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Tora! Tora! Tora!
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Tora! Tora! Tora! More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A bit overlong in getting to the big battle...but worth the wait...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
4 June 2005

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.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Epic action with good history.

Author: Kenny Mitchell from Central Scotland
13 September 2004

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'.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Tora! Tora! Tora! Heaps better then crap movie Pearl Harbor

Author: batti from Gothenburg, Sweden
12 July 2004

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 ever.

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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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Historically accurate depiction of events leading up to Pearl Harbor.

Author: Robert Germinsky ( from Plainfield, NJ
16 January 2003

This motion picture, more than 30 years after its release has stood the historical test of time. At the time of release, many documents were unavailable to historians and scholars. With the relase of more of this information regarding the attack and the diplomatic "dances" leading up to it, the producers of Tora! Tora! Tora! did well. Very few things have changed over the last 30 years of addtional history regarding Pearl Harbor.

The cast was first rate. I particulary enjoyed Edward Andrews as Harold "Betty" Stark (CNO). The phyisical resemblance between Andrews and the real Stark is astonishing. George McReady as Cordell Hull played the roler perfectly.

Much of the dialgoue from various characters was lifted from American and Japanese accounts, adding a further air or realism.

For this interested, the model of U.S.S. Nevada used in the move is now on permanent display aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York City.

In closing, I would rank this film as one of my all-time favorites for movies covering the war in the Pacifc.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: samos from Washington, DC
13 November 2002

My father and I saw the Virginia premier of "Tora! Tora! Tora!" We were there as a guest of my father's best friend (a Pearl Harbor survivor). There were a lot of Pearl Harbor survivors at that premier.

I remember the survivors talking about how accuratly the attack was presented. They also talked about some of the inaccuracies (mostly uniforms and aircraft) but overall they thought it was great. Many grown men cried as they remembered fallen comrads.

I'm still impressed with the special effects. Several postings have complained about how "fake the backgrouds" looked. I've been to Pearl Harbor and the movie was actually filmed there.

There have been comments about the lack of suffering shown. Even if it had been filmed the studio would not have released it. Combat footage from World War II is shown on the History Channel today couldn't been shown in the theaters or TV when I was growing up (the 50's). It was considered too graphic for public consumption!

FOX had to build the full-sized battleships that you saw in the movie. They weren't computer generated images (CGI). Actually, they only built one that stood in for all the other battleships. There wouldn't be another massive shipboard set built along that scale until James Cameron's "Titanic".

The models of the ships (both U.S. and Japanese) built were also done on a large scale.

They had to assemble a fleet of flying Japanese aircraft (they modified existing surplus U.S. Navy and Air Force trainers) and rent real B-17s and P-40s. Those planes you see up there on the screen are real. Many of those "Japanse" aircraft are still flying and can be seen at Air Shows across the nation.

Whereever possible, the exact locations of the attack were used. In at lease one case, a hanger that was scheduled for demolition was destroyed in the filming of the movie.

It's much better than "Pearl Harbor".

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Opinions and a review of the film.

Author: unit00 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
28 December 2001

If ever there should be a film made on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" would be it.

I've always been of the opinion that films "based" on significant historical events should tell us the truth about what actually happened. Take the recent film "Pearl Harbor" (produced by none other than the king of corn/cheese, Jerry Bruckheimer) for instance; it shouldn't be called "Pearl Harbor"... it should be called "Jerry's Dream of Pearl Harbor".

The review:

Two words sum up this film... extremely precise. Never have I watched a film that has so loyally captured the facts and emotions of a real life event.

You can see that the filmmakers have put almost complete emphasis on bringing truth and clarity to the screen. The acting, on an overall, is stilted. The actors read their lines as if they have been instructed to speak the words as clearly as possible, and forego any finesse in delivering them. But is this a bad thing? Not in my opinion. In the context of a film of this type, it is far better than listening to overzealous actors mumbling their lines so as to get the proper "effect".

The directing is good. Battle sequences are well executed and look good, given that the film was made in 1970. One must appreciate the amount of work that must have gone into those scenes. Furthermore, that strange "Hawaiian" feeling creeps into the film at certain points as well, which is a nice touch.

The editting crew must also be given due credit. The film shows us what is happening at several crucial but disparate places simultaneously during the lead up to the attack. As such, the scenes revolve invariably from the Admiral's office to the General's office, to the Japanese embassy, to the decoding room, etc. This sets the film on an even tempo that allows the viewer to follow what is going on at a good pace. I do have one gripe about the editting, however. There were no captions to keep us informed on the exact chronology of happenings, except the well-known date of December 7 1941.

As an outsider, I am not weighed down by national pride when I say that this a gem of a film that overwhelms the viewer with its sheer honesty. Patriotic Americans might find it hard to like it (but there are certain scenes that seem to be made to satisfy these viewers as well, like the American fighters planes that were not at the base when the attack occurred).

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The way most historical movies should be

Author: Christopher Mercurio from United States
24 November 2001

Forget that piece of garbage Pearl Harbor by Jerry Bruckheimer. This movie is better in every way. Its acting is better, its accuracy is better and it's attack scenes are better. Unlike Pearl Harbor, this needed no computer animation whatsoever.

Tora! Tora! Tora! is an enjoyable movie even though the Americans seem helpless in the attack. The Japanese just keep bombing and bombing. The explosions in the attack are greatly constructed as are the death scenes of characters. One thing that I like the most about this movie is how it is shown from both point of views. After the attack read the subtitles of what is said in the very end and you will see what I mean by saying this movie is great. 10 out of 10.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: magellan333 from Chattanooga, TN
2 July 2001

I had never seen this movie until after I saw the extremely disappointing over hyped Pearl Harbor (2001). SHAME ON ME! This film is all that I was hoping Pearl Harbor would be. There is no worthless love story, silly dramatics, or characters you don't care about. It is what Pearl Harbor should have been, a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor. You can read my review on that piece of garbage. Tora! Tora! Tora! did not let me down in any way. It is historically accurate and done very well. I highly recommend it for those who love history or have an interest in the Pearl Harbor invasion. You won't be disappointed!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Definitive Pearl Harbor Attack History

Author: jacksflicks from Hollywood
6 June 2001

The release of the outrageous 2001 travesty "Pearl Harbor" makes me appreciate "Tora! Tora! Tora!" even more and prompts me to recommend it as the best dramatization of the events, on the island of Oahu and on the Pacific Ocean, of December 7, 1941.

Critics have panned "Tora! Tora! Tora!" as an overblown spectacle. They are wrong. The immensity of the film is perfectly in keeping with the immensity of the logistics required for the attack and the immensity of the attack itself. The production values are high, the colors vivid and crisp, and the special effects, 30 years after the film's release, are still state of the art. There are scenes from the attack on Hickam Field whose realism and spectacle are astounding.

The casting is wonderful, with Jason Robards and Martin Balsam playing the star-crossed General and Admiral who would have to play the patsies for the negligence of higher ups. There are few truly secondary roles in this film, for almost every element of the story is crucial to the progression of events. Thus, "secondary roles" like those of E.G. Marshall and Wesley Addy are riveting, because of the extraordinary situations in which their characters are placed.

We are also given intimate access to the Japanese side during planning and preparation. Because this is a co-production between Americans and Japanese, the latter are portrayed without caricature, as people who believe in the cause which is inspiring this "dastardly attack". I don't know any of the Japanese actors, beyond a few familiar faces, but they are every bit as engaging as the Americans.

We know what is going to happen - that Pearl Harbor will be successfully attacked by the Japanese - but so skillful are the direction and the characterization, and so authentic is the historical reconstruction, that we are easily transported into the moment rather than being dangled above it, as if we we watching a documentary. Unlike "Pearl Harbor," which insults every man and woman who served in World War II, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" in its powerful, unadorned way, pays them tribute.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An excellent war movie

Author: hursta218 from cincinnati, OH
1 June 2001

Having recently seen the atrocious new movie "Pearl Harbor" (2001) I feel that I am now compelled to give this film its due.

What this movie lacks in special effects it makes up for in plot and detail. This film shows both sides of the attack and puts little spin (as far as I can see) on the events that unfolded in 1941. What makes this movie so great? First, the Japanese speak Japanese, not English. Second, the events that lead up to the attack are real (again, I am not a history major so I don't know everything that happened). Third, real planes!!!

Many modern war movies decide to please the [English-speaking] audiences and all the dialogue that is needed is done in English rather than in the native tongue of the character. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" uses both English and Japanese, adding another layer of realism to the film. For all of you who can't read subtitles, learn to. It might get a little tiresome, but after a while it becomes second nature.

Unlike some war movies that use a famous battle as a backdrop, this film builds up to the battle with precision. There is not false story woven into the plot to attract viewers, it is a truthful account of what happened. This movie also gives justifications for what happened. "Pearl Harbor" just throws out Yamamoto's quote about 'waking a sleeping giant,' but this movie gives the detail that this was because the Japanese ultimatum was handed in after the attack took place instead of before.

Done in the 70's, this movie used real planes and real stunts. Modern movies tend to computerize many of the attacks and squadrons. This movie uses real planes doing real things. Does it really matter if the pilots are flying in front of a screen? And, how many times do you need to see flaming fuselage rush at you?

A classic war movie, dated by many of today's standards, this film is excellent in showing the build-up and attack on Pearl Harbor. If you want to see a movie about the attack, watch this movie, but be prepared to not see any fancy special effects. It might look like a regular PBS documentary on what happened, but it is still good. If you like to see what really happened - without Hollywood hype shoved in your face - then this is a movie to see. I have heard many people mention that this is THE movie about Pearl Harbor, and I agree with them. 10/10

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