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Tora! Tora! Tora! is the Pearl Harbor story. The real story, not a
fictionalized Hollywood romance which just happened to be taking place
in Hawaii in 1941. No made up characters, plot lines or melodrama here.
This is the real deal, the story of the men whose decisions and actions
led to a date which will live in infamy. As such there aren't going to
be much in the way of surprises. There's an inevitability to the film,
everyone knows how the story ends. But the film still manages to be
compelling, dramatic and entertaining. For a nearly two and a half hour
long movie in which you know the ending from minute one that is no
Tora! Tora! Tora! is in a way two different films, the Japanese one and the American one. The two movies within this one movie have different writers, directors, cinematographers and actors. This could have easily led to a very disjointed feel. But things come together rather smoothly. The two stories fit together remarkably well as they proceed along their parallel tracks, destined to come together in the skies above Hawaii on December 7. While there are a few recognizable faces in the cast there are no real stars, no characters who obviously stand out from all those around them. This is a case where the story is the star. The plot, not the performers, drives the film forward. Which is not to say the performances are not good, they certainly are. Each actor, American and Japanese, plays his historical part more than well enough to let you totally buy into the story. You see the decisions the true-life men made and realize how all the small decisions led inexorably to one of the most significant historical events of the modern age. On such small details can history turn. If there can be any complaint with the film it is that the buildup towards the day of the attack can be slow at times. There's an awful lot of historical information to get across and often the same information is shown twice, from both the American and Japanese perspective. But a somewhat slow pace is a small price to pay for the painstaking historical accuracy the film achieves. It would be hard for a documentary to tell the Pearl Harbor story any more truthfully or any better. And however long the film took to get to December 7 the final payoff is no doubt worth it. The film's conclusion, inevitable though it may be, is breathtaking. Action on a grand scale, a powerful ending to a thoroughly compelling film.
I was aboard the USS Yorktown during the filming of this movie in late 1968. As I remember it we were heading for Pearl to assume our role as primary recovery ship for the Apollo 8 mission.The "Zeros" were loaded at either Long Beach or San Diego. A lot of irony in the fact that the ship that replaced USS Yorktown that was sunk at Midway was now being decked out as a Japanese carrier and carrying Japanese aircraft and was now being used to make a movie about Pearl Harbor. An aerial view of the ship in the movie shows the ship with an angled deck.....which there were none of in WW II. OOPS! Doubt many (if any) of the public really noticed or would really care. Have often wondered what was going through the minds of folks in Hawaii who survived Dec. 7, 1941 as they watched the recreation going on about them. I love this movie and was found it exciting to watch its creation.
I am a big fan of War and Military movies. I think this film rates up
in the top tier for accuracy, information, and education on the events
that led up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that ultimately
thrust the US in WWII.
Be forewarned that film runs long at 144 minutes. But one can hardly fault that considering the wealth and breadth of material to be covered. I think it was insightful to show both the US and Japanese perspectives in the film. It helps one better understand the motives and strategies of both sides. The first half views more like a documentary. It's not until the last half that the action really gets going.
I think all the actors did a fine job portraying their characters. I'm glad they forewent casting big name heartthrobs and instead opted for lower key character actors. I think it was also a good decision to have the Japanese speak in their own language for a more realistic depiction. However, if subtitles bore you, this probably isn't the film for you.
It's interesting to note that this film was a flop when released in the US but was a huge success in Japan. This ties in with the fact that the US Navy office was inundated with complaints that they allowed US service persons to participate in the filming - they felt it glorified the Japanese aggression and showed the US as bumbling idiots that were unprepared.
SIDENOTE: Gotta love the "Decoding machine" and the officer's explanation of how it works: the Japanese transmission goes in here, whirls around inside this box, then comes out the other side decoded. Hilarious! Not bad for a quasi-computer in the 1940's!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This focus of this film is on the morning of Sunday, December 7th,
1941, the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor.
This movie is outstanding... just superb. You won't find better action footage in any WW II film and there's plenty of it too! We (Americans) clearly got our behinds tromped during the Pearl Harbor invasion but, because this is an American film, that facet of actuality is slightly played down, (micro victories by individuals are featured to counter our overall demise), as is Roosevelt's alleged desire to enter the war minimized, (my 90 year-old aunt asserts that FDR was Satan himself, I think mostly due to how our family members, during the conflict, were fruitlessly lost and suffered as POWs).
In any event, the scenes herein shift between Washington D.C. political activities and those of the Pearl Harbor principals. Of course, the Japanese planning and action sequences are similarly featured.
The film is shot in letterbox and runs 144 minutes in length. Excellent color saturation, with great casting (bulging with big period stars), top scenery, believable script, 70 mm cinematography, and awesome sets all contribute to the aggregate success of this exceptional film. It's all very realistic and not hokey in any sense. A lot of the footage, where the Japanese are speaking, is subtitled in English but it's well-done and not at all distracting. Compare it to the German subtitles in "The Longest Day".
I can't convey enough good comments about this movie. If you are even just a casual movie viewer of common genres, you'll probably much enjoy this well-made historical film, albeit some dramatic artistic license was tastefully invoked by the directors, Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, and Toshio Masuda .
I do recommend that you have the movie "Midway," (a sort of historic Act II), ready at hand to watch following "Tora! Tora! Tora!" the former of which is a similarly fine film.
An excellent movie depicting the events leading up to and during the
bombing of Pearl Harbor. Akin to the much later movie "Hiroshima" this
film, while a war movie, concentrates mostly on the events leading up
to the bombing. While we all know what actually happened on that
fateful day, the events of this movie make for an interesting thriller
of a race against time to decipher the impending event that will shape
the course of history.
Taking a look at both sides with the Japanese planning of the attack and the Americans hoping to figure out what they are up to; it is a masterpiece of historical movie making.
For me the second best "war" movie made, being the runner up only to "Alls Quiet on the Western Front".
I had seen this film 15 or 20 years ago and just recently watched it
again with my 11 year old son who is big history buff. He loved it.
If you are the kind of person who thinks that fast food is too slow you will probably think this film is too slow, but if you're interested in the history of WWII and the events surrounding Pearl Harbor this is a must see film.
This film was not made to showcase any one actor's talents, but instead is an ensemble effort that with few exceptions accurately portrays the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the attack itself. So while the acting is definitely competent and believable, the real star is the story itself.
Knowing the end result (Pearl Harbor is successfully attacked - I hope someone does not find this to be a spoiler!) you nonetheless find yourself hoping against hope that someone will be able to break through and actually warn Admiral Kimmel and/or General Short of the impending attack. Alas this does not happen.
I have seen some harsh criticisms of this film as being boring and slow. All I can say is that if you are a thoughtful person with a little imagination you will not find this film boring and slow.
The story of the "Day of Infamy" as seen through the Japanese and American point of view. As in the "Longest Day" we see how the events on both sides unfolded and how this tragedy came to be. The acting-mostly by Hollywood veterans is low key and effective. The massive scenes of the Japanese preparing for the attack have a documentary like feel to them that give this film a lot of its credibility. There is no stupid romantic story or bad, inaccurate history like the miserable "Pearl Harbor"The raid on Pearl is probably one of the most convincing scenes of destruction ever filmed. The battleships, planes and other equipment rings true and it is obvious that the producers tried to get it right. There are a few anachronisms here and there, but not really too terrible. The "miniatures" of the ships of the US Fleet are models that are 50 feet long! A full half section of the Arizona was constructed as well as a two third scale replica of the Japanese carrier Akagi. Even though the planes are "customized" WWII era trainers, they are accurate replicas.The only real problem with the film is that some of the pre-invasion scenes run somewhat long, but in the light of this film's scope, they can be overlooked. All in all, this is the best film on the subject and is one worth owning. An unforgettable experience, especially for military and history buffs.
It is a very good movie, but only if you're a history buff. It gives
details that show the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor,
and gives a good attack scene. Best of all, there is no love plot such
as there is in Pearl Harbor.
It doesn't take sides, and it shows how inept democratic administrations are, namely FDR's. It shows how the American brass was full of politicians, and not soldiers, with the exception of one: General Marshal.
The Japanese, and American actors were well cast, and it showed the internal rivalries of fascist Japan. There is one thing funny though, it leaves out Admiral Halsey's statement, made after the attack, regarding the Japanese: let's put it this way, it wouldn't have been politically correct! It is an all-in-all good movie, but you have to, as I said, like history.
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.
Wonderful drama. Starts with the events leading up to the attack on
Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War 2, then
follows the events through the attack. It shows where both the
Americans and Japanese made mistakes that could have ultimately
affected the outcome. For the Americans, it was the incompetence of the
line of command. For the Japanese, it was a willingness to sit back on
their laruels once the attack had been a success, rather than
continuing to pound the American bases into submission.
This was a predecessor of "Pearl Harbor", by decades. But it seems that this version is far more critical of the American military. Where "Pearl Harbor" seemed to focus on human drama at the expense of historical accuracy, "Tora, Tora, Tora" focuses on historical events, cultural differences, and honor. In the process, it captures the essence of the horror of war.
No choice but to give this movie a "10".
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