WTF Happened to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

In this episode of WTF Happened to this Movie, we dig into the making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom still divides fans. Some love it; others think it’s too dark and mean-spirited. Director Steven Spielberg himself has always said that the film was a product of an unhappy time in his life, but even still, the movie paved the way for his successful, long-lasting second marriage to the film’s co-star Kate Capshaw. With Ke Huy Quan, who memorably played Indiana Jones’ kid sidekick Short Round, back in the limelight for Everything Everywhere All At Once , we thought now would be a great time to look back at this divisive entry in the series.

Indeed, the filmmakers were under a lot of pressure to top Raiders of the Lost Ar k. George Lucas opted for the then-novel approach to make the film a prequel, showing how Indy’s archeologist was once more interested in money than heroics, only to change his tune when seeing the evil of a child-enslaving cult. This cult, the Thuggees, would be based on a real cult that terrorized the Indian subcontinent for generations. Still, their actual existence has always been exaggerated by Hollywood, with the film taking more inspiration from the adventure classic Gunga Din than reality.

The shoot would be challenging for star Harrison Ford (who recently reunited with Ke Huy Quan at D23), who suffered a spinal disc herniation. He actually had to be doubled for one of his big fight scenes, which was unusual for Ford, who always preferred to do the action scenes himself. Despite the production issues, the film would be another smash hit, earning $333 million worldwide. However, the movie was so violent, with the infamous heart-pulling scene the most notorious of all, that many wondered how the film was able to escape an R-rating. In the end, the film would be directly responsible for the new PG-13 rating, which would begin later that year with Red Dawn .

In this episode of WTF Happened to this Movie , which is written and narrated by Dave Davis and edited by Juan Jimenez, we dig into what made Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom such a dark entry into the Lucasfim cannon.

Some of us here at JoBlo contend that Temple of Doom is the second best-Indiana Jones movie after Raiders of the Lost Ark . What do you think? Let us know in the comments!