Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Poster

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • After narrowly escaping death at the hands of Chinese gangsters, archaeology professor, Dr Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford), accompanied by his 12-year-old sidekick Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and nightclub singer Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott (Kate Capshaw), crash land their plane in the Himalayan Mountains of India. They are taken in by starving villagers desperate for Indy's help finding their children and a magical stone they call "Sivalinga", which they claim was stolen from them by the evil residents of the ancient Pankot Palace, previously thought to be deserted. Indy agrees to visit Pankot Palace, but the new maharajah, Zalim Singh (Raj Singh), assures him that there is no evil in his palace ...until Indy stumbles upon a hidden passageway that leads to an underground temple where an ancient Thuggee cult has commenced worshiping the dark Hindu goddess Kali and conducting human sacrifices.

  • The Temple of Doom is the second movie in the Indian Jones series, preceded by Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (1981) and followed by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) (1989) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) (2008). A fifth movie, Untitled Indiana Jones Project (2020), has been announced but no release date has been set. Temple of Doom is based on a story conceived by American film maker George Lucas. The screenplay for Temple of Doom was written by American screenwriters Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who took inspiration from Gunga Din (1939), a 1939 movie with a similar plot. Indiana Jones the the Temple of Doom was novelized in 1984 by James Kahn and republished in 2008.

  • It is a prequel. It's the second movie in the series, but the events in the movie are set in 1935, about a year before those in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was set in 1936. A title at the beginning of Temple of Doom confirms this when it reads "Shanghai, 1935."

  • Yes. As described in the film, Nurhaci was the first sovereign emperor of what became the Manchu Dynasty, the last ruling Dynasty of China. He reigned from 1616 to 1626 (when it was actually known as the "Later Jin" Dynasty) and is credited with unifying the warring tribes in modern day Manchuria and commanding them under a single massive military system. His descendants went on to found the Manchu Dynasty (aka Qing Dynasty) in 1644 and conquer China as we now know it today. Lao Che was able to trace his own ancestry back to Nurhaci, decided he wanted to possess the emperor's ashes and hired Indy to find them.

  • Although the "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" depicts Indy as being part of an air force squadron during the Great War, he is merely an observer rather than a pilot. Although we see Indy fly a plane in The Last Crusade set in 1938, Temple of Doom is set in 1935. The assumption is that, in the intervening period, Indy learned to fly a plane but either didn't learn landing very well or quit his lessons before he could.

  • Mostly, no. Lucas combined elements of an original Hindu myth with ideas of a fantastical nature. Nearly all of the details are fictional, however.

  • It is suggested that the High Priest Mola Ram is capable of "black magic". Later, the maharajah's voodoo doll of Indy also works because of black magic. At the end of the movie, Jones uses this supernatural theme to his advantage when he tells Mola Ram, "You betrayed Shiva", and the stones perform their magic to bring about the end of Mola Ram and his cult of terror. Throughout all of the Indiana Jones movies, Indy comes across supernatural phenomena, such as the Ark which destroys all the Nazis or the Holy Grail which can save a person from dying.

  • When Mola Ram sacrifices his first victim, in an infamous scene, he tears out the man's heart before lowering the victim into the lava, yet he doesn't do the same with Willie. The real-world explanations for this are twofold. For one, Indy's love interest cannot die halfway through the movie—a simple and practical plot point for the film. Two, having an actor sink his hand into an actress' chest wouldn't be appropriate for a PG movie (and PG-13 did not yet exist when this film was made). In the Indy canon, however, an explanation for this scene is harder to come by. One could argue that Mola Ram never actually rips his victim's heart out, but rather acts as though he does and convinces his drugged followers of it. There's also the possibility that Ram was still using Willie as a test of Indy's loyalty to the cause. We see him grin triumphantly at the camera after Indy shackles Willie's wrist to the cage.

  • Indy and Mola Ram battle it out on the remains of the hanging rope bridge, and two of the Sankara stones are lost at the bottom of the ravine. Mola Ram falls to his death and is eaten by alligators as Captain Blumburtt (Philip Stone) and his men arrive to arrest the remaining Thuggee warriors. At the top of the ravine, Willie and Shorty stand and look for Indy, who, with a Sankara stone in hand, clambers back up to them grinning. They return to the village where life has already returned. The village children come running in behind Indy, Shorty and Willie and the stone is returned to the village shaman. "I know you are coming back... when life returned to our village," the shaman smiles. Indy nods and agrees that he now understands the magic of the stones. The film ends with Indy whipping Willie around the waist and pulling her towards him, embracing her in a kiss as the village children cheer and laugh and Shorty's elephant sprays them with water.

  • There really is no definite answer. Chattar Lal (Roshan Seth) attempts to stab Indy with a small knife as Indy attempts to rescue Willie from the pit, but Lal is hurled onto the chain-pulling device and crushed beneath it. Moments later, he is crawling around on the floor in pain. Then, suddenly, in the next shot, he is gone and never seen again in the rest of the film. Probably more of an editing error than anything. The most logical answer lies in that notion that British Captain Blumburtt returned to secure and empty the Temple of Doom and arrested Chattar Lal in the process. There is some evidence of a cut scene here. After Chattar Lal is seen crawling away, we see a few cuts, after which he has disappeared. What has actually happened is a scene where, subsequent to Willie's rescue from the cage, Lal returns to continue the fight. The fight leads out onto the top of the metal cage where Indy holds onto the two chains at the bottom of the cage, jumps up, and kicks Lal off the dipping side of the off-balanced cage. A picture of this scene is contained on an old school notebook folder for the film, which contains many random movie stills. It was also hinted at in the script, novelization, and comic book versions. You can view a picture of this deleted scene here. In the novelization of the film, Chattar Lal and Indy resume their fight not long after Indy rescues Willie from the cage. Lal is pushed onto the cage by Indy and it swings over the pit. As soon as it does, Willie releases the brake on the wheel and it sinks, taking Lal with it. In the novelization, Willie had become charmed by Lal himself and was taken with the fake hospitality that he'd shown them all when they arrived at the palace, so she wanted revenge.

  • He immigrates to the United States with Jones following his adventure. The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, published in 2008, detailed that Short Round became an archaeologist and tracked down the Peacock's Eye (the diamond from Doom's opening sequence) to Niihau.

  • He probably got it from Indy himself. Indy talks about how he found Shorty living as an orphan on the streets of Shanghai after the Japanese bombed the city. "Short round" is a military term that refers to a mortar round or shell that either doesn't launch properly or only travels a short distance and doesn't explode. Such an occurrence can be very dangerous to the crew that launched it since the round can be highly unstable and explode unexpectedly. Indy probably gave his sidekick that name because of his exuberant and cocky personality.

  • There are two possible explanations: First, Shorty was desperate to bring his friend back and simply burned Indy in the hope that it would shock him back to his old self. As we see, the ploy worked and Indy comes back. The second theory comes from the film's novelization, in which Shorty, while laboring in the mines, sees one of the kids uncover a small vein of lava. When one of the thuggee guards comes over to investigate, the vein spits some lava onto his bare legs and the heat snaps him out of his trance. He's immediately taken away by other guards—presumably to be forced to drink the blood of Kali Ma again to return him to his trance. However, Shorty is a witness to the incident and figures out that heat or fire will wake up Mola Ram's hypnotized followers.

  • Yes. Harrison Ford seriously hurt his back during the filming of Temple of Doom and had to leave the production for a number of weeks while stuntman (and longtime Ford double) Vic Armstrong took his place for many of the action sequences, notably the fight with the large Thuggee on the conveyer belt. Fortunately, at that time, Armstrong was a close look-alike to Harrison Ford, so the switch went quite unnoticed for these scenes. Ford himself was added in later for close-ups and anything else that was needed.

  • He plays a British man, Earl Weber. He is the man who obtains a plane for Indy, Willie and Short Round near the beginning of the film. He only has a couple of lines and that is his only appearance. "Ah, Dr. Jones, I'm Earl Weber. I spoke with your assistant. We've managed to secure three seats. But there will be a slight inconvenience as you will be riding with a cargo full of live poultry." He also recognizes Willie as an entertainer and remarks on it.

  • Indy saw clear magic and witnessed very mystical events during his journey in this movie, but he is still not very optimistic about the Ark in the next chapter chronologically. The real answer isn't clear, but it can be guessed that Indy had either written off the events that occurred in this movie with scientific theories or he had chosen to actually forget what had happened and decided that, as a scientist, whatever he saw had a "logical" explanation. His being possessed could have been explained by the fact that he was drugged, and he may have decided that much of the other things he saw were hallucinations caused by the drugging. Just because he saw evidence of the supernatural in Indian mysticism doesn't mean he automatically believed in the reality of Christianity/Judaism. Alternatively, he may have just been lying to reassure Marcus.

  • The shot of the Great Wall is likely included just for dramatic effect during the "red line" travel. The Great Wall is an iconic symbol of Chinese culture and history and was used for that reason. Also, the red line clearly shows the flight path from Shanghai toward the Himalayan Mountains, and it makes no diversion to the north.

  • Not officially. Steven Spielberg wanted to play a practical joke on Harrison Ford and Streisand, who was filming Yentl in London at the time, visited the set of Temple of Doom while they were filming the scene where Mola Ram has Indy whipped and forces him to drink the blood of Kali. Streisand dressed up as a dominatrix and started whipping Harrison Ford herself as he was tied to the rock, in order to "punish" him for all the successful films he's made. While doing this, Carrie Fisher also appeared with Streisand, dressed as a Thuggee guard and tried to "protect" Ford from the whip, and Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner was also present and in on the joke. The joke was actually filmed but has not been officially released anywhere, though a low-quality copy has been circulating on the Internet for many years. See here.

  • The original release was cut in 1984 to obtain a PG rating, in order to make the film more widely assessible (avoiding a 15 rating as the UK's 12 rating did not get rolled out until 1989). When it came to the UK Region 2 DVD release, Paramount requested to release the original cut; however, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) apparently required the consent of the director. This was not forthcoming, thus edits were replicated as close as possible to the original UK theatrical release from1984. The scenes that were originally cut from the UK version in 1984 were:

    • In sacrificial Thuggee ceremony, the tearing out of the young victim's heart, and sight of it in High Priests hand was reduced, implying it was seized by magic

    • Shots of the pulsating heart removed, except the final one when it burst into flames

    • Greatly reduced terror of victim as he is lowered into fiery vortex, missing all prolonged emphasis on his screams as the cage descends. The film cuts away as soon as he disappears through trap door, and his death is reduced so that it ends a lot quicker

    • Reduced sequence where Indiana cries out as his voodoo doll is burned in flames

    • Reduced drinking of blood and whipping of Indiana, and deletion of the flogging of Shortie

    • Reduced line "leave him alone, you bastards!" to simply "leave him alone!" (on some prints the line is excised entirely)

    • Removal from soundtrack Indianas cries of agony as he writhes on ledge after drinking blood

    • Close shots of Willie screaming as she is locked in cage and lowered towards the fire removed, and reduced sobs on the soundtrack and the sight of her suspended over flames

    • When Shortie burns the guards chest with the torch, the sound of flesh scalding has been eliminated

    • Heavily cut fight between Indiana and overseer, removing in particular heavy punches to back, chest, and head. Also the sound effects of all impact blows have been reduced, so they approximate to the sounds associated with old-fashioned fisticuffs

    • Shortened sight of blood on roller after overseers death

    • More reduced sound effects of impact blows on soundtrack, including screams of pain as fight leads into final chase in the mine cart

    • Reduced sounds of punches to High Priest's head on rope bridge

    • Removal of sight of High Priest's head cracking against rock face as he falls, and sound effects removed of his body bouncing off the cliff before he hits the water.

    Although the UK DVD release continued to have these cuts, the UK Blu-ray release is the original cut of the film, identical to the US Blu-ray release, and is therefore the first time the film has been released uncut in the UK.

  • No, Temple of Doom is actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark and is set in 1935 while Raiders is set in 1936. Therefore during the course of the film Indy has not yet discovered the Ark of the Covenant.

  • Back in 1984 the PG-13 rating did not exist (the rating this film really deserves) so films had to be either PG or R. While the first half of the film is pretty campy, once Indy enters the Temple of Doom it definitely feels like an R-rated film when you factor in the shots of little children being beaten with whips, the voodoo doll, the torture scene and the infamous "heart sacrifice." What is very interesting is the following year Rambo: First Blood Part II was released and received an R-rating despite the fact that it wasn't quite as violent or intense as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In Rambo: First Blood Part II there is no blood and the action violence is very cartoony. However Rambo: First Blood Part II did have one usage of the word "fuck" along with other language such as "bastard" and "goddamn", and there was a shot of Stallone's rear end along with references to prostitutes, while Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had little to no profanity (only one usage of "shit"), no nudity and only very mild sexual references. It is also widely rumored that if Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had been made by anyone other that Spielberg or Lucas it would have been slapped with an R-rating (with a possible appeal to PG-13 once that rating was created).

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