Australian Council on Children and the Media

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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Not recommended under 11, PG to 13 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • a review of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 September 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 11 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes
Children aged 11-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence
Length 125 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade opens with a prologue set in 1912 that provides insight into the origins of Indiana Jones. While on a Boy Scout trail ride, Young Indian Jones (River Phoenix) steals a priceless Spanish artefact from treasure hunters and in the course of the ensuing pursuit we discover what gave Indy his fear of snakes, the cut on his chin, and his taste in hats and leather jackets.

The film jumps to the year 1938 where art collector Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) approaches Indy (Harrison Ford) to go on a quest to recover the Holy Grail. Donovan tells Indy that a marker revealing the location of the Grail has been discovered by his project leader in Venice Italy, but that the project leader, who turns out to be Indy’s father, Henry Jones senior (Sean Connery) has gone missing. Greatly disturbed by the news of his father’s disappearance, Indiana along with his friend Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) heads straight to Italy where they are met by Dr. Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody), the last person to have see Henry.

Indy manages to locate the Grail marker in the catacombs of a converted church, but along the way is plagued by rats, an oil fire and a group of gun wielding Grail fanatics. He learns that his father is being held captive by Nazis in a castle on the Austrian/German border and sets out to rescue him before continuing to seek the Grail.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; Nazism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The Last Crusade contains intense action violence and peril, although much of the violence is depicted in a non-realistic, cartoonish manner. The depiction of blood and gore is restricted to a couple of scenes and kept to a minimum. Examples include:

  • During a pursuit, a teenage boy attempts to stab Young Indy, an angry rhinoceros nearly impales him on its horn, he is covered from head to foot in slithering snakes when he falls into a train cart full of snakes, and he is attacked by a lion.  All of this is played for comedy.
  • Indiana Jones fights with a group of men on a ship in a storm. The fight includes men punched in the face, a man washed overboard, men hit in the chest with a steel pipe, and the ship exploding in a giant ball of flames.
  • While searching catacombs flooded with liquid petroleum, Indiana and Elsa are forced to hide under a stone coffin when enemies deliberately ignite the petrol, causing a fire storm.
  • During a speed boat chase between Indiana and Grail fanatics, we see men wielding machine gun from their speedboat firing at Indiana’s speedboat. We see a speedboat crushed between two giant tankers the boat exploding in flames. We see a fist between Indy and another man aboard a drifting speedboat (including kicks and punches to the face). We see the boat drifting towards a giant spinning ship’s propeller the propeller cutting into the back of the drifting boat as the two men continued to fight. We hear Indiana threatening the man that he would let the propeller kill them both if the man did not reveal information; both men escape uninjured.
  • In one conflict between Indiana and a group of Nazis, we see Indiana shoot and kill several Nazis with a machinegun, and we see a Nazi holding a gun to a woman’s head and threaten to shoot her if Indiana does not surrender. Indiana and his father are tied to a chair in a room engulfed in flames with the two men shuffling their chairs across the floor to avoid the flames; both men escape uninjured.
  • In the longest battle scene of the film, there is a violent conflict between a small army of German soldiers wielding machineguns and rebels firing rifles. A number of rebel fighters are shot and killed (we see one dead rebel lying on the ground with his eyes open and blood on his face and we see a wounded man lying on the ground with some blood splattered across his clothing).
  • There is an extended fistfight between Indiana and a number of German soldiers on top of a tank with one soldier trying to push Indiana’s face into the tank’s moving tracks. One German soldier is caught on the tank’s tracks and dragged under the tank to be crushed.
  • Henry Jones fires one of the tanks weapons, the shell hitting a German truck full of soldiers. The truck explodes in flames and German soldiers are thrown through the air.
  • A gun is fired inside the tank, the bullet ricocheting and hitting the driver in the forehead; we see a small amount of blood trickling down the driver’s head as he collapses. Indiana also repeatedly rams another soldier’s head into a tank hatch.
  • A man deliberately shoots Henry in the stomach at close range. We see blood on the front of his shirt and see a small bloody bullet wound in his stomach. He winces in pain.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • In catacombs under a church, there are gruesome skeletal remains in a number of alcoves and hundreds of rats scurrying across the floor. When a fire erupts in the catacombs the rats run for safety with a number of rats climbing over a woman’s head and through her hair as she screams in horror.
  • In one scene a man’s body lies on the ground with his severed head lying nearby. A second man walks through a spider web covered tunnel, there is a whooshing sound and see an image of the man’s severed head rolling across the ground. A short time later we see the decapitated bodies of both men lying on the ground.
  • The most intense and frightening horror scene involves a man who drinks from the wrong Grail cup aging rapidly.  His hair instantly grows and falls out, his teeth protrude and his eyes disappear into their sockets as his skin shrivels up to resemble a mummified corpse. The man’s skin and flesh then disintegrate leaving behind skeletal remains which then explode, leaving nothing behind.

 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

The film contains some occasional low-level sexual references and innuendoes. Examples include:

  • After a woman forcibly kisses Indiana on the lips he tells her “I don’t like fast woman”.
  • We hear a reference made to Indiana’s father having heard Elsa talking in her sleep, the scene inferring that both Indiana and his father have slept with Elsa. 

 

Nudity and sexual activity

While the film contains no nudity it does contain some low-level sexual activity. Examples include:

  • Indiana forcefully kisses a woman on her lips. She kisses him back and the pair fall to the ground. Later we them lying on the ground and see Indiana kissing her again.

 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • social drinking of whisky and champagne

 

Coarse language

The film contains occasional low-level coarse language and putdown. Examples include:

  • stupid
  • slime of humanity
  • the hell
  • damn
  • oh god

 

In a nutshell

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is an action adventure film that is reminiscent of the Raiders of the Lost Ark and just as entertaining. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are great together. Parents should note that although the Last Crusade is the mildest of the Indiana Jones films in terms of violence, it does contain frightening images likely to disturb younger children.

The main message from this movie is that family must come first. Although Indiana is bent on achieving his goal he places his father’s life above all goals and risks his own life on several occasions to protect and save his father.

Parents may wish to discuss the stereotypical manner in which woman are depicted in the film.

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