7.5/10
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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | November 1944 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(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

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

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 <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trinta Segundos Sobre Tóquio  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Lawson's plane arrives in "Tokyo" and sees the fire and smoke from the previous bomber, Davy Jones, we are not looking at a special effect. During the making of the film, there was a fuel-oil fire in Oakland, near the filming location. The quick-thinking filmmakers scrambled to fly their camera plane and B-25 through the area, capturing some very real footage for the movie. See more »

Goofs

After first landing at Eglin Field, from the pilot's seat, Lawson is speaking to another pilot on the ground. In this scene, the propeller blade visible to Lawson's left is almost parallel to the ground and the tip is close to the fuselage. In the next scene from the ground, the propeller blade is at a much higher angle. See more »

Quotes

[repeated lines]
Lt. Ted Lawson: Tell me, Honey, how come you're so cute?
Ellen Lawson: I had to be if I was going to get such a good-looking fella.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Invasion USA (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Effie I. Canning
Sung by the men when Lawson learns he'll be a father
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brief bombing mission but a long story
6 December 2003 | by (Peoria, Illinois) – See all my reviews



One of those made-during-the-war war movies that comes with the customary Frank Capra-like homeland security flag-waving and all of that but this is a good flick that stands the test of time.

Oh, it's cornball and the soldiers make like scouts at jamboree but there's an edge here--perhaps because the outcome of the WWII encounter was still in doubt at the time.

As a movie, though, "30 Seconds" has a lot going for it: romance (Van Johnson-Phyllis Thaxter), buddies (Johnson and a young Robert Mitchum), strong Army-Navy relations, strong American-Chinese relations--and plenty of great character parts played by people like Robert Walker, Spencer Tracy and Don DeFore, later to become George Baxter in TV's "Hazel."

There's nothing dated about the cinematography employed here. When the Ruptured Duck flies over Tokyo, you feel like you're right there in the cockpit and the crew's low-altitude escape to China is nothing less than harrowing.

It may not be a 20-20 account of the Doolittle mission to ramp up U.S. spirits after Pearl Harbor but it's a entertaining film with a lot of heavy hitters along for the ride, people like Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)and director Mervyn LeRoy.

Yes, it's one-part propaganda, one part-chin uplifter but there's a lot more to it and it makes my all-time top 10 war movie list.


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