Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
In 1984, the second episode of the adventures of Indiana Jones barged into theaters. Running on the heels of the incredibly successful Raiders of the Lost Ark, there was a great deal of new cash to be spent of what would become one of cinema’s most memorable franchises.
Under the direction of Steven Spielberg with George Lucas penning the script, the story puts suave and sophisticated Indy (Harrison Ford) into yet another dilemma when he escapes from a clash with Chinese gangsters, only to discover the plane he has stolen has been earmarked for his death. Surviving with the help of a life raft turned parachute, Indy, along with two tagalongs—lounge singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and young Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan)—skid down snow covered slopes, float along a river and end up unscathed and ready for a good meal in a poverty stricken village in India.
The leader is thrilled to meet the adventurer and immediately gives him a new quest: A mystical rock has been stolen, the absence of which has been blamed for various curses upon the people, including all of their being children stolen. It’s all the excuse our hero needs to set out and discover who would so such a thing. His trek leads the trio to a beautiful mountaintop palace where they are wined and dined on eyeball soup and chilled monkey brains while being assured that nothing unsavory is happening in the neighborhood.
After dinner and back in their rooms, Indy’s overtures toward Willie are met with a cold response, and he instead finds his hands on the breasts of a statue. The overt move sets off a series of mechanisms revealing the underground Temple of Doom and an evil voodoo doctor who is sacrificing humans in a volcanic pit.
Of course, it’s all in good fun, but for parents whose memories may have faded over the past few decades, there is ample reason preview this film before sitting the family down for a movie night. The aforementioned themes of human sacrifice and black magic result in visuals of a man being set on fire and burned to death, along with demonstrations of a voodoo doll stuck with objects that relate to characters suffering the same consequences.
Yet, perhaps even more surprising, is the intensity of the violence in the PG-rated film (it was released prior to the PG-13 category being created in the U.S.). Many killings are depicted with victims dying from various methods, including an impaling with a flaming skewer, a hanging from a ceiling fan, and a character crushed under a huge wheel (leaving a residue of blood). During a cult ceremony, another man has his heart ripped out of his chest while alive (the wound miraculously heals). Add some whippings, the feeding of a few more humans to a group of starving crocodiles and some sexual innuendo, and you may discover that this film isn’t quite as family-friendly as you recall.
On the positive, watching this production may make you reminiscent for the days when the industry still knew how to create an adventure with a hero that was hard—if not impossible—to beat. Spielberg’s precise pacing takes Lucas’s obstacle-around-every-corner script and Harrison Ford’s top-of-his-game performance and turns it into a rollicking good time culminating in the iconic mine car race. Made just before digital effects and other new technologies began crowding out old school filmmaking techniques, this 1984 adventure still holds up as a great example of its genre, but may only be suitable for your oldest teens.Starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release May 22, 1984. Updated July 17, 2017
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Rating & Content Info
Why is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom rated PG? Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is rated PG by the MPAA
If you haven’t seen this film since it released in 1984, you may do well to take a peek prior to inviting the family to gather ‘round the big screen. Rated PG prior to the implementation of the MPAA PG-13 rating, it has far more intense violence than what you would typically find in a newer movie with the same rating. Many people are killed in various ways including an impaling with a flaming skewer, a hanging from a ceiling fan, and a man crushed under a huge wheel (blood is shown). During a cult ceremony, a man, has his heart ripped out of his chest while alive (the wound miraculously heals). Other scenes show people, including children, being whipped. Men are thrown off a cliff into a river of crocodiles (we see the animals chomping on something and clothing is floating on the water). A scene has men with machine guns shooting bullets randomly throughout a room of people, some of which are shot (blood shown). Discussions of voodoo religion and demonstrations of a voodoo doll are included, along with the drinking of human blood. Some suggestive sexual remarks are made and an unmarried man and woman exchange sexual banter as they discuss having intimate relations. A naked statue is seen and a characters place their hands on its breasts. Language consists of one moderate scatological expletive, a few mild profanities and terms of deity. Some viewers may feel this movie is somewhat derogatory toward people from the nation of India. As well, the protagonist treats women in a demeaning way on a couple of occasion, including using a whip to wrap around a woman’s waist and pull her toward him. Social drinking is portrayed.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Parents' Guide
This movie takes place in the 1930s and was made in 1984. Yet, by today’s standards, some of the characterizations may appear stereotypical or even demeaning and derogatory. Is the context of a film—in this case an adventure comedy—a reasonable excuse for including content that may be viewed as inappropriate toward certain ethnic groups?
The PG-13 rating was introduced in the late 1980s. How have movie ratings changed over the years? What do you think this film would be rated if it were released today?
The most recent home video release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom movie is October 20, 2003. Here are some details…
Blu-ray Notes: Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom
Release Date: 17 December 2013
Paramount Pictures has announced a Blu-ray release of each of the four movies in the Indian Jones Franchise. Sold individually, these tiles include:
Bluu-ray Notes: Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Paramount is releasing all four of the movies in the franchise about the great cinematic archeologist and packaging them into one 5- disc Blu-ray set called
DVD Notes: The Adventures of Indiana Jones
(Raiders of the Lost Ark / The Temple of Doom / The Last Crusade)
Release Date: October 21, 2003
Available in a 4-disc set, The Adventures of Indiana Jones includes all three movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark / The Temple of Doom / The Last Crusade), digitally restored and remastered—so you wont miss any of the gory details. Other bonus materials provided are; a making-of documentary, featurettes about the stunts, sound, music and “lights and magic” of the trilogy, as well as original theatrical trailers. You can also go online with an exclusive weblink for more behind the scenes pictures and promotions. The audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1) Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), with English, Spanish and French subtitles.
May 13, 2008:In anticipation of the 2008 release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Paramount Home Entertainment is re-releasing to DVD the Indiana Jones series (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade)
Related home video titles:
Check out our other reviews of the Indian Jones franchise, which includes: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.