The casting of Sean Connery as Indiana Jones’ father was essential to the central theme of
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
and proved to be a genius choice.
- Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Indiana Jones allowed for character development and revealed more of Indy’s personality and history, unlike in previous installments.
Denholm Elliott’s character, Marcus Brody, provided comic relief and served as a reliable sidekick for Indiana Jones, appearing in several films following
The Last Crusade
The Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade cast featured both familiar faces and actors new to the iconic action-adventure franchise. The sequel to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the movie marked a return to form for the series by taking a more lighthearted approach. Director Steven Spielberg and creator George Lucas went through multiple treatments, pitches, and scripts for the film before finally settling on what would become the plot of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Things truly came together when Spielberg came up with the idea to include Indiana Jones’ father and draw parallels between the father-son relationship and Indy’s quest for the Holy Grail.
Casting Indiana Jones’ father was essential to landing the central theme of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Spielberg always envisioned Sean Connery in the role. It took some convincing for the legendary James Bond actor to sign on, but it ended up as a genius piece of casting. And while Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is just one highlight in the resumes of Connery and Harrison Ford, other cast members reached their professional peak when they joined the actors for the adventure.
7 Harrison Ford – Indiana Jones
Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones for the third time in The Last Crusade. The movie opens in 1938 with Indy tasked with recovering the Holy Grail and finding his missing father. More of Indy’s personality and history are revealed in the film, allowing for the kind of character changes the previous installments lacked.
Ford is rightly considered one of the greatest movie stars of all time, and his career hardly slowed down after The Last Crusade. Movies like Patriot Games, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens followed. Ford returned to the role of Indiana Jones in 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and 2023’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. He currently co-stars in the Apple TV+ series Shrinking.
6 Sean Connery – Dr. Henry Jones
Dr. Henry Jones makes his appearance about halfway through Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Rescued by his son, Henry joins the race to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis get to it. Henry proves to be every bit of the historian, archaeologist, and adventurer as his son. Indy eventually retrieves the Grail and uses it to save Henry’s life, though the pair escape without the priceless artifact.
Connery joined the Indiana Jones franchise at age 59, already world-famous thanks to his role as James Bond. After The Last Crusade, Connery starred in films such as The Hunt for Red October, Highlander II, and The Rock. His 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentleman was his last on-screen role before retiring. Connery died in 2020 at the age of 90.
5 Denholm Elliott – Marcus Brody
Denholm Elliott returns as Marcus Brody in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, reprising his role from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marcus travels with Indy in search of Henry, proving to be both comic relief and a reliable sidekick for the hero. Marcus is there at the end, when Indiana Jones makes his way through the temple and retrieves the Holy Grail. Elliott appeared in four films following The Last Crusade, including 1991’s Toy Soldiers. The accomplished British character actor died in 1992 at the age of 70. His death was written into the plot of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
4 River Phoenix – Young Indiana Jones
River Phoenix plays a young Indiana Jones in the prologue of The Last Crusade. A teenage Indy steals an artifact from grave robbers, leading them on a wild chase that explains Indiana Jones’ iconic hat and whip skills as an adult. Ford personally recommended Phoenix for the role after the young actor played Ford’s son in The Mosquito Coast. However, Phoenix turned down an offer to play Indy in the series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, citing a lack of interest in television. He then costarred with Keanu Reeves in the 1991 independent film My Own Private Idaho. Phoenix died of drug intoxication in 1993 at the age of 23.
3 Julian Glover – Walter Donovan
Walter Donovan serves as the primary antagonist in The Last Crusade cast. The American business executive is the one who sends Indy on the search for the grail and his father. The movie later reveals that Donovan is in league with the Nazis and used the Joneses to discover the artifact. But when he drinks from the wrong cup, Donovan immediately dies.
Julian Glover is an accomplished theater actor whose film credits after Indiana Jones include the voice of Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Triopas in Troy, and Andris Davis in Tár. On television, he played Grand Maester Pycelle in Game of Thrones. In 2023, he reunited with George Lucas to appear in one episode of Willow, the Disney+ series that serves as a prequel to the film.
2 Alison Doody – Dr. Elsa Schneider
Alison Doody stars as Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. The Austrian archaeologist initially appears to be an ally of Indiana and Henry Jones, but she later betrays them by revealing her allegiance to the Nazis. However, she intentionally picks the wrong grail for the villain Walter Donovan. Elsa’s greed eventually costs her when she reaches for the grail rather than let Indy save her from the crumbling temple.
Doody joined the franchise after playing Bond girl Jenny Flex in A View to a Kill. She appeared in a handful of films after The Last Crusade, including Major League II, and she has mostly had small parts in British productions. Doody’s most recent credit is the British comedy-drama Beaver Falls.
1 John Rhys-Davies – Sallah
Sallah returns after last appearing in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. He connects with Marcus in Turkey to help retrieve valuable information on the grail’s location. Sallah continues to aid the heroes against the Nazis, eventually finding himself at the temple with Indy, Henry, and the others at the film’s climax.
John Rhys-Davies had supporting roles in minor films following The Last Crusade, but he also found consistent work as a voice actor in animated features for Disney and Warner Bros. He returned to the spotlight as Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Davies reprised his role as Sallah in 2023’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, making him the only supporting character from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to join Ford’s final portrayal.