Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Paramount (LucasFilm)

It was only a matter of time before producer George Lucas and director Spielberg would make the sequel to their 1981 smash hit, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

It took three years for the second chapter, for which the high expectations were largely met, though some critics were disappointed with the end result of the $25 million sequel. Most reviewers singled out the fast, breakneck pacing of the action-adventure, which begins with a spectacular scene, a dance number performed in a Busby Berkeley style to Cole Porters famous tune, Anything Goes, in a suave nightclub.

This time around, the yarn is set in Shanghai, circa 1935, where our hero, archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, of course) encounters the villains, which forces him to escape with singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw, who later married helmer Spielberg).

On their way, the couple meets youngster named Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), forming a trio, so that the films loyal fans, the young viewers, would have a character to relate too. The mission in this primitive Indian village is to retrieve a sacred object, a stone, from a heavily guarded palace.

It was hard not to notice the influence of George Stevens Gunga Din, a cult movie that both Lucas and Spielberg have long admired, on the narrative, credited to Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (who had worked on Lucas debut, American Graffiti), with a strong input from maestro Lucas.

Weaker in plots, subplots, and characters from its predecessor, as if to compensate, Temple of Doom is stuffed with multiple chases, some more thrilling than others, dazzling (and not so dazzling) special effects, some of which seem extraneous and serve the function of time-fillers; the movie could have been shorter than 188 minutes.

Almost necessarily, Temple of Doom ups the ante in graphic violence and includes some gruesome scenes, in one of which a still-beating heart is ripped out of the body of a victim, which irritated the MPAA and encouraged them to create the PG-13 Rating.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Michael McAlister, Lorne Peterson, George Gibbs
Original score: John Williams

Oscar Awards: 1

Visual Effects

Oscar Context

The winner of the Original Score Oscar was Maurice Jarre for David Leans epic, A Passage to India, which also was nominated for Best Picture.


Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)
Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) Short Round (Ke Huy Quan)
Mola Ram (Amrish Puri)
Chattar Lal (Roshan Seth)
Captain Blumburtt (Philip Stone)
Lao Che (Roy Chiao)
Wu Han (David Yip)
Kao Kan (Ric Young)
Chen (Chua Kah Joo)


Produced by Robert Watts
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, based on the story by George Lucas and on characters from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe
Editor: Michael Kahn
Music: John Williams
Production design: Elliott Scott
Art direction: Alan Cassie, Roger Cain, Joe Johnson, Errol Kelly
F/X: Dennis Muren
Choreography: Danny Daniels
Costumes: Anthony Powell