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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Plot Summary: In 1935, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) survives a crooked deal gone sideways with crime boss Lao Che in Shanghai with fellow travelers Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) and nightclub singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) arriving in the village of Mayapore in northern India. Unfortunately, the village appears to have been struck by a plague due to the loss of their sacred stone (shivalinga) stolen from their shrine. The villagers plead for aid in retrieving the stone along with their missing children from the evil forces in the nearby Pankot Palace where a new Maharaja has been seated. Indy's questions about the mysterious Thugee cult are real, and he, Willie, and Short Round race to survive the Temple of Doom.


  • Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

  • Kate Capshaw as Willie Scott

  • Amrish Puri as Mola Ram

  • Roshan Seth as Chattar Lal

  • Philip Stone as Captain Philip Blumburtt

  • Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round

  • Raj Singh (dubbed by Katie Leigh) portrays Zalim Singh


  • It was nominated for Best Original Score and Won Best Visual Effects at the 1985 Academy Awards.

  • In response to some of the more violent sequences in the film, and with similar complaints about Gremlins, Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system by introducing an intermediary between the PG and R ratings. The MPAA concurred, and a new PG-13 rating was introduced two months after the film's release.

  • Temple of Doom was released on May 23, 1984, in America, accumulating a record-breaking $45.7 million in its first week. The film went on to gross $333.1 million worldwide, with $180 million in North America and $153.1 million in other markets. The film had the highest opening weekend of 1984, and was that year's highest-grossing film (third in North America, behind Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters). It was also the tenth highest-grossing film of all time during its release.

Did You Know:

  • 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 was named after Steven Spielberg's dog and Indiana was named after George Lucas' dog.

  • Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream for this movie, and she screams a grand total of 71 times throughout the movie.

  • Kate Capshaw was very critical of her own character, saying that Willie was "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde".

  • 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 really covered with over two thousand insects. She took sedatives prior to the scene to get over her initial fear, and claimed "they definitely worked".

  • Amrish Puri shaved his head for the role of Mola Ram. This created such an impression that he kept this look and became one of India's most popular film villains.

  • The nightclub in the opening scene is called Club Obi-Wan, an obvious homage to the Star Wars character.

  • 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 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.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Adventure seeker saves a small Indian village by finding their lost relic while dodging an ancient evil cult.

Best Performance: Harrison Ford (Indiana)/John Williams (Composer)

Best Secondary Performance: Amrish Puri (Mola Ram)/Jonathan Ke Quan (Short Round)

Most Charismatic Award: John Williams (Composer)/Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones)

Best Scene:

  • Airplane Crash

  • Arriving in the Village

  • Dinner Scene

  • Trap Doors and Bug Rooms

  • Kali Ma

  • Black Death of Kali Ma

  • Bridge Fight

Favorite Scene: Kali Ma

Most Indelible Moment: Kali Ma

In Memorium:

  • Una Stubbs, 84 (Till Death Us Do Part, Sherlock)

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Short Round: What is Sankara?

Indiana Jones: Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.

Willie Scott: Hey! I can't go to Pankott! I'm a singer! Ohh, I need to call my agent...

Mola Ram: Kali-Ma! Kali-Ma!

Short Round: I keep telling you, you listen to me more, you live longer!

Chattar Lal: Dr. Jones, wasn't it the Sultan of Madagascar who threatened to cut off your head if you ever returned to his country?

Indiana Jones: No, it wasn't my head.

Chattar Lal: Then your hands, perhaps?

Indiana Jones: No, it wasn't my hands. It was my...[looks down between his legs] my misunderstanding.

Indiana Jones: That wasn't so bad, was it?

Indiana Jones: Wear your jewels to bed Princess?

Willie: Yeah... and nothing else. Shock you?

Indiana Jones: Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 6.75

Impact/Significance: 6

Novelty: 7

Classic-ness: 6.5

Rewatchability: 5.25

Audience Score: 8.5 (89% Google, 81% RT)

Total: 40

Remaining Questions:

  • What happened to Willie Scott?

  • How did the Thugee come back in the first place?

  • If Indiana only cut one side of the bridge, why did it tear in half?

  • Why did the pilots need to fly that far to just crash the plane?

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