Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
Directed bySteven Spielberg
Screenplay by
Story byGeorge Lucas
Produced byRobert Watts
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited byMichael Kahn
Music byJohn Williams
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • May 8, 1984 (1984-05-08) (Westwood)
  • May 23, 1984 (1984-05-23) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
Budget$28.17 million[3]
Box office$333.1 million

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg from a script by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, based on a story by George Lucas. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones film series, and a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film features Harrison Ford who reprises his role as the title character. Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone and Ke Huy Quan, in his film debut, star in supporting roles. In the film, after arriving in British India, Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to find a mystical stone and rescue their children from a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice in honor of the goddess Kali.

Not wishing to feature the Nazis as the villains again, executive producer and story writer George Lucas decided to regard this film as a prequel. Three plot devices were rejected before Lucas wrote a film treatment that resembled the final storyline. As Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas's collaborator on Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write the script, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who had previously worked with Lucas on American Graffiti (1973), were hired as his replacements.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released on May 23, 1984, to financial success, grossing $333.1 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of 1984. Initial critical reviews were mixed, criticism was aimed at its strong violence, as well as some of its darker story elements. However, critical opinion has improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination. In response to some of the more violent sequences in the film, and with similar complaints about the Spielberg-produced Gremlins (which released two weeks later), Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system, which it did within two months of the film's release, creating a new PG-13 rating.[4][a] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. A sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, followed in 1989.


In 1935, American archeologist Indiana Jones survives a murder attempt from Shanghai crime boss Lao Che, who hired him to retrieve the remains of Nurhaci. Indy flees from the city in the company of the young orphan Short Round and nightclub singer Willie Scott, unaware that the plane he is traveling on is owned by Che. The plane's pilots dump the fuel and parachute away, but Indy, Willie and Short Round escape using an inflatable raft before the plane crashes. The trio ride down the slopes of the Himalayas and fall into a river before arriving at the Indian village of Mayapore. There, the villagers plead for Indy's aid in retrieving a sacred lingam stone stolen along with the village's children by evil forces from the nearby Pankot Palace. Indy agrees to do so, hypothesizing that the stone is one of the five Sankara stones given by the Hindu gods to help humanity fight evil. Traveling to the palace, the trio are warmly welcomed and allowed to stay for the night as guests, attending a banquet hosted by the palace's young maharaja.

During the night, Indy is attacked by an assassin, but manages to kill him. He discovers a series of tunnels underneath the palace and explores them with Willie and Short Round. The trio eventually reaches a massive temple where they discover Thuggee cultists conducting a human sacrifice. The cult, which possesses three Sankara stones, is revealed to have abducted the children of Mayapore, using them to find the remaining stones. During an attempt to retrieve the stones, Indy is captured alongside Willie and Short Round. Thuggee high priest Mola Ram forces Indy to drink a potion that places him into a trance-like state which makes him prepare Willie for sacrifice. Short Round is put to work in the tunnels, but he escapes and interrupts the sacrifice by freeing Indy from his trance, who rescues Willie in turn.

The trio defeat the Thuggee, collect the Sankara stones and free the children, escaping an attempt by Mola Ram to drown them. As they cross a rope bridge above a river, Mola Ram ambushes them again, leading Indy to cut the bridge in two, causing a number of cultists to fall into the crocodile-infested water below. As Indy, Willie, Short Round, and Mola Ram struggle to climb up the broken bridge, Indy invokes the name of Shiva, causing the stones to burn through his satchel; one stone burns Mola Ram and he falls to the river, where he is devoured by the crocodiles. British Indian Army soldiers arrive and defeat the remaining cultists, and Indy, Willie and Short Round return to Mayapore and hand over their last remaining stone. As the villagers are reunited with their children, Indy and Willie embrace.


  • Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones: An archaeologist adventurer who is asked by a desperate Indian village to retrieve a mysterious stone and rescue the missing village children. Ford undertook a strict physical exercise regimen headed by Jake Steinfeld to gain a more muscular tone for the part.[8]
  • Kate Capshaw as Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott: An American nightclub singer working in Shanghai. In a nod to the Star Wars franchise, the nightclub is called Club Obi Wan. Willie is unprepared for her adventure with Indy and Short Round, and appears to be a damsel in distress. She also forms a romantic relationship with Indy. Over 120 actresses auditioned for the role, including Sharon Stone.[3][9] To prepare for the role, Capshaw watched The African Queen and A Guy Named Joe. Spielberg wanted Willie to be a complete contrast to Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, so Capshaw dyed her brown hair blonde for the part. Costume designer Anthony Powell wanted the character to have red hair.[10]
  • Ke Huy Quan as Short Round: Indy's young Chinese sidekick, who drives the 1936 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster that allows Indy to escape during the opening sequence. Quan was chosen as part of a casting call in Los Angeles.[10] Around 6,000 actors auditioned worldwide for the part, including Peter Shinkoda;[11] Quan was cast after his brother auditioned for the role. Spielberg liked his personality, so he and Ford improvised the scene where Short Round accuses Indy of cheating during a card game.[9]
  • Amrish Puri as Mola Ram: A Thuggee priest who performs rites of human sacrifices. The character is named after an 18th-century Indian painter.[citation needed] Lucas wanted Mola Ram to be terrifying, so the screenwriters added elements of Aztec and Hawaiian human sacrificers and European devil worship to the character.[12] To create his headdress, make-up artist Tom Smith based the skull on a cow (as this would be sacrilegious), and used a latex shrunken head.[13]
  • Roshan Seth as Chattar Lal: The Prime Minister of the Maharaja of Pankot. Chattar, also a Thuggee worshipper, is enchanted by Indy, Willie and Short Round's arrival, but is offended by Indy's questioning of the palace's history and the archaeologist's own dubious past.
  • Philip Stone as Captain Philip Blumburtt: A British Indian Army officer on a routine inspection tour of Pankot Palace and the surrounding area. He assists Indiana by fighting off Thuggee cultists at the bridge with his regiment, the 11th Poona Rifles.

Additionally, Roy Chiao portrays Lao Che, a Shanghai crime boss who, with his sons Chen (Chua Kah Joo) and Kao Kan (Ric Young), hires Indy to recover the cremated ashes of one of his ancestors. David Yip (in his film debut) portrays Wu Han, a friend of Indy, who is killed in Club Obi Wan. Raj Singh portrays Zalim Singh, the adolescent Maharajá of Pankot, and D. R. Nanayakkara portrays the village Shaman, the leader of a small village that recruits Indy to retrieve their stolen sacred Shiva lingam stone. Denawaka Hamine and Iranganie Serasinghe play two of the village women.

Professional wrestler Pat Roach plays the Thuggee overseer in the mines whom Indy has a large brawl with; Roach had previously appeared as a German mechanic and a Giant Sherpa who brawls with Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dan Aykroyd appears briefly and with a British accent as Weber, who escorts Jones, Short Round and Willie from their car to the plane.[14] Spielberg, Lucas, Marshall, and Kennedy have cameos at the airport.[8]



Spielberg later recalled that when Lucas first approached him for Raiders of the Lost Ark, "George said if I directed the first one then I would have to direct a trilogy. He had three stories in mind. It turned out George did not have three stories in mind and we had to make up subsequent stories."[15] Both men later attributed the film's tone, which was darker than Raiders of the Lost Ark, to their personal moods following the breakups of their relationships.[16] In addition, Lucas felt "it had to have been a dark film. The way Empire Strikes Back was the dark second act of the Star Wars trilogy."[10] Spielberg had said "The danger in making a sequel is that you can never satisfy everyone. If you give people the same movie with different scenes, they say why weren't you more original?" "But if you give them the same character in another fantastic adventure, but with a different tone, you risk disappointing the other half of the audience who just wanted a carbon copy of the first film with a different girl and a different bad guy. So you win and you lose both ways."[17]

Lucas set the film in an earlier year than the first to avoid repeating the use of Nazis as the villains.[16] Spielberg originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back,[15] with Abner Ravenwood considered as a possible character.[10] In developing the story, Lucas conceived of an opening chase scene with Indiana Jones on a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China, followed by the discovery of a "Lost World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs".[8] Another idea was to feature the Monkey King as the plot device.[16] However, Chinese authorities refused permission for them to film in the country, requiring a different setting.[8] Lucas wrote a film treatment that included a haunted castle in Scotland, but Spielberg felt it was too similar to Poltergeist; so the setting transformed into a demonic temple in India.[10]

Lucas came up with ideas that involved a religious cult devoted to child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice. Lawrence Kasdan of Raiders of the Lost Ark was asked to write the script. "I didn't want to be associated with Temple of Doom," he reflected. "I just thought it was horrible. It's so mean. There's nothing pleasant about it. I think Temple of Doom represents a chaotic period in both their [Lucas's and Spielberg's] lives, and the movie is very ugly and mean-spirited."[8] Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to write the script because of their knowledge of Indian culture.[15] Gunga Din served as an influence for the film.[10]

Huyck and Katz spent four days at Skywalker Ranch for story discussions with Lucas and Spielberg in early 1982.[10] They later said the early plot consisted of two notions of Lucas': that Indy would recover something stolen from a village and decide whether to give it back, and that the picture would start in China and work its way to India. Huyck says Lucas was very single-minded about getting through meetings, while "Steve would always stop and think about visual stuff."[18]

Lucas's initial idea for Indiana's sidekick was a virginal young princess, but Huyck, Katz, and Spielberg disliked the idea.[12] Just as Indiana Jones was named after Lucas's Alaskan Malamute, the character of Willie was named after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel, and Short Round was named after Huyck's dog, whose name was derived from The Steel Helmet.[10]

Lucas handed Huyck and Katz a 20-page treatment in May 1982 titled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death to adapt into a screenplay.[10] Scenes such as the fight scene in Shanghai, the escape from the airplane, and the mine cart chase came from earlier scripts of Raiders of the Lost Ark.[19][20] In Raiders, the headpiece for the Staff of Ra was originally conceived to be in two pieces, with the first piece in the museum of General Hok, a Japanese-allied Chinese warlord in Shanghai. Jones was planned to steal that piece, and then use a giant gong as a shield as General Hok fired a submachine gun at him during his escape, much like the final moments in Club Obi-Wan. Kasdan said that was too expensive to produce for the earlier movie. After that, Jones was to fly to Nepal to find Marion and the second piece. In flight, he fell asleep and all of the other passengers on the plane bailed out and parachuted to safety, leaving him to escape alone using an inflatable raft to slide down a Himalayan slope to Marion's bar. Kasdan said this was cut because it interrupted the story flow and was "too unbelievable,"[21] a complaint leveled by some critics at the finished scene.

Lucas, Huyck, and Katz had been developing Radioland Murders (1994) since the early 1970s. The opening music was taken from that script and applied to Temple of Doom.[19] Spielberg reflected, "George's idea was to start the movie with a musical number. He wanted to do a Busby Berkeley dance number. At all our story meetings he would say, 'Hey, Steven, you always said you wanted to shoot musicals.' I thought, 'Yeah, that could be fun.'"[10]

Lucas, Spielberg, Katz, and Huyck were concerned how to keep the audience interest while explaining the Thuggee cult. Huyck and Katz proposed a tiger hunt but Spielberg said, "There's no way I'm going to stay in India long enough to shoot a tiger hunt." They eventually decided on a dinner scene involving eating bugs, monkey brains, and the like. "Steve and George both still react like children, so their idea was to make it as gross as possible," says Katz.[18]

Lucas sent Huyck and Katz a 500-page transcript of their taped conversations to help them with the script.[18] The first draft was written in six weeks, in early August 1982. "Steve was coming off an enormously successful movie [E.T.] and George didn't want to lose him," said Katz. "He desperately wanted him to direct (Temple of Doom). We were under a lot of pressure to do it really, really fast so we could hold on to Steve."[20]

A second draft was finished by September. Captain Blumburtt, Chattar Lal, and the boy Maharaja originally had more crucial roles. A dogfight scene was deleted, as were scenes where those who drank the Kali blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman abilities. During pre-production, the Temple of Death title was replaced with Temple of Doom. From March to April 1983, Huyck and Katz simultaneously performed rewrites for a final shooting script.[10]

Huyck and Katz later said Harrison Ford took many of the one liners originally given to Short Round.[20]


Amrish Puri had been working on 18 films in India upon being cast as the villain Mola Ram. Spielberg later remarked "Amrish is my favorite villain. The best the world has ever produced and ever will."[22]

Harrison Ford reprised his role of Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark. For the role of Willie Scott, more than 1000 actresses auditioned. Among the totally unknown actresses auditioning for the role was Sharon Stone. Finally, Spielberg chose Kate Capshaw after viewing her videotaped test and showing it to Harrison Ford.[3] For the role of Short Round, casting director Mike Fenton arranged open calls for East Asian boys to come in to audition in several major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Hong Kong and London. Originally, Ke Huy Quan's younger brother went to audition for the role while Quan tagged along. The producers had noticed that Quan was giving his brother directions behind the camera during the audition, so the casting director had asked Quan to give it a shot, and was cast a few days later.[23]

For the various Indian characters in the film, the villagers were played by Sri Lankan actors and actresses, while the characters in Pankot Palace were primarily played by Indian actors. For the role of Mola Ram, the arch-villain, they searched through England and the United States to find someone to play the part, as both Lucas and Spielberg were most anxious that they did not cast the principal Indian roles with Western actors darkened down. They couldn't find anybody amongst the resident Indian actors in the United States, and so they got a permit for Amrish Puri, who was working on 18 films in India simultaneously at the time of his casting. Puri had met with Spielberg and initially declined the role, but was convinced after speaking with Richard Attenborough, whom Puri had worked with on a small part in Gandhi.[24] Roshan Seth, who played prime minister Chattar Lal, also appeared in Gandhi alongside Puri.


Steven Spielberg and Production Supervisor Chandran Rutnam on location in Kandy, Sri Lanka, during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The filmmakers were denied permission to film in North India and Amer Fort, due to the government finding the script offensive.[8][15][19] Producer Frank Marshall explained that "originally the scenes were going to be shot in India at a fantastic palace. They required us to give them a script, so we sent it over and we didn't think it was going to be a problem. But because of the voodoo element with Mola Ram and the Thuggees, the Indian government was a little bit hesitant to give us permission. They wanted us to do things like not use the term Maharajah, and they didn't want us to shoot in a particular temple that we had picked. The Indian government wanted changes to the script and final cut privilege."[8][15][19][10]

As a result, location work went to Kandy, Sri Lanka, with matte paintings and scale models applied for the village, temple, and Pankot Palace. Budgetary inflation also caused Temple of Doom to cost $28.17 million, $8 million more than Raiders of the Lost Ark.[19] Filming began on April 18, 1983, in Kandy,[25] and moved to Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England on May 5. Marshall recalled, "when filming the bug scenes, crew members would go home and find bugs in their hair, clothes and shoes."[25] Eight out of the nine sound stages at Elstree housed the filming of Temple of Doom. Lucas biographer Marcus Hearn observed, "Douglas Slocombe's skillful lighting helped disguise the fact that about 80 percent of the film was shot with sound stages."[26]

Harrison Ford with Rutnam on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in Sri Lanka in 1983

Danny Daniels choreographed the opening music number "Anything Goes". Capshaw learned to sing in Mandarin and took tap dance lessons. However the dress was fitted so tightly that Capshaw was not able to dance in it. Made by Barbara Matera out of original 1920s and 1930s beads, the dress was one of a kind. The opening dance number was actually the last scene to be shot, but the dress did feature in some earlier location shots in Sri Lanka, drying on a nearby tree. Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat it, tearing the whole back of the dress. Consequently, some emergency repair work had to be done by Matera with what remained of the original beads, and it was costume designer Anthony Powell who had to fill in the insurance forms. As to the reason for damage, he had no option but to put "dress eaten by elephant".[15]

In a 2003 documentary on the making of the film (first released when the original trilogy made its debut on DVD), costume designer Anthony Powell stated that only one evening dress was made for Capshaw due to the limited amount of original 1920s and 1930s beads and sequins (story above). However, there have been more than one of Capshaw's evening dresses on display at the same time in different countries during exhibitions – from late 2014, a dress was on display at the Hollywood Costume exhibition in Los Angeles (exhibition ran from October 2, 2014 – March 2, 2015). At the very same time, the traveling "Indiana Jones: Adventure of Archaeology" exhibition was on display in Edmonton in Canada (October 11, 2014 – April 6, 2015) and there featured another of the red and gold dresses.[original research?]

Production designer Norman Reynolds could not return for Temple of Doom because of his commitment to Return to Oz. Elliot Scott (Labyrinth, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Reynolds' mentor, was hired. To build the rope bridge the filmmakers found a group of British engineers from Balfour Beatty working on the nearby Victoria Dam.[10] Harrison Ford suffered a severe spinal disc herniation by performing a somersault while filming the scene with the assassin in Jones's bedroom. A hospital bed was brought on set for Ford to rest between takes. Lucas stated, "He could barely stand up, yet he was there every day so shooting would not stop. He was in incomprehensible pain, but he was still trying to make it happen."[8] With no alternatives, Lucas shut down production while Ford was flown to Centinela Hospital on June 21 for recovery.[25] Stunt double Vic Armstrong spent five weeks as a stand-in for various shots. Wendy Leech, Armstrong's wife, served as Capshaw's stunt double.[27]

Macau (then a Portuguese colony) was substituted for Shanghai,[19] while cinematographer Douglas Slocombe caught fever from June 24 to July 7 and could not work. Ford returned on August 8. Despite the problems during filming, Spielberg was able to complete Temple of Doom on schedule and on budget, finishing principal photography on August 26.[25] Various pickups took place afterwards. This included Snake River Canyon, in Idaho, Mammoth Mountain, Tuolumne and American River, Yosemite National Park, San Joaquin Valley, Hamilton Air Force Base and Arizona.[3] Producer Marshall directed a second unit in Florida in January 1984, using alligators to double as crocodiles.[3][16] The mine chase was a combination of a roller coaster and scale models with dolls doubling for the actors.[19] Minor stop-motion was also used for the sequence. Visual effects supervisors Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston and a crew at Industrial Light & Magic provided the visual effects work,[28] while Skywalker Sound, headed by Ben Burtt, commissioned the sound design. Burtt recorded roller coasters at Disneyland Park in Anaheim for the mine cart scene.[29] Marshall recalls that filming the bugs was difficult, more so than the snakes in the first film: "The bugs were much harder to work with than the snakes. You can arrange a pile of snakes. That's impossible with bugs. People were also much more scared of the insects. Every once in a while you'd hear this shriek when the bugs found their way on to the tap-dance rehearsal stage - a bad place for any bug to be."[30]


"After I showed the film to George [Lucas], at an hour and 55 minutes, we looked at each other," Spielberg remembered. "The first thing that we said was, 'Too fast'. We needed to decelerate the action. I did a few more matte shots to slow it down. We made it a little bit slower, by putting breathing room back in so there'd be a two-hour oxygen supply for the audience."[3]



Box office[edit]

Temple of Doom was released on May 23, 1984, in the United States, accumulating a record-breaking $45.7 million in its first week.[26] The film went on to gross $333.1 million worldwide, with $180 million in North America and $153.1 million in other markets.[31] The film had the highest opening weekend of 1984, and was that year's highest-grossing film (third in North America, behind Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters).[32] It was also the tenth highest-grossing film of all time during its release.[31] It sold an estimated 53,532,800 tickets in the United States.[33]


Marvel Comics published a comic book adaptation of the film by writer David Michelinie and artists Jackson Guice, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey, and Bob Camp. It was published as Marvel Super Special No. 30[34] and as a three-issue limited series.[35]

LucasArts and Atari Games promoted the film by releasing an arcade game. Hasbro released a toy line based on the film in September 2008.[36]

Home media[edit]

The video was released at Christmas 1986 with a retail price of $29.95 and sold a record 1.4 million units.[37] A DVD version of the film was released in 2003 together with the two other films in the then Indiana Jones trilogy series.[38] A Blu-ray version for the film was released in 2012 as part of a box set for the series, which had four films at the time.[39] In 2021, a remastered 4K version of the film was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray, produced using scans of the original negatives. It was released as part of a box set for the then four films in the Indiana Jones film series.[40]


In Japan, the film was aired on Nippon TV (NTV), on October 16, 1987. It became NTV's most-watched film up until then with a 26.9% audience rating, surpassing the 25.3% record previously set by First Blood in 1985. In turn, Temple of Doom was later surpassed by Tsuribaka Nisshi 4 in 1994, but remained NTV's most-watched foreign film up until Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2004.[41]

In the United Kingdom, the film's 2005 airing was watched by 5 million viewers on BBC1, becoming the channel's ninth most-watched film during the first half of 2005.[42]


Critical response[edit]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom received mixed reviews upon its release,[8] but over the years the film's critical reception has improved. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 77% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It may be too 'dark' for some, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains an ingenious adventure spectacle that showcases one of Hollywood's finest filmmaking teams in vintage form."[43] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[44]

Roger Ebert gave the film a perfect four-star rating, calling it "one of the greatest Bruised Forearm Movies ever made. You know what a Bruised Forearm Movie is. That's the kind of movie where your date is always grabbing your forearm in a viselike grip, as unbearable excitement unfolds on the screen...Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom makes no apologies for being exactly what it is: Exhilarating, manic, wildly imaginative escapism. No apologies are necessary. This is the most cheerfully exciting, bizarre, goofy, romantic adventure movie since Raiders, and it is high praise to say that it's not so much a sequel as an equal... You stagger out with a silly grin -- and a bruised forearm, of course."[45] Vincent Canby felt the film was "too shapeless to be the fun that Raiders is, but shape may be beside the point. Old-time, 15-part movie serials didn't have shape. They just went on and on and on, which is what Temple of Doom does with humor and technical invention."[46] Neal Gabler commented that "I think in some ways, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was better than Raiders of the Lost Ark. In some ways it was less. In sum total, I'd have to say I enjoyed it more. That doesn't mean it's better necessarily, but I got more enjoyment out of it."[47] Colin Covert of the Star Tribune called the film "sillier, darkly violent and a bit dumbed down, but still great fun."[48] Pauline Kael preferred it to Raiders, writing: "The subject of a movie can be momentum. It has often been the true—even if not fully acknowledged—subject of movies. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it's not just acknowledged, it's gloried in...The whole movie is a shoot-the-chutes, and toward the end, when the heroic trio, having found the sacred stone and freed the stolen children from the maharajah's mines, are trying to escape in a tiny mine car, and a shift in camera angles places us with them on a literal rollercoaster ride, the audience laughs in recognition that that's what we've been on all along...The movie relates to Americans' love of getting in the car and just taking off—it's a breeze."[49]

Dave Kehr stated "The film betrays no human impulse higher than that of a ten-year-old boy trying to gross out his baby sister by dangling a dead worm in her face."[50] Ralph Novak of People complained "The ads that say 'this film may be too intense for younger children' are fraudulent. No parent should allow a young child to see this traumatizing movie; it would be a cinematic form of child abuse. Even Harrison Ford is required to slap Quan and abuse Capshaw. There are no heroes connected with the film, only two villains; their names are Steven Spielberg and George Lucas."[19][51] The Observer described it as "a thin, arch, graceless affair."[52] The Guardian summarized it as "a two-hour series of none too carefully linked chase sequences ... sitting on the edge of your seat gives you a sore bum but also a numb brain."[52] Leonard Maltin gave the movie only 2 out of 4 stars, saying that the film is "headache inducing" and "never gives us a chance to breathe", and chiding the "'gross-out' gags."[53]

In 2014, Time Out polled several film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors to list their top action films.[54] Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was listed at 71st place on this list.[55]

Director Quentin Tarantino has stated that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is his favorite of the series, as well as Spielberg's second-best film behind Jaws."[Spielberg] pushes the envelope, he creates PG-13, a movie so badass it created a new level in the MPAA," further adding "there is a comedy aspect as gruesome as the cinema is; there is an ultimate comedy aspect that's just not quite there as much in the first one."[56]

Reception from the cast and crew[edit]

Kate Capshaw's performance as Willie Scott has often been criticized for its shrillness, with Capshaw calling Willie "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde,"[19] further adding that she "was blind-sided" by the reaction to her character. "The thing that surprised me the most was that the critics, women critics in particular, were very critical of Willie Scott, as if we were making a political statement and I was doing nothing for my sisters. I found it odd that it was an action-adventure film and we were meant to be doing message work."[30]

When promoting Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, Steven Spielberg said "I wasn't happy with Temple of Doom at all. It was too dark, too subterranean, and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered Poltergeist. There's not an ounce of my own personal feeling in Temple of Doom." He later added during the Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom documentary, "Temple of Doom is my least favorite of the trilogy. I look back and I say, 'Well the greatest thing that I got out of that was I met Kate Capshaw.' We married years later and that to me was the reason I was fated to make Temple of Doom."[3] George Lucas, who had been going through a divorce with Marcia Lucas during the making of the film, attributed the film's darkness to his relationship problems, but in regard to the film said, "I love the movie, it's just slightly darker in tone and not as fun as the first."[3]

Roshan Seth said "Let me tell you - the first 15 minutes of Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom are perhaps the greatest 15 minutes in cinema. They are all about what cinema should be: sitting on the edge of your seat in excitement." Harrison Ford said "I felt it was funny and explored interesting, dark places. That scene where he takes the heart out, that was a new thing, a dark thing. But I enjoyed that about it. It also possesses some of the craziest action, the most energy. I think it is a good film."[30]


Dennis Muren and Industrial Light & Magic's visual effects department won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 57th Academy Awards. Soundtrack composer John Williams was, as he had been for his work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, again nominated for Original Music Score.[57] The visual effects crew won the same category at the 38th British Academy Film Awards. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, editor Michael Kahn, Ben Burtt and other sound designers at Skywalker Sound received nominations.[58] Spielberg, the writers, Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan, Anthony Powell and makeup designer Tom Smith were nominated for their work at the Saturn Awards. Temple of Doom was nominated for Best Fantasy Film but lost to Ghostbusters.[59]

Award Category Recipient Result
Academy Awards Best Original Score John Williams Nominated
Best Visual Effects Dennis Muren, Michael J. McAlister, Lorne Peterson, George Gibbs Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Cinematography Douglas Slocombe Nominated
Best Editing Michael Kahn Nominated
Best Sound Ben Burtt, Simon Kaye, Laurel Ladevich Nominated
Best Special Visual Effects Dennis Muren, George Gibbs, Michael J. McAlister, Lorne Peterson Won
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Nominated
Best Director Steven Spielberg Nominated
Best Actor Harrison Ford Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Jonathan Ke Quan Nominated
Best Writing Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz Nominated
Best Costume Design Anthony Powell Nominated
Best Make-up Tom Smith Nominated


Depiction of India[edit]

The depiction of India caused controversy, with the film being not released in cinemas in the country, as the film received a temporary ban in India. The film was later released in the country when it came out on home video.[60][61] A small protest group of around 30 to 50 people in Seattle, Washington, appeared in the local newspapers when they protested against the film for depicting Indians as either helpless or evil.[62]

The depiction of Indian cuisine was heavily criticized, as dishes such as baby snakes, eyeball soup, beetles, and chilled monkey brains are not Indian foods. Professors such as Yvette Rosser have criticized the film for its portrayal of India, with Rosser writing "[it] seems to have been taken as a valid portrayal of India by many teachers, since a large number of students surveyed complained that teachers referred to the eating of monkey brains."[61][63] Another heavily criticized aspect was the film's white savior narrative, with Indiana being depicted as a great white hero upon landing in a remote Indian village, with the villagers unable to help themselves.[64]

Roshan Seth, who played Chattar Lal, mentioned that the banquet scene was a joke that went wrong, saying, "Steven intended it as a joke, the joke being that Indians were so smart that they knew all Westerners think that Indians eat cockroaches, so they served them what they expected. The joke was too subtle for that film."[30]

In his autobiography, Amrish Puri expressed the whole controversy around the film as "silly". He wrote that "it's based on an ancient cult that existed in India and was recreated like a fantasy. If you recall those imaginary places like Pankot Palace, starting with Shanghai, where the plane breaks down and the passengers use a raft to jump over it, slide down a hill and reach India, can this ever happen? But fantasies are fantasies, like our Panchatantra and folklore. I know we are sensitive about our cultural identity, but we do this to ourselves in our own films. It's only when some foreign directors do it that we start cribbing."[65]

PG rating[edit]

Many parents who took their children to see the film complained that some sequences in the film were too violent for its PG rating, particular sequences involving human sacrifice and children being flogged. Spielberg had initially defended the violence, stating "the picture is not called Temple of Roses, it is called Temple of Doom. There are parts of this film that are too intense for younger children, but this is a fantasy adventure. It is the kind of violence that does not really happen and cannot be perpetuated by people leaving the cinema and performing those tricks on their friends at home."[66]

In response to some of the more violent sequences in the film, and with similar complaints about Gremlins (which released two weeks later), Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system by introducing an intermediary between the PG and R ratings. The MPAA concurred, and a new PG-13 rating was introduced two months after the film's release.[4][a] In the UK, the film was heavily censored for a PG rating.[67] The United Kingdom followed suit five years later, with the BBFC introducing the 12 rating and Batman (1989) being the first film to receive it.[68] Temple of Doom was itself re-rated 12, uncut, in 2012.[69]


  1. ^ a b Contrary to popular belief, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins were both released in the US with a PG (not PG-13) rating,[5][6] although controversy surrounding the two films did lead to the subsequent creation of the PG-13 rating. The first film to be issued the new PG-13 rating was The Flamingo Kid,[7] although Red Dawn was the first to be released theatrically under the new rating.[4]


  1. ^ a b "INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (PG) (CUT)". British Board of Film Classification. May 31, 1984. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Rinzler, Bouzereau, Chapter 8: "Forward on All Fronts (August 1983 – June 1984)", p. 168—183
  4. ^ a b c Parker, Ryan (May 23, 2017). "How 'The Temple of Doom' Changed the MPAA Ratings System". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)". MPAA. Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019. Rating: PG
  6. ^ "Gremlins (1984)". MPAA. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019. Rating: PG
  7. ^ "History of Ratings". MPAA. Archived from the original on January 28, 2019. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Baxter, John (1999). "Snake Surprise". Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas. Avon Books. pp. 332–341. ISBN 0-380-97833-4.
  9. ^ a b "The People Who Were Almost Cast". Empire. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rinzler, J. W.; Bouzereau, Laurent (2008). "Temple of Death: (June 1981 – April 1983)". The Complete Making of Indiana Jones. Random House. pp. 129–141. ISBN 978-0-09-192661-8.
  11. ^ "Short Round up | Short Docs". Archived from the original on September 28, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Adventure's New Name". Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  13. ^ "Scouting for Locations and New Faces". Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  14. ^ "'Indiana Jones': 7 Memorable Cameos and Appearances". The Hollywood Reporter. March 19, 2016. Archived from the original on November 18, 2022. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Indiana Jones: Making the Trilogy, 2003, Paramount Pictures
  16. ^ a b c d "Temple of Doom: An Oral History". Empire. May 1, 2008. Archived from the original on August 8, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2008.
  17. ^ " – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  18. ^ a b c "Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck's Best Defense Against Critics Is Their Screenwriting Track Record" By Donald G. McNeil Jr. August 20, 1984 People Magazine Archived January 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine accessed April 22, 2015
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i McBride, Joseph (1997). "Ecstasy and Grief". Steven Spielberg: A Biography. New York City: Faber and Faber. pp. 323–358. ISBN 0-571-19177-0.
  20. ^ a b c "FORTUNE AND GLORY: Writers of Doom! Quint interviews Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz!" Ain't It Cool New 23 May 2014 Archived September 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine accessed April 23, 2015
  21. ^ Burns, James H. (September 1981). "Starlog Interview: Lawrence Kasdan Part 1". Starlog: 34.
  22. ^ "Steven Spielberg once called this Bollywood legend 'world's best villain' even after he refused to audition for him".
  23. ^ "Ke Huy Quan Recalls Landing Short Round Role in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". April 2022.
  24. ^ Puri, Amrish (June 18, 2013). The Act of Life of Amrish Puri: An Autobiography (1st ed.). Stellar Publishers. p. 245.
  25. ^ a b c d Rinzler, Bouzereau, Chapter 6: "Doomruners (April—August 1983), p. 142—167
  26. ^ a b Hearn, Marcus (2005). The Cinema of George Lucas. Harry N. Abrams Inc. pp. 144–147. ISBN 0-8109-4968-7.
  27. ^ The Stunts of Indiana Jones, 2003, Paramount Pictures
  28. ^ The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones, 2003, Paramount Pictures
  29. ^ The Sound of Indiana Jones, 2003, Paramount Pictures
  30. ^ a b c d Green, Willow (October 9, 2012). "The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Empire. Archived from the original on September 4, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
  32. ^ "1984 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2008.
  33. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  34. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Marvel Super Special #30". Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  35. ^ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Archived June 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine at the Grand Comics Database
  36. ^ Douglas, Edward (February 17, 2008). "Hasbro Previews G.I. Joe, Hulk, Iron Man, Indy & Clone Wars". Superhero Hype!. Archived from the original on February 18, 2008. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  37. ^ Bierbaum, Tom (March 4, 1987). "'Top Gun' Cassettes In Record Takeoff: 1,900,000 Units". Variety. p. 1.
  38. ^ "Indiana Jones 'raids DVD record'". BBC News Online. October 31, 2003. Archived from the original on August 19, 2020. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  39. ^ "Indiana Jones: How to enjoy the film as an adult". BBC News Magazine, Washington. October 4, 2012. Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  40. ^ "Indiana Jones Box Set 4K UHD Blu-Ray Preorders Down to $79.99". IGN. March 16, 2021. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  41. ^ Hamano, Keiji; Kitae, Hiroyuki; Udagawa, Shoji; Watanabe, Yasuko; Uchiyama, Takashi (November 2007). The Japanese Market for UK Films. Cinema Alliance Limited, UK Film Council, British Film Institute. pp. 58–9. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022 – via Yumpu.
  42. ^ "4. Film on UK Television in the First Half of 2005". Research and Statistics Bulletin. 3 (1). British Film Institute, UK Film Council: 20–34 (24–5). September 2005. Archived from the original on January 15, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2022 – via Yumpu.
  43. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on June 29, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2024. Edit this at Wikidata
  44. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Archived from the original on June 9, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  45. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 23, 1984). "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  46. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 23, 1983). "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  47. ^ Hagen, Dan (January 1988). "Neal Gabler". Comics Interview. No. 54. Fictioneer Books. pp. 61–63.
  48. ^ Covert, Colin (May 21, 2008). "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  49. ^ Kael, Pauline (July 9, 2018). "INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM – REVIEW BY PAULINE KAEL". Scraps from the Loft. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  50. ^ Kehr, Dave (September 1, 1984). "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  51. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". June 4, 1984. Archived from the original on April 25, 2022. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  52. ^ a b Halliwell's Film Guide
  53. ^ Leonard, Maltin (September 24, 2010). Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide. PENGUIN group. ISBN 9781101108765. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2016 – via Google Books.
  54. ^ "The 100 best action movies". Time Out. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  55. ^ "The 100 best action movies: 80–71". Time Out. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
  56. ^ "Quentin Tarantino names his favourite 'Indiana Jones' movie". August 19, 2022.
  57. ^ "1985". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  58. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  59. ^ "Past Saturn Awards". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  60. ^ Gogoi, Pallavi (November 5, 2006). "Banned Films Around the World: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on April 1, 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  61. ^ a b Rosser, Yvette. "Teaching South Asia". Missouri Southern State University. Archived from the original on January 8, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
  62. ^ "The Spokesman-Review".
  63. ^ Ramnath, Nandini (March 31, 2016). "'Temple of Doom' is the Indiana Jones movie that Indians won't forget in a hurry". Archived from the original on November 21, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  64. ^ "We need to talk about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Little White Lies. June 20, 2020. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  65. ^ Puri, Amrish (June 18, 2013). The Act of Life of Amrish Puri: An Autobiography (1st ed.). Stellar Publishers. p. 260.
  66. ^ " – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".
  67. ^ BBFC (August 3, 2020). "Temple of Doom". Archived from the original on January 12, 2023. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  68. ^ BBFC (August 14, 2020). "Batman". Archived from the original on January 12, 2023. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  69. ^ BBFC. "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom". Archived from the original on January 12, 2023. Retrieved January 12, 2023.


External links[edit]