberg’s apparent admiration for the James Bond franchise was a critical factor in casting the legendary former 007 actor, Sean Connery, as Indiana Jones’s father, Henry. But, of course, the actor proved that he was more than up to the task with his engaging portrayal as Henry Jones.
It’s interesting to learn that appearing as James Bond played a role in Spielberg’s choice for his lead character’s father. It certainly makes watching Sean Connery and Harrison Ford action-packed scenes together that much more enjoyable.