Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Poster


The village shaman refers to the Sankara stone as "Shiva linga". In traditional Hinduism, the linga is a tall, cylindrical stone representative of a phallus, often set inside a circle representing the yoni, or female organ. Together, the two symbols stand for the dualistic sexual energy of the god Shiva.
Jump to: Cameo (3) | Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (3) | Spoilers (2)
The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.
D.R. Nanayakkara, cast as the Indian village Shaman, did not speak a word of English. He delivered his lines phonetically by mimicking Steven Spielberg who was prompting him off camera. The pauses in his dialogue were therefore not for dramatic effect, but rather waiting for his next line.
While filming the whipping scene, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone, Barbra Streisand appeared, dressed in a leather dominatrix outfit. She proceeded to whip him, saying "That's for Hanover Street (1979), the worst movie I ever saw." She continued whipping him for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), and making all of that money. Carrie Fisher then threw herself in front of Ford to protect him, and Irvin Kershner chided director Steven Spielberg. "Is this how you run your movies?" This entire sequence was filmed.
For the bug chamber sequence, Kate Capshaw was covered with over 2,000 bugs.
Amrish Puri shaved his head for the role of Mola Ram, creating such an impression that he kept it shaved and became one of India's most popular film villains.
An open casting call was put out to all the elementary schools to find a young Asian actor to play Short Round. Jonathan Ke Quan arrived with his brother, not to audition, but merely to provide moral support. He caught the casting director's attention because he spent the entire time of his brother's audition telling him what to do and what not to do.
Kate Capshaw's dress in the Shanghai club was completely made of 1920's and 1930's original beads. This meant that there was only enough to make one dress. 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, in particular, a night-time one with Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw sitting by a campfire, with the dress drying on a nearby tree. Unfortunately an elephant had started to eat the entire back of the dress, which was saved just in time. Consequently, some emergency repair work had to be done 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".
The "chilled monkey-brains" were made from custard and raspberry sauce.
In the "Making Of" Documentary for this movie, George Lucas said that although he originally intended for Temple of Doom to have a darker tone compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (much like Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was darker than Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)), he admitted that he made it much darker than he intended, part of the reason being that he was going through a divorce at the time and was "not in a good mood". Steven Spielberg also admitted that although he agreed with Lucas' idea for a darker-toned film, he felt uncomfortable with certain scenes while filming them and would attempt to inject some humorous elements into those scenes trying to lighten them up. The scene where Indy is fighting the Thuggee chief guard with a hammer, and the guard takes the hammer away and tosses it aside, only to have it land on a bystander's head, knocking him out with a comical thud, is a prime example of this scene "lightening up".
The sounds of the mine car running along the tracks during the chase scene were recorded on the rollercoasters at Disneyland, with the music and sound effects etc turned off.
Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream.
Steven Spielberg said that he did not enjoy this film as much as the rest of the Indy films, but said that it was a great experience for him because he met his future wife, Kate Capshaw, during the production of this movie.
14 dummies fall off the bridge when it is cut. Batteries inside them operate their leg and arm movements to make it look like they're really kicking and flailing.
Mola Ram's chantings of "Maaro maaro sooar ko, chamdi nocho pee lo khoon" literally translated from Hindi is "Kill, Kill the pig, flay his skin, drink his blood".
Steven Spielberg's first sequel, though technically a prequel, as 'Temple of Doom' takes place in 1935, before Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) taking place in 1936, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) in 1938, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) in 1957.
Kate Capshaw incurred a black eye in the runaway mine cart sequence. The next day when she reported to work, everybody else on the set was wearing a black smudge under their eye.
The python that Willie Scott mistakes for an elephant's trunk was brought to Sri Lanka for shooting by animal handler Michael Culling, but since the snake and its companion weren't very welcome in the country, he had to book them their hotel rooms under fake names: Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow.
Steven Spielberg wanted Karen Allen to reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood but he and George Lucas had already decided that every movie should include a different woman for Indy. This would change however, when she eventually returned in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Spielberg and Lucas felt that enough time had passed that an old flame was more appropriate for the fourth film.
Harrison Ford herniated his back in the scene where he is attacked in his bedroom by a Thuggee assassin. Production had to shut down for Ford to be flown to Los Angeles to have an operation. A huge majority of Ford's work in the fights and chases in the Temple of Doom are actually stuntman Vic Armstrong.
The rope bridge was coated in sand to make it briefly leave an afterimage of itself in mid-air when it collapsed.
There was a scene involving Kate Capshaw and a rather large snake which had to be cut out as Capshaw was having panic attacks at the very prospect of it. Director Steven Spielberg jokingly says that the only reason Kate married him later was because he allowed the scene to be cut.
For the human sacrifice scene, an animatronic dummy of the sacrificial victim was made so that the "victim" would realistically writhe in agony upon catching fire. However, Steven Spielberg deemed the writhing "too gruesome" and added a sheet of flame in post-production to obscure the dummy's movements the moment it caught fire.
The production was highly fortunate in their main location in the town of Kandy in Sri Lanka as nearby a British engineering company was building a dam. When it came time for the film crew to shoot on a suspension bridge over a gorge, the British engineers were able to design and build one for them very quickly.
When the two swordsmen attack Indy on the cliff and Indy attempts to reprise his response from the "basket scene" Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) by reaching for his gun, a bit of music from the basket scene is heard.
The three main characters are named after dogs. Short Round was named after screenwriter Willard Huyck's dog, which was named after the orphan in The Steel Helmet (1951), Willie is named after Steven Spielberg's dog and Indiana is named after George Lucas's dog.
In the original draft, there was supposed to be a motorcycle chase scene across the Great Wall of China. However, the Chinese government refused to grant the permission of filming thus it was replaced with a stowaway on the plane scene.
All of the scenes involving the long rope bridge were filmed on three different continents. The entire bridge itself was built on location in Sri Lanka, and the scenes where Indy cuts the bridge were filmed there also. The scenes where the bridge is hanging along the side of the cliff with everyone hanging on were filmed at Elstree Studios in London. And finally, the alligators at the end were shot by Frank Marshall in Florida.
Generally credited (along with Gremlins (1984)) with the creation of the PG-13 rating, as many felt the scenes of violence in both movies were too much for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating. It is widely believed that had Steven Spielberg's name not been on both movies, both may have received an R rating. (The Flamingo Kid (1984) was the first film to be *given* a PG-13 rating, but sat on the shelves for five months before being released.) Red Dawn (1984) was the first motion picture released with the PG-13 rating.
The huge mineshaft was a circular construction around the largest soundstage. To make it look different, they just altered the lighting every time the carts completed a loop.
Filmmakers were unable to get permission to shoot scenes in India. The Indian government requested a copy of the script and demanded that the word "Maharajah" be removed, fearing that the content did not reflect their culture. As a result, production was moved to Sri Lanka where some locations were also used for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).
Kate Capshaw was thrilled at the opportunity of singing and dancing in the opening musical number, but the reality was her dress was so tight, there was very little movement she could attempt without ripping it.
For the scene where Willie stirs up the soup and several eyeballs rise to the surface, Steven Spielberg said that this particular scene was notoriously difficult to shoot and it took many takes to get the result seen in the final film. The eyeballs were attached to the bottom of the soup bowl with stick-ups and Kate Capshaw was supposed to give the soup a good stir in order to release the eyes so they could rise to the surface, but the stick-ups held pretty tight and for many takes, only one or two of the eyes would release and rise to the surface.
The film's original title was "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death" which was changed because it sounded too foreboding. It was retained as the film's German title ("Indiana Jones und der Tempel des Todes").
During film production the movie was starting to go over budget and Spielberg went to the writers (Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz) and asked them to make changes to the script in order to save money. They removed one page from the script and saved a million dollars. It was a planned air chase scene using vintage biplanes. The scene was removed from the movie but was later incorporated into Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
An unmade script that became Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) had Indy reveal what happened to Willie - "Last I heard, she married a big-shot director". This is an in-joke, as Kate Capshaw married Steven Spielberg.
The only Indy movie to ever display its title on-screen using the famous Indiana Jones typeface; and perhaps the only movie to ever show its title largely obscured by an object (in this case, Kate Capshaw) in the foreground.
This is the only Indiana Jones movie not to have any scenes that take place in North America, nor have even a passing mention of the Marcus Brody character.
The only Indiana Jones movie that does not show or make any references to the Ark of the Covenant. This is because the movie takes place one year before Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), so Indy has yet to become interested in the Ark.
Sharon Stone was one of the top choices for the role of Willie Scott before Kate Capshaw auditioned.
The "giant vampire bats" that are shown in the movie were actually fruit bats; vampire bats are a lot smaller.
The sound effect we hear in the opening sequence on the plane is the same failing-engine sound effect used when Han Solo's Millennium Falcon fails to crank up in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
In the Obi Wan club sequence, the artifact Indiana Jones is told to hand over is the remains of Nurhaci. Nurhaci was in fact an actual emperor of China (1616-1626). He was the founder of the Manchu Qing dynasty; the last imperial dynasty of China (1616-1911).
Over 240 70mm prints of the film were made - the largest number ever for a single release.
The bar in the opening scene is called Obi-Wan, a homage to Star Wars, which also was produced by George Lucas and starred Harrison Ford.
Jonathan Ke Quan's film debut.
The only installment of the Indiana Jones franchise in which Indy does not make physical contact with a snake. There is however a nod to his fear of them, and to a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981): After he retrieves the Sankara stones from the Kali shrine, he looks up at a statue of a cobra poised to strike (like the one he famously faced in the Well of Souls scene in "Raiders") and straightens his hat. In the campfire scene, Willie mistakes a snake for an elephant trunk. While she grabs it and tosses it aside in annoyance, Indy is visibly disturbed by the snake's presence. This reinforces Indy's fear of snakes quite clearly.
An early draft of the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) had Indy traveling to Shanghai to recover a piece of the Staff of Ra. During his escape from the museum where it was housed, he sheltered from machine gun fire behind a giant rolling gong. The same script also featured Indy and Marion fleeing destruction in a mine-cart chase. Both of these scenes were cut from that script, but resurface in this movie.
During the sacrifice, Mola Ram chants in Hindi, imploring "Kali Ma Shakti de," asking for the "Spiritual power of Mother Kali."
Short Round's car is a 1936 Auburn Boat-tail Speedster, a highly popular car in the 1930s.
The only film of the Indiana Jones series where George Lucas does not share story credit.
As of 2014, this is the Indiana Jones movie with the least amount of travel shown in a "red line" sequence. The only red line travel sequence shown in the film is when Indy and his party travel from Shanghai to the Himalaya Mountains.
Although it's never mentioned in the film, according to the novelization Willie's full first name is Wilhelmina, and Short Round's real name is Wan Li.
Most of the cavernous mine where the mine cart chase takes place is miniature, with the walls made of painted aluminium foil.
The rotating tabletop used to exchange items in the opening Club Obi Wan sequence is still common in Shanghai restaurants. It's normally used for easy access to the multiple dishes served at meals.
The name of villain Lao Che in the film's prologue is a nod to Lio Sha, leader of the evil title organization in Fritz Lang's silent-era films Die Spinnen, 1. Teil - Der Goldene See (1919) and Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff (1920), which inspired the Indiana Jones series to an extent.
The first film to use THX's Theatre Alignment Program, which ensures that cinemas showing the film meet stringent technical and presentation standards.
In military parlance a "short round" is an artillery shell that falls short of the target.
This was Kate Capshaw's second theatrical film.
All of the people in the Indian village speak "Sinhala," one of the languages of Sri Lanka, as opposed to Hindi, the Indian language. The villagers are all Sri Lankans.
Originally the Amber Palace in Jaipur was going to be used for all the exterior shots of Pankot Palace when the movie was originally going to be filmed in India, but after negotiations between producer Robert Watts and the Indian Government for permission to film in India broke down and filming was moved to Sri Lanka, matte paintings were used for the exterior shots of the palace, with the interior shots filmed at Elstree Studios in London.
The film came under fire when it was released for being racist.
For the DVD release, over 970,000 frames were cleaned up by Lowry Digital Images, the same company that cleaned up Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), North by Northwest (1959) and Sunset Blvd. (1950) for DVD.
Lawrence Kasdan was unavailable as he was working on The Big Chill (1983), so George Lucas drafted in Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz who had previously penned American Graffiti (1973) for him. Lucas deliberately wanted to go with something with a darker tone as this had served him well with Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
9 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The plane belonging to "Lao Che Air Freight" that Indy, Short Round, and Willie use to escape from Shanghai is a Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B, first built in 1929. The Trimotors were Ford's first (and only) attempt at making airliners. Since the first mass-produced Ford car (the Model T) was known as the "Tin Lizzie", many pilots affectionately nicknamed the Trimotor the "Tin Goose".
9 of 12 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
During the human sacrifice sequence, the sacrificial victim repeatedly and rapidly chants the Shiva Mantra: "Aum Namah Shivaya."
Indy's getaway driver Short Round wears a New York Giants cap. Indy's getaway pilot Jock wears a New York Yankees cap in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Shots of mining-car roller-coaster ride were done with models and a 35mm camera modified to hold extra film.
The particular Ford Trimotor belonging to "Lao Che Air Freight" in the movie, was also used many decades before in the 1930 Trans World Airlines promotional film, "Coast to Coast in 48 Hours", appearing on screen with Amelia Earhart.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The production enlisted 'Ernie Fosselius', the director of the famous Lucas spoof 'Hardware Wars (1978)' to provide the voices of the two Chinese pilots for the bi-plane scene. At the same time, sound designer 'Ben Burtt' had Fosselius record a gag line as a prank on Spielberg. During a screening, of which Fosselius attended, Spielberg was surprised and bemused when, at the ending, Indiana Jones delivers the stone to the Shaman who then exclaimed "Wait a minute! You brought back the wrong stone!" The director leaped to his feet and demanded an explanation, which made Fosselius very fearful, until it was explained to be a joke. Spielberg then began to laugh and the incident ended happily.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The main villain, Mola Ram, doesn't make his first appearance until after an hour into the movie.
David Niven was attached to the role of Captain Phillip Blumburtt, but died before filming began.
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Short Round is also the character name of the Korean boy in The Steel Helmet (1951).
6 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Victor Banerjee refused a role in this project
5 of 15 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The insect on Willie's hand in the bug tunnel scene is a Spiny Leaf Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum).
2 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Steven Spielberg): [stars]: when Indy is talking to Short Round on the hill above the village.
6 of 30 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The night club in the beginning of the film is called CLUB OBI WAN. An obvious nod the the STAR WARS films which starred Harrison Ford and was directed by George Lucas.
1 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The only film in the Indiana Jones series where the female lead is reluctant to go on the adventure with Indy.
0 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink


Dan Aykroyd:  When Indy, Shortround and Willy get to the airfield just after being chased by Lau, the officer that leads them out of the car and takes them to the plane is none other then Dan Aykroyd. You can't make out his face but pay careful attention to the voice.
George Lucas:  a missionary in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.
Frank Marshall:  a tourist in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.
8 of 19 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Director Cameo 

Steven Spielberg:  a missionary in the background in the airport scene at the beginning.

Director Trademark 

Steven Spielberg:  [fathers]  Short Round looks on Indiana Jones as a father-figure. Indiana seems reluctant at times to return the feeling.
Steven Spielberg:  [hat]  grabbing fallen hat under an descending door at last minute.
Steven Spielberg:  [music] 
0 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

WILHELM SCREAM: 1. When a food cart in Club Obi Wan crashes into the orchestra stand. 2. When the tommy-gun man is shot by Indy during the car chase at Shanghai. 3. When Mola Ram is eaten by the alligators at the movie's finale.
Young Maharaja's name is Zalim Singh, as mentioned by Chattar Lal. The word 'Zalim' means 'cruel' in subcontinental languages.
8 of 16 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page