Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Poster


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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.
For the bug chamber sequence, Kate Capshaw was covered with over 2,000 bugs.
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.
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.
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.
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 "chilled monkey-brains" were made from custard and raspberry sauce.
Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream.
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.
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".
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
Kate Capshaw received 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.
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". This is similar to the chant from William Golding's "Lord of the Flies".
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 turned off.
The rope bridge was coated in sand to make it briefly leave an afterimage of itself in mid-air when it collapsed.
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.
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.
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.
In the U.S., this film and Gremlins (1984) led to the creation of the PG-13 rating. Many people felt both movies were too violent for a PG rating, but not violent enough for an R rating. Some believed that both films would have been rated R if Steven Spielberg's name hadn't been attached. The Flamingo Kid (1984) was the first film to receive a PG-13 rating, but it sat on the shelves for five months before being released. Red Dawn (1984) was the first film released with a PG-13 rating.
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).
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.
Kate Capshaw was very critical of Willie's character, saying that she was "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde."
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).
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.
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.
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").
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.
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.
Steven Spielberg said in 1989, "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 (1982). 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."
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 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.
Part of the sound effect heard as the engines run out of fuel on the plane (at 0:16:54 and 0:16:57) 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).
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.
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.
In Club Obi-wan, the artifact Indiana Jones is told to hand over is the remains of Nurhaci, emperor of China from 1616-1626. Nurhaci founded the Manchu Qing dynasty, China's last imperial dynasty (1616-1911).
Lawrence Kasdan of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 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 and Spielberg] lives, and the movie is very ugly and mean-spirited."
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.
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck were concerned how to keep the audience interest while explaining the Thugee 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.
As he knew that he would spend a large portion of film shirtless, Harrison Ford underwent a strict weightlifting regimen to prepare for the film. In an interview on the DVD release, he credits being in such good shape for his quick recovery from a back injury while filming.
Sharon Stone was one of the top choices for the role of Willie Scott before Kate Capshaw auditioned.
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 partially obscured by an object (in this case, Kate Capshaw) in the foreground.
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.
George Lucas made the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains once more.
The "giant vampire bats" that are shown in the movie were actually fruit bats; vampire bats are a lot smaller.
Over 240 70mm prints of the film were made - the largest number ever for a single release.
Around 6000 actors auditioned worldwide for the part of Short Round. Jonathan Ke Quan was cast after his brother auditioned for the role. Steven Spielberg liked his personality, so he and Harrison Ford improvised the scene where Short Round accuses Indy of cheating during a card game.
During the sacrifice, Mola Ram chants in Hindi, imploring "Kali Ma Shakti de," asking for the "Spiritual power of Mother Kali."
The only film of the Indiana Jones series where George Lucas does not share story credit.
Short Round's car is a 1936 Auburn Boat-tail Speedster, a highly popular car in the 1930s.
A dogfight was deleted from the script, as well as those who drank the Kali blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman abilities.
Ernie Fosselius, director of Hardware Wars (1978), provided the voices of the two Chinese pilots for the bi-plane scene. Sound designer Benjamin A. Burtt had Fosselius record a gag line as a prank on Steven Spielberg. During a screening, 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 began to laugh and the incident ended happily.
Jonathan Ke Quan's film debut.
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.
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.
Most of the cavernous mine where the mine cart chase takes place is miniature, with the walls made of painted aluminium foil.
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.
The first film to use THX's Theatre Alignment Program, which ensures that cinemas showing the film meet stringent technical and presentation standards.
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.
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.
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).
George Lucas' initial idea for Indiana's sidekick was a virginal young princess, but Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz and Steven Spielberg disliked the idea.
In the scene where Willie is about to be sacrificed, a lightsaber power-up sound effect can be heard when the doors to the lava pit are opened, referencing George Lucas, who directed four of the Star Wars movies and who was also one of the executive producers of this movie.
One of George Lucas' early ideas had Indiana discover a "Lost World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs".
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.
David Niven was attached to the role of Captain Phillip Blumburtt, but died before filming began.
In military parlance a "short round" is an artillery shell that falls short of the target.
The film came under fire when it was released for being racist and far too violent for an Indiana Jones film.
According to some sources, Harrison Ford was not entirely comfortable with the film's story and, again, according to some sources, he was not entirely happy with how the film turned out either.
Shots of mining-car roller-coaster ride were done with models and a 35mm camera modified to hold extra film.
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 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".
This was Kate Capshaw's second theatrical film.
During the human sacrifice sequence, the sacrificial victim repeatedly and rapidly chants the Shiva Mantra: "Om Namah Shivaya."
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.
Steven Spielberg originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back, with Abner Ravenwood being considered as a possible character.
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In the scene where Indy, Willie, and Short Round are falling out of the sky in the inflatable raft, they slide down a mountain and into a canyon. The canyon the production crew used was the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, ID. The same canyon Evel Knievel attempted to jump over.
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Steven Spielberg wanted Willie to be a complete contrast to Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), so Kate Capshaw dyed her brown hair blonde for the part. Costume designer Anthony Powell wanted the character to have red hair.
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George Lucas, Willard Huyck and Gloria 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. Steven 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.'"
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The main villain, Mola Ram, doesn't make his first appearance until after an hour into the movie.
The only Indiana Jones movie where he isn't on an assignment intentionally. The plane crashed rather then flying to the destination.
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During the mine cart chase, Short Round is heard telling Indy to take "the left tunnel" however Indy takes the right. The left (safe) tunnel's colour is blue and the right (unsafe) tunnel's colour is red; mimicking the blue (good) and red (evil) lightsaber colours seen in the Star Wars films. George Lucas was involved in both sets of films and Indiana Jones films are littered with Star Wars in-jokes.
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The insect on Willie's hand in the bug tunnel scene is a Spiny Leaf Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum).
This movie took place in 1935 but Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) took place in 1936. Therefore, this is a prequel, rather than a sequel.
When Indy introduces Short Round to Chatter Lal, Indy says "this Mr. Round" and Shorty says "Short Round" in a very business like manner. This a reference to "Bond, James Bond"
The filmmakers were denied permission to film in North India and Amer Fort due to the government finding the script racist and offensive. The government demanded many script changes, rewritings and final cut privilege. As a result, location work went to Kandy, Sri Lanka, with matte paintings and scale models applied for the village, temple, and Pankot Palace.
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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.
Many fans have been expressing thoughts regarding Indiana Jones and friends' choice to go back into the mines instead of leaving through Pankot Palace with the rest of the escaped captives. An explanatory scene to this question was shot showing Indy and Willie helping the freed children to cross the lava pit through a makeshift bridge. When the time came for Short Round to cross the pit the bridge had caught fire under the intense heat and Indy and Willie managed to save him in the nick of time from falling in the lava pit. With the bridge crumbled the trio had to find another way out and that was through the mines. As with the above scenes, the most logical explanation for this cut seems to be the pace and not the film's running time, since it ended up at 113 minutes. Even the addition of all of the scenes mentioned on this writing would never push the film over the 120 minute barrier.
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To prepare for the role of Willie Scott, Kate Capshaw watched The African Queen (1951) and A Guy Named Joe (1943).
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To build the rope bridge the filmmakers found a group of British engineers working on the nearby Balfour Beatty dam.
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George Lucas considered the Monkey King as a plot device.
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The signs on the outside of the building that they escape from at the start of the movie, in Shanghai, 1935, say "ObiWan Nightclub" and "Club Obi Wan".
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Short Round is also the character name of the Korean boy in The Steel Helmet (1951).
Over 120 actresses auditioned for the role of Willie Scott.
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In the beginning of the film, the man who directs Indy and Willy to the plane (the one who explains he will be in a plane with chickens) is Dan Akroyd.
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George Lucas wrote a film treatment that included a haunted castle in Scotland, but Steven Spielberg felt it was too similar to Poltergeist (1982).
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The only film in the Indiana Jones series where the female lead is reluctant to go on the adventure with Indy.
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George Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to write the script because of their knowledge of Indian culture.
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Norman Reynolds could not return as production designer because of his commitment to Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
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DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Steven Spielberg): [shooting star]: when Indy is talking to Short Round on the hill above the village at 0:28:19.
The name of the club in the opening scene is Club Obi-wan, like the Jedi Master from Lucas's Star Wars.
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Victor Banerjee refused a role in this project
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Steven Spielberg would revisit evil cults in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), but that was Egyptian. There's a scene where Holmes, Watson and Elizabeth watch the cult from a secret hiding place, very much like Indy, Willy and Short Round watching the ritual of the Thuggee cult in hiding, except they get caught while Holmes announces their presence to rescue a victim. Also, Waxflatter's journals mention grave robbing, something Indy is accused of; Delhi is mentioned in both films too.
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Chris Columbus wrote a script for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in which Indy traveled to Africa and dueled a Monkey prince. It was rejected because of too many negative African stereotypes but the tank chase sequence in the the script was used in the film.
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Cameo: Dan Aykroyd as the man who welcomes Indiana, Short Round and Willie to Lau Chi's plane.
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Adults' surprise over seeing a child performing a "grown-up's task" figures prominently in two instances in this film: Willie Scott upon seeing the young boy driver, and Indy upon seeing the young Maharaja.
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The film takes place in 1935.
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In the club fight in the beginning of the movie, the club is called Club Obi Wan, hinting to Ford's years with Star Wars.
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Short Round is surprisingly absent in the sequels.
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Art Malik was offered a role, but turned it down.
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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.

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.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

For the human sacrifice scene, an animatronic dummy of the victim was programmed to realistically writhe in agony upon catching fire. 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.
Body Count: 43, 20 by Indiana Jones.
WILHELM SCREAM: 1. When a food cart in Club Obi-wan crashes into the orchestra stand. 2. When the man with a tommy gun 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.
One of the biggest mysteries in the "Indy" franchise is how the first human sacrifice victim manages to survive after having his heart ripped out of his chest. This is likely due to the magical nature of the stones.

See also

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

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