"But choose wisely. For as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail shall take it from you."
Grail Knight to Walter Donovan[src]

The false grail was a golden chalice found at the inner sanctuary of the Temple of the Sun in 1938.


This large drinking vessel, made of gold, and encrusted with jewels, was taken from Constantinople by the Knights Templar and eventually ended up in the Grail sanctuary of the Temple of the Sun, where it sat near the Holy Grail, along with dozens of other false grails that sat upon the altar, all guarded by the Grail Knight[1].

The final test to prove one's worthiness to find the Holy Grail was to be able to correctly identify the real Holy Grail among the collection of other chalices and bowls set out as decoys. Once a seeker selected a grail, they would have to fill it from a font in the chamber and then drink from it. Water from any of the false grails would cause death to the poor crusader, while water from the true cup would grant eternal life.

Donovan with false grail

Donovan examines the chalice.

In 1938, Indiana Jones was forced to enter the Temple to find the Grail in order to save his father, shot by Walter Donovan. Jones made it past the assorted traps and tests to enter the inner sanctum where he encountered the Grail Knight. After making it through, Donovan and Elsa Schneider followed into the chamber. Donovan asked the Austrian doctor which vessel was the true Holy Grail and Schneider purposely selected the shiniest false grail for him. After assuring himself that the false Grail was in fact the cup of the King of Kings, he filled it with water and took a drink from it, expecting eternal life. But to his horror, he instead began to age and then rot. Dropping the chalice, he raised his arms and tried to attack Schneider, but was pushed into the wall by Indiana Jones, leaving nothing but bones.

Jones then selected the genuine Grail and proved its authenticity by drinking from it and surviving. Needing the real Grail to save his dying father, Jones and Schneider ignored the golden chalice cast off to the side and returned to the entrance area of the temple.[2]

Behind the scenes

The false grail prop measured roughly 15 x 15 x 21 cm.[3]



Notes and references

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