The film series from the Indiana Jones franchise will forever be seen as some of Steven Spielberg’s best works to date. One of the leading names that created history in the list of the best action/adventure films to date, the five-installment set movie series had the perfect combination of comedy, action, and adventure, as well as fantasy, suspense, and… well, violence and dark themes, as was perfectly shown in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
And while Spielberg himself admitted to Temple of Doom being extremely violent in the following years, he couldn’t help but defend it in its early years when fans raised concerns over the dark theme of the movie and the rating it held back then.
Steven Spielberg Defended Indiana Jones 2 Despite Admitting It Was Violent
Regarded as the darkest movie in all five installments, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom crossed all the gory boundaries with its portrayal of child slavery, human sacrifice, and gruesome murders. And Steven Spielberg still defended it, but in his defense, he had his own reasons.
Back when it was originally released in 1984, people didn’t expect the sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark to be as brutal as it was and went to see the movie with their families — kids included — judging from its PG rating.
Obviously, as soon as they came across the horrors that awaited inside the theaters, most parents were complaining about the massive violence in the movie. Initially, Spielberg’s response to those parents was (as per TheRaider.net): TheRaider.net |
“The picture is not called Temple of Roses, it is called Temple of Doom. There are parts of this film that are too intense for younger children but this is a fantasy adventure. It is the kind of violence that does not really happen and can not be perpetuated by people leaving the cinema and performing those tricks on their friends at home.”
However, shortly after, the filmmaker himself admitted during a live TV appearance that the film was in fact, especially the temple sequences, not suitable to be watched by children under the age of 10. Furthermore, in the years following, he even disclosed:
“Indy II [Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom] will not go down in my pantheon as one of my prouder moments.”
But even then, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is worthy of being remembered as a historical movie by Steven Spielberg, considering how the movie was the reason the PG-13 rating came to be!
How Indiana Jones 2 Gave Birth To PG-13 Rating
Initially, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) found a lot of the content in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom to be quite disturbing but didn’t find it harsh enough to get labeled with an R-rating. Thus, they let it off the hook with a simple PG rating.
However, soon enough, numerous complaints from parents flowed in about the ferocity shown in the film, with even Steven Spielberg admitting that the ratings were indeed ‘the most important guide’ to the movies, and everyone realized that something had to be done.
Thus, the filmmaker, having earned enough power in the industry, brought about the case for a new rating that could help audiences, especially parents, differentiate between movies where they could take their kids with them and where they couldn’t.
As Spielberg said in the 2008 MPAA video (For All Audiences: The Film Ratings System) that marked the 40th anniversary of the rating systems (via THR):
“It was sort of a perfect storm of movies that I either produced or directed. It all sort of came together and created this parental objection…and I agree with that, but I also felt it would’ve been unfair to have labeled either of those films R. I called Jack Valenti and I said, ‘Let’s get a rating somewhere in between PG and R.’ Jack was proactive about it, completely agreed, and before I knew it there was a PG-13 rating.”
Just like that, the PG-13 rating was born and ever since, people have been able to distinguish between different themed movies more clearly, with all credit going to Steven Spielberg!