Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade | 1989
The third of the Indiana Jones trilogy was filmed all over the place, beginning in Moab, Utah. It’s Sevenmile Canyon, in the spectacular Arches National Park, where young Indy (River Phoenix) spends the movie’s prologue. Amazingly, the park contains over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, as well as many other unusual rock formations. Arches is located in a "high desert," , which means that the climate is one of very hot summers and cold winters temperatures may vary wildly in a single day.
But why are the fantastic rock formations suddenly replaced by featureless grassland the moment the train appears? Well, that’s because the railway scenes were filmed on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in southern Colorado. Built 126 years ago and little changed since, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a 64-mile, fully operational steam railroad jointly owned by the states of Colorado and New Mexico. The railroad operates passenger trains seven days a week from May to October .
And it’s a railroad you can travel, too. The return journey, taking a whole day, runs from Antonito, Route 285, south of Alamosa in southern Colorado, 30 miles southwest through the San Juan Mountains to Chama in northern New Mexico.
The school where Indy teaches is Rickmansworth Masonic School, Chorleywood Road (A404) just a couple of minutes north of Rickmansworth Station (rail: London Marylebone Station). The school previously supplied interiors for Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Also in the UK is the classically grand setting for the ‘Berlin’ rally, where Indy manages to get the Führer’s autograph, which is the prestigious Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. This former home of the Duke of Buckinghamshire, set in grounds landscaped by Capability Brown, is four miles north of Buckingham town itself (a few miles west of Milton Keynes), and usually open to the public for the first two weeks in April and from July through to the beginning of September. Stowe also appears as the school where Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) wins the crucial cricket match at the beginning of 2001 Hindi smash Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
'Berlin Airport' is a conflation of two locations thousands of miles apart. The exterior is the sleek art deco Administration Building on Treasure Island, a man-made landform in San Francisco Bay, California, built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. It was later used as a naval base, and more recently the island’s hangars have regularly found use as film soundstages for such productions as Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk and 1997 Robin Williams comedy Flubber.
The ‘airport’ interior is the brutalist 1920s architecture of Lawrence Hall, originally one of the two Royal Horticultural Halls, Greycoat Street at Elverton Street, Westminster, SW1. The hall, which was leased to Westminster School in 2011, also masqueraded as 'Berlin Airport' in the misfired 1997 version of The Saint, with Val Kilmer. Its severe lines make it the ideal place for scary fascist gatherings, too. It's here that loopy rockstar Pink (Bob Geldof) presides over the inexplicably sinister rally in Alan Parker's film of Pink Floyd The Wall, and that Richard (Ian McKellen) is offered the crown in the imaginative 30s-set Richard III.
The search for the Grail takes Indy to Venice, where he finds a clue in the Church of San Barnaba, Campo San Barnaba in the laidback Dorsoduro district, across the Canal Grande from St Mark’s. If you want to see the real interior, the 1749 church is open daily from 7.30am to noon and 4.30pm to 7pm. Incidentally, Campo San Barnaba is the spot where Katherine Hepburn fell into the canal in David Lean's Summer Madness. As Steven Spielberg is such a Lean fan, this hardly seems to be coincidence. The piazza is also featured in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job.
Although the Venice waterfront starts out as real, we’re soon back in England, with the high-speed chase being filmed around Tilbury Docks in Essex.
‘Iskenderun’ (once, apparently, a small sultanate south of Turkey and north of Syria, now a Mediterranean port) is Granada in Spain. The railway station, where Dr Brody (Denholm Elliott) is besieged by beggars, is Guadix Station, Guadix, about 30 miles east of Granada on the N342. If you're visiting Turkey, you might want to check out the real Iskenderun, a port on the Mediterranean.
The beach on which Jones Sr makes ingenious use of his brolley to see off a pursuing Nazi plane is Playa De Monsul, with its striking volcanic rock, Punta de la Peineta, in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, a few miles east of Almeria on the coast of southeast Spain.
The beach is three miles southwest of San José. There’s a small parking lot, but it’s actually cheaper to take a shuttle bus from the town.
The Grail, it turns out, resides in the ‘Canyon of the Crescent Moon’, in actuality, Al Khazneh, the so-called ‘Treasury’ of the rock city of Petra in the Edom Mountains of southwest Jordan.
Petra is at Wadi Musa, a three-hour drive or bus-ride from the Jordanian capital of Amman (though you can reach it more easily from Aqaba or from Eilat in Israel), at the end of a three-quarter-mile trek (on foot, camel or horse) through the Siq, a narrow rock fissure in the cliffs. The canyon is seen again in Stephen Sommers’ 2001 The Mummy Returns, and another part of the Petra complex houses the ‘Tomb of the Primes’ in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.
• Many thanks to Mike Jordan for help with this section.