Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 period adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second film in the Indiana Jones franchise, and prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, stumbling upon a Kālī Thuggee religious cult plotting child slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice.
Producer and co-writer George Lucas decided to make the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains once more. The original idea was to set the film in China, with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs. More cancelled plot devices included the Monkey King and a haunted castle in Scotland. Lucas then wrote a film treatment that resembled the final storyline of the film, with Lawrence Kasdan turning down the offer to write the script.
Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz wrote the script, while the filmmakers were denied permission to film in North India because the government found the script racist. Most of Temple of Doom was shot using sound stages at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. Harrison Ford suffered a severe spinal disc herniation during filming. Despite other problems, Spielberg finished principal photography on schedule. The film was originally released with mixed reviews, and helped spawn the creation of the PG-13 rating. Nonetheless Temple of Doom was a financial success and has received generally positive feedback since 1984.
The residents at Pankot Palace are insulted by Indiana's questions about the villagers' claims. Later that night Indy is attacked in his room by a would-be assassin, which leads him, Willie and Short Round discover an underground temple beneath Pankot. They find a Kālī Thuggee religious cult plotting child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice. Thuggee have enslaved the village's children to dig for two last stones within the mines of the palace. Mola Ram, the cult's villainous high priest, hopes to use the power of five united stones to rule the world. The protagonists witness ritual in which Mola Ram bare-handedly digs a man's heart out of his chest. The man survives, his heart beating in Mola Ram's hand, until he is lowered slowly into a lava pit, causing the beating heart to burst into flame.
Indy, Willie, and Short Round are captured by the Thuggee and separated. Indy is forced to drink the "Blood of Kali", a mind-control potion which puts him into a trance called the "Black Sleep of Kali Ma," and begins to serve Mola Ram. Willie is kept as a human sacrifice, while Short Round is put in the mines alongside the village children as a slave laborer. Short Round frees himself and escapes back into the temple, where Willie is about to be sacrificed to Kali. He burns Indy with a torch, shocking him out of the trance. Although Mola Ram escapes through a trap door, Indy and Short Round manage to save Willie, take the three Sankara Stones, and free the village children. In the fight to escape the palace, the three jump into a mine cart and are closely pursued by two Thuggee-filled carts.
The climax leads to Indy, Willie and Short Round on a narrow ledge of a canyon. They try to cross a rope bridge, but become boxed in with Mola Ram and the Thuggee from both ends. Indy prepares his friends to brace themselves. He uses a machete to cut the bridge in half, sending Mola Ram and many of the Thuggee plummeting into the crocodile-infested river where they are eaten, while Blumburtt and his Indian riflemen help defeat Thuggee reinforcements. Indy, Willie, and Short Round return to the village with their sacred stone and the missing children.
Lucas made the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains once more. Spielberg originally wanted to bring Marion Ravenwood back, with Abner Ravenwood being considered as a possible character. Lucas created an opening chase scene that had Indiana Jones on a motorcycle on the Great Wall of China. In addition Indiana discovered a "Lost World pastiche with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs". China authorities refused to house filming, and Lucas considered the Monkey King as the plot device. Lucas wrote a film treatment that included a haunted castle in Scotland, but Spielberg felt it was too similar to Poltergeist. The haunted castle in Scotland slowly transformed into a demonic temple in India.
Lucas came up with ideas that involved a religious cult devoted to child slavery, black magic and ritual human sacrifice. Lawrence Kasdan of Raiders of the Lost Ark was asked to write the script. Kasdan reflected, "I didn't want to be associated with Temple of Doom. I just thought it was horrible. It's so mean. There's nothing pleasant about it. I think Temple of Doom represents a chaotic period in both their [Lucas and Spielberg] lives, and the movie is very ugly and mean-spirited." Lucas hired Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz to write the script because of their knowledge of Indian Culture. Gunga Din served as an influence for the film.
Huyck and Katz spent four days at Skywalker Ranch for story discussions with Lucas and Spielberg in early-1982. Lucas's initial idea for Indiana's sidekick was a virginal young princess, but Huyck, Katz and Spielberg disliked the idea. Just as Indiana Jones was named after Lucas's Alaskan Malamute, Willie was named after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel, and Short Round was named after Huyck's dog, which itself derives the film The Steel Helmet. Lucas handed Huyck and Katz a 20-page treatment in May 1982 titled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death to adapt into a screenplay. Scenes such as the fight scene in Shanghai, escape from the airplane and the mine cart chase came from original scripts of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Lucas, Huyck and Katz had been developing Radioland Murders (1994) since the early 1970s. The opening music number was taken from that script and applied to Temple of Doom. Spielberg reflected, "George's idea was to start the movie with a musical number. He wanted to do a Busby Berkeley dance number. At all our story meetings he would say, 'Hey, Steven, you always said you wanted to shoot musicals.' I thought, 'Yeah, that could be fun.'" The first draft was delivered in early-August 1982 with a second draft in September. Captain Blumburtt, Chattar Lai and the boy Maharaja originally had more crucial roles. A dogfight was deleted, while those who drank the Kālī blood turned into zombies with physical superhuman abilities. During pre-production the Temple of Death title was replaced with Temple of Doom. From March—April 1983 Huyck and Katz simultaneously performed rewrites for a final shooting script.
Danny Daniels choreographed the opening music number "Anything Goes". Capshaw learned to sing in Standard Mandarin and took tap dance lessons. However, when wearing her dress, which was too tight, Capshaw was not able to tap dance. One of her red dresses was eaten by an elephant during filming; a second was made by costume designer Anthony Powell. Production designer Norman Reynolds could not return for Temple of Doom because of his commitment to Return of the Jedi. Elliot Scott (Labyrinth, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Reynolds' mentor, was hired. To build the rope bridge the filmmakers found a group of British engineers working on the nearby Balfour Beatty dam. Harrison Ford suffered a severe spinal disc herniation riding elephants. A hospital bed was brought on set for Ford to rest between takes. Lucas stated, "He could barely stand up, yet he was there every day so shooting would not stop. He was in comprehensible pain, but he was still trying to make it happen." With no alternatives, Lucas shut down production while Ford was flown to Centinela Hospital on June 21 for recovery. Stunt double Vic Armstrong spent five weeks as a stand-in for various shots. Wendy Leach, Armstrong's wife, served as Capshaw's stunt double.
Macau was used to double for Shanghai, while cinematographer Douglas Slocombe caught fever through June 24—July 7 and could not work. Ford returned on August 8. Despite the problems during filming, Spielberg was able to complete Temple of Doom on schedule and on budget, finishing on principal photography on August 26. Various pick-ups took place afterwards. This included Snake River Canyon in Idaho, Mammoth Mountain, Tuolumne and American River, Yosemite National Park, San Joaquin Valley, Hamilton Air Force Base and Arizona. Producer Frank Marshall directed a second unit in Florida in January 1984, using alligators to double as crocodiles. The mine chase was a combination of a roller coaster and scale models with dolls doubling for the actors. Minor stop motion was also used for the sequence. Visual effects supervisors Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston and a crew at Industrial Light & Magic provided the visual effects work, while Skywalker Sound, headed by Ben Burtt, commissioned the sound design. Burtt recorded roller coasters at Anaheim Disneyland Park for the mine cart scene.
Dave Kehr gave a largely negative review. "The film betrays no human impulse higher than that of a ten-year-old boy trying to gross out his baby sister by dangling a dead worm in her face. Ralph Novak of People complained "The ads that say 'this film may be too intense for younger children' are fraudulent. No parent should allow a young child to see this traumatizing movie; it would be a cinematic form of child abuse. Even Harrison Ford is required to slap Quan and abuse Capshaw. There are no heroes connected with the film, only two villains; their names are Steven Spielberg and George Lucas."
The film's depiction of Hindus caused some controversy in India, and brought it to the attention of the country's censors who placed a temporary ban on it. Yvette Rosser has criticized the film for contributing to racist stereotypes of Indians in Western Society, writing "[it] seems to have been taken as a valid portrayal of India by many teachers, since a large number of students surveyed complained that teachers referred to the eating of monkey brains.
Alongside Gremlins, Temple of Doom inspired the Motion Picture Association of America to create the PG-13 rating. "I wasn't happy with Temple of Doom at all," Spielberg said in 1989. "It was too dark, too subterranean, and much too horrific. I thought it out-poltered Poltergeist. There's not an ounce of my own personal feeling in Temple of Doom." Capshaw called her character "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde." Capshaw, who is a feminist, was annoyed by the criticism she received of her portrayal. "Temple of Doom is my least favorite of the trilogy," Spielberg stated. "I look back and I say, 'Well the greatest thing that I got out of that was I met Kate Capshaw. We married years later and that to me was the reason I was fated to make Temple of Doom."