When the British Indian Army Riflemen arrive and fire on the Thugees, they are firing Lee-Enfield No. 4 MkI Rifle although the film is set in 1935. The No.4 Mk I was not first issued to British troops in 1939 but was not adopted officially until 1941.
In the overview shot in the mine, just before Short Round and Dr. Jones end up in a metal cage and learn about Kali's Blood, one of the men sending sparks in the air in the middle of the screen is sporting a very obvious blue/metal disc cutter.
When Indy and Shorty exit the Village Elder's hut, Shorty asks if they made the plane crash to get him there. Indy replies, "No Shorty, it's just a ghost story, don't worry about it," but his lip movement does not match the speech.
When Indiana Jones and Short Round were caught in the room with the ceiling coming down at Pankot Palace, spikes come out of the ceiling and we see a wide shot (at 0:56:59) of Indiana Jones and Short Round in the corner of the room. In the very next close-up (at 0:57:01), Indiana yells "This is serious!" But in the preceding wide shot, his mouth moves, mouthing, "This is s - !" but no audio is heard. He also slightly slouches while saying the line, the way he does in the closeup. All this indicates that the footage of Indiana Jones yelling, "This is serious!" was used twice... for some strange reason.
Although they might be consumed in some parts of Southeast Asia, snakes, insects, and monkey brains would never be served in India (and especially not in the palace of a Hindu king or "maharaja") due to very strict Hindu and Islamic dietary codes. In fact, a significant portion of Indians (mostly Hindus) are strict vegetarians due to those religious dietary restrictions.
Indy describes Sankara meeting Shiva on "Mount Kalisa," which he pronounces "kah-LEE-sah." This is a gross mispronunciation of the actual abode of the Hindu god Shiva: Mount Kailash, which is sometimes spelled "Kailasa" and is pronounced "kai-LAH-sh."
This film is meant to be a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (from the date given at the beginning of the movie) however several gags only make sense if Raiders was prior to this movie in the time line. There are many examples but one being, the famous swordsmen fight when Indy goes for his gun (as he did in Raiders) in a smug way but in this movie it is missing. For others just read the Trivia section where it gives the impression of the time line being rather confused at times.
Just before Willie pulls the lever to the spike room, Indy is shown in close up with spikes coming down the sides of his head and crumpling up his hat. In the next shot, as the spikes retract, his hat is back to it's normal shape.
As Indy and Mola Ram wrestle with Indy's bag as the Sankara stones fall out of it, Mola Ram is using his right hand to pull the bag strap as a stone drops out and he watches it drop. But in the next close up shot, his right hand catches the stone before it has dropped passed Indy's waist.
As Short Round, Indy and Willie walk through the Customs entrance to board the plane, Lao Che and his men are shown pulling up in the black car right behind them but in the next wide shot, the car isn't anywhere to be seen.
During the climactic fight scene when Short Round tackles the Maharajah, the Indy doll and the hairpin clearly separate as the young prince falls to the ground - the pin, with its feathery handle, remains in his right hand and the doll in his left. Yet, when the Indy doll is next shown lying on the ground, the hairpin is still stuck into it.
After the Chinese pilots jump from the Ford Tri-motor 4AT, Indy and Willie watch the propellers shut down as the plane runs out of fuel. When the plane brushes the mountaintop, the non-operational props are clearly visible. Yet when Indy, Willie, and Shorty bail from the plane in the emergency raft, we can see that all three props are fully operational.
After falling from the airplane, while rafting down the river in the yellow inflatable boat, during each of the closeups, Indiana Jones is on Willie's right, but in some of the long shots, their positions are reversed.
Indy's bag strap breaks during his tussle with Mola Ram and isn't shown again after Mola Ram falls. He is using his right hand to hold onto the bridge and is left hand to catch the Sankara stone which means the bag had to have dropped but at the end of the movie, he is wearing it again.
When the British army arrive at the end of the rope bridge fight they are all wearing standard British army headgear but when WIlly says "It's about time" the soldiers at the front are wearing blue turbans.
After Indiana is burned by the torch and returns to his normal self, he goes to attack Mola Ram. The camera cuts to Mola Ram and he is standing there with a grin on his face. Immediately in the next scene when Indiana steps forward to attack him, he is lying down on the ground and disappears through a trap door.
During the plane bailout sequence, Indy, Shortround and Willie change positions several times, once the raft hits the water. At first, it appears as though Indy is to the viewers right, trying to straighten out the raft, yet in the very next scene, the line-up (left to right) is Short Round, Indy and Willie on the right. In the next scene when Willie says "I hate the water!", Indy is on the far side, Short Round in the center, and Willie on the right. Then, Short Round appears under Indy's right arm as Willie continues to yell at him, saying "I hate being wet and I hate you!" As Indy replies, "Good!", he is now on the port side of the boat, with Short Round in the center and Willie to the starboard side of the boat, as the white waters settle.
As Indy dodges the weapons thrown at him by Laos' men in the club, you can see the band right next to him, still playing. However, a second later when he throws the cymbal at one of the men (the one who knocks over the ice), the band has disappeared.
During the fight scene at Club Obi Wan, Willie is wearing a red glove on her right hand as she looks at the ice cubes spilled on the floor. A second later, as she searches for the diamond among the ice cubes, the glove is gone.
Three of Kali's men bring Indy into the cell to cuff him as Indy faces the camera. The one on his right side lifts his right hand up to put a handcuff on, but in the next shot from behind Indy, both of his hands are cuffed, and only one thug-gee is shown leaving the cell.
Two of Kali's men try to stop Short Round as he waves the torch around. Then they disappear without been hurt or burned. Short Round stands in front of Indy, trying to make him come around, and burns him but the two thug-gees are nowhere to be seen, and only re-appear after Indy has been burned.
During the battle in the temple, Mola Ram removes his helmet, but as Indiana lunges towards him with a club, Mola Ram is seen with his helmet on. In the following shot, before disappearing through a trap door, the helmet is off again.
During the sequence where Indy and Short Round rescue Willie from the sacrificial pit, Chattar Lal's body disappears from its position next to the winch, once Willie has been released from the cage (a sequence was storyboarded, but not ultimately filmed, where Lal was thrown into the pit, which explains why his body wasn't originally intended to be in the shot).
After the pilots jump from the Ford Tri-motor 4AT, Willie looks through the curtain into the cockpit. The next shot (at 0:16:02) is her view out the cockpit window and the nose engine is clearly stopped with the stationary prop clearly visible at the 1:00 position before they start running out of fuel. After Indie starts checking the instruments another shot through the windscreen shows the nose prop at the 11:00 position. In yet another shot as the airplane clips a mountain ridge, the nose prop is back at 1:00 again.
When Indiana is hanging from the bridge holding one half of his bag and the other guy is holding the other half the bag catches on fire as the stones fall. After Mola Ram falls and Indy climbs up, the front of his bag is intact. When they are walking to the village after that he is wearing the bag behind him with clearly no burn marks. Then in the next scene it disappears and reappears.
When Indy is fighting after being awoken by the fire, he is attacked by a man with a spear who is pole-vaulted into the lava. In one shot you can see the V for the pole in the next shot it is gone then comes back.
The Thugees place three Sankara stones in the center skull during the ceremony and one of the stones has three lines across it, which is placed in the nose of the skull. Then when Indy removes the stone from the right eye hole of the skull, which is the one with the lines. Only one of those three stones has lines across it.
When Indy flees from the gang of Thugees after the swordfight, he is dragging his whip behind him. Yet in the next shot when he reaches the bridge, it is rolled up neatly even though he doesn't have a free hand or time to roll it up.
Willie's position relative to the rolling gong changes suddenly during the quick scene. The gong first passes in front of her while she is standing alone (at 0:10:26); cut to a shot of Indy running along behind the gong in which it is still far away from Willie but rolling toward her; then cut to another shot of the gunman; then cut to another shot of Indy running along behind the gong as it rolls in front of Willie who is with a man in a black Tux until Jones grabs her, pulling her along behind the gong.
When Indiana is attacked in his room at the palace as Short Round sleeps, we see Shortie wake up in the background (at 0:51:02 as Indy flips the attacker over Indy's head), then a few moments later he wakes up again (at 0:51:27).
When Short Round jumps up and down on the rope bridge, several bridge slats break off (at 1:42:00) causing Shorty to nearly fall through, but when Willie rushes over to help him back up, we see (at 1:42:06) only two slats broken off. Then in a later shot, Indy runs across the bridge and the broken slats have been mysteriously repaired (at 1:42:53).
When the monkey brains are being placed on the table. The position the monkey heads are "looking" constantly changes direction. They are always "looking" into the camera, no matter where the camera angle cuts to. Sometimes even in opposite directions.
When Willie is thrown from the elephant, she lands in water that has only sand around it. In the next shot she is sitting in the water with large rocks and a big log sticking up out of the water right in front of her.
When Indy starts winching Willie back up and first turns the wheel, the hooks holding the cage she is in can be seen clear of the pit, which puts her just inches below the edge, but in the next shot she is several meters down again. This alternates several times.
Half a dozen kids are shown in front of the mine cart flinching as Indy punches the Thuggee. But in the next frame when the Thuggee flies passed them, there's only two kids in front of the mine cart. The rest of them are lined up down the side of it.
(Around 88 minutes) When the giant Thuggee throws the sledgehammer over his shoulder we can see 2 men with pickaxes on the right & a third man with a shovel several feet to the left of the other two but in the next shot the third man is beside the others.
When Indy first arrives at Pankot Palace, he yells at Short Round for his razor. At the banquet, it can be seen that Indy has a cleanly shaven face, however, later that night when he is visiting Willie at her bedroom, his scruff has returned.
When Indy, Willie and Short Round arrive at the Pankot palace, Willie walking on bare feat and holding her shoes in her hand. After the welcome by the prime minister, they walk into the palace and Willie is wearing her shoes.
Lao barks at Willie to "Sit Down!" after she complains about the two holes Indy has made in her dress. In the wide shot of Willie sliding onto her seat, you can see a crew member's head lift very briefly to the right of her chair, as he is obviously helping Kate Capshaw shift the chair across the floor as she sits.
In the beginning Lao Che's freight plane is seen flying over the Great Wall of China. Then there is a map with a straight line from Shanghai to Chungking. The wall is no where near that but further north and west of Shanghai closer to Mongolia.
After Indy takes off from Shanghai in the Ford Tri-Motor 4AT, we see a shot of the plane flying over the Great Wall of China just before the map comes on screen, but then the map shows the plane's route as going from Shanghai, WSW to Chungking, and again West onto India (before crashing). The Great Wall of China snakes across Northern China north of Beijing, which is hundreds of miles north of Shanghai, so the plane's route, according to the map, takes it nowhere even close the Great Wall.
In the shot where Indy enters the main hold of the aircraft (while fleeing Shanghai), a map on the wall to his left shows Burma as a separate country (with a thick colored border marked to separate it from British India). The map overlay tracking the flight from Shanghai to Chungking and towards India) has a similar detail. Burma was a part of the British Indian empire till April 1937, and maps drawn in 1935 would show Burma, Bangladesh and India (now separate countries) as a contiguous political entity, with no international border separating Burma from the rest of British India (this happened only after 1st April 1937).
When Willie is walking through the room full of insects several are not native to the area, in particular the large yet harmless stick insect on Willie's hand, The Spiny Leaf insect or Giant Prickly stick insect, is native to Australia and would never be found in India. Nor would it be found in a man made cavern away from trees.
As Indy, Willie,and Shorty leave Shanghai by plane, they are shown flying over the Great Wall, which is to the north. The map, however, shows the plane flying in a straight west-southwesterly direction towards India.
The Ford Trimotor of 1935 had no automatic pilot and had to be hand-flown (someone steering the plane) at all times. When the Chinese pilots left the control wheels in the cockpit, the plane was at the mercy of aerodynamics and the elements. Flying over mountains where there would be updrafts and downdrafts would have immediately upset what little equilibrium the plane would have had and immediately put it into and bank and/or dive instead of flying straight and level as it did in the movie.
After the first sacrifice, the cage containing the victim does not contain a skeleton implying that the lava incinerated it. This is impossible as lava has a temperature between 700 and 1200 degrees Celsius. Bone doesn't turn to ash until almost 1600 degrees Celsius.
The "snake surprise" dish is apparently "pregnant" Indian pythons. Indian pythons lay eggs and do not give birth. In addition, the baby snakes squeak. Snakes have no vocal cords and are unable to make noise.
The yellow raft in which Indy, Shorty and Willie make their way from the Himalayas into India along the river has "South China Airlines" marked on the side (where Shorty's feet rest on the side of the raft). No such airline existed in 1935 (the putative time-frame the story is set in), and in any case, the aircraft used by Indy and his gang belonged to Lao Che Air Freight, so should have similar branding.
When the Chinese pilot activates the fuel dump, we can see a gauge in the cockpit with the front shape of a bimotor plane, and 3 red lights to show if the undercarriage is up or down. The Ford Tri-Motor is not tricycle, as shown in the gauge, but a taildragger. Also, her undercarriage is fixed, not retractable.
Right before the bridge scene, Indy meets 2 Thugee soldiers with swords and attempts to pull his gun, then he realizes his holster is empty. It is said that Indy remembers his encounter in the first movie and since Raiders Of The Lost Ark is set in 1936 while this movie is set in 1935, it's impossible for him to remember his future action.
Even though the scene is a nod to the first movie for movie watchers, it's not illogical in series' time-line. In the movie, there is not a certain statement that Indy remembers his encounter in the first movie, he just remember something. The situation might be like this. In 1935 (Temple Of Doom), in that particular scene, Indy remembers he's also carrying a pistol and makes an attempt to use them instead of his whip but unfortunately his holster is empty. And then comes 1936 and he encounters the Arabian swordsman. He knows from this previous experience that he's carrying a gun, he does not to hesitate to remember there is a gun, so he pulls it out (this time holster is not empty fortunately) and shoots the guy.
The owl that scares Willy appears to be either a great horned owl or a Eurasian eagle-owl, it is hard to tell for sure since it is dark and only seen for a few seconds. However neither species would be found in the jungles of southern India. The great horned owl is only found in North and South America. The Eurasian eagle-owl is only found in the northern and central regions of Europe and Asia, it is very rare for them to be found in India, and only then in the northern most parts of India. Usually the furthest south they are found in southeast Asia is Pakistan.
When Indy, Shorty and Willie leave the village by elephant, Shorty sits on a small elephant. Then Shorty sits in front of Indy on his elephant, before being back on his own small elephant. This is not a continuity goof because ample time passes for Short Round to dismount and mount one of the other elephants for whatever reason he chooses, say needing to talk to Indiana Jones.
Indy points to some bats and says that they're vampire bats. Although true vampire bats are indigenous to South America and are entirely nocturnal, the bats he is pointing at are Large Flying Foxes, binomially called Pteropus Vampyrus. So given their size it is not unthinkable to refer to them as "Giant Vampire Bats" Also he was trying to frighten Willie.
The Ford Tri Motor depicted in the film had an OBS (omnibearing selector) on its panel. While these gauges are used for VOR navigation commonly today these gauges are also used for instrument landing systems (ILS) which were first used in 1929 and were coming into wide use in 1935 when the movie took place.
The necklace in the opening scene appears and disappears on the table. It is not a necklace on the table at the Obi Wan nightclub (at 0:04:41), but Willie's white sequined glove lying beside her red sequined glove which she puts back on when leaving the table.
During the mineshaft sequence Mola Ram tries to drown Indy, Willie and Shorty with the water of a huge cauldron. Since it has been established that the mineshaft is full of many caverns, some of which contain lava, there is no way that that water could have reached all the way to the end of the shaft.
The Thuggees are tough men with weapons, and Mola Ram has the power of voodoo on his side, but yet they only use kids for slave labor and not the adults from the villages too, which would benefit them much more.
Indiana Jones manages to retrieve the Sankara stone that was stolen from the shrine at the village he visited, but the other two stones fall into the river. Suggesting that somewhere there are two other villages that are now doomed.
The amount of water that spilled out of the overturned water tower would not make it all the way to the end of the tunnels where Indy, Willie, and Short Round escape to. There were several instances where the rail car tracks went over large chasms of molten rock in which the water would have evaporated or filled up before it ever reached the end of the tunnels.
Throughout the length of the mine cart chase, Indy and friends pass through many wide-open chasms as well as several forks on the track, but yet the rushing water at the end of the chase somehow manages to traverse through all of those and still make it in full force to Indy and friends at the end of the track.
When Indie lights a match to look at the wall in the passageway in the palace, his arm casts a shadow on the wall (at 0:53:16) even though the light source (the match) is in between his arm and the wall.
When Indy's friend is shot in Lao Che's club, the top of the wine glass is gone and then blood is shown trickling down his shirt but the wound is much higher than where the top of the glass was placed in front of him. It would've been impossible to hit the wine glass too from that angle.
When Willie is in the room with the bugs, it is very obvious that she is holding her thumb under her hand to hold in the stick bug as she turns her hand over. With this being a real bug for the scene, they were not able to stick it to her hand or anything like that.
The altimeter in the plane's cockpit is controlled by someone turning the pressure setting knob. This is clearly visible after the engines run out of fuel and the plane starts to descend. The closeup of the altimeter shows the pressure indicator spin with the hand of the altimeter, although it should remain still as the hand is normally moved by the change in the outside atmospheric pressure only.
When Short Round first sets off the mechanism that results in him and Indy been trapped in the room with the descending spiked ceiling, the sounds of the mechanism are obviously those of pneumatically driven equipment.
When Indy is fighting the man in his room, the man gets the whip around his neck and caught in the fan. The fan pulls him up as far as he can go but in the next shot he is still being pulled up. then in the next shot he is hanging a good 3 feet below the fan.
After the Thuggee assassin is hanged with the help of Indiana's whip and a ceiling fan, Short Round turns the fan off, dropping the assassin's body to the floor. Instead of falling limply, the supposedly-dead Thuggee very clearly puts out his hands to land carefully.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
Indy manages to get the Shankara stones to turn red hot by uttering the incantation, "Tum Shiva ke vishwaas-ghati ho!", which is Hindi for, "You are a betrayer of Shiva." Considering that the stones are supposed to be ancient, any incantation that would make them do anything should be in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, not Hindi, a language that reached its modern form in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
When Indy throws a flaming shish kabob into the stomach of Lao Che's right hand man who had just silently shot Wu Han, he reflexively fires his gun again, but instead of being silenced it has a loud report even though no silencer was on the gun barrel the first time (at 0:07:28) - much louder than the popping Champaign corks that distracted Wu Han the first time.
The lava is unique. Initially when Willie, Indy
and Short Round witness the first sacrifice, the metal cage is brought up again after being dipped in the lava, and is not melted, warped, or affected by the intense heat in any way. Later, when Willie is held over the lava, she is unaffected by the heat, when realistically just being that close to the lava would have severely burned her and probably killed her. When she's raised from the pit, the cage is cool enough to handle, when it should have burned their hands. With real lava, they would only have to be held over it to burn them; dipping them in would have melted the cage.