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Tora! Tora! Tora!
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Reviews & Ratings for
Tora! Tora! Tora! More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

How a war movie should be made...

Author: Mark Dragicevic from United Kingdom
13 February 2010

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS Right from the off, this is one of the most realistic war movies ever made. Taking a neutral stance and showing both sides of the conflict is a masterstroke. Weaving both viewpoints seamlessly is also another great aspect of this film.

The acting on both sides, Japanese and American is top rate. They just don't make them like Martin Balsam and Jason Robards any more - both give top performances.

The non-CGI effects are amazing once the action gets underway - some of the stunt men look in genuine danger as they escape the flames and explosions.

Forget 2001's Pearl Harbor which was a turkey by any stretch of the imagination - this is the definitive 7th December 1941 movie.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Still the best and not challenged by "Pearl Harbor"

Author: markcarlson2222 from San Diego CA
18 January 2007

I've been watching this film since I was ten years old and it had just come out. I was fascinated then, and not even a military history buff as I am now. but over the years, I've come to appreciate an effort well-done. On the scaled of this film, to have built full-scale mockups of Nagato and Akagi and huge models of Arizona, Nevada, West Virginia, and all the rest is stupendous work and it really shows in the finished film. My comment, based on having seen that turkey "Pearl Harbor" which from this point on I shall refer to as PHew, one can really understand the difference between full scale models and CGI for special effects. Sure CGI can give filmmakers incredible abilities to create anything they want and make it do everything, but it's so obvious that CGI is used, it's very transparent and forgettable. The blowing up of USS Arizona in TTT was far and away more stunning and realistic than a computer-generated one in PHew. Remember 'Titanic?' A real, full-scale ship is what did the trick and made it come to life. PHew was a waste of film and money, and an insult to the men and women show survived and died that December day. As for the few shots of 'John Finn' the intrepid lone machine gunner who shot down a Zero and damaged others at Kaneohe Bay NAS, the depiction is a bit off. Finn wasn't behind a sandbag revetment, and he wasn't bandaged up during the fight. How do I know? John Finn is my neighbor, here in East County San Diego and I've talked with this fascinating old veteran many times. Even at over 96 years of age, he's sharp and interesting to talk to. He too, prefers TTT to PHew. BIG surprise. This film also shows a cautious, reluctant Admiral Kimmel (Martin Balsam) and acerbic General Walter Short (Jason Robards) as being unable to save their commands in the weeks prior to the attack. They had tried to be prepared, but failed to take the right action, despite their correct intentions. Washington's diplomats, politicians and senior military are depicted as being complacent and not taking the threat of Japanese aggression in the Pacific seriously. This is partially true, and FDR is said in some accounts to have been holding back on critical information which could have warned of the impending attack. History is still debating this. But the truth is, Kimmel and Short were made the scapegoats for the attack. They didn't deserve that fate, and I see them as casualties, just as the more than 1,200 other men and women killed that day. Soh Yamamura, who portrayed Isoroku Yamamoto, does a credible job of handling the role of a man who was targeted by US forces during the war as the leading villain in the attack. Yet he wasn't totally in favor of such action. He was forced by the General staff, particularly Hideki Tojo, to hit the American fleet and keep the US out of Japanese aims in the Western Pacific. Yamamura's brooding scenes give the admiral emotional weight. BTW, did anyone notice not one of the P-40 fighters flown by Lt. Welsh or Lt. Taylor flew in the streets of Honolulu? And they didn't bring down the entire Japanese Naval Air Service? Funny thing, even though it's not as visually exciting as PHew, it's far better and more believable. My feelings about this film are this: It's not perfect, but no one has ever done better since. Nine out of Ten.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

THE Pearl Harbor Movie

Author: possumopossum from United States
8 December 2006

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 PATTON.

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.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Near perfect in its attention to detail.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
30 August 2014

While not every detail is perfect, I really appreciate how the makers of some historical movies try very, very hard to get it right. In contrast, many war films (such as "Midway") are shoddy when it comes to the details--such as using stock footage of planes or tanks which didn't even debut until well after the battle. And, very, very few war films try to explain the events leading up to it. This drives ex-history teachers like me nuts! However, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is an amazing film because they tried so hard and the film feels so complete. Of course the filmmakers had to make a few adjustments--such as converting American T-6 airplanes to look a lot like Japanese planes and recreating Japanese ships because they'd all been lost during WWII. But they TRIED--and I appreciate that. And again and again, the film stresses details--details that might bore some viewers but make history nuts salivate!

So why am I giving this movie a 10? After all, I almost never give such a score to a movie. In addition to the two huge pluses above, the movie excels because it does not burden itself with superfluous love stories (such as in "The Battle of Britain") nor does it give way to sentiment. It is almost like an actual recreation of events as they unfolded-- brought to the big screen in epic fashion. All in all, probably the best war film of all time because of its attention to detail, scope and accuracy.

Apparently, Roger Ebert HATED this film for the reasons I loved it. He hated the detail and wanted to have the characters fleshed out more-- like a typical Hollywood production. I didn't mind its documentary-like style and as a certifiable history nut, it's the sort of film I adore!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the best WW2 movie

Author: vamsi-vallurik from Hyderabad, India
6 February 2014

Great Movie. All facts and 0 fiction. If someone wants to see a real ww2 movie, this is the one.Happy viewing. I had real interest in ww2 and this movie gave insight to many new things that were otherwise in my 'ignore' list. I wonder why this movie is having just 7.5 rating as I feel it should be 10/10. The only thing i didn't understand is as per movie they attack at 8AM on Sunday, however they are supposed to attack after 1PM(as per their instructions , they ask the ambassador to give the 14 page report at 1PM) . Either I didn't follow it fully or this is the sole mistake in the movie Anyway, a great movie. These kind of movies should be re-released so that newer generation can appreciate the movies taken during 70s

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An understated film that is better than the sum of its parts.

Author: Eternality from Singapore
29 October 2010

*** 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 ( All rights reserved!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Documentary Of The Day That Changed The World Forever.

Author: hmcusn294 from United States
8 June 2009

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.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest war movies

Author: J K from Finland
2 February 2007

TTT is a documentarish war film about the events that led to the attack of Pearl Harbor and of course the event itself. It is exceptional because it displays both sides of the conflict without moral-ism or patriotism. This alone shows that the movie wasn't made to make money, unlike the recent "blockbuster" Pearl Harbor.

TTT isn't a typical war film, as the action doesn't kick in until later on. But when it does it takes your breath away. The actors all do a splendid job, especially Tamura (Fuchida) and Yamamura (Yamamato). Historically accurate, educating, and yet an entertaining movie - a must see.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Best 12/7/41 Movie

Author: indy_go_blue44 from United States
4 October 2006

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.)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Definitive Version of the Pearl Harbor Attack!

Author: Wailmer1990 from Salem, OR
10 July 2006

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.

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