"If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones."


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the 1984 prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark and chapter twenty-three in The Complete Adventures of 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.[1] In 2012, the film received a high-definition home video release as part of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Prologue: Shanghai, 1935[edit | edit source]

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.

India[edit | edit source]

Stealing the Sankara Stones.

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.

The Temple of Doom

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.

Indy captured by Mola Ram

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.

Crew[edit | edit source]

United Kingdom production crew

United States production crew

Post-Production Services by Sprocket Systems A Division of LucasFilm Ltd.

Second Unit (London)


Asian Unit (Macau & Sri Lanka)


Facilities in Macau Supplied by Salon Films (H.K.) Ltd.

Sri Lanka

Facilities in Sri Lanka Supplied by Sri Lanka Location Services Ltd.

Aerial Unit

Visual Effects Produced at Industrial Light & Magic Marin County

"Anything Goes" Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter

Thanks to the Governments of Sri Lanka and Macau for their help

Photographed at Thorn EMI-Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, England
and on location in
Sri Lanka, Macau, Mammoth Mountain
and the Tuolomne and American Rivers in California

Thanks to
Balfour Beatty Nuttal Victoria Project, Sri Lanka

Physical Conditioning for Mr. Ford by Body by Jake, Inc.

Lighting Equipment and Crew from Lee Electric Ltd.

Metalwork by Norank Engineering Ltd.

Rafts by Maravia Corportaion

Catering by Location Caterers

Auburn Duesenberg Constructed by Specialty Cars

Production Vehicles Courtesy of GMC Truck and Bus

Air Transportation by Pan Am and Air Lanka

ADR by Mayflower Recording Ltd.
and Warner Hollywood Studios

Music Recording at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Thanks to Reed Smoot

Color by Rank Laboratories®

Prints by Deluxe®

Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®

A Lucasfilm Ltd. Production

Original Soundtrack on Polydor Records and Tapes

Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres

Novelization from Ballantine Books

™ and © Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) 1984 All Rights Reserved

No. 27401 Motion Picture Association of America

The persons and events in this film are ficitious.
Any similarity to actual persons or events is unintentional.

This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States
and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution or exhibition
may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.


Appearances[edit | edit source]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Other characters[edit | edit source]

Locations[edit | edit source]

Artifacts[edit | edit source]

Vehicles and vessels[edit | edit source]

Events[edit | edit source]

Animals[edit | edit source]

Miscellanea[edit | edit source]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Temple of Doom title card.

Production[edit | edit source]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Although he had heard rumblings that Raiders II was going be a prequel, Kasdan was not involved with the screenplay.[2] 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.[4]

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.[2]

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.

Deleted scenes[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Reception[edit | edit source]

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."

Ratings[edit | edit source]

Burning heart during the human sacrifice

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.

Novel[edit | edit source]

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.

Home video[edit | edit source]

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.

DVD chapters[edit | edit source]

Toy line[edit | edit source]

Temple of Doom Indiana Jones action figure

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.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Path taken in the movie.

  • 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.

Club Obi Wan

  • 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[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Novel (Adventures of Indiana Jones) · Junior novel (Collector's Edition) · A Tale of High Adventure · Storybook · Read-Along Adventure
Partial adaptations
Indy's Adventures · Traps and Snares · Great Escapes · The Search For Buried Treasure
Soundtrack (The Soundtracks Collection) · The Story of
Comic · 1 · 2 · 3 · Marvel Comics Super Special 30 · Omnibus 2 · Indiana Jones et la Cité de la Foudre
Arcade game · NES game · Greatest Adventures · Trading cards · Indiana Jones Heritage · Board game
Adventure Pack · Sourcebook
LEGO Indiana Jones
Shanghai Chase · The Original Adventures · The Adventure Continues
Activity books
Puzzle Book · Indiana Jones' Adventure Puzzles · Short Round's Action Puzzles · Willie and Indy's Pencil Games · Indiana Jones and his Life of Adventure · Annual 2009 · Annual 2010 · Activity Annual · Winter Activity Annual · Golden Treasure Sticker Book · Heroes and Villains Sticker Book · The Greatest Adventures of Indiana Jones
Behind the scenes
The Making of · The Illustrated Screenplay · Original Movie Script · From Star Wars to Indiana Jones · A Look Inside · Making the Trilogy · Indiana Jones: An Appreciation · Creepy Crawlies · Travel with Indy: Locations · Stunts of Indiana Jones · Sound of Indiana Jones · Light and Magic of Indiana Jones · Music of Indiana Jones · Indy's Women · Indy's Friends and Enemies ·
The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
Home video
VHS (The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones) · DVD (Adventure Collection · Complete Adventure Collection) · Blu-ray (The Complete Adventures)
Other material and merchandise
Toy line · Collectors Edition · Official Poster Magazine
Indiana Jones films
Raiders of the Lost Ark · Temple of Doom · Last Crusade · Kingdom of the Crystal Skull · Indy 5
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
Feature-length episodes
Curse of the Jackal · Mystery of the Blues · Scandal of 1920 · Phantom Train of Doom
TV movies
Hollywood Follies · Attack of the Hawkmen · Treasure of the Peacock's Eye · Travels with Father
The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones
The Early Years
My First Adventure · Passion for Life · The Perils of Cupid · Travels with Father · Journey of Radiance · Spring Break Adventure · Love's Sweet Song
The War Years
Trenches of Hell · Demons of Deception · Phantom Train of Doom · Oganga, The Giver and Taker of Life · Attack of the Hawkmen · Adventures in the Secret Service · Espionage Escapades · Daredevils of the Desert
The Years of Change
Tales of Innocence · Masks of Evil · Treasure of the Peacock's Eye · Winds of Change · Mystery of the Blues · Scandal of 1920 · Hollywood Follies
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