Google gives me two definitions for "crusade"

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The first refers to the actual Crusades. The second refers to a general quest.

Is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade meant to refer to either one of these definitions?

As far as I know, there are no Muslims in the film and at no point do Muslim and Christian characters fight, so the first doesn't really fit.

Indy does arguably go on a crusade, to get The Holy Grail, but there is nothing to indicate it will be his last.

So why is the film called The Last Crusade?

  • 4
    Perhaps its the last because what do you go after once you have the holy grail? - The old knight was also a crusader.
    – Alex K.
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:38
  • 1
    @AlexK. Alien skulls or something.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:44
  • 3
    The Crusades ended hundreds of years earlier, yet the Joneses are retracing the steps of the Crusaders in the modern day as part of their own (small c) crusade. I think it's as simple as that.
    – recognizer
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


There appear to be two meanings here;

  • Indiana and his father are on a literal Crusade; the Quest to find the Holy Grail. On their way they fight against heretics and unbelievers and even meet one of the first Crusaders, the knight in the grotto. Since this will be the last (successful) attempt to find the Grail, it stands to reason that this will also be the Last Crusade. All future attempts will be stymied by the instructions having been destroyed or becoming inaccurate.

  • Out-of-universe, this was expected to be the last outing for Indiana Jones, at least as a joint venture between Spielberg, Lucas and Ford. It was their Last Crusade.

Spielberg wasn't the only one stating that he wanted to move on, as George Lucas, too, found the prospect of another film unlikely. "I don't foresee there being another one. Anything is possible, but I've run out of ideas. I've had a great time making the Indiana Jones films, but now it's time to move on. I would just as soon do other things," said Indy's creator. - Theraider.net

Obviously the reality is that they decided to milk that cow one more time, but that's a different story.

  • +1 for pointing out an obvious play on words to someone upon whom it was lost. (Perhaps not a native English speaker?) Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 21:27
  • A quest to find the holy grail is NOT a crusade (by the given definition and by common sense, otherwise, arthur did go on countless crusades...). A crusade goal is to conquier jerusalem, the holy grail (that never existed) is not implied...
    – max pnj
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 12:34
  • @maxpnj - While that may be historically true, I think it's reasonable to imagine that the majority of viewers wouldn't be aware of that, any more than they'd be aware of what the goals of the Crusades were.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 15:03

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