Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American fantasy-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second film in the Indiana Jones franchise and a prequel to 1981'sRaiders of the Lost Ark, as well as a partial remake of Gunga Din. After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, stumbling upon aKali-worshiping Thuggee cult practicing 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 again. The original idea was to set the film in China, with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs. Other rejected plot devices included the Monkey King and a haunted castle in Scotland. Lucas then wrote a film treatment that resembled the film's final storyline. Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas's collaborator on Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write the script, and Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz were hired as his replacement, with the resultant screenplay partly based upon the 1939 film Gunga Din.
The film was released to financial success but mixed reviews, which criticized its violence, later contributing to the creation of the PG-13 rating. However, critical opinion has improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination. Some of the film's cast and crew, including Spielberg, retrospectively view the film in an unfavorable light. The film has also been the subject of controversy due to its portrayal of India and Hinduism.
In 1935, Indiana Jones narrowly escapes the clutches of Lao Che, a crime boss in Shanghai. With his eleven-year old Chinese sidekick Short Round and the gold-digging nightclub singer Willie Scott in tow, Indiana flees Shanghai on a plane that, unknown to them, is owned by Lao. The pilots leave the plane to crash over the Himalayas, though the trio narrowly manage to escape on an inflatable boat and ride down the slopes into a raging river. They come to Mayapore, a desolate village in northern India, where the poor villagers believe them to have been sent by the Hindu god Shiva and enlist their help to retrieve the sacred Sivalinga stone stolen from their shrine, as well as the community's children, from evil forces in the nearby Pankot Palace. During the journey to Pankot, Indiana hypothesizes that the stone may be one of the five fabled Sankara stones which promise fortune and glory.
The trio receive a warm welcome from the residents of Pankot Palace (which includes the young Maharajah Zalim Singh and his representative, Pankot Palace Prime Minister Chattar Lal) and are allowed to stay the night as their guests, during which they attend a lavish banquet attended by the Maharajah. During the banquet, they are presented with odd culinary delicacies such as baby snakes, large beetles, eyeball soup, and chilled monkey brains, none of which Willie Scott is able to eat. The palace rebuffs Indiana's questions about the villagers' claims and his theory that the ancient Thuggee cult is responsible for their troubles. Later that night, however, Indiana is attacked by an assassin, leading Indy, Willie, and Short Round to believe that something is amiss. They discover a series of tunnels hidden behind a statue in Willie's room and set out to explore them, facing many booby-trapped rooms and a room filled with bugs along the way.
From the tunnels of the palace, they travel through an underground temple where the Thuggee worship the Hindu goddess Kali with human sacrifice. The trio discover that the Thuggee, led by their evil, bloodthirsty high priest Mola Ram, are in possession of three of the five Sankara stones, and have enslaved the children (as well as the Maharajah) to mine for the final two stones, which they hope will allow them to rule the world. As Indiana tries to retrieve the stones, he, Willie and Short Round are captured and separated. Indiana is whipped and forced to drink a potion called the "Blood of Kali", which places him in a trance-like state called the "Black Sleep of Kali Ma". As a result, he begins to mindlessly serve Mola Ram. Willie, meanwhile, is kept as a human sacrifice, while Short Round is put in the mines to labour alongside the enslaved children. Short Round breaks free and escapes back into the temple where he burns Indiana with a torch, shocking him out of the trance. The Maharajah, who was also forcibly entranced by the "Blood of Kali", attempts to sabotage Indiana with a voodoo doll. Short Round spars with the Maharajah, ultimately burning him to snap him out of the trance. The Maharajah then tells Short Round how to get out of the mines. While Mola Ram escapes, Indiana and Short Round rescue Willie, retrieve the three Sankara stones, and free the village children.
After a mine cart chase to escape the temple, the trio emerge above ground and are again cornered by Mola Ram and his henchmen on a jungle canyon rope bridge on both ends over a gorge with crocodile-infested river flowing within. Using a sword stolen from one of the Thuggee warriors, Indiana cuts the rope bridge in half, leaving everyone to hang on for their lives. In one final struggle against Mola Ram for the Sankara stones, Indiana invokes an incantation to Shivafor Mola Ram misusing his power, causing the stones to glow red hot. Two of the stones fall into the river, while the last falls into and burns Mola Ram's hand. Indiana catches the now-cool stone, while Mola Ram falls into the river below, where he is devoured by crocodiles. The Thuggee across then attempt to shoot Indiana with arrows, until a company of British Indian Army riflemen from Pankot arrive, having been summoned by the palace maharajah. In the ensuing firefight, over half of the Thuggee archers are killed and the remainder are surrounded and captured. Indiana, Willie and Short Round return victoriously to the village with the missing Sivalinga stone and the children.
- Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones: An archaeologist adventurer who is asked by a desperate Indian village to retrieve a mysterious stone. Ford undertook a strict physical exercise regimen headed by Jake Steinfeld to gain more muscular tone for the part.
- Kate Capshaw as Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott: An American nightclub singer working in Shanghai. Willie is unprepared for her adventure with Indy and Short Round, and appears to be a damsel in distress. She also forms a romantic relationship with Indy. Over 120 actresses auditioned for the role, including Sharon Stone.To prepare for the role, Capshaw watched The African Queen and A Guy Named Joe. Spielberg wanted Willie to be a complete contrast to Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, so Capshaw dyed her brown hair blonde for the part. Costume designer Anthony Powell wanted the character to have red hair.
- Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round: Indy's eleven-year old Chinese sidekick, who drives the 1936 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster which allows Indy to escape during the opening sequence. Quan was chosen as part of a casting call in Los Angeles. Around 6000 actors auditioned worldwide for the part: Quan was cast after his brother auditioned for the role. Spielberg liked his personality, so he and Ford improvised the scene where Short Round accuses Indy of cheating during a card game. He was credited by his birthname, Ke Huy Quan.
- Amrish Puri as Mola Ram: A demonic Thuggee priest who performs rituals of human sacrifices. The character is named after a 17th-century Indian painter. Lucas wanted Mola Ram to be terrifying, so the screenwriters added elements of Aztec and Hawaiian human sacrificers, and European devil worship to the character. To create his headdress, make-up artist Tom Smith based the skull on a cow, and used a latex shrunken head.
- Roshan Seth as Chattar Lal: The Prime Minister of the Maharaja of Pankot. Chattar, also a Thuggee worshiper, is enchanted by Indy, Willie and Short Round's arrival, but is offended by Indy's questioning of the palace's history and the archaeologist's own dubious past.
- Philip Stone as Captain Philip Blumburtt: A British Indian Army Captain called to Pankot Palace for "exercises". Alongside a unit of his riflemen, Blumburtt assists Indy towards the end in fighting off Thuggee reinforcements. David Niven was attached to the role but died before filming began.
- Raj Singh as Zalim Singh: The adolescent Maharajá of Pankot, who appears as an innocent puppet of the Thuggee faithful. In the end, he helps to defeat them.
- D. R. Nanayakkara as Shaman: The leader of a small village that recruits Indy to retrieve their stolen sacred Shiva lingam stone
- Roy Chiao as Lao Che: A Shanghai crime boss who hires Indy to recover the cremated ashes of one of his ancestors, only to attempt to cheat him out of his fee, a large diamond.
- David Yip as Wu Han: A friend of Indy. He is killed by one of Lao Che's sons while posing as a waiter at Club Obi Wan.