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This definitely beats PEARL HARBOR all to pieces. I remember when this
movie first came out in Birmingham. It was advertised as a special
event, you had to special order tickets for it. My mother and I went to
see it on a Saturday afternoon, and, even though I knew what was
coming, I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time. Based on the
books THE BROKEN SEAL and, if I'm not mistaken by a book of the same
title as the movie, it tells the story of Pearl Harbor very well, from
all the events leading up to the attack to the day of infamy itself.
This is not historical fiction, this does not try to juice things up
with a tear jerker love story. This is an unsentimental, meticulous
look at actual events leading up to the attack as told from both the
American and Japanese perspectives. Jerry Goldsmith's score to this
movie is the most emotionally gripping I've ever heard. For soundtrack
buffs, it's available on CD, on a double bill with the soundtrack to
I have seen several movies about the attack on Pearl Harbor. There is PEARL HARBOR (which is a piece of crap), IN HARM'S WAY, and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. There is even a Pearl Harbor sequence in THE WINDS OF WAR. These latter three movies are good, in fact I have DVDs of IN HARM'S WAY and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, as well as TORA TORA TORA. But this is by far the best of the lot and it gives you the straight scoop without any politically correct BS thrown in. One emerges from this film emotionally drained, as you feel the fury of watching our airplanes getting bombed while trying to take off. Your heart aches as you watch a lone American airplane in a dogfight with a whole squadron of Japanese fighter planes. An excellent film. 10 out of 10. I don't give that lightly, either. By the way, check out the cinematography as the Japanese planes take off from their aircraft carrier. It is absolutely beautiful watching the sun rise while those planes are taking off one by one.
Interest in this film has obviously risen since the the release of the
recent 'Pearl Harbour', and comparisions are unavoidable. While I'm not
going enter into another round of 'Pearl Harbour' bashing (it is, after all
a rather spectacular piece of rubbish!), it must be said that 'Tora Tora
Tora!' is a far superior piece of film making. featuring battle scenes that
would reappear in countless WWII war movies.
Aimed at a mature and intelligent audience, Tora Tora Tora is the definitive account of America's entry into WWII, and does, to its credit, show the Japanese reasons for the assault. It's near, documentary style may not appeal to the modern 'MTV' style viewer, but keeps your interest throughout. A ominous tension builds slowly, prior to the assault that is well delivered.
A excellent epic, from a generation of films that it is unlikely will ever be produced again.
It never ceases to amaze me that people know as little as they do about
their nation's past, even when Hollywood mostly propagates
"Tora" does not mean "kill" in Japanese. It means "Tiger" (Prange, Gordon W.,"At Dawn We Slept", New York: Putnam, 1981.)
This movie was one of the better dramatizations of the Pearl Harbor debacle, focusing more on the miscommunications and errors in judgment shown by the military leadership in Hawaii. Also covered is the pure luck the Japanese First Air Fleet had. Left out, mostly because it had not yet become publicly available, was the information that the White House, the State Department, and the upper echelons of the military kept from Admiral Kimmel and Lieutenant General Short. Both of these men were made scapegoats for failing to protect their commands from attack, while being deprived of the information they really needed to do so. (Stinnett, Robert B. "Day of Deceit", New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.)
Still, this is a vastly better movie than the recent farce made by Michael Bay. It was no more an accurate portrayal of Pearl Harbor than Ghostbusters was factual.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Michael Bay ought to be digging a hole large enough to hide himself
from embarrassment. Moreover, he should bring along a portable DVD
player, and the Tora! Tora! Tora! video along into the dugout. The
original version directed by Richard Fleischer puts Bay's remake on
Pearl Harbour to shame. There are several obvious reasons to it.
Historical accuracy is very important. And that is where Tora! succeeds. The film provides a factual, chronological account of the day of Infamy. The story follows faithfully to the events (from both American and Japanese perspectives) that unfolded in a straightforward (but sometimes boring) manner. Another major factor is the focus. Tora! does not dwell on distracting subplots, such as a love story, to move the film along. The slow pacing of the film in the first half needs improvement though.
While none of the extensive cast gives a stellar display, the technical aspects of the film surely steal the show. With visual effects still in its infancy, the recreation of the actual attack on Pearl Harbour can be summarized in one word - 'Spectacular!'. Realistic (although less exciting than Michael Bay's version) and absorbing enough to make any viewer gaze in awe, and admire how filmmakers could achieve that much in the early 1970s. Tora! Tora! Tora! is an understated film that is better than the sum of its parts.
SCORE: 8.5/10 (www.filmnomenon.blogspot.com) All rights reserved!
No one who was alive on that day will ever forget it. It was the day
that brought the greatest progress in science and medicine the world
has ever seen. Everything that can be said about this great film has
been said by others in these comments, and I can only echo them.
I will only add that the scenes of all the Japanese pilots, and other personnel, running out onto the flight deck during recovery operations as the planes were returning from their strike against Pearl Harbor shock me. That would never happen on an American Aircraft Carrier. It was a terrible hazard to both the personnel and the returning planes. The Japanese were very lax in discipline, safety precautions and damage control, which eventually brought about their defeat at Midway, and in the end, the war.
During that war I had the great privilege of serving in the Merchant Marine at age sixteen, and in the U.S. Navy after becoming seventeen and returning home from my last trip, and I can say that having grown up during the great depression and WWll I have seen the American people at their very best, and I am so proud to have been a part of it all,however small my contribution was.
T!T!T! is IMO the best movie ever made about the Day of Infamy. At times slow, it manages to maintain a growing sense of impending doom and inevitability; even though we know what's going to happen, we (Americans anyway) keep hoping that SOMEONE! ANYONE! will wake up, smell the coffee and respond appropriately. That it never happened, that every piece of luck fell to the Japanese just as surely as it fell to the Americans 6 months later at Midway, sometimes seems unbelievable. It would never fly in a piece of fiction, but as another poster said, truth is always stranger than fiction. I won't bore anyone with the details of the attack and the almost documentary appearance of the battle, others have covers those well enough. I just wanted to add a small piece of personal history. In April 1969 I was assigned to CINCPACFLT (Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet) at Pearl Harbor. My duty station was in the Fleet Motor Pool, located in a small crater directly behind HQ and about 2 miles from the Arizona Memorial. I was sweeping the compound when I heard what sounded like anti-aircraft fire to the south (toward the harbor.) Suddenly two zeros flew overhead, made a short dive towards me, then eased up completing their 180 degree turn back toward the south. The next thing I heard was machine gun fire. WTF! I thought, not realizing the last parts of the movie were being filmed. I think I started hearing the Twilight Zone theme song, lol. I looked over at my mate; my eyes must have been as big as saucers because he started laughing his arse off. When he could finally speak he told me they were making a movie about 12/7. For the rest of my life, whenever the Pearl Harbor attack comes up, I always tell them how I was there and barely escaped a zero strafing attack. They never believe me, but what the heck, I was and I did! (Well, my heart almost stopped, but that's another story.)
Tora! Tora! Tora! is perhaps the best film ever made about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to it. The story is told from both the Japanese and American sides, so it makes for powerful film-making. The attack sequences were actually re-enacted during filming, further creating a sense of realism. Also, there is a great musical score by Jerry Goldsmith (who also composed the score for Patton, another war film released during 1970.). There is also breathtaking camera work, especially during the attack sequences. Another plus is the special effects (an Oscar triumph for L.B. Abbott and A.D. Flowers), enhancing the film further. Finally, there is a great cast of Martin Balsam, Soh Yamamura (as Yamamoto), Joseph Cotten, E.G. Marshall, James Whitmore, George Macready, and Jason Robards (who actually was involved in the Pearl Harbor bombing). Both sides form a coherent whole which continues to look impressive with each passing year. A huge cinematic achievement.
Detailing the events leading up to the infamous Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941--and telling the story from both the
Japanese and American point of view--TORA! TORA! TORA! is most
effective when it gets to the day of battle which begins with the
Japanese pilots getting into their planes and culminates in the
extremely realistic depiction of the actual bombing.
The film is faulty in getting us to that point, as it weaves back and forth between Hawaii and Washington, depicting Japanese and American behind-the-scenes intrigue, and in an objective way telling the complete story of the mistakes, big and small on both sides, that led the U.S. into World War II. Whether there are inaccuracies in the telling, for dramatic purposes, I'm not sure--but it does seem to be even handed in its treatment of events.
Although the cast is an impressive one, there are no single performances that stay in the mind. Instead, the viewer is aware of the vast scope of the story and the series of events that took place just before that fateful day--which is as it should be.
The Japanese segments held more fascination for me than the American sequences, for some reason. The pacing of the first two-thirds of the story is on the slow side. Not until the last forty-five minutes does the film come to life with an absolute sense of realism in its display of the bombing raid both from the air and on the ground.
Technically, the film is a superb example of '70s film-making. All of the battle scenes are extremely well done for maximum effect.
Yamamoto's final words serve as a chilling reminder, the kind of remark that still holds true in today's world where the U.S. is fighting a war against terrorism which, hopefully, has aroused "the sleeping giant" (the U.S.) to the extent that we will eventually triumph over our enemies who want to kill us as we were the victors over Japan.
As a history lesson, this is a very valuable film indeed.
You've got to love this kind of movie, trying their best to tell it
like it was and showing exactly what happened on both sides leading up
to the war. There's a little bit of bias towards the winners, but
that's only to be expected i suppose, and the film does not suffer
unduly because of it. Indeed the film is unstinting in it's battering
of the American complacency and errors that helped make the attack the
success it was for the Japanese, a refreshing thing to see compared to
movies in this day and age.
Highest praise has to go to the stuntmen in the airfield attack scenes, I just figured the rules governing how crazy a stunt could be must have been pretty lax back then, but it turns out they really were running for their lives as the stunts went way wrong. Frankly it looks all the better for it, you cant beat a bit of real action and danger for spicing up your movie. I gave it 8 out of 10, entertaining to watch and pretty accurate historically too. Far better than the schmaltzy, inaccurate and CGI heavy 'Pearl Harbor'.
Actually it is not correct to compare the two at all because Tora!
Tora! Tora actually tries to tell a story with the focus on the real
attack on Pearl Harbor. And the movie Pearl Harbor tells a story about
how it is possible to spend lots of money on "good" actors and heaps of
special effects and still manage to produce the worst piece of crap
Anyway, Tora! Tora! Tora! tells the story without any stupid parallel stories. It also describes the Japanese like human beings and not brain dead morons. I think the reason why Tora! Tora! Tora! is a good movie is that it was a cooperation between Japanese and Americans. Which possibly increase the accuracy of the movie with a couple of 100 percent.
If you are looking for a movie with a historical and sane perspective of the attack of Pearl Harbor, Tora! Tora! Tora is a good choice! It also shows that it is possible to tell historical stories without taking sides!
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