* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Was Mola Ram a CompleteMonster who was aware of his atrocities or another [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashed]] pawn as the novelization implies?
%%* BaseBreaker: Willie and Short Round.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The opening Bubsy Berkeley-esque dance number, which is weird in itself, but certain elements of the number ramp this up even further -- for instance, the huge sound-stage the dancers disappear into, which is apparently somewhere ''inside'' the club, the fact that they can all apparently rise back into a standing position from a grounded scissor-split, and when Willie somehow turns several red hankerchiefs plucked from the dancers' lapels into a huge red sheet (well, she does mention her grandfather was a magician....). All in all, very strange indeed.
* CompleteMonster: In a series full of villains that include Nazis, the evil Thuggee high priest [[BigBad Mola Ram]] stands out. [[BaldOfEvil Head]] of the {{cult}} of [[ReligionOfEvil Kali Ma]], Ram intends to find the Sankara Stones to bring forth the reign of Kali. To find the stones, he has [[WouldHurtAChild children abducted from their villages and enslaved]]. Ram has a habit of ritualistic killings by [[BeatStillMyHeart ripping the hearts out from his victims]] and dipping them in lava. Mola also uses the "Blood of Kali" to brainwash local politicians and royalty to become devout servants of Kahli, does the same to Jones, and nearly has him sacrifice his ally Willie. Mola Ram, who also [[BadBoss would kill his own men to stop Jones]], is possibly the [[KnightOfCerebus most evil character]] in the whole ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' franchise.
* ContestedSequel: Was it an interesting variation on the plot of ''Raiders'', or was it [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy too dark and gory to enjoy]]?
* CriticalDissonance: It gets enough flack that its Rotten Tomatoes score of '''85%''' might surprise some people.
* HeartwarmingInHindsight: Producing this film was very hard for Creator/GeorgeLucas and Creator/StevenSpielberg, [[CreatorBreakdown as Lucas was going through a painful divorce and Spielberg had a breakup with Amy Irving]]. But Spielberg would find love again with Kate Capshaw, who he'd marry several years afterwards. He would say that meeting her was the best part of making this movie.
* MemeticMutation: [[PunctuatedForEmphasis "WE! ARE GOING! TO]] '''''[[MemeticMutation DIE!]]''''' :(" was a popular meme on {{YTMND}}.
* NauseaFuel: The banquet. ForeignQueasine taken to its outer extreme, and quite deliberately (to squick the British and encourage Indy and company to leave).
* {{Narm}}: The maharajah's condemning of Thugee during the dinner scene sounds extremely stilted and unrealistic, though considering [[spoiler:he's working for them at the time (though unwillingly)]] that was probably the intention.
** Kind of gives the "Did I get it right?" look he gives Chattar Lal a new spin, doesn't it?
* OneSceneWonder: Creator/DanAykroyd as Weber.
* RootingForTheEmpire: Willie is so annoying, part of the audience actively wants [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Evil]] Indy to hurry up and sacrifice her already!
** [[BrokenBase For the other part]], it was an AlasPoorScrappy moment.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: The movie contains some fairly obvious matte paintings. But most notably, {{Mooks}} fall into crocodile-infested water and... cut to crocodiles eating empty clothes with scream sound effects dubbed over.
* VindicatedByHistory: Although still viewed as the weak link from the first three films, fans have looked more favorably upon it after the 4th film, ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'', got an even more mixed reception.
* SugarWiki/VisualEffectsOfAwesome: On the other hand, the mine car chase stands up amazingly well.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids: The shock over how dark and bloody it was for a PG film led to the creation of the PG-13 movie rating.