Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


Short Round: "What is 'Sankara'?"
Indy: "Fortune and glory kid. Fortune and glory."


The second film in the Indiana Jones series.

It involves Indy getting into some trouble in pre-communist China, involving nearly getting poisoned to death, and crashing a plane in the Himalayas. The main plot is him fighting against an evil cult in India, who stole sacred stones and kidnapped children for slave labor.

The film got heavy criticism for its violence, which wasn't bad enough for an R, but was considered too much for PG. Even Steven Spielberg admitted this. The film, and the first Gremlins film, are a large reason the PG-13 rating was created in the US.

Tropes used in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom include:

  • Actor Allusion: Indy chases after a small group of mooks, only to encounter a larger group of mooks and run away from them screaming.
  • ...And Show It to You: "Kali Ma!"
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Willie during the entire scene where Indy bursts into her room to look for the secret entrance to Kali's temple. "I'm right here!"
  • Artistic License: No, Kali worship isn't really like that, nor are the Thuggees. These films are intentional mimicry of early century pulp fiction.
  • Banned in China: Temporarily banned in India due to its offensive representation of their culture. The writers claimed any inaccuracies were supposed to be deliberate clues that Mola Ram was evil.
  • Beat Still My Heart: Mola Ram does the whole heart-pulled-out-of-chest-alive thing.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For / Gilligan Cut: Indiana cries for water as he has stopped the wagon merely with his overheated shoes. Cue a big incoming flood triggered by Mola Ram. Played for Laughs
  • Big Bad: Mola Ram
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Maharajah of the temple is called 'Zalim' which means evil in Hindi. Fitting, as he is the bad guy. But only because his second-in-command was feeding him mind-control juice.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Don't drink the kool-aid around Mola Ram.
  • The Brute: The commander of Mola Ram's Thuggee guards.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The gloriously over-the-top cover of "Anything Goes" that kicks off the film.
  • The Cameo: Dan Aykroyd appears in the beginning of the film as Weber, as payback for Spielberg's cameo in The Blues Brothers.
  • Car Cushion: Slight subversion in the beginning. The car is their means of escape.
  • Category Traitor: Jones accuses Mola Ram of betraying Shiva -- a deity that neither of them worshiped, but it mattered to the ancient text about the sankara stones.
    • Bizarrely, it's the one decent piece of Hinduism in the movie. Kali is Shiva's bride and both part of the same over-deity. Mola Ram is a blasphemer on a big-big scale.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The British troops at the end of the film. Lampshaded by Willie and only partially late since they disperse the numerous and somewhat dangerous Thugee archers, although the few volleys they fire show they are from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy
  • Chekhov's Lost Gun: Willie throws away Indy's gun. Later on he's confronted by two swordsmen, reaches for his gun and... oops!
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Captain Blumburtt of the 11th Poona Rifles.
  • City Mouse: Willie Scott.
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: Indy fights a big Thugee on one that leads to a rock crusher.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Zig-zagged. It's averted when the first sacrificial victim bursts into flames well before plunging into the lava pit. Then it's played straight when Willie is in the exact same situation. Perhaps because her heart didn't get ripped out.
  • Creator Breakdown: The film was produced while Lucas was going through a divorce, as well as Steven Spielberg's then-current breakup with Amy Irving, hence the scene where a sacrificial victim gets his heart ripped out and set ablaze. Lucas has admitted that this may be why the film was made so much Darker and Edgier than its predecessor.
    • They also admitted that they weren't in the best of moods during production.
  • Crowd Hockey: The film's opening shootout at Club Obi Wan also has Willie chasing a diamond all over the place while fleeing customers kick it around, including into a spilled bucket of ice.
  • The Cult: The Thuggee. Religion of Evil.
  • Darker and Edgier
  • Descending Ceiling
  • Door Focus:
    • When Indiana closes the door of the airplane, the camera shot reveals the airplane belongs to Lao Che.
    • A basic element of the Indy Hat Roll performed later.
  • Evil Chancellor: Chattar Lal, the Prime Minister of Pankot, is in cahoots with the Thuggee.
  • Fake Shemp: Harrison Ford injured his back during filming, and was out for several weeks. To continue production Spielberg used Ford's stuntman Vic Armstrong to perform the action sequences (even the simpler ones Ford could do) from behind and Harrison later filmed a few token close-ups.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: One of the children begs to be killed before they turn him into a Kali Ma, "alive but like a nightmare"
  • Foot Focus: Willie walking barefoot through the jungle.
  • Foreign Queasine: "Ahh. Chilled monkey brains!"
  • Giant Mook: The slave driver who gets ground up, played by Pat "Bomber" Roach.
  • Gold Digger: Willie, when she learns about the Majahraja of Pankot Palace. Then she finds out he's only around ten.
  • Hand in the Hole: Indy and Short Round are going to get crushed to death in the trap full of bugs because Willie doesn't want to stick her hand in the dark hole to release the trap. It's a subversion, though, because it's not the dark hole that she's squicked by. It's the fact that the hole is literally crawling with bugs of all types. And she picks the wrong hole at first as Indiana's hand points out.
  • Hard Head: When Mola Ram falls to his death, he slams his head into the cliff-face, but he doesn't seem to notice, given his uninterrupted scream.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: As far as the movie is concerned, Shiva is God and Kali is Satan.
  • Human Sacrifice
  • I Broke a Nail: Willie Scott... twice.
  • Idiot Ball: Subverted, when Indiana discovers the mine, he throws a rock against a guard revealing his presence and alerting the Thugees, but it turns out he was surrounded already, other mooks were sneaking from behind.
  • If You're So Evil Eat This Kitten: A slight variation, the first task assigned to "evil" Indiana is the sacrifice of Willie.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Short Round burning Indiana with a torch.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Trope Namer
  • Its All Greek to Me: Only Mola Ram (who is played by an Indian actor) speaks Hindi in the second film. The movie was shot in Sri Lanka, and all extras speak Sinhalese as a result.
  • Just Desserts: The final fight occurs over the bridge of a river full of crocodiles.
  • Karma Houdini: Lao Che.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The titular Temple of Doom.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Towards the end of the film.
  • The Load: Willie is spectacularly useless.
  • Logo Joke: Cutting from the Paramount logo to a fake mountain on the set of Willie's nightclub act.
  • MacGuffin Melee: The lounge scene, where Jones, Willie Scott, and Lao Che's goons fight over a diamond with the antidote to the poison Jones drank.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Indiana thinks a wide string of coincidences brought him to the village. The villagers think Shiva sent him.
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Chattar Lal, prime minister to the Maharaja of Pankot, attended Oxford.
  • Malaproper : Willie calling mummies mommies doubles as Establishing Character Moment for Dumb Blonde.
  • Meaningful Name: Willie Scott's first name is, rather aptly, a nod to the Wilhelm Scream.
  • Mood Dissonance: There's a scene where Indy and Short Round are trapped in a room with a Descending Ceiling and filled with spikes. In order to free them, Willie has to reach into a hole filled to the brim with bugs. Scary, but thanks to Indy and Willie both freaking out, it's also hilarious.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Indiana Jones was ready for his nocturnal activities and not really too eager to investigate much before a hitman is sent against him.
  • Noisy Nature: One scene had enough wildlife sounds to supply a trip to the zoo.
  • Noodle Incident: During dinner at Pankot Palace, the Prime Minister brings up a grave-robbing incident in Honduras "greatly exaggerated by the press" and another one where Indiana was threatened with the loss of his head by the Sultan of Madagascar.

Indy: It wasn't my head. It wasn't my hands, it was my... my misunderstanding.

  • Oh Crap: Indy actually lets out a little yelp of terror when he realises he doesn't have his gun.
  • Papa Wolf: Indy. "They're innocent children... Mola Ram, prepare to meet Kali, IN HELL!!"
  • Pet the Dog: The normally cynical and selfish Indy letting himself be captured and tortured by the Thuggee to save a little boy from being whipped to death.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the rope bridge scene, Indy gives an "Oh, shit!".
  • Prequel: The film takes place a year before Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the only indication is the date at the start of the film.
  • Psychic Surgery
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • "Mola Ram!! Prepare to Meet Kali! IN HELL!!"
    • "Willie. We -- are -- going -- to -- die!"
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Played for Laughs, where Indy and Willie have an argument over their Belligerent Sexual Tension. Each one is certain that the other is hot for them (and they're both right), but their egos won't allow either to "submit". Thus, they retire to their individual rooms and the audience is treated to a montage as they prepare themselves for a wild night of raunchy sex, only to (angrily) realize that neither one is biting. Then, the trope is played its straightest after Indy is almost assassinated in his room and barges into Willie's to check for another assassin, with Willie reclining on the bed, positively giddy to see a crazed Indy bursting her door down.
    • When Indy grabs the breasts of a statue (to push to reveal a secret entrance), Willie growls, gesturing to her own breasts, "I'm over here!"
  • Romance on the Set: After the film was complete, in 1991, Kate Capshaw married Steven Spielberg.
  • Rope Bridge: A pretty iconic example.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Zalm Singh, the underage Maharajá, assists Short Round once his brainwashing has worn off.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Willie after being saved by the no-longer-evil Indiana.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Indiana's drink is poisoned by Lao Che.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The nightclub where the movie begins is named "Club Obi-Wan". In that scene the origins of Indiana as a derivative James Bond are very explicit and homaged.
    • Many to Gunga Din (from the Thuggee plot to minor details and iconic scenes such as the bridge) to the point it can be considered its Spiritual Successor. Read
  • Spikes of Doom
  • Spiteful Spit: Willie to evil-Indiana.
  • Storming the Castle: Pangkok Palace.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Regular treatment for the child slaves and given to Short Round and to Indiana, with his own whip.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Indy and Willie are given food in the village. He makes her eat it even though it tastes awful because he knows the villagers gave them all they had.
  • Temple of Doom: Trope Namer
  • Theme Music Power-Up: After Indy gets out of the black sleep of Kali, as he and Short Round start kicking some Thuggee butt.
  • This Cannot Be!: Willie when she is about to be sacrified.
  • Voodoo Doll: Against Indiana
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Willie stores the antidote there.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Mola Ram escapes through a trap door after Willie's sacrifice is thwarted.
  • Waif Fu: Short Round helps Indy take down Mooks.
  • We Have Reserves: On the broken bridge, Mola Ram pushes his own men off in his attempts to make Indy fall.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Thuggees.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Mola Ram chose not to rip Willie's heart out. But he'd rather have it broken by Indy's supposed betrayal.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
  • Subverted, Indiana is about to pull his revolver defeats swordsmen routine from the previous movie, but he is lacking the gun.
  • Played straight by Lao Che's pilots who just jump out and leave Indiana inside the plane without fuel in a collision course
  • You Can Keep Her: Lao Che's reaction to Indy holding his moll (Willie) at knifepoint.