Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
More gore, gross-outs than the other Indy blockbusters.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 51 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 142 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Perseverance, teamwork, courage, and trying to do the right thing are ultimately rewarded, although some of Indy's methods are iffy. There are very clear lines between good guys and bad guys.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Indy is brave, resourceful, loyal, and smart, and he's dedicated to preserving historical artifacts and protecting them from those who would misuse them. That said, you probably don't want your kids imitating him, especially given the violence he's forced to use -- and his tendency to break the rules. Willie becomes stronger and more resilient throughout the movie. On the downside, many of the movie's ethnic characters are shady or downright barbarous.


Hand-to-hand combat and gunfights. Indiana Jones is severely scourged. Some very scary scenes set in the temple that include torture and human sacrifice, including the removal of still-beating hearts. Also some gross-out scenes with bugs, unusual foods (monkey brains!), and more. Indy frequently uses his whip.


Generally mild flirting/sexual banter between Jones and Willie. Some cleavage and short/suggestive outfits. Innuendo. Indy must push on a statue's breast to open a secret passage.


Language includes one "s--t," "bastards," "oh my God," and "for Christ's sake" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Glasses/bottles seen in a nightclub; champagne is poured.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the second in the Indiana Jones series -- along with Gremlins -- is the reason the PG-13 rating was ultimately created. In addition to the fights that marked the first Indy movie, this one also has potentially nightmare-inducing scenes of things like a man's beating heart being torn right out of his chest. Children are also worked near to death in the mines, and there are lots of gross-out activities -- none more nauseating than the eating of monkey brains and live snakes. There's also a bit of language and some flirting/sexual banter.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byChanoch L. May 22, 2019
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bytrixietrout November 10, 2012

Certainly not for the under 12 age set, and not that great a movie anyway.

This was really disappointing as a parent after the first Indiana Jones movie. I hadn't watched them in a long time and my 7 yo really enjoyed the first o... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 4, 2015


its okay i guess... there is a lot of blood and guts, witch is bad for squeamish people. like when that dude rips out the other dudes heart with his bear hand... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 28, 2014

Anything goes... FOR THIS MOVIE!

It was awesome! The best (and most intense) Indiana Jones movie! It had violence! I like violence!

What's the story?

Set before Indiana Jones tangled with the Nazis over the lost ark, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM finds the archaeologist-adventurer on a mission to recover another priceless artifact and rescue enslaved children. After a narrow escape from Chinese gangsters, Indy (Harrison Ford), nightclub singer Willie (Kate Capshaw), and precocious 12-year-old Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) are asked by humble villagers to take on the Thuggees, an evil cult that practices human sacrifice. Indy and his friends face trained assassins, mind control potions, enormous bugs, and a wild ride in a mining cart as they try to retrieve the village's sacred stone -- and their kidnapped children -- from evil Mola Ram and his gang of Thuggees.

Is it any good?

Despite superior chase sequences and dazzling stunts, this loud and frenzied sequel is mostly an exercise in excess. It's loud, creepy, violent, and, at times, incoherent. While the pacing and tone of the first movie felt spot-on, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom never really finds its rhythm. What the movie does have are some of the best stunts of the series, as well as outstanding chases.

Intrigue quickly disintegrates into endless pandemonium and the antics of two annoying sidekicks who never stop shouting and shrieking. Ford, so effortlessly heroic in Raiders, just seems mean in this film. Children will probably like Short Round and the movie's silly elephants, but parents should note that PG-13 rating was invented for this movie, after so many children who went to see it had the living daylights scared out of them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes in movies. Do you see any stereotypes in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? How can a stereotype be fun -- and how can it be offensive? Where do you draw the line?

  • What does Indiana Jones stand for? If he's a good guy, why does he break the rules? Is that OK? What separates him from the "bad" guys? Are real-life bad guys as thoroughly evil as the ones in movies?

  • Talk about the history behind the PG-13 rating. Do you think it was a good addition to the rating system? Why do you think this movie contributed to that decision?

  • How do the characters in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom demonstrate perseverance, teamwork, and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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