Dr. Elsa Schneider is the (redeemed) secondary antagonist of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. She is portrayed by Alison Doody.
Elsa is Austrian art professor who desires the Grail, and like Walter Donovan, she keeps her involvement with the Nazis a secret. Unilke Jones' other two love interests in the films, Marion Ravenwood and Willie Scott, Elsa is a major antagonist She is revealed to have seduced both Joneses throughout the film, Henry first and then Indiana.
Elsa first meets Indiana in Venice, Italy. She guides him to the library in search of the hidden tomb. Indiana discovers the secret entry to the tomb and with Elsa, discover the other half of King Richard's inscription. The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword follows them and sets the tomb's petroleum on fire. Elsa escapes with Indiana and two flee from the Brotherhood in a speedboat. Ultimately, Indiana and Elsa clear up the major misunderstanding with Kazim, the Brotherhood's leader, who informs them that Indiana's father is held up at Brunwald Castle in Austria. Indiana checks on Elsa in her hotel room and finds everything trashed. The two then argue over the grail diary and end up having passionate sex as a result.
At Brunwald, Elsa helps Indiana infiltrate a Nazi-controlled castle, but the two are separated when Indiana swings between buildings to reach his father. Once he rescues his father, he finds Elsa held up at gunpoint by Colonel Vogel, who threatens to kill her if Indiana doesn't surrender. Henry Sr. tells Indiana that Elsa is a Nazi, but Indiana gives up his gun anyways. Elsa runs up to Indiana and takes the grail diary. She finally reveals her true allegiance.
Elsa is told she must return to Berlin for a Nazi rally and she departs, but not before giving Indiana an "Austrian style" kiss.
At the book burning rally, Elsa is seen crying and Indiana finds Elsa walking aimlessly. He grabs her and demands she give up the grail diary. After a heated argument, Indiana takes the diary and basically tells Elsa off. (See quotes for the argument dialogue).
Elsa makes a brief appearance to inform Donovan that Indiana has escaped.
Elsa, along with Donovan and the Nazis, are trying to find the grail within its temple. Indiana and company arrive, which allows Donovan to "persuade" Indiana to find it for them by shooting Henry Sr. Elsa is upset by Donovan's actions, but hangs back to follow Indiana through the three trials. Once inside the chamber, Elsa tells Donovan to let her choose the true grail from the various fakes. She picks a fancy cup, betting that it's a fake. Donovan drinks from it and ages to death instantly. Elsa then watches Indiana choose the true grail. After Indiana heals his dad, Elsa tries to take the grail from the temple. Indiana warns her not to, but she crosses the magical seal anyways. The temple falls apart and Elsa drops the grail. She chases after it, but trips and knocks it into a crack in the ground. She nearly falls in too, but Indiana grabs her. Knowing the grail survived the fall, she tries to reach for it rather than giving Indiana both her hands. While she comes up just short of getting it, her other hand starts slipping from Indiana's hold because she's wearing leather gloves. Elsa keeps trying, despite Indiana's urgent warnings, when the glove on her hand comes off and she falls to her death.
[After Indiana reclaims the Grail diary from Elsa]
- Elsa Schneider: You came back for the book?! Why?!
- Indiana Jones: My father didn't want it incinerated!
- Elsa Schneider: Is that what you think of me? I believe in the Grail, not the swastika!
- Indiana Jones: You stood up to be counted with the enemy of everything the Grail stands for; who gives a DAMN what you think?!
- Elsa Schenider: You do!
- Indiana Jones: [grabs her throat] All I have to do is squeeze.
- Elsa Schneider: All I have to do is scream.
- [Elsa picks up the grail and heads towards the temple's exit.]
- Elsa Schneider: We have got it, come on!
- [Elsa steps on the edge of the Greal Seal.]
- Indiana Jones: Elsa! Elsa, don't move.
- Elsa Schneider: [Shaking the grail] It's ours, Indy, yours and mine.
- Indiana Jones: Elsa, don't cross the seal. The knight warned us not to take the grail from here.
- [The heel of Elsa's riding boot steps across the seal, which sets off an earthquake.]
Elsa's final moments
- [Elsa is hanging onto Indiana above a bottomless abyss. She sees the grail just below her.]
- Indiana Jones: Elsa...
- [She pulls her hand free to reach the grail.]
- Indiana Jones: Elsa, don't, Elsa. Elsa... Give me your other hand honey. I can't hold you!
- [Elsa's other hand starts to slip from its leather glove.]
- Elsa Schneider: [Her last words] I can reach it. I can reach it...
- Indiana Jones: Elsa, give me your hand. Give me your other hand!
- [The leather glove slips off and Elsa falls to her death, screaming.]
- Indiana Jones: Elsa!