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Film / Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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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, and a prequel to the previous film Raiders of the Lost Ark (making it the first in terms of narrative chronology).

The prologue sees Indy getting into some trouble in mid-1930s Shanghai, and nearly dying from poisoning when one of his clients tries to double-cross him. He escapes with his two sidekicks aboard a plane but they crash in the Himalayas. The main plot then begins when they arrive at a village in India, and the inhabitants tell them an evil cult stole a sacred stone from them and kidnapped their children for slave labor. Indy then sets out to retrieve the stones and free the children from the cult's grip.

The movie was released on May 23, 1984. Along with the first Gremlins film, Temple of Doom is largely responsible the creation of the PG-13 rating.


"Indiana Jones and the Tropes of Doom":

  • Actor Allusion: Indy chases after a small group of mooks, only to encounter a larger group of mooks and run away from them screaming.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: One of the mooks is heard pleading for his life before Mola Ram drops him off the bridge to hit Indy.
  • 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, which would be a goof as the film is set in 1935; however, there was, in fact, a bombing in 1932, so it works out fine.
  • All There in the Manual: The dinner scene is infamous as it appears to portray a crude stereotype of Indian cuisine (and perhaps non-Western dietary practices generally). However, the novelization makes it clear that the point was to provide the first clue that something was amiss at Pankot, and that Chattar Lal wanted to horrify the trio and the British officer in an attempt to get rid of them. We also get some information on Short Round's background, plus the fact that he thinks that one of the elephants is the reincarnation of his dead brother.
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  • All There in the Script: According to the novelization, "Willie" is short for "Wilhelmina" (a reference to the Wilhelm Scream) and Short Round's real name is "Wan Li".
  • And I Must Scream: One victim of the Black Sleep of the Kali Ma describes it as a nightmare from which you can't wake up and to which death is preferable.
  • And Show It to You: Mola Ram pulls out the heart of a sacrifice victim and holds it for everyone to see.
  • And Starring: "And Introducing Ke Huy Quan (now Jonathan Ke Quan) as Short Round"
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Kali is portrayed as basically the God of Evil. In the actual mythology, while she is the goddess of destruction she is not considered evil for the most part. Ironically Shiva (portrayed as the God of Good) is also a deity of destruction.
  • 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 ("Be—be gentle with me!"), then confused and finally disappointed.
    Willie: I'm right here!
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: After Indy got Willie out of the lava pit, Willie slaps him thinking he's still under the Black Sleep before Indy tells her it's really him.
  • Artistic License: The film derives entirely from pulp fiction (like all Indiana Jones films) but even then almost everything about its portrayal of India is dated and outlandish:
    • Kali worship is a perfectly benign activity as opposed to the demonic rituals portrayed in the film, and the real-life Thuggees were never so diabolically evil. The only record of the Thuggee cult is that of the English governor William Sleeman who captured the original group, and some historians argue that he considerably exaggerated their presence and activity to boost his career. The little that we know of Thuggee suggests an organized group of highwaymen who robbed travellers and killed them by strangling them with a rumal (a special handkerchief/scarf), an ersatz-Aztec cult interested in human sacrifice they were not. In fact, the word "Thug" in North India now refers to a swindler or con-man rather than a violent goon or murderer.
    • Serving live eels to human diners is a good way to get yourself charged with homicide, as raw eel blood is toxic to people. Pretty much all the banquet's "delicacies" are complete nonsense, and entirely made up by the screenwriters based on how gross Lucas and Spielberg found their suggestions. Indian cuisine is largely vegetarian, and non-vegetarian Hindus — like most non-vegetarian people full stop — would never consume live animals.
    • The Thuggee Cult died out in the 1850s, yet this film takes place in the 1930s and presents the arrival of a British regiment (or rather, an Indian Army regiment led by a British officer) at the end as The Cavalry. Small wonder it was banned in India. The film is inspired by Gunga Din which likewise took place in an earlier period. (The movie does refer to the Thuggees as having been originally wiped out "a hundred years ago", implying that the movie's Thuggees are meant to be interpreted as a fictional resurgence.)
    • Mola Ram claims that when he succeeds in his Evil Plan they will take down Allah, the Hebrew God and the Christian God, evidently not realising that all three are the same being. Admittedly, being a Hindu (and a thoroughly blaspheming one at that), he might just be ignorant of other faiths.
    • The titular Temple of Doom is depicted as a netherworld of volcanic cave systems, complete with a lava pit. In reality, India's only active volcano is located in the Andaman Islands hundreds of kilometers out in the Bay of Bengal, not the mainland of the Indian subcontinent.
    • While the real Thuggees did practice Human Sacrifice, they killed people by strangulation. The heart ripping out kind of sacrifice was done by the Aztecs (this was probably done intentionally due to Rule of Scary).
  • 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.
    • The opening "Anything Goes" number. So far as anyone can tell, they did have a Mandarin translation of the Cole Porter song, but Kate Capshaw butchered the pronunciation. What with Mandarin being a tonal language, this effectively turned the lyrics into gibberish. Here's a Chinese speaker's best guess at a translation.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening has a Giant Mook ceremoniously banging a gong with his mallet in a ritual manner, pan to a flaming dragon... and out comes out a Lady in Red sparkling sequined dress, launching into a Mandarin "Anything Goes".
  • Bare Your Midriff: Willie is dressed in a belly-revealing sari throughout the climax.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Mola Ram does the whole heart-pulled-out-of-chest-alive thing.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: Both Indy and the Maharajah get mind-controlled by the Thuggee, and are brought out of it when Short Round burns them with a torch.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Indiana cries for water as he has set his shoes on fire while stopping the mine cart with his feet. 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. That said, Shiva does at least get an assist on the defeat by responding to Indy's incantation by turning the stones molten and burning through the bag containing them, distracting Mola Ram. Bonus points for the stone that burned his hand being completely cool to the touch after briefly flipping through the air and landing in Indy's hand.
  • Big "NO!": Willie during the Crowd Hockey scene. She also lets out several as she's lowered to her doom in the lava pit.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Maharajah of Pankot 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 Mola Ram forces his hand into a victim's chest, removes his heart, and it's still beating after.
    • Also the scene in which the Thuggee guard is dragged into the rock crusher, leaving a huge smear of blood on the roller.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: 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 
  • Booby Trap: When Indiana and Short Round investigate a secret passage, they end up getting trapped in a room and unwittingly activate a trap involving a Descending Ceiling with Spikes of Doom.
  • Bookends: The village is grim and dismal when the trio arrives. As well, Willie is irritated by Short Round and keeps pulling away from him and is rude to the inhabitants. At the end, the village is lush and colorful, Willie makes the required gestures of respect to the elder, and is now fond of Shorty.
  • Bowdlerized: For its UK release, about one minute of violence and gore was cut in order to secure a PG rating rather than a 15 (the 12 rating wouldn't be introduced until 1989, and 12A until 2002). As noted above, there was also some drama about the rating in the US. The uncut version was finally released on Blu-ray in 2012 with a 12 rating. Detailed 'Cutting Edge' background and comparison video via GNC Films
  • 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!"). She gets a bit better as the film goes on, though, and even punches out a Thuggee guard during the mine cart chase.
  • 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 Sankara 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?).
  • Brick Joke: Indy goes for his gun to deal with two sword-wielding guards, only to find it not in his holster because Willie lost it out the window all the way back in the Action Prologue.
  • The Brute: The commander of Mola Ram's Thuggee guards, played by Pat Roach. In addition to being gigantic, he is a violent and merciless human being who enjoys beating children.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: The gloriously over-the-top cover of the title song from Anything Goes that kicks off the film.
  • 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:
  • 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 ("Follow in the footsteps of Shiva. Do not betray his truth."). Bizarrely, it's the one decent piece of Hinduism in the movie. Kali is Shiva's bride and both are part of the same over-deity. Mola Ram is a blasphemer on a big-big scale.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Blumburtt and his troops at the end of the film. Lampshaded by Willie and only partially late since they neutralize the threat of the Thuggee archers, killing several and forcing the rest to flee.
  • 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 enough Hindi to activate the Stones by uttering an incantation:
    Indy: You betrayed Shiva! Thum Shiva Ke Vishwasth Karthe Ho!
  • Childless Dystopia: The village, initially.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Perhaps expected with Indy, but blatantly abused to the point of comedy with Short Round, a ten-year-old kid who is able to One-Hit KO entire gangs of muscular Thuggee cultists.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Zig-zagged. It's averted when the first sacrificial victim bursts into flames well before plunging into the lava pit (his heart, which Mola Ram holds onto the entire time, starts smoking even before that happens). Then it's played straight when Willie is in the exact same situation, and again during the mine cart chase tug-of-war in the lava cavern.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Indy fights a big Thuggee on one that leads to a rock crusher.
  • Content Warning: One American poster featured the phrase "This film may be too intense for younger children" at the bottom corner (The poster for Jaws also had that same inscription). Judging by the subsequent controversy, it's obvious that parents did not heed that warning.
  • Creator Cameo: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy all have cameos at the airfield.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Willie, fed up with the insanity, finally finds it within herself to punch out the Mook that's climbed onto the coal cart. One punch.
  • Crowd Hockey: The film's opening shootout at Club Obi Wan has Indy and Willie respectively chasing the antidote and a giant diamond all over the place while fleeing customers kick both objects around. Willie loses track of the diamond in a spilled bucket of ice, but does end up with the antidote.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: That poor sacrifice victim, not only does he have has heart torn out (and is somehow still alive), he is then slowly lowered into a pit of lava until the flames roast him alive. As if this weren't horrible enough, he is praying for his life the whole time.
  • Cult: The Thuggee. Religion of Evil.
  • Culture Chop Suey: The historical Thuggee cult is rather lacking in actual documentary evidence, but the little that exist is drastically differentnote  from what is seen in the film. It instead draws inspiration from Aztec, African and Carribean rituals, folklore and hearsay.
    • Mola Ram's Human Sacrifice to "Kali" has more in common with Aztec rituals than anything in Indian myth and history. Mola Ram's outfit has more in common with stereotypical clothes worn by Shamanic priests from Africa and Latin American countries, most notable the shrunken head that he keeps hanging by his side. The Voodoo doll used by the possessed Little Maharaja to attack Indiana Jones is actually from European witchcraft (although wrongly associated with The Theme Park Version of the Haitian Voudou religion). The Red Pentagram worn by Chattar Lal would make Aleister Crowley jealous.
    • Likewise the film's depiction of India is a melange of different and highly divergent Indian traditions. Since the film was shot in Sri Lanka, some of the extras actually speak Sinhalese. Geographically, the plane that carried Indy, Short Round and Willie was marked to be flying on the Northern border and Indy dives down a snowscape implied to be the Himalayan range, but the village he arrives in is more central Indian than North Indian. Kali worship is associated with Bengal and definitely not considered any Satanic figure.
  • Dan Browned: Every single thing to do with Hinduism. In fact, what the movie gets right about Hinduism or India can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
    • One of the most egregious errors is that Shiva and Kali are set up as gods of good and evil respectively, while in Hinduism they are both unambiguously good, and in Bengali Hindu tradition, they're husband and wife.
  • 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!
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Chen manages to fire off one shot from his revolver as he dies from the flaming skewer Indy throws into his chest.
  • Descending Ceiling: The spike Booby Trap room that Indy and Short Round wind up in.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Kids rather than girls, but Short Round takes on the Maharaja himself.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Lao Che's pilots plot to kill Indy and crew is nonsensical. Why destroy a perfectly good plane and the related cargo when they could have just killed Indy? He was ASLEEP when they passed by him... they could have shot him, stabbed him or caved his head in with a wrench. Plus, they parachute into the mountains. How were they going to get back home?
    • In addition, Indy seeing the Thuggee slavers beat children. His immediate reaction is to throw a rock at one of them to get their attention. And that was about as far as he planned.
  • Disney Villain Death: Mola Ram falls into a river, and we see crocodiles chewing up his clothing afterward.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Willie spends the whole second part of the movie barefoot. Even at the end, where she is again dressed in Western clothes, she appears not to wear any shoes.
    • Upon closer inspection, she seems to be wearing sandals, but is unclear if it's just a necessity for the actress to care for her feet in the action scenes.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: The commander of the Thuggee guards appears to be this to Mola Ram.
  • '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 Sankara 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.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: This film played a large role in giving Kali the same reputation as the Greek God of Death in the Anglophone. In Hinduism, Kali is a popular deity who represents transformation and transience, and the power to face most of life's challenges with strength. Here she's transformed into a Satanic figure against all traditions of existing Hinduism in India.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Nearly every scene in the film is totally tense and filled with peril. Plane crash lands in India, the jungle is filled with vampire bats, monkeys, snakes and elephants. Limited diet, monkey brains, snakes and eels are there for your liking. Then you have underground caverns filled with sulphur, hot lava, crazed cultists, narrow mine carts, a rickety wooden bridge over a lake of crocodiles.
  • Evil Chancellor: Chattar Lal, the Prime Minister of Pankot, is in cahoots with the Thuggee.
  • Evil Laugh: The Chinese gangster Lao Che and his son seem to be fond of it. Mola Ram makes a chilling evil laugh when the sacrifice victim burns in the lava.
  • Fainting: Willie passes out when offered chilled monkey brains.
  • 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.
  • Familiar Soundtrack, Foreign Lyrics: The opening nightclub performance features Cole Porter's song "Anything Goes" in Mandarin (except for putting the Title Drop in Gratuitous English).
  • Fatal MacGuffin: The Sankara stones are not lethal to most people, but Mola Ram discovers that their sacred touch burns him, which causes him to plummet to his doom when he tries to catch one while hanging off a cliff.. Indy himself gives up the stone to the village that originally owned it rather than returning it to a museum for his "fortune and glory."
  • Fate Worse than Death: One of the children hopes to die before the Thuggee turn him into a Kali Ma: "I pray to Shiva, 'Let me die.' But I do not. the evil of Kali take me." Another child describes it as being "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 appetizer course of giant beetles, 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.
  • Funny Background Event: Eagle-eyed viewers during the dinner scene might notice that, for some reason, the Prime Minister is making a silly-looking bucktoothed grin when they bring out the plate of beetles.
  • Giant Mook: The Thuggee enforcer who also supervises the enslaved children.
  • 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.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Thuggee operate from within Pankot Palace and have brainwashed the Maharaja and Prime Minister to do their bidding.
  • Groin Attack: Right after freeing Indy from the the Black Sleep of Kali Ma, Short Round manages to down a Thugee by kicking him in the nads.
  • Ground by Gears: At the end of Indiana's fight with a Giant Mook, the villain is dragged into a giant rock crusher by his scarf and squashed to death.
  • 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.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The assassin in Indy's room at Pankot Palace pulls this off in a pretty frightening way.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: During the final confrontation against Mola Ram and the Thugees on the rope bridge, Indy manages to convey his plan to sever the bridge (with everyone on it) to his Chinese sidekick Short Round, using Mandarin.
    Indy: Xiao zi, zhuo zhu sheng zi! note 
  • High-Speed Train Reroute: During the mine cart chase, one set of Thuggee... thugs shoots a switch to get themselves onto a safer track.
  • Hijacked by Jesus: As far as the movie is concerned, Shiva is God and Kali is Satan. Someone apparently didn't realize that Kali happens to be Shiva's wife, at least in another of her aspects (Parvathi).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Indy leads a slave revolt where the Thuggee slavers are killed by the chains, picks and rocks used and gathered by the child slaves.
  • Hollywood Driving: When Short Round act as a getaway driver for Indy, he turns his head to the backseats for an extended amount of time.
  • Holy Burns Evil: A rare example of Holy burning a non-supernatural being. Shiva is just that angry at Mola Ram's blasphemous crimes.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Thuggee indulge in this.
  • 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 Earl Weber, played by Dan Aykroyd, who affects such an over-the-top English accent, that his name comes out as "A-Wubbuh" when he introduces himself.
  • 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.
  • 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. For that matter, they don't do any better with guns, although they at least have the excuse that Indy's gang is moving in those scenes.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Trope Namer, done after escaping from the room with the descending spikes.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: When Willie's elephant knocks her off its back with a gush of water and she falls into the river, she pitches a hissy fit complete with some really childish tears.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal: One of Lao Che's sons tries to shoot Indy for injuring his brother (when he tried to steal the artifact without paying).
    Lao Che: You have insulted my son.
    Indy: No. You insulted me. (sees Lao's son glare at him, even showing his injured hand) But I spared him his life.
  • Jerkass: Mola Ram practices human sacrifice, enslaves children, brainwashes adults, and has world domination and the extermination of all other religions next on his to-do list. But he also isn't above tearing one of his own guards off a cliff to drop him on Indy, then having a hearty chuckle about it. Overlaps with Evil Is Petty.
  • Jump Scare: A short while after Indy leaves Short Round and Willie to retrieve the stones, a Thuggee guard suddenly appears towards them with a menacing scream.
  • 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 a sequel, but it never came to fruition. He is probably the ONLY named Indiana Jones villain who is still alive at the end of the movie.
  • Kids Driving Cars: Indy has Short Round act as a getaway driver for his meeting with Lao Che. Short Round's age isn't given in the film, but his actor (Ke Huy Quan) was twelve when the movie came out. He ties boxes around his feet to operate the pedals of the car.
  • Kid Sidekick: Short Round is Indiana Jones's partner, friend and nag. Indiana met him when he was a street orphan trying to pick Indy's pocket. His parents were killed during the Japanese bombing of Shanghai in 1932.
  • Kill It with Fire: Turns out to be the cure for the Black Sleep.
  • Killer Outfit: While fighting Indiana Jones, the Giant Mook's sash is caught in the rock crusher and he's pulled to his doom.
  • The Lava Caves of New York: The underground cavern of the palace just happens to have a direct line to the Earth's crust and hot magma flowing out. The only areas of Volcanic activity in India, and dormant activity at that, is in the Andaman Islands, and nowhere on the mainland of the Indian subcontinent.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The titular Temple of Doom.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Towards the end of the film.
  • Licensed Game: Had two releases of an Action Game based on the end of the film.
  • The Load: Willie is spectacularly useless.
    • Except when she saves Indy and Short Round's lives.
  • 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.
  • Mighty Whitey: Indiana Jones is anointed by the village head as a saviour sent by Shiva to rescue the villagers from the Thuggee. Indy also rescues a bunch of child slaves and liberates them. Likewise, the finale has the British General leading a contingent to arrive as The Cavalry to repel the Thuggee.
  • 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 large Thuggee was approaching.
  • Mistaken Age: Willie assumes the Maharaja is an adult.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates an 8 (yes a PG-rated film gets an 8 on a scale of violence level), primarily due to Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) ripping out a dude's (Nizwar Karanj) heart out with his bare hand (shown in close-up) and the fact that the Temple of Doom's upper air shafts (or whatever they are) are decorated with flayed human skin. That's not even including the dozens of children being abused and held in slavery and hellish working conditions.
  • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Willie can be quite sexy when she's comfortable in the situation.
    Indy: So...wearing your jewels to bed, princess?
    Willie: Yes.... And nothing else. Does that surprise you?
  • 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.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The only thing blocking off the lava cavern in the mines is a set of flimsy wooden barricades, and most of the cart track ties in there have crumbled away.
  • Noisy Nature: One scene had enough wildlife sounds to supply a trip to the zoo.
    [A tiger roars in the distance]
    Willie: Omigod, what else is out there?
  • Noodle Incident: During dinner at Pankot Palace, Chattar 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 something very dear to him if he ever returned to a particular sultan's realm. Lal thinks it was Indy's head, then his hands, and Indy corrects him:
    Indy: No, 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. It's also the only film in which Indy plays an active part in killing off the Big Bad at the end.
  • 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 into the mountains.
    Indy: I think we got a big problem.
    • "Indy, cover your heart! Cover your heart!!"
    • Mola Ram when he sees Indy climbing up after him on the rope bridge after attempting to knock him off.
  • Ominous Adversarial Amusement: After Indy takes a drink, Lao Che makes a demand.
    Lao Che: And now, you give me the diamond.
    Indy: Are you trying to develop a sense of humor, or am I going deaf? [Chao holds up a vial] What's that?
    Lao Che: Antidote.
    Indy: To what?
    Lao Che: [starts laughing] The poison you just drank, Dr. Jones.
  • 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. Well, he was Brainwashed and Crazy before.
    • Willie's Missouri drawl tends to slip back in when she gets really mad. (Kate Capshaw is really from there.)
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Chen, Lao Che's son, gets fatally wounded when Indy skewers him alive with a pigeon flambé for killing his friend Wu Han. Lao Che, of course, doesn't seem to mind.
  • Papa Wolf: Indy. "They're innocent children... Mola Ram, prepare to meet Kali, IN HELL!!"
  • Pedal-to-the-Metal Shot: There is such a shot at the start of a Car Chase. Short Round acts as a getaway driver for Indy. He is only a 13 year old kid so he has boxes tied around his feet to operate the pedals of the car.
  • 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.
    • Possible Fridge Brilliance, as this is supposed to be a prequel to Raiders—which means the trouble caused by this Honor Before Reason moment made him more "careful" in the future.
  • 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!".
  • Prepare to Die: Meeting-with-deities styled with, "Prepare to meet Kali, in Hell!"
  • 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: Mola Ram removed the hearts of his sacrifices this way, without killing them.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • "Mola Ram, prepare to meet Kali... IN HELL!."
    • "Willie, WE! are GOING! to DIE!"
  • Qipao: Willie wears a long, red and gold one in the opening sequence.
  • 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, sexily cooing "Oh...Indy...!"
    • 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.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Indy's solution to being cornered in the middle of a rope bridge with enemies approaching on both sides: cut the bridge. Even Mola Ram is shocked.
  • 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.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Downplayed. Indy, Willie and Short Round are given food when they come to the village. Willie refuses it at first, Indy says that they have been given more food than the villagers get in a week. So, Willie's natural reaction is to give it back so the villagers can eat. Indy summarizes that she is just insulting [the villagers] and embarrassing him in the process. After Willie reluctantly eats, the village elder is a lot more friendly.
  • Save the Villain: When The Head Thuggee Guard is getting pulled into the rock crusher, he desperately reaches for a rope, attached to a pulley. Indiana grabs the rope as well... trying to save him despite the fact the guy just tried to kill Indy the same way. Of course, the guard is too heavy (and the pull proves too great) that it lifts Indy instead of pulling the guard free. Not that Indy is too broken up over it.
  • Say Your Prayers: The unfortunate sacrifice victim begins babbling them as soon as he's strapped into the cage.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The gag of Indy chasing a henchman only to retreat from an army of them was reworked from A New Hope.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Subverted. Willie wears Indiana's tuxedo after they escape from the nightclub, but it's not post-coital, there simply isn't anything else for her to wear. It still looks very good on her, though.
  • 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, as he's dressed similarly to Sean Connery's Bond in Goldfinger. It comes full circle in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Connery stars as Indy's literal father.
    • 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.
    • The name of Short Round is a Homage to Samuel Fuller's The Steel Helmet where the American GI protagonist befriends a Korean boy during the Korean War and gives him the same nickname.
    • The opening musical number is Spielberg's spoof of Busby Berkeley musicals of the early 30s, namely the number "Shanghai Lil" from Footlight Parade which has the same element of Chinoiserie and Shanghai setting.
    • The scene where Indy wakes up and discovers the plane's pilot has disappeared is straight out of Lost Horizon.
  • 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 to drop the Sankara Stones in the river: "Drop them, Dr. Jones! They 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: Mola Ram and the brainwashed maharaja make these.
  • Slave Liberation: After Indy rescues Willie from being sacrificed, he sets out to free all the child slaves.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Indiana's drink is poisoned by Lao Che.
  • Spikes of Doom: Indy and Short Round get caught in just such a trap.
  • Spiteful Spit:
    • Willie to evil-Indiana.
    • The elephant when Indy and Willie kiss at the end.
  • Stand-In Portrait: The Thuggee who ambushes Indy in his room eludes detection by pretending to be one of the guards in the wall painting.
  • Storming the Castle: Pankot Palace.
  • Stout Strength: The assassin in Indy's room at Pankot Palace, and the Chief Guard.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Indy and Willie are given food in the village. He makes her eat it even though it's obviously half-rotted 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.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Regular treatment for the child slaves and given to Short Round and to Indiana, with his own whip.
  • Temple of Doom: Trope Namer.
  • 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.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: After Indy gets out of the Black Sleep of Kali, as he and Short Round start kicking some Thuggee butt. Another example would be when Indy gains the upper hand during the fight with the slave driver after Short Round stopped the Maharajah from using the voodoo doll on Indy.
  • This Cannot Be!: Willie when she is about to be sacrificed.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Played deadly serious; when Indy is caught by the Thuggee guards and is chained up, the lead Thuggee (played by Pat Roach) brandishes Indy's bullwhip to use on him. Indy's face says it all.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Lao Che and his henchmen.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last we see of Chattar Lal, he gets stuck under the wheel in the sacrificial chamber, then starts crawling away after Indy and Shorty pull it off him. His fate is left unclear; originally he was planned to suffer a Disney Villain Death by being thrown into the lava pit.
  • 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: Used against Indy by the Maharajah.
  • Waif-Fu: Short Round helps Indy take down Mooks.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Wu Han, one of Indy's closest allies, is introduced in the opening scene. He is then shortly killed off by one of Lao Che's thugs.
  • We Have Reserves: On the broken bridge, Mola Ram pushes one of his own men off in his attempts to make Indy fall.
    • Earlier, Mola Ram floods the tunnels, which would certainly kill the four minecarts of Thuggees pursuing Indy.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Indy and the others are outnumbered enough to hold from stopping the torturous sacrifice of an adult. Whipping a little kid with the same numbers however, that's going too far.
  • Where's My Gun?: Indy is confronted by a massive Thuggee swordsman and cockily reaches for his revolver (in a Call-Back to the famous scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark). However, his smile vanishes when his hand pats his empty holster and he remembers that his pistol was taken off him when he was captured.
  • Whip It Good: Indy's whip gets used in lieu of a gun when he goes up against a pair of swordsmen.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The Trope Namer is strangely averted when Indiana shows no reaction to dozens of snakes squirming out of the "Snake Surprise".
  • 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.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: To be expected, as this is an Indiana Jones movie. But a few notable examples:
    • The raft escape. The thing doesn't flip over during the whole fall (which is impossible), the landings don't hurt everyone aboard or throw them clear, and the raft doesn't burst on impact after the spectacular fall or get shredded during the toboggan-style slide down the mountain.
    • If The Maharajah was planning to have Indy killed, why send a single assassin? He had a palace of guards at his disposal.
    • Fire breaks the Black Sleep? Seems like this might cause a lot of problems, given the Temple of Doom is in a lava-oozing cave network, with lots of torches around. Indeed, in the novelization, this is how Short Round learns — a guard is burned by a spurt of lava and starts to snap out of it just before he's led away by other guards, no doubt to be drugged again.
    • Willie Scott would have certainly burned to death, that close to the lava. Yet she's absolutely unhurt.
    • Many, many, many times, the minecarts (in all instances) would have gone off the rails. That track layout was not practical to carry the minecarts.
    • The pressure of the water from the collapsed storage tank is WAY too powerful by the time it reaches the end of the mine cart tracks, given the distance it covered and the lava it certainly encountered (boiling away and/or filling up the empty space under the tracks).
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Thuggees. Especially that one who viciously whips Short Round. Indy (under the brainwashing) strikes Short Round when he tries to help him.
  • 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 fork point.
  • 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?!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Temple Of Doom


The Trope Namer

Indy and his companions make it through a descending door, and he reaches back for his hat.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / IndyHatRoll

Media sources:

Main / IndyHatRoll