Soundtrack Review: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Composed and Conducted by: John Williams

Although Temple of Doom was another box office hit, critical reactions were heavily mixed and it obviously affected director Steven Spielberg enough that he spent a couple extra years on completing the Indiana Jones trilogy. He wanted to recapture more of the feeling of Raiders of the Lost Ark, resulting in the return of a couple supporting characters and the Nazis as the villains. Originally the third film was going to focus on Indiana Jones looking for fruit of immortality and the legendary Chinese character the Monkey King in the heart of Africa, but this was wisely replaced by a search for the Holy Grail with Indy’s own father, wonderfully played by Sean Connery, thrown into the mix.

John Williams of course returns with a lot of new themes. There are a couple of artifact themes this time around, both evoking a strong religious feeling, without any of the ominous feeling of the other movies as the healing power of Christ isn’t known for  zapping anybody who tries to use it. The first is the primary Grail theme, which debuts appears in the travel cue portion of “X Marks the Spot”. Most of its appearances were absent on the original album, but restored on the 2008 release. There’s a secondary Grail theme which is also used for Henry Jones Sr., Indy’s father (as evidenced by its use in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). This warm theme makes its first appearance in “Ah, Rats!” after a statement of the primary theme and is heavily present in the film’s last cues. There’s also a small family motif which appears towards the beginning of “Canyon of the Crescent Moon” and in more loud fare in “Keeping Up with the Joneses”. Continue reading