Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  November 1944 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,918 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 16 critic

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.



(screen play), (based on the book) (as Captain Ted W. Lawson) , 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Murdock ...
Dean Davenport
Don DeFore ...
Charles McClure
Herbert Gunn ...
Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
Ellen Lawson
Stephen McNally ...
'Doc' White (as Horace McNally)
John R. Reilly ...
'Shorty' Manch
Scott McKay ...
Davey Jones
Lieut. Randall
Louis Jean Heydt ...
Lieut. Miller
William 'Bill' Phillips ...
Don Smith (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
'Brick' Holstrom


The amazingly detailed true story of "The Doolittle Raid" based on the personal account by Doolittle Raider Ted Lawson. Stunned by Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats, America needed a victory - badly. To that end, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, a former air racer and stunt pilot, devises a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this, he must train army bomber pilots to do something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully loaded bombers from an aircraft carrier! Remarkable in its accuracy, this movie even uses film footage from the actual raid. Written by KC Hunt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heart-Warming Romance . . . Stark, Sensational Drama! Thrills! Action! Adventure! ...Ripped From The Heart!


Drama | History | War


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

November 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trinta Segundos Sobre Tóquio  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Japanese fishermen fired on by the U.S. Navy escort ships did in fact have time to alert Tokyo, but their transmission was ignored. An urgent report of two American aircraft carriers so close to Japan by understandably hysterical "ignorant" fisherman was scorned as ridiculous by Japanese authorities. See more »


Immediately after take-off from the Hornet, Lawson puts the RUPTURED DUCK into a left turn as indicated by the actual horizon outside the windshield. However, the Attitude Indicator (Or Artificial Horizon Gyro Instrument) on the instrument panel shows the aircraft in straight and level flight. See more »


Lt. Ted Lawson: Goodbye.
Young Dr. Chung: I have one sorrow, Lieutenant. that we did not have the medicine to ease your pain.
Lt. Ted Lawson: You saved my life, Doc.
Young Dr. Chung: I hope that someday you'll come back to us.
Lt. Ted Lawson: We'll be back. Maybe not us ourselves but a lotta guys like us, and I'd like to be with them. You're our kind of people.
Young Dr. Chung: Thank you, sir.
See more »


Edited into Bridge to the Sun (1961) See more »


There's a Long, Long Trail
(1913) (uncredited)
Music by Zo Elliott
Lyrics by Stoddard King
Played and Sung at the dance by the Airmen and wives
See more »

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User Reviews

A very accurate account of a major World War II event.
9 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is the most accurate portrayal of the Doolittle Raid on Japan during World War II. Whenever a movie is made from a book, there are usually changes made for "dramatic effect". However, there does not seem to be any such changes in this movie, as there is plenty of drama in the original story. Most of the dialogue was taken directly from the book by the same name. There are some scenes that may seem to be "propaganda" or "corny", but one must remember that in 1943, the atmosphere was different in the United States and the rest of the world. All of the characters in the movie were real life people from the Doolittle Raid and from accounts in the book and other sources, they are accurately portrayed by the actors in the movie. The main character, Ted Lawson, was the original technical advisor, but he was replaced by Dean Davenport (Lawson's co-pilot) after Lawson was re-called to active duty. Most of the flying scenes were done with actual B-25's accurately marked and even the take-off, which was done on a sound stage, used real aircraft on an aircraft carrier mock-up. The scenes that used miniatures were also well done for the time period (before digital effects). The movie "Pearl Harbor" also has an account of the Doolittle Raid, but it is very, very inaccurate. This movie is worth watching for everyone who has a desire to see historical events and is a must for all aviation and military buffs.

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