Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the second installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, and a prequel to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring Harrison Ford who reprises his role as the title character. Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone and Ke Huy Quan, in his film debut, star in supporting roles. In the film, after arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by desperate villagers to find a mystical stone and rescue their children from a Thuggee cult practicing child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice in honor of the goddess Kali.
Not wishing to feature the Nazis as the villains again, executive producer and story writer George Lucas decided to regard this film as a prequel. Three plot devices were rejected before Lucas wrote a film treatment that resembled the final storyline. As Lawrence Kasdan, Lucas's collaborator on Raiders of the Lost Ark, turned down the offer to write the script, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, who had previously worked with Lucas on American Graffiti (1973), were hired as his replacements.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released on May 23, 1984, to financial success but initial reviews were mixed, criticizing its darker elements, strong violence and gore, as well as Capshaw's performance as Willie Scott; however, critical opinion has improved since 1984, citing the film's intensity and imagination. In response to some of the more violent sequences in the film, and with similar complaints about Gremlins, Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) alter its rating system, which it did within two months of the film's release, creating a new PG-13 rating. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. A sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, followed in 1989.
Plot - In 1935, American archeologist Indiana Jones survives an assassination attempt from Shanghai crime boss Lao Che, who hired him to retrieve the remains of Nurhaci. Jones flees from the city in the company of the young orphan Short Round and nightclub singer Willie Scott, unaware that the plane he is traveling on is owned by Che. The plane's pilots dump the fuel and parachute away, but Jones, Scott and Short Round escape using an inflatable raft.
The trio ride down the slopes of the Himalayas and fall into a river before arriving at the village of Mayapore in India. There, the villagers plead for Jones' aid in retrieving a sacred lingam stone stolen along with the village's children by evil forces from the nearby Pankot Palace. Jones agrees to do so, hypothesizing that the stone is one of the five Sankara stones given by the Hindu gods to help humanity fight evil. Traveling to the palace, the trio are warmly welcomed and allowed to stay for the night as guests, attending a banquet hosted by the palace's young maharaja.
Later that night, Jones is attacked by an assassin, but manages to kill him. He discovers a series of tunnels underneath the palace and explores them with Scott and Short Round. There, they discover Thuggee cultists conducting a human sacrifice. The cult, which possesses three Sankara stones, are revealed to have abducted the children of Mayapore, using them to find the remaining stones. During an attempt to retrieve the stones, Jones is captured alongside Scott and Short Round. Thuggee high priest Mola Ram forces Jones to drink a potion that places him into a trance-like state which makes him prepare Scott for sacrifice. Short Round is put to the work in the tunnels, but escapes and interrupts the sacrifice by freeing Jones from his trance, who rescues Scott in turn. The trio defeat the Thuggee, collect the Sankara stones and free the children, escaping an attempt by Ram to drown them.
As they cross a rope bridge, Ram ambushes them again, leading Jones to cut the bridge in two. As all four struggle to climb up the broken bridge, Jones invokes the name of Shiva, causing the stones to burn through his satchel; Ram tries to grab one and falls into the river. Soldiers arrive and defeat the remaining cultists, and Jones, Scott and Short Round return to Mayapore and hand over their last remaining stone. As the villagers are reunited with their children, Jones and Scott embrace.