- "If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones."
Set one year prior to the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the story follows Indiana Jones journeying through India to recover a sacred stone stolen from a small village by a religious cult intending to harness its power, along with four more, to establish the reign of their god in place of all others.
The movie was re-released on VHS video in 1999, on DVD in 2003 and again in 2008 for a Special Edition DVD release. In 2012, the film received a high-definition home video release as part of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures.
Prologue: Shanghai, 1935
The film is set a year before the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy is delivering the remains of Emperor Nurhachi to a gangster named Lao Che in a nightclub, Club Obi Wan, in Shanghai, China, in exchange for a large diamond. Lao introduces Indy to Willie Scott, the club's singer and his "girlfriend". After Indy sips his drink, Lao starts laughing ominously as he pulls out a vial of blue liquid. Willie asks what it is, and Lao replies that it is the antidote to the poison Indiana just drank. Indy's friend Wu Han, in disguise as a waiter, pulls a gun and threatens to shoot if the antidote is not handed over. However, Lao Che's son Chen shoots and kills him. A brawl ensues, with Indiana Jones trying to grab the antidote and Willie Scott trying to grab the Peacock's Eye.
Willie finds the antidote and slips it in her dress. Chen is killed, and Lao Che's other son, Kao Kan pulls a machine gun on Indy. Indy and Willie just barely avoid the mad man's gunfire by hiding behind a rolling gong which Indy cut with a large sword. The two make their escape when the gong crashes through a window. After several awnings break their fall, they land in a car driven by Short Round, Indy's kid sidekick. Indy drinks the antidote after grabbing it out of Willie's dress. A car chase follows, with Willie dropping Indy's gun in the chaos. The three heroes arrive at an airport with Lao Che and Kao Kan right behind them. Indy, Willie, and Short Round board the cargo plane, with Indy saying that Lao Che made a good try. He shuts the door and Lao Che is written across the door. Lao Che says goodbye to Indy and tells his pilot to kill all of them. The plane flies off.
It turns out that the plane was owned by Lao Che, and the captains abandon the plane, leaving the passengers to die. They survive by using a raft as a parachute. They land in India, where they come to a village with no children. The inhabitants explain that the Thuggee cult of Pankot Palace has taken all of their children and their sacred stone that protects the village. They then lend the heroes elephants so they can reach the palace.
Initially the palace seems normal enough; the Maharajah's prime minister Chattar Lal acts insulted by his questions about the village's claims. In retaliation he brings up Jones' shadier elements as an archaeologist, in particular the Sultan of Madagascar's threat of castration should he ever return. Indy is later attacked in his room by an assassin, which leads him to find a secret door in Willie's room. Beneath the palace is a vast underground chamber where the village rock and two more are held by Thuggees. Indy, Willie, and Short Round watch as the Thuggee high priest Mola Ram sacrifices a human to the goddess Kali. The cult uses the village's children to dig for the remaining rocks within the mines of the palace, in hope that with all of them they can rule the world.
Indy, Willie, and Short Round are captured by the Thuggee and separated: Indy sides with the Thuggee after being whipped and tortured to drink the "blood of Kali Ma", Willie is kept as a human sacrifice, and Short Round is put in the mines alongside the village children. Short Round escapes and helps Indy return to his normal self (with the help of a torch and also figuring out that extreme pain breaks the trance), which allows him to save Willie, take the Sankara stones, and free the children. Indy then has a fist fight with the huge, bearded Chief Guard on a moving conveyor belt fitted with a rock crusher. Their confrontation ends with the guard's red sash being caught in the machinery. Despite Jones' attempt to save him, the man is pulled into the machine and crushed to death.
Indy and his friends get in a mine car chase with the Thuggees. The trio eventually run through the rest of the mine tunnels, out to an exit at the end of a mountain. Shorty and Willie run to an old bridge, where they meet up with Mola Ram and his minions, while Indy fights more Thuggee soldiers on his way to the bridge. Indy then meets up with Mola Ram on an old bridge. Indy breaks the bridge (with the help of a sword) and everyone clings on to the broken bridge, while most of Mola Ram's men plummet to their deaths by crocodiles in the river.
During the fight with Mola Ram on what remains of the bridge, Indy accuses the evil priest of betraying Shiva. Using the dark magic he learned from the Thuggee, the anger of the god apparently causes the stones in Indy's bag to catch fire and two fall to the crocodile-infested river below. As the final stone falls out of the bag, Mola Ram grabs it, but it burns his hand, causing Mola Ram to lose his grip on the bridge railing and fall into the river, where he is torn apart and eaten by the hungry crocodiles. Indy catches the then-cool stone. The remaining Thuggee are subdued by the British Army.
Indy and his friends triumphantly return to the village with their sacred stone and their children. After Willie tells Indy she is going back to Missouri, he brings her towards him with his whip, and they share a kiss, but not before Short Round's elephant sprays them with water.
- Indiana Jones .... Harrison Ford
- Willie Scott .... Kate Capshaw
- Short Round .... Ke Huy Quan
- Mola Ram .... Amrish Puri
- Chattar Lal .... Roshan Seth
- Captain Blumburtt .... Philip Stone
- Lao Che .... Roy Chiao
- Wu Han .... David Yip
- Kao Kan .... Ric Young
- Chen .... Chua Kah Joo
- Maitre d' .... Rex Ngui
- Chief Henchman .... Philip Tann
- Weber .... Dan Aykroyd
- Chinese Pilot .... Akio Mitamura
- Chinese Co-Pilot .... Michael Yama
- Shaman .... D. R. Nanayakkara
- Chieftain .... Dharmadasa Kuruppu
- Sajnu .... Stany De Silva
- Village Women ....
- Village Child .... Dharshana Panangala
- Little Maharajah .... Raj Singh
- Merchant #1 .... Frank Olegario
- Merchant #2 .... Ahmed El-Shenawi
- Eel Eater .... Art Repola
- Sacrifice Victim .... Nizwar Karanj
- Chief Guard .... Pat Roach
- Guard .... Moti Makan
- Temple Guards ....
- 1st Boy in Cell .... Arjun Pandher
- 2nd Boy in Cell .... Zia Gelani
- Big Short Round
- Cigarette Girl
- Robert Clive (Mentioned only)
- Gong striker
- Nurhachi (Remains)
- Thuggee assassin
- British Honduras (Mentioned only)
- Madagascar (Mentioned only)
- United States of America (Mentioned only)
- Missouri (Mentioned only)
- East China Sea (On map)
- Nurhachi's ashes (First appearance)
- Peacock's Eye (Retcon)
- Sankara Stones (First appearance)
- Sanskrit manuscript (First appearance)
Vehicles and vessels
- Sepoy Rebellion (Mentioned only) (As "Mutiny of 1857")
- Stick insect
Behind the scenes
Several elements considered for Raiders of the Lost Ark were recycled for use in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A sequence in Shanghai (where Indiana Jones uses a rolling gong to shield himself from machine-gun fire), a ride down a mountainside in an inflatable life raft to escape a crashing plane, and a mine cart chase were all written into Raiders' first draft. Even the idea of Jones ensnaring and pulling a woman back to him with his bullwhip was proposed by Steven Spielberg to George Lucas and screenplay writer Lawrence Kasdan during the first film's story conference in 1978.
Although he had heard rumblings that Raiders II was going be a prequel, Kasdan was not involved with the screenplay. At that stage in his career he was not inclined to write anyone else's stories ever again but would make an exception for Star Wars sequel Return of the Jedi (1983) out of gratitude to Lucas for helping establish his foothold in the industry with Raiders and support in seeing Body Heat (1981), Kasdan's directorial debut, get made.
The Indiana Jones follow-up would instead be penned by husband-and-wife writing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz with whom Lucas was working to develop Radioland Murders (1994). A dance number considered during Radioland Murders' lengthy gestation period would eventually make its way into the opening sequence of Temple of Doom.
Most of Temple of Doom's filming was done on location in Sri Lanka and at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. Macau served as a substitute for Shanghai. There was a denial of filming in North India and Amber Fort due to the Indian government finding racism and offense in the script and demanding changes. This led to the filming of India in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
- On the way to Pankot Palace, Indy, Willie, and Short Round sing Anything Goes.
- During the scene where they camp in the jungle, a snake lands on Willie's shoulder and she pets it until it falls asleep.
- When Indy sees the snake statue when stealing the stones, he touches the statue in awe.
- Willie makes it back to her room and encounters Chattar Lal and a guard. Chattar Lal then reveals himself as part of the cult.
- While Short Round was digging, a guard nearby gets burned by lava and wakes up from the Black Sleep. When he is taken away, Short Round gets the idea of how to wake Indy.
- After Indy rescues Willie, Chattar Lal recovers from his injury and attacks Indy. They jump on the sacrificial cage and fight. Indy jumps free but Willie pulls the lever and Chattar Lal is killed when the cage hits the lava.
- When Indy, Willie, and Short Round have to get to the mines, they build a bridge to get across the lava.
While the film takes place in 1935, sources vary on the exact time placement.
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide uses June.
- The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones dates the events of the movie in December.
- The Diaries of Indiana Jones dates the events between June 13 and June 22.
Due to the graphic scenes, dark theme, and cultic overtones, this film received mixed reviews from many critics. The film is much darker in tone than its predecessor (a fact which Lucas attributes to the messy divorce he was going through during the film's production), and has been criticized for being overly violent and scary, as well as for its gross misrepresentations of Indian culture. Despite its PG rating, it is the darkest Indiana Jones film. It also had been praised for being different to the other films and Mola Ram is considered by even the hardest-to-please critics to be the best Indy enemy to date.
The film did, however receive a rating of 85% from film aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, calling it, "an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form."
Some fairly gruesome scenes in Temple of Doom, as well as other PG-rated films of the time such as Gremlins (another film of Spielberg's) caused a significant public outcry. Spielberg spoke to the MPAA about creating a new rating covering the middle ground between a clear PG and a clear R that his films often found themselves on. This led to the creation of a new rating category: PG-13. The film has very violent scenes, scenes with bugs which can be disturbing to people with Entomophobia, a particularly graphic scene involving cardiectomy and, just like Raiders, the casual use of profanity.
There was a novelization of the movie released in 1984 by James Kahn along with a junior version adapted by Les Martin. Kahn's novel was republished as part of The Adventures of Indiana Jones to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, but an entirely new young adult adaptation, penned by Suzanne Weyn, was also released.
The film was released on VHS, Beta and laserdisc in 1986. It was later reissued on DVD in 2003 and 2008, and Blu-ray in 2012.
- Shanghai, 1935/"Anything Goes"
- Club Obi-Wan
- The Getaway
- Escape by Air
- "Nobody's Flying the Plane"
- Mayapore (The Village)
- Sankara/Fortune and Glory
- The Journey
- The Jungle at Night
- Approaching Pankot Palace
- Audience With the Maharajah
- The Feast
- Nocturnal Activities
- The Spike Chamber
- The Temple of Doom
- Stealing the Stones
- Captives of the Thuggee
- The Blood of Kali
- Willie's Sacrifice
- The Rescue
- Freeing the Children
- The Rock Crusher
- The Mine Car Chase
- Deadly Flood
- The Rope Bridge
- Return to Mayapore
- End Credits
There was a Temple of Doom toy line released by LJN in 1984. The line was very short-lived and only had three figures.
A new Temple of Doom toyline was released by Hasbro in September 2008.
- The Chinese dialogue in the opening scene is in the Shanghainese dialect.
- Actor/wrestler Pat Roach — who appeared in two roles as towering, burly henchmen who fight Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark — also appeared in this film, as the slavemaster in the mines. Besides Ford, he is the only cast member to return for the second film. (He also had a cameo appearance in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.)
- The opening musical sequence was designed by Steven Spielberg to fulfill his desire to direct a Busby Berkeley-style musical number. The song performed is Cole Porter's Anything Goes, translated into Mandarin.
- The nightclub in which the opening sequence takes place is called "Club Obi Wan", undoubtedly a reference to the character Obi-Wan Kenobi from Lucas's other famous film series, Star Wars. The club's name is visible when Indy, Willie, and Short Round escape in an automobile.
- The sound effects of the mine car scene were recorded from the Disneyland attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's trains going around the track.
- When Indy is about to cross the rope bridge, he is stopped by a sabre-wielding Thuggee. He attempts to draw his gun a la Raiders of the Lost Ark but finds that he has lost his gun. A musical cue from Raiders is played.
- Indiana Jones is named after George Lucas's dog. In this film, all three leads are named after dogs. Willie was the name of Spielberg's dog, and Short Round was the name of the dog belonging to scriptwriters Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck.
- Though always called "Willie", Capshaw's character is fully named "Wilhelmina", an apparent Lucasfilm in-joke referring to the infamous Wilhelm scream.
- On their way to Pankot, Indy informs Willie they see vampire bats. In reality, all species of vampire bats are native to Latin America.
- Similarly, some of the bugs in the scene greatly featuring them are not even from Asia.
- "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death" was the original title, and was translated as such for the released film's German version.
- The monkey brains were custard with food coloring.
- Willie stating her desire to go back to Missouri is a likely inside reference to the fact that the actress portraying her, Kate Capshaw, grew up there herself.
- Some fans believe that the mention of the Japanese bombing of Shanghai is an anachronism, thinking that it applies to an event that occurred in 1937. Actually, the Japanese bombed Shanghai in 1932 in retaliation for Chinese attacks on Japanese civilians in the city after the Japanese annexed Manchuria.
- When the map showing the flightpath of Indiana Jones and his companions is displayed, it shows their path goes from Shanghai to Chungking and then onward toward the eastern India-China border, near Burma. However, images show the plane flying over a section of the Great Wall of China, which would not be near their flight path at all. Additionally, Burma wouldn't have existed at the time either, as it was part of India until 1937.
- When Indy is fighting in his room with the assassin, the whip gets caught in the ceiling fan and lifts him off his feet. In reality, the chances of a ceiling fan being able to support the weight of a full-grown man are extremely slim. Besides, after the assassin is hanged, the fan would not continue revolving with the body weight hanging from the blades.
- During the rope bridge scene, there are a few distant camera angles that show that the bridge is suspended between a gorge that seems to be a hundred feet deep with tree branches and large rocks in the shallow creek not far below. But whenever there are above shots, such as after Indy cuts the bridge in half and when the half with the survivors clinging on hits the gorge wall and a few Thuggees lose their grip and fall, or when Mola Ram dislodges one of his men and causes him to fall, the gorge appears to have changed heavily: at first when the bridge is sawed in half, most of the Thuggees plunge down into the rocky creek, the gorge wall is steep and the chasm does not look very deep although it is a nasty drop. But when a few surviving Thuggees on one half of the bridge fall off, the gorge appears to have become a thousand feet deep with a completely vertical wall, no branches in sight, and a wide, deep-looking river with no rocks in it.
- The “crocodiles” in the river are actually American alligators.
- After the assassination attempt, Indy tells Shorty to turn off the ceiling fan. He does and the whip is untangled from the blades, dropping the dead assassin to the floor. However, as he drops, the assassin puts his hands out to soften his landing and after he hits the ground, the man moves his hands as though to steady himself.
- When Indy, Willie and Short Round arrive at the airport, the man who greets them, Weber, is portrayed by Dan Aykroyd. Weber's first name is debatable as it appears as Art in the DVD subtitles, yet others claim it is Earl. In the background of the same scene, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg can be seen handling luggage.
- This is the only film in the Indiana Jones series not to include the Ark of the Covenant, Marcus Brody or Sallah in some form.
- This is the only film in the Indiana Jones series in which none of the film's events take place in the United States.
- Kate Capshaw would marry director Steven Spielberg seven years later.
- The television show MythBusters tested the plausibility of two of the film's stunts: using a series of awnings to make a multi-story fall survivable, and using a life raft to make a fall out of an airplane survivable. The life raft stunt was considered busted, while the awning fall stunt was considered plausible.
- This is the only film in the Indiana Jones series in which the actual franchise logo font is used on-screen to display the title.
Notes and references
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Wikipedia
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Google Play
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on YouTube
|May 1935||June 1935||1935|
|Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb||Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye|