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15 things you (probably) didn't know about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

Great Indiana Jones tidbits you need to know about.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

So, 1989 was something of a good year for movies. The top 5 grossing flicks could read like anyone's all time greatest films list: Batman, Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon 2, Look Who's Talking, Back To The Future 2. Hell, Tango & Cash is even of the same vintage.

Hold a gun to our heads (please don't, it's just a saying) and demand to know which of these is the better movie and we'd have to plump for Indy.

Funny, thrilling and utterly gratifying it's an epic joy to behold. Here, in tribute, is 15 things you probably don't know about Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

That's right, in celebration of Indiana Jones heading to cinemas, we are offering up a whole host of the best Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade facts...

Main image credit: Lucasfilm / Disney

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Image Credit: Lucasfilm / Disney

1. Ronald Lacey who previously played uber-creepy Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark (the one whose face melts) cameos as Himmler in the Nazi Berlin parade. He's stars with Michael Sheard (best known as deputy headmaster Maurice Bronson in the children's series Grange Hill) who, as well as playing Hitler here, also appeared in The Empire Strikes Back as a member of the Empire.

2. Sound designer Ben Burtt amassed 800 new sounds for the movie including the clucks of chickens, which were sped up to become the chatter of rats. Lucasfilm ordered 1000 disease-free grey rats for the catacombs scenes from the company that supplied the snakes and bugs for the previous films. Within five months, 5000 rats had been bred for the sequence; 1000 mechanical rats stood in for those that were set on fire.

3. Gregory Peck and Jon "Doctor Who" Pertwee were back-up choices for the role of Professor Henry Jones and it was only because of failing health that Sir Laurence Olivier didn't play the Grail Knight.

4. Kevork Malikyan who played Kazim went for the role of Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but missed out to John Rhys-Davies. Spielberg remembered him and cast him in the third instalment.

5. Sexy Beast star Amanda Redman had to turn down the role of Elsa. "I've got an absolute phobia of rats," she once admitted. "[The role] included a scene where rats would be crawling over my head. I really can't bear rats so that was that."

6. Spielberg opted to make Last Crusade instead of two other films he was offered Big and Rain Man.

7. It was Lucas's idea to make the film about the search for the Holy Grail and it worried Spielberg somewhat. He thought everyone would associate it with Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was made a full 14 years before. "Of course, I was worried that people would hear Holy Grail," he told EW "And they would immediately think about a white rabbit attacking Monty Python. My first reaction was to say, ''Everybody run away! Run away!'"

8. Julian Glover who played Walter Donovan told Empire that Connery ad libbed the line "She talks in her sleep," in response to Ford's line, "How did you know she's a Nazi?"

"They had to stop filming," he recalled. "Everybody just fell on the floor and Steven said, 'Well, that's in.'"

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Image Credit: Lucasfilm / Disney

9. Connery was only 58 at the time shooting, just 12 years older than Ford. Connery's character was supposedly 75, 17 years older than the Scotsman really was.

10. Most of the uniforms worn by the Nazis in the Berlin book burning rally are authentic Second World War uniforms and not costumes. A cache of old uniforms was found in Germany and obtained by costume designer Anthony Powell. The little girl who approaches Hitler at that rally is the daughter of stuntman Vic Armstrong. Armstrong did the horse to tank leap stunt and later claimed it was the scariest of his career.

11. Ford and Connery acted much of the Zeppelin table conversation without trousers on because of the overheated set. Despite being set in winter, the scene was shot in summer.

12. Spielberg used doves instead of seagulls in the scene where Henry scares birds into striking the German plane, because the real gulls used in the first take wouldn't budge. Further proof, if it were needed, that seagulls are the boss of humans.

15 things you (probably) didn't know about Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Image Credit: Lucasfilm / Disney

13. They had two tanks on set; one of them was made of aluminium and one was a one a 28 ton steel monster. The lighter tank had polyurethane tracks that never touched the ground, allowing Harrison Ford to put his face on the moving tracks without any fear of having it ripped off.

The whole chase took about 10 days to film, instead of the projected two days. It was George Lucas who wanted to have an old tank somewhere in the movie, so Steven Spielberg set about writing a short storyboard. According to Connery, the two days soon stretched because Lucas and Spielberg kept finding new action sequences and comedy scenes they wanted to incorporate.

14. Watching Indy brawl with a Nazi, the soldier at the periscope tells his teammates, in German, "The Americans! They fight like girls!"

15. Steven Spielberg had all the extras playing Nazis who had to do the "Sieg Heil" arm salute put their other arms behind their backs and cross their fingers.