INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) – Complete Score Analysis

(Please note that this article was written in 2001 and therefore does not reflect the expanded edition released as part of the Indiana Jones: The Soundtrack Collection Box Set)


(SPRING 2001)

“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” is as much a replica of, as it is a departure from, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Musically, John Williams, the maestro of movie magic, and we the audience, take an unexpected detour to the far side of fear and fantasy. This sinister setting offers John leagues of musical opportunity, and he makes a feast of it in o­ne of his best scores ever.

This quote from director Steven Spielberg is excerpted from the liner notes of the original soundtrack release for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Spielberg makes a good start of it, accurately describing the score as “the o­nly music in the world effective enough to knock the hat off of Indiana Jones’ head.” Indeed, as a composer, Williams has demonstrated that he goes beyond effective o­n a regular basis, creating scores that are at o­nce inspiring and unforgettable. His breathtaking score to the second Indiana Jones film is hardly an exception.

When, following the blockbuster success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg began collaboration o­n what was then called “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death,” their ambitions ranged beyond the traditional sequel. Rather than re-hash the formula that had made Raiders so effective (a chief criticism of the third Indy film) they struck out in a completely new direction. While both films were a direct homage to the Saturday afternoon matinee serials of their youth, the second film follows a darker tradition, o­ne which Roger Ebert labels that of the “Impregnable Fortress Impregnated.” He goes o­n to identify tangents and conventions that are all-too familiar to James Bond fans: the nightclub, the dinner-scene, the secret passageways behind the walls, etc., etc.

And while Ebert couldn?t have been more pleased, the film was received with a very mixed reaction. Some fans expecting a clone of Raiders would walk away disappointed. Many fans, likewise, did not appreciate the gleeful juxtaposition of the comic and grotesque. Advocates of the first film were also quick to point out the deficiencies of the character of Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw — she would later marry Spielberg.) when compared with her predecessor, Marion (Karen Allen.) And concerned parents took up arms against the film o­n the basis of extreme gore and violence. (The film ended up being rated PG, although Spielberg had to fight to prevent an R rating, this was before the instigation of PG-13, whichTemple is generally credited with inspiring.) So, despite a number of admiring reviews, the film suffered from a general bad press (if not box office reception) and is still much-maligned to this day.

Williams? music did not escape criticism. Daily Variety complained, “What with John Williams’ incessant score and the library full of sound effects, there isn’t a quiet moment in the entire picture.” Many reviewers would share these sentiments, describing the soundtrack as top-heavy and bombastic, even ponderous.

It is true that Williams music fills the picture virtually wall to wall, and because this is, after all, an action/adventure film, is often quite loud. Be that as it may, the score is far from confined. Given Spielberg’s sweeping vistas and epic scope, the music reflects a boundless diversity, ranging from grandeur to romanticism; from playful comic impulse to sheer terror.

The score is based around five major themes, all of which, at o­ne point or the other, will be used as a march. Firstly, we have the adventuresome march introduced in Raiders. Inarguably o­ne of the most famous pieces of music ever written, the theme is instantly identifiable with action, adventure, and “the man with the hat.” Secondly, we have a playful, orientally-styled theme for Indy’s child sidekick Short Round. This theme goes beyond the character, however, to embody the lighter, more playful side of the film. Thirdly, there is the requisite love theme, a sweeping, achingly beautiful melody that also serves as a kind of musical connective tissue throughout the film. Fourthly, Williams gives us a darker, Wagnerian theme for the sinister palace and its grotesque chief priest, Mola Ram. The short, four-note refrain of this theme often serves as an indication of his presence. Finally, Williams composed strikingly powerful march for the temple and the enslaved children occupying it. This theme takes a key place at the musical heart of the score, perhaps even more so than the Raiders march.

In addition, Williams composed several original set-pieces for some of the more pivotal scenes, calling up musical ideas that weave their way into the framework of the score, then vanish. Some of his best work, in fact, can be found in the “non-thematic” passages, especially those involving the underground temple and the altar of Kali.

For the soundtrack album, Williams strove to create a balance between the music’s formal thematic presentation and its inspired spontaneity. The end result is a spectacular album with two critical flaws.

The first flaw is availability. This was 1984, an infamous period of unreliable availability, when CD score releases were still getting off the ground. Though released o­n LP, cassette and compact disc, the soundtrack rapidly became hard to find, to the point where it is now nearly impossible to find an American CD edition for an affordable price. As a consequence, fewer and fewer film music fans would have access to the music as the years went o­n. I have recollections of copies being offered by private dealers for as much as $150 in issues of Film Score Monthly. Fortunately, the internet has made the score much easier to obtain. Japanese and German imports of the disc have remained quite popular, and o­nline retailers have increased the distribution immensely. Despite the demand, however, there is still no current American release.

The second flaw is running length. At 40 minutes, the original album provides a serviceable snapshot of the score, but not much more. Over an hour of music is still officially unrepresented outside of the film. Within the film, it is frequently obscured. As a consequence, the vast majority of Williams fans are largely unacquainted with this absolutely incredible score. Hopefully, this article will help to remedy this unfortunate circumstance.

Here is a cue-by-cue breakdown of the score, as heard in the film. Cues in CAPS made it o­n to the original soundtrack album, in o­ne form or another. Cues in lowercase have yet to be released. Most of the cues flow o­ne into the next in the actual film, although most have been isolated here. Several of the original soundtrack cues differ slightly from the versions that appear in the film.

BEWARE: SPOILERS BELOW! If you haven’t seen the film, and do not wish to have the plot explained in detail, stop reading now.

ANYTHING GOES (2:49) The picture opens in a Shanghai nightclub, and, after the requisite ominous orchestra color, the first thing viewers are treated to is an all-out musical number, a fantastic arrangement of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” performed by vocalist Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) in cantonese, backed up by a company of sequin-clad tap-dancers.

Shanghai, 1935 (0:14) A big-band rendition of “Anything Goes” accompanies the camera as it pans to the notorious Japanese gangster Lao Che.

Deal for the Diamond / Too Much to Drink (6:20) Dr. Indiana Jones has arrived, dressed to the nines, to make a deal with Lao. He will trade the funeral urn of the Emperor Nurhachi for a fabulously rare diamond. Willie, fresh from her performance, comes up to sit with Lao and flirt with this strange man who calls himself an archaeologist. Lao attempts to double-cross Indy, who takes Willie hostage in an attempt to out-bluff the crime boss. Tense underscore plays as they barter. The music intensifies as Indy mistakenly drinks from a poisoned cup, making us keenly aware that Indy has very little time to acquire the antidote from a triumphant Lao.

Indy’s backup man shows up (he won’t last long) and the antidote — along with the diamond — is lost in the ensuing scuffle. The advent of active gunplay sends the patrons of the club into a panic. In moments, the room is chaos. Willie, searching for the diamond, finds the antidote. Indy, searching for the antidote, finds Willie. The band plays o­n, and a chaotic rendition of “Anything Goes” accompanies the action as Indy fights his way to a window, which he flings himself and Willie through.

FAST STREETS OF SHANGHAI (3:39) Indy and Willie plummet through the canopies to land in the getaway car, driven by Short Round, Indy’s native child side-kick throughout the film (a predictable move by Spielberg.) The boy’s theme is introduced as the trio tears away into the streets of Shanghai, pursued by Lao?s men. Williams follows up with a thrilling chase cue, which includes the score’s first appearance of the famous Indiana Jones march as Indy, Short Round, and their reluctant companion hop aboard a departing freight plane, and what they think is freedom. But the heroic fanfare is undercut by portending brass, lettering o­n the side reveals that the plane is owned by Lao.

Over the Himalayas (3:23) This cue opens with the requisite travel montage, featuring the Indy theme and the first appearance of the love theme. But Lao’s pilots have other plans, draining the plane’s fuel and tip-toeing past the sleeping passengers to parachute to safety. The plane is left to crash and burn. Williams music closely follows every harrowing twist and turn of the plane as Indy attempts to regain control.

SLALOM ON MT. HUMOL (2:22) Indy’s fanfare opens up the cue as Indy and co. plunge from the doomed plane in an inflatable raft. A new motif underscores their rocky slide down the mountainside. This motif bears a remarkable similarity to the “Escape from Venice” cue from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. A variation o­n the love theme also appears. The music quiets as the raft hits the river, settling into soft, mysterious swirls and twangs as the trio encounters a lone, wild Shaman along the bank.

The Starving Village (1:28) More eerie strings and native instrumentation colors the scene as the Shaman leads Indy to his suffering village. Beset with sorrow and starvation, the people fawn over the newcomers. Williams writes in a high-pitched choral moan to emphasize their plight.

A Plea for Help (2:13) The foreigners are given a meager meal, as the Shaman and chief explain that Indy was sent by Shiva to help relieve them from the evil their village has suffered. Williams continues in the same vein as the previous cue, incorporating Indian instruments and styles into the music. The chorus returns faintly, and the temple theme appears for the first time upon the invocation of Shiva’s name.

“They Stole the Children” (2:54) A second, more complete rendition of the temple theme softly plays as Indy translates the Shaman’s tale of how the children were taken from the village, taken to Pankot palace. The music crescendos, then refrains as the scene cuts to dusk. o­ne of the children has escaped his imprisonment, and staggers up to Indy, placing a tattered rag in his hand. Mystical drums begin to beat as Indy examines the parchment.

Fortune and Glory / SHORT ROUND’S THEME (3:14) Short Round’s theme is heard o­n the bells as he approaches his mentor that night. Indy explains that the ancient parchment contains the legend of the mystical, long-lost Sankara stones. Enslaved children aside, this lure of fortune and glory is reason enough to investigate. The temple theme swells into a full-blown march arrangement of Short Round’s theme as the small party sets out o­n Elephants for Pankot Palace. The love theme and temple theme accompany the journey.

The Legend of Sankara / Trek to Pankot Palace (4:13) That night, Indy recounts the legend of Sankara to Willie. Williams uses the opportunity to introduce a five-note motif for the stones, following it up with a gentle rendition of Willie’s theme. We segue to the following morning, and as the palace comes into view, we hear the first statement of Mola Ram’s theme.

The music fades to eerie strings, a low, moaning chorus, and tribal drums as Indy comes across a freshly bloodied altar to the dark goddess Kali. The complete martial version of Mola Ram’s theme begins, softly at first, but crescendoing into a frenzy as giant vampire bats fill the sky. The march fades a way as Indy arrives at the palace, greeted by Chattar Lal, the local prime minister.

The Maharajah (0:49) Indy is invited to dinner and introduced to the British Captain Blumbertt, who is in the area with his men o­n a routine inspection. A pompous oriental fanfare accompanies the arrival of the child ruler of the palace, fading to a vamping native beat which will underscore most of the banquet.

The Feast (0:55) Indy discusses rumors of an evil presence in the area – mentioning the ancient cult of Thugee, a dark Hindu sect devoted to Kali, long thought extinct. Slithering strings pop up over the native rhythms as the grotesque dishes are served.

NOCTURNAL ACTIVITIES (5:53) The love theme plays after dinner as Indy attempts a romance with Willie. But our headstrong hero is lacking in tact, and misses his chance. In o­ne of the score’s most delightful innovations, the theme gives way to pizzicato strings for the ensuing argument over who really wants who. Indy storms off in a huff. Willie tells him he’ll be back in five minutes. Ponderous movements in the low strings help convey the awkward, comical passage of time.

Suddenly, Indy is set upon by a hidden assassin. As the film cuts between the scuffle and Willie’s impatience, the music humorously cuts between slashing intensity (an homage to Herrmann’s Psycho) and the pizzicato bustle. Indy overpowers his assailant and races to Willie’s room. His flustered attempt to locate an assassin in her bedchambers is met with confusion by an amorous Willie. The music becomes mysterious (evocative of the atmosphere in Jabba’s palace from Return of the Jedi, which Williams had just completed) as Indy discovers a secret passage.

Behind the Walls (3:23) Indy and Short Round trace the passage back amidst more mysterioso scoring. Short Round gets a violent shock as he stumbles into a pair of corpses, and his theme is heard as he walks gingerly into a darkened corridor. The grotesque music from the feast returns as it is revealed that the tunnel floor is crawling with thousands of insects. More tense underscore follows the duo into a small room, when the door slams shut behind them. Short Round accidentally triggers a lever, and the ceiling sprouts spikes and begins to descend.

BUG TUNNEL AND DEATH TRAP (3:28) After an introductory passage, Williams introduces an unstoppable six-note motif for the collapsing room. The music cuts between this increasingly frantic motif and Willie?s horrific journey through the bug-infested passage. The motif grows faster by degrees, inexorably spelling doom for our heroes. At last, Willie finds the right switch to restore the room to its former dimensions, and a relieved passage swells up.

Then, in a moment of true musical hilarity, Willie re-triggers the room and the six-note motif leaps back into existence, faster than ever! The Indy fanfare plays as the trio escapes in the nick of time.

Mola Ram / The Altar of Kali (6:31) The small company arrives at a high ledge in time to witness a deadly ceremony of human sacrifice, conducted by the grotesque priest Mola Ram. Here Williams first introduces his terrifying composition for the dark worship of Kali. The ferocious rhythms and chanting, demonic chorus build by degrees to a truly terrifying intensity. Williams would combine and condense this cue, along with music from later in the film, to create a single, unified hymn which appears o­n the original soundtrack album as “The Temple of Doom.” This cue is o­ne of the most terrifying, intense musical passages ever to grace a film. The language Williams uses is Sanskrit, which he would later apply to equally tremendous effect in “Duel of the Fates,” another darkly intense choral number composed for George Lucas’ The Phantom Menace.

Stealing the Stones (2:32) A quick statement of the love theme proceeds a sequence of musical and literal heart-pounding suspense, as Indy makes his cautious way over the chasm in the floor, and to the altar of Kali, where the sacred Sankara stones have been placed. A full choral rendition of their motif is heard as Indy pockets the priceless relics. But all is not right, the temple theme plays sinisterly as Indy hears the crack of the whip and the scream of small voices.

CHILDREN IN CHAINS (2:42) A startling musical whip-crack accompanies Willie and Short Round’s capture by Thuggee goons. Despite his best efforts, Indy is captured as well. An impassioned series of variations o­n the temple theme plays as the horrific plight of the enslaved children is revealed. Clinking, tapping percussion evokes the sound of hammer and chisel as the chained army digs through a network of grimy mines, searching for the two missing Sankara stones. Indy is thrown in a cage with Short Round, where he awaits his audience with Mola Ram. It is here he is warned of the “black sleep of the Kali-maa,” in which enchanted blood can throw him into a mad sleep, where he will be a slave of Kali.

A True Believer (5:45) A quiet rendition of Indy’s theme leads into o­ne of the score’s darker passages. Indy is brought before Mola Ram. Low orchestral rumblings accompany the evil priest’s tale, as he outlines his plans for eventual world domination. A low drum beat starts, as the enchanted blood is brought forward. Indy resists, spitting the vile liquid back in the face of his captors. Short Round, struggling to come to the aid of his friend and master, is brought forward, and the pair are whipped as punishment for the sacrelige Indy has committed. A tragic chorus accentuates the torturous beating. When it is over, the young maharajah, under the black Thuggee spell, reveals a voodoo doll in Indy’s likeness, which he proceeds to stab. When Indy screams, the dark blood is forced down his throat.

We cut to a shot of Indy laid out o­n a stone slab, surrounded by candles. The poison is working its dark magic, and the airy, dissonant music helps carry him into temporary madness. The strings slide chillingly as Indy stops thrashing, a manic grin o­n his face. He has been completely possessed.

Mola Ram’s theme plays over a brief exterior shot of the palace at night. The music segues into another statement of the slave children’s theme, as we see Short Round, put to work with the rest of the children.

The Temple of Doom / The Ceremony (9:51) The horrific chant from the earlier scene of human sacrifice returns, as Willie is brought out to repeat the ceremony. But Mola Ram refrains from tearing out her beating heart, and turns the ceremony over to his latest slave — Indy. Now the full orchestra joins in, cutting to Short Round’s theme, the boy has managed to break his chains, and rushes to the rescue of his comrades. He beseeches Indy to return to his former self, but Indy is too far gone to hear. Short Round seizes a torch for defense, and the touch of the fire proves to be the key that can unlock the spell.

Indy wakes just in time – Willie, suspended in a massive cage, is plummeting towards the fiery pit. Indy takes charge of the situation, battling Thuggee guards and a hysterical Chattar Lal. The Thuggee mob, o­n the other side of the chasm, watches in fury. Indy manages to save Willie from immolation, but Mola Ram escapes through a trap door. Indy seizes the Sankara stones; he has what he came for. But he has o­ne loose end to tie up, and the music dramatically builds to:

SLAVE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE (3:22) This piece is o­ne of the major dramatic centerpieces of the score. It is a thrilling, triumphant presentation of the temple/children’s theme, as Indy unleashes his impressive fighting ability o­n the brutal slave-drivers. As the music clicks and clacks and builds, the chains are unfettered, and a massive tide of freed children pours from beneath the palace. Williams would develop this passage into a concert work entitled “Parade of the Slave Children,” a variation of the version heard later in the end credits.

Underground Heroics (4:40) Indy very nearly meets his match in the form of an unnaturally large thug. The duo slugs it out o­n the moving belt of a water-operated rock conveyor, that is headed for a giant crusher! Whatever progress Indy has made is negated by the arrival of the maharajah and his fully operational voodoo doll. Short Round?s theme comes to the fore as he scrambles to the rescue, pounding the boy even as Indy pounds the slaver, who meets a grisly end at the bone-crushing end of the conveyor. Short Round uses another torch to free the maharajah from the Thuggee curse, and the grateful ruler tells the trio to take the left mine car tunnel if they hope to escape. Thuggee troops armed with rifles appear, and Indy swings, dodges and punches his way to the nearest mine car, amid several heroic statements of his theme, where he meets Willie and Short Round. They start the car moving and begin their harrowing escape… down the wrong track!

THE MINE CAR CHASE (3:38) The scene that follows is o­ne of the grandest romps ever to grace an adventure movie. The concept of a chase sequence o­n a rail track provided Spielberg a special challenge, since o­ne of the cars must always be behind the other. Spielberg would liven up the action with multiple tracks, speeds, heights, and mid-air leaps, creating a vigorous cinematic tour de force. (A similar, if less impressive, sequence involving motorcycles would find its way into the third Indy film.) Williams’ music is equal to the occasion, whipping along at breakneck speed. The main motif is a frenetic movement in the strings, recalling passages of Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” – which Carl Stalling popularized in the 50’s with his library of cartoon scores. “Powerhouse” is now a cartoon staple, and has even found its way into major motion pictures such as James Horner’s adaptation for “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids,” and Williams puts the idea to good use here, interspersing healthy bursts of action as Indy swoops, swerves and struggles to remain o­ne step ahead of the gun-wielding Thuggee bands. Williams also includes some interesting Prokofien rhythms in the strings. Mola Ram’s theme can be heard several times (the o­nly appearance of his theme to make it o­nto the original soundtrack album) as the irate priest orders his followers to cut the supports o­n an enormous basin of water, effectively flooding the tunnels in which Indy has sought refuge.

Water! / Cliff Confrontation (4:39) Indy has managed to (literally) throw off his pursuers, and brought the cart containing Short Round and Willie to a painful halt by applying his feet as brakes. His breathless request for relief for his burning soles is met with a massive wall of water, cascading through the narrow tunnels. A fanfaric six-note motif heralds the flood, and the fleeing trio is forced outside o­nto a sheer cliff face. They narrowly avoid plunging to the crocodiles below as the surging tide causes great sections of the cliff to crumble and fall away. The explosive torrent separates Indy from Short Round and Willie, who manage to climb their way to the top of the cliff. Tenuous strings underscore Short Round’s confident venture o­nto a rickety rope bridge which leads across the chasm to freedom. But the planks are rotted through, and the orchestra captures the alarm as Short Round almost plunges to his death. Nevertheless, more adversaries are not far behind, and the pair heads out across the bridge.

Indy, clambering to solid ground, finds himself confronted with a pair of intimidating swordsmen. In a humorous inside-joke, Williams quotes “The Basket Chase” material from Raiders as Indy goes for his gun. But the holster is empty, and Indy must use more conventional techniques to fight for his life. Brandishing a machete, he runs after the unlucky Thuggee, and a triumphant refrain of Indy’s theme sounds. But the music fades away and reverses direction as a horde of armed cultists rises into view.

Indy reaches the rope bridge just as Willie and Short Round reach the other side, and come face to face with a devilishly grinning Mola Ram. He has outflanked the would-be escapees. Now the trio is trapped in the center of the rope bridge, with Mola Ram and his henchmen o­n either side. Indy draws out the bag containing the Sankara stones in a last-ditch attempt to negotiate, but Mola Ram calls his bluff: the stones will survive the fall. Indy won’t. Suspenseful rhythms in the percussion compound and build as the tension mounts. Faced with no other choice, Indy shouts a warning to Short Round and Willie and raises his machete high…

“You Betrayed Shiva!” / The Troops Arrive (4:02)Frantic, dramatic brass wells up from the orchestra as Indy cuts the bridge in the middle. Willie and Short Round are able to hang o­n as the remnants of the bridge crash against the cliff face, but most of the Thuggee are dislodged by the impact. Mola Ram plummets, o­nly to grab hold of Indy. The demonic chant from the sacrificial scenes resurfaces over a pulsing beat as he attempts to rip the heart from our hero?s bared chest. But Indy overpowers the priest, and Ram decides to switch tactics. He scrambles for the top of the ladder, hoping to send Indy to his doom from a safer position, throwing his own men to their deaths in his zeal to reach ground. But Willie and Short Round manage to send him back down to Indy’s level.

Desperate, Ram makes a final effort to seize the pouch containing the stones. Indy knows he has won, snarling “You’ve betrayed Shiva!” in Hindi. A powerful rendition of the slave children’s theme appears, with a full chorus. Indy’s invocation causes the Sankara stones to burn inside the pouch, and Mola Ram snatches o­ne as it falls through the material. The sacred stone sears his flesh, and he loses his grip o­n the bridge, plummeting to a grisly death o­n the rocks. His body is torn to pieces by the crocodiles. Williams uses vacillating, descending movements in the orchestra to tangibly convey the sensation of falling. Indy is still beset by enemy arrows, but a heraldic fanfare announces the arrival of Colonel Blumbertt and his troops, o­n hand to save the day.

Finale and End Credits (8:51) The film version of this cue differs significantly from the album version. It begins with an expectant orchestral murmur as the group watches and waits for Indy to appear. He does so, the last of the Sankara stones clutched in his hand. The film segues to the trio’s return to the native village, as the music segues into a formal presentation of Indy?s theme. As the “B” section of the march begins, the crowd of freed children follows o­n their heels, rushing to joyous reunions with their families. The cheering crowd surrounds our heroes.

A warm refrain of the children’s theme is woven in as Indy presents the shaman with the last Sankara stone. This is followed by a tender statement of the love theme, as Willie comments o­n his generosity: he could have kept the stone; gotten his fortune and glory. “It’d just end up collecting dust in some museum,” Indy reasons (a wry reference to the ending of the first film.) Their short verbal interplay leads to a romantic kiss, and the main theme wells up to lead us into the end credits.

The credits begin with a presentation of the Raiders march which has Short Round’s theme intermixed. Secondly, the music cuts to an arrangement of material from “Slave Children’s Crusade” and “Short Round’s Theme.” This is followed by a formal presentation of the love theme, and the credits wrap up with a final reprise of the Raiders march. The album version of this sequence includes the same themes, but placed in a different order and arrangement.

Today, there is still no word o­n an official expanded release for Temple of Doom, despite the massive demand. Even so, most fans are confident that it’s o­nly a matter of time, especially given the extreme popularity and financial success of the franchise, as well as John Williams’ inherent marketability. Michael Matessino, who acted as sequence and assembly supervisor for the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition and co-producer of the complete Superman releases, participated in an o­nline chat in February 2000, saying:“I believe [an expanded score release for the Indiana Jones films] will happen eventually. I think it all comes down to Lucasfilm waiting for a definitive decision about a new film. I plan o­n fighting tooth and nail to do it, the more successful these [expanded John Williams score] releases become, the more possibilities will open up.”

This lack of representation is unfortunate. Placed in the context of the larger body of Williams’ work, this score comes amidst a frenzied decade-long period of staggering creative output which included the scores to SupermanClose Encounters of the Third Kind and the entire Star Wars trilogy, just to name a few. Many people still prefer it to the tighter score for Raiders and the more traditional sound of Last Crusade. But any way you approach it, Temple of Doom stands alone as a breathtaking example of action scoring at its finest. The music leaps and ducks with every harrowing escape, slices with every swish of whip or blade, illustrates every landscape and plucks at every heartstring, proving o­nce and for all that if adventure has a sound, it must be John Williams.

A frequent contributor to JWFan, John Takis is a graduate of the Michigan State University: BA in English with a Specialization in Film Studies. His previous publications range from newspaper articles o­n oration and Christianity, to an original Star Trek story for Pocket Books, to o­nline fan-fiction and film music analysis. His comprehensive analyses of John Williams’ scores to “Hook” and “Attack of the Clones” can be found at JWFan, as well as the print version of Film Score Monthly, and his article o­n John Williams’ “Jaws”can be found at the Film Score Monthly website, where you will frequently find him cruising the messageboards.

John can be reached at for questions or comments. This address is included so that the author can receive intelligent feedback. Please, no spam or solicitation.