Film: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the second film in the Indiana Jones film series, though chronologically the first as this all happens before the previous film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It involves Indy getting into some trouble in pre-World War II 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.

Released in 1984, 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 part of the reason the PG-13 rating was created in the US.

"Indiana Jones and the Tropes of Doom":

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Indy mentions that Short Round's parents were killed in the Japanese bombing of Shanghai. Many assumed this meant the bombing in 1937 at the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War; there was, in fact, a bombing in 1932.
  • And Show It to You: "Kali Ma!"
  • Anti-Hero: Indy didn't originally go to Pankot Palace to stop the Thuggee. His goal was to retrieve the Sankara Stones to gain "Fortune and glory." He only decides to be a hero after discovering the mines where the village children are being used as slaves.
  • Arc Words: "Fortune and Glory".
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In the scene where Indy bursts into Willie's room looking for more hitmen and for the secret entrance to Kali's temple, Willie is at first coquettishly alarmed by the aggressive demeanour of Indiana, then confused and finally disappointed.
    Willie: 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, and Mola Ram is blaspheming Hinduism.
    • Serving live eels to human diners is a good way to get yourself charged with homicide, as raw eel blood is toxic to people.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Only Mola Ram (who is played by an Indian actor) speaks Hindi. The movie was shot in Sri Lanka, and all extras speak Sinhalese as a result.
  • Bad Boss: Mola Ram throws his own men down the broken bridge in an attempt to dislodge Indy. He also orders the water tank knocked over and smashed, sending a huge tidal wave down the mine tunnels without regard for the six or seven Thuggee guards in mine carts who went down there after Indy and co.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Mola Ram does the whole heart-pulled-out-of-chest-alive thing.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: Indy gets mind-controlled by the Thuggee, and is brought out of it when Short Round burns him with a torch.
  • 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.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: So much between Indy and Willie.
  • Big Bad: Mola Ram. Notably, the only Big Bad in the series to be defeated by Indy himself. Belloq was killed by the wrath of God, Donovan was tricked by Elsa into drinking from the false Grail, and Spalko was knowledged to death by the aliens.
  • Big "NO!": Willie during the Crowd Hockey scene.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The maharajah of the temple is called 'Zalim' which means evil in Hindi. Fitting, as he is a bad guy. But only because his second-in-command was feeding him mind-control juice.
  • Bloody Horror: The scene where an evil hindu priest forces his hand into a person's chest, and removes his heart, and it's still beating after.
  • Brainless Beauty: Willie. In her Establishing Character Moment she not only quickly reveals her airheadedness ("this Nurhachi's a real small guy") but her vanity too ("He put two holes in my dress from Paris!").
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Anyone opposed to Mola Ram: The maharaja, many of the slaves, and even Indy. Possibly Chatter Lal as well. Don't drink the kool-aid around Mola Ram. Hell, the novelization and shooting script both had even Mola Ram waking up from brainwashing when he grips the Shankara Stone at the end. And then the poor guy falls to the crocodiles (cut from the movie both because it seemed too cruel and it begged the question of who brainwashed him?).
  • The Brute: The commander of Mola Ram's Thuggee guards.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The gloriously over-the-top cover of the title song from Anything Goes that kicks off the film.
  • Butt Monkey: Willie.
  • California Doubling:
    • The filmmakers tried to avert this with regards to India, but the Indian government was too offended by the portrayal of their country and so the Indian exteriors were filmed in Sri Lanka instead. The Shanghai exteriors were done in Macau, which was still under Portuguese colonial rule at the time of filming. California filled in for a few more exteriors while the sound stages were, as always, built at Elstree Studios in England.
    • In a DVD documentary, Spielberg notes that the climactic rope bridge battle was filmed on three continents. First, they had an actual rope bridge in Sri Lanka, built and destroyed specifically for the movie. After the bridge splits in half, the shots of Indy and Mola Ram battling on the side of the cliff were done at Elstree Studios. Finally, the shots of the alligators were filmed by a second unit in Florida.
  • Call Back: Indy preps to dispose of the two swordsmen the way he did memorably in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only this time, his gun isn't there. (This movie occurs chronologically before Raiders, but then again, just shooting sword-wielding enemies might be Indy's standard practice.)
  • 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.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Lao Che is chivalrous enough to swindle and poison Indiana in a reversible way.
  • Category Traitor: Jones accuses Mola Ram of betraying Shiva — a deity that neither of them worship, 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 Thuggee archers, although the few volleys they fire show they are from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
  • Chekhov's 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.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Indy fluently shifts into Chinese while arguing with Short Round over which of them is cheating more at cards. He later uses the same language to warn the boy that he is going to cut the bridge without alerting Mola Ram and his Mooks.
    • Indy being an Omniglot, knew the Indian language, so he knew how to invoke the Stones by invoking Shiva.
    Indy: You betrayed Shiva! Thum Shiva Ke Vishwasth Karthe Ho! You betrayed Shiva!
  • City Mouse: Willie Scott.
  • 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.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Indy fights a big Thuggee on one that leads to a rock crusher.
  • 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.
  • Cult: The Thuggee. Religion of Evil.
  • Darker and Edgier: George Lucas attributes it to the fact that he was going through a divorce at the time and he was in a really dark mood at the time. Steven Spielberg was coming off E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and wanted to do something a little less family friendly.
  • Darkest Hour: Indiana Jones is brainwashed by Mola Ram and joins the Thuggees, Willie Scott is made a sacrifice to Kali, and Short Round is enslaved and toiling in the catacombs with all the other kidnapped kids, basically meaning that it was all over for the world, non-Thuggee religions and our heroes… that is until Short Round destroys the chains on him and escapes!
  • Descending Ceiling
  • Designated Girl Fight: Kids rather than girls, but Short Round takes on the Maharaja himself.
  • Disney Villain Death: Mola Ram falls into a river, and we see crocodiles chewing up his clothing afterward.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom
  • 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.
  • '80s Hair: Willie's hair is quite a bit more 1984 than 1935 — check out that perm, and later on, those bangs! Apparently, she's so fashion conscious that she's fifty years ahead of her time!
  • Empathic Environment: When Indy first arrives at the Indian Village, it's desolate and lifeless. The sun is blotted out by thick clouds, the villagers barely have any food due to a drought and their children are missing. When Indy brings back the Shankara stones and their children, their village is full of life. Lampshaded by the Shaman.
    Shaman: We know you are coming back, when life returned to our village.
  • 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.
  • 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"
  • Fingore: The Kali statues outside of Pankot Palace had necklaces of real human fingers. A rather blatant warning that the Thuggee were active in the area.
  • Foreign Queasine: "Ahh. Chilled monkey brains!" —Not to mention the live eels inside a posed snake corpse, eyeball soup...turned out it was a Batman Gambit to try to encourage both the British and Indy's party to leave; it obviously failed miserably. The novelization highlights the banquet menu as a tipoff that all is not well in Pankot, as Hindus would never eat such food, and further that not even a "normal" bad guy would serve something so depraved.
  • 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.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Thuggees were looking for all five Sankara stones, and had three of them until Indy showed up.
  • 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.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: The villain snatches the heart from the left side of the sacrificial victim's chest. His attempt to do the same to Indy likewise uses this trope. It's hinted, however, that this may be hypnotic imagery rather than the heart being ripped out.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: As far as the movie is concerned, Shiva is God and Kali is Satan.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Indy leads a slave revolt where the Thugee slavers are killed by the chains, picks and rocks used and gathered by the child slaves.
  • Human Sacrifice
  • I Am Very British: "Captain Blumburtt" — his very name suggests and sounds like a combination of "bombastic", "bluster" and "pomp". This trope also applies to Art Weber, played by Dan Aykroyd.
  • I Broke a Nail: Willie Scott... twice.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • When Indiana discovers the mine and throws a rock against a guard, revealing his presence and alerting the Thuggees, but it turns out he was surrounded already, other mooks were sneaking from behind.
    • The two thugs that work for Lao Che. Instead of simply shooting Indy while he was sleeping on the plane, they instead plot a collision course into a mountain and then parachute from the plane. This is even more stupid when you realise that they're just parachuted into the middle of the Himalayas! Where the hell were they planning on going after landing halfway up a mountain?! note 
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten:
    • A slight variation, the first task assigned to "evil" Indiana is the sacrifice of Willie.
    • Used by Indy when he pretends he's about to throw Short Round into the lava pit as a feint against the Thuggee on the dais.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Short Round burning Indiana with a torch.
  • I'll Kill You!: Short Round threatens a large Mook to make him release Indy.
    Short Round: Drop him down! I kill you! Drop him down!
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The fate of Lao Che's son Chen.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Mola Rom's archers are useless.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Trope Namer, done after escaping from the room with the descending spikes.
  • Ironic Echo: Indy calls for water when he sets his shoes on fire stopping the minecart. A second later he's shouting the same phrase to warn against the rushing torrent of water coming down the mine shaft.
  • Just Desserts: The final fight occurs over the bridge of a river full of crocodiles.
  • Karma Houdini: Lao Che cheats and tries to murder Indiana, but gets away scot free. And Indiana has no idea about it. There was a plan to have him return in sequel but it never came to fruition.
  • Kill It with Fire: Turns out to be the cure for the black sleep.
  • 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 and the antidote to the poison Jones drank.
  • 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.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Indiana thinks a wide string of coincidences brought him to the village. The villagers think Shiva sent him.
  • Meaningful Name: Willie Scott's first name is, rather aptly, a nod to the Wilhelm Scream.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Vampire bats are native to the Americas. Of course, the "vampire bats" seen in the film are actually fruit bats, hence their size.
    • The "crocodiles" that devour the Mooks and Mola Ram are actually American alligators.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Short Round escapes just as the Thuggee commander was coming in.
  • Mistaken Age: Willie assumes the Maharaja is an adult.
  • 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.
    • Willie Scott's Busby Berkeley-esque performance of "Anything Goes" in Chinese tops the film off.
  • 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.
  • No Indoor Voice: Short Round
  • 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, Chatter Lal 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 if he ever returned.
    Indy: It wasn't my head. It wasn't my hands, it was my... my misunderstanding.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: After being attacked by an assassin in his room, Indy goes to Willie's room to search for the secret passage that the assassin entered from. But Willie mistakenly believes that Indy showed up at her room so that he could make love to her. Willie spends the next few moments offering herself to Indy while he ignores her in his search for the passage.
  • Not Himself: Indy, for a short time.
  • Not Quite Dead: Indy thinks he has finished off the villain who assaulted him during the Rollercoaster Mine scene, but the guy comes back from a dead angle.
  • Oddball in the Series: In many ways. It's the only film where Indy isn't shown teaching at his university at any point (although it is mentioned), and it's the only one which uses the poster font in the opening credits. This is the only Indy film so far where the major villains were non-white. In past and future films, while some of the minor mooks may have been people of color, the major enemies have been either Nazis or evil Russians.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Indy actually lets out a little yelp of terror when he realizes there are more Thuggees charging towards him. Also when he realized he doesn't have his gun.
    • This is Wille's facial expression for much of the film.
    • The plane's fuel is empty and is about to crash.
    Indy: I think we got a big problem.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When he first appears, at the dinner scene, the young Maharajah speaks with a very plummy RP accent. However, much later on, after Shorty has beaten him up, he comes out with "Please leesten! To git out, you mast tek de lift tunnal!", in some sort of "ethnic" (Indian?) accent.
  • 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.
  • The Precarious Ledge: After the mine-cart chase scene, Indy and his companions wind up on a narrow ledge that runs past the shaft's opening. Water cascading from the mine causes parts of the cliff wall to cave in or be penetrated by broken wooden beams, forcing the three further along the ledge to avoid the debris.
  • 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.
  • Prepare to Die: Meeting-with-deities styled with, "Prepare to meet Kali, in Hell!"
  • 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 snarks, gesturing to her own breasts, "Hey, I'm right here!"
  • Recruited From The Gutter: Indy relates how he first met his Kid Sidekick, Short Round, when the latter was a street orphan trying to pick his pocket. Short Round's loyalty saves him from "the black sleep of Kali Ma" later in the film.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: Trope Codifier, almost every minecart ride in any media is a reference to the famous scene here.
  • Rope Bridge: A pretty iconic example during the climax of the film.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Zalim Singh, the underage Maharajá, assists Short Round once his brainwashing has been eradicated.
  • 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
    • The footage of the giant bats as Jones and his entourage pass through the jungle on their way to Pankot Palace is taken from The Bridge on the River Kwai. Spielberg pays homage to David Lean, the man who inspired him to become a director.
    • The names Pankot and Mayapore are taken from the 1960s-70s "Raj Quartet" novels by Paul Scott, of whom writers Willard Huyk and Gloria Katz are fans.
  • Shrunken Head: Mola Ram's ceremonial headdress is crowned with what looks like one of these.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: A good one from Mola Ram, calling Indy's bluff: "Drop them, Dr. Jones! They [the Shankara Stones] will be found - YOU WON'T! (in Hindi) GET HIM!"
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Willie after being saved by the no-longer-evil Indiana.
  • Slasher Smile: The brainwashed maharaja.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Indiana's drink is poisoned by Lao Che.
  • Spikes of Doom
  • Spiteful Spit: Willie to evil-Indiana.
  • Storming the Castle: Pankot 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.
    Indy: That's more food than these people eat in a week. They're starving.
    Willie: I'm sorry. You can have—
    Indy: Eat it.
    Willie: I'm not hungry.
    Indy: You're insulting them and you're embarrassing me. Eat it.
  • Tempting Apple: Willie is disgusted by the dinner served at the temple and refuses to eat, despite being obviously hungry. Retiring for the night, the Belligerent Sexual Tension between Willie and Indy is heightened by Indy appearing with a big juicy apple that Willie devours with lust.
  • 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 sacrificed.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Lao Che and his henchmen.
  • Understatement: "I'm not going to have anything nice to say about this place when I get back!"
  • 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.
  • Voodoo Doll: Against Indiana
  • Waif-Fu: Short Round helps Indy take down Mooks.
  • We Have Reserves: On the broken bridge, Mola Ram pushes one of his own men off in his attempts to make Indy fall.
  • Whip It Good: Indy's whip gets used in lieu of a gun when he goes up against a pair of swordsmen.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Subverted when Indiana is about to pull his "revolver defeats swordsman" routine from the previous movie, but he is lacking the gun. He resorts to Good Old Fisticuffs and then proceeds to Whip It Good.
    • Played straight by Lao Che's pilots who just jump out and leave Indiana inside the plane without fuel in a collision course (explained in the novelisation).
  • Wilhelm Scream: Three times - first in the club when a serving cart smashes into the orchestra, second when one of Lao Che's mooks is shot by Indy during the car chase, and finally at the end when Mola Ram is getting eaten by alligators.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Thuggees. Especially that one who viciously whips Short Round.
  • 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.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Indy busts out a double drop kick on the Thuggee foreman. It did not work.
  • You Can Keep Her: Lao Che's reaction to Indy holding his moll (Willie) at forkpoint.
  • You No Take Candle: Short Round talks this way.
  • You're Insane!:
    • "What a vivid imagination..."
    • Later:
      Short Round: Hang on, lady. We're going for a ride!
      Willie: Oh my God... Oh my GOD! Is he nuts?!
      Short Round: He no nuts, he CRAZY!!!

Alternative Title(s):

Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, Temple Of Doom