Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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Not suitable under 12, PG 12-14 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • a review of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 August 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing scenes.
Children aged 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Medium level violence
Length: 124 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This film is set in 1935, one year before the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We find Indian Jones (Harrison Ford) wheeling and dealing in a nightclub in Hong Kong with a Chinese gangster named Lao Che (Roy Chiao). Things don’t go as planned and Jones finds himself on the run with nightclub singer Wilhelmina (Willie) Scott (Kate Capshaw) and a young boy named Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan). The trio making their escape by boarding a plane headed out of Hong Kong.

Unfortunately things go from bad to worse when the plane runs out of fuel and the trio are forced to bale out somewhere over the Himalayas. They find themselves in a poverty stricken village in British India. From the village elder we learn that the village’s sacred Sankara Stone, a magical stone which ensures the village’s wellbeing and prosperity was stolen by men from Pankot Palace along with all of the village’s children.

Inspired by the notion of fame and fortune Indiana agrees to go to Pankot Palace and recover the village’s sacred stone and lost children. It is this quest that leads him to the Temple of Doom.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Cults and rituals; human sacrifice; child slavery and mistreatment

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains intense action violence throughout; most of which is completely over the top and unrealistic and some of which is performed by young boys. While some of the violence is slapstick, with the film’s heroes remaining mostly injury free, the film does contain graphic images of brutal violence including the depiction of blood and gore.

Examples include:

  • In a nightclub setting during an altercation betweenChinese gangsters and Indiana Jones a man is shot in the chest. At first we only hear the gunshot, but then a wet patch of blood appears on the front of the man’s shirt and he collapses. Jones picks up two flaming shish kebabs and hurls them at one of the gangsters, spearing him in the chest. Jones punches men in the face and punches a woman in the face by accident. A number of daggers are thrown at Jones and a man fires a machinegun at Jones (he is not hit).
  • A young boy (twelve years old) drives a car in a reckless manner through Hong Kong’s crowded city streets with Indiana and a woman as passengers. The car knocks down shop stalls while trying to outrun gangsters who are in hot pursuit and firing guns. Jones shoots one of the gangsters in the head.
  • Indiana and Short Round are trapped in an underground stone room littered with skeletal remains. A lever accidentally activated causes the room’s stone ceiling to slowly lower with steel spikes extending from both the ceiling and floor. Numerous human skulls are impaled upon the spikes. Just before Indiana and Short Round are about to be impaled on the spikes a second lever is activated causing the ceiling to be raised.
  • Indiana and Short Round are tied to poles and whipped with a bloody cut left on Indian’s shirted back.
  • There is a brutal fight between Indiana and a huge slave master with both men exchanging numerous punches and kicks to the head and body. They eventually end up on a conveyer belt and the slave master is dragged screaming into a rock crusher. We do not see the man actually crushed, but see the stone rollers covered with his blood.
  • A young boy stabs Short Round in the shoulder with a dagger and Short Round repeatedly punches the boy in the face (we see a quick image of blood running down the side of the boy’s mouth). Short Round pushes a flaming torch into the young boy’s chest with the boy screaming in pain.
  • Short Round using stylized martial arts to hit and kick a number of men. 
  • A number of men fall from a wooden rope bridge into crocodile infested waters and are attacked and eaten by the crocodiles. We do not see the men attacked but see the crocodiles rolling with the remains of the men’s clothing.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that a likely to scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • A large stone statue depicting an evil god has a number of rotting human fingers tied to it and splashes of fresh blood.
  • During a banquet at Pankot Palace, a large python snake coiled on a serving tray is placed on the table.  A servant slices the snake open and dozens of baby snakes slither out from the wound and wriggle onto the table. The banquet also includes giant bugs, soup with large eye balls and monkey heads from which the brains are eaten.
  • In one scene the ground is completely covered by large crawling insects and giant-sized insects crawl all over Willie. A giant centipede crawls under her hair and we see a pile of wriggling maggots. 
  • In one scene Shot Round touches a wooden door which appears to explode outwards to reveal two ancient corpses dangling from chains.
  • The priest Mola Ram has a disturbing appearance. He wears a headdress that has animal horns protruding from the sides and what appears to be a shrunken human head in the centre.  
  • In a gruesome and disturbing human sacrifice, a man is strapped to an iron bed.  Mola Ram uses supernatural powers to push his hand into the mans chest and pull out the man’s still beating heart and hold it up in the air; we see the bloody beating heart. The bloody wound in the man’s chest immediately closes up, with the man appearing unharmed. The man is then lowered into a pit of burning lava and we see a brief image of the screaming man completely engulfed by the flames as he burns alive.       
  • A young boy carries a severed head with an open mouth and a protruding tongue. The head is raised to a restrained man’s mouth and tipped, with blood pouring out of the head’s mouth and into the mouth of the restrained man. The man convulses violently after swallowing the blood.  
  • Dozens of emaciated young children are chained as slaves with brutish looking men whipping them.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned violent and disturbing scenes.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

The film contains some sexual references and innuendo. Examples include:

  • After Indiana Jones retrieves a vial of poison antidote hidden in a woman’s cleavage, we hear the woman tell Jones, “Listen I just met you… I’m not that sort of woman”, and a young boy watching says, “Hey, Dr. Jones, no time for love”. 
  • A man makes reference to a country’s ruler threatening to cut off Indiana’s head. Indiana makes a very subtle gesture inferring it was his genitals that the ruler wanted to cut off.
  • Indiana asks a woman if she wears her jewels to bed and the woman responds “Yeah and nothing else.”      
  • Indiana tells a woman about researching nocturnal activities, mating customs and rituals, which Indiana refers to as “primitive sexual practices”. The woman asks Indiana if he is an authority in that area, to which Indiana responds “Years of field work.”
  • Indiana places his cupped hands over the breasts of a stone statue. A woman watching Indiana places her hands over her own breasts and says in a frustrated tone of voice, “Hey I’m right here.”


Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains some partial nudity and occasional sexual activity. Examples include:

  • Various female dancers wear plunging necklines, short skirts, shorts and bare midriffs. 
  • Indiana Jones plunges his hand down the front of a woman’s dress to retrieve a vial of poison antidote hidden in the woman’s cleavage.
  • Indiana and a woman kiss passionately.


Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • In a nightclub setting we see glasses and bottles of champagne on tables and several bottles of champagne opened.
  • Indiana drinks a glass of poisoned champagne.


Coarse language

The film contains occasional mild coarse language and name calling. Examples include:

  • Christ’s sake
  • you conceited ape
  • bastards
  • oh shit

In a nutshell

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the second in this series and not in the same league as Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film’s story is somewhat incoherent and the film relies heavily on shock factors, spectacular stunts and chase scenes to entertain. Parents are strongly cautioned that there are many violent scenes and gruesome images capable of disturbing children and younger teens.

The main message from the film is that chasing after fame and fortune is a dangerous business.
Parents may wish to discuss the film’s stereotypical portrayal of women as useless weak individuals, who need constant looking after and get in the way at the wrong times.