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

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Provides a fascinating Japanese perspective

Author: William D. McClain ( from Columbia, SC
16 July 1999

This is one of very few war movies I've seen that depicts the Japanese as smart, disciplined military professionals -- indeed as anything other than stereotypical one-dimensional cannon fodder. As thousands of Pacific veterans can attest, they were serious, committed warriors, not cartoon characters.

The World War Two generation in America regarded Pearl Harbor as a dastardly event, a sneak attack that was ethically the lowest of deeds. It contrasted sharply American ideal of fair play (a fatal liability in combat, an ugly truth that's seldom depicted or discussed in films and literature of and about the period) and fed the vehemence of the American people's "terrible resolve," as Yamamoto put it. That Japanese, a race too many Americans regarded with fear and suspicion, had accomplished it, further fueled American fury and determination.

But militarily the Japanese were doing what historically they do best: striking without warning to catch the adversary off guard and, if possible, defeat him with one decisive masterstroke. If you're from another country, or if you're an American able to put your cultural baggage aside for the duration of the film, you gain a grim appreciation of just what a tatical masterpiece Pearl Harbor was, and how quickly the Japanse realized their strategic failure.

Watching this film, you also glimpse how forward-thinking the Japanese were in naval developments, grasping the potential of naval air power over battleships. (It's little known that in 1941, Japan's navy, particularly their naval air force, excelled America's in quality and quantity.) Even more, you discover how constrained Yamamoto's opportunities were. He was essentially reduced to doing the Army's bidding rather than projecting power as a true blue-water naval force should, and he knew full well that against the might of America, the best he could do was to buy Japan a little time.

To watch the Japanese cast members portray their roles is to see a valuable window on the Japanese warrior ethos in particular and Japanese culture in general. For the Japanese, Pearl Harbor was the largest diplomatic and military gamble ever undertaken. Its enormity manifests in the Japanese Navy officer corps' tension and emotion in scenes of planning and executing the strike. This tremendous acting is easily lost in visual translation for many Westerners, but it's palpable for those more familiar with the Japanese.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Contains One Of The Greatest Battle Scenes

Author: 2004RedSox
3 April 2005

"Tora! Tora! Tora!" is not exactly a great film. Mediocre acting and script. However, it contains one of the greatest battle scenes ever shot on film, if not the greatest. It's a treat for war film lovers to watch. I still find the simulation of the Pearl Harbor attack to be a totally mesmerizing spectacle.

This film is done before CGI, which the vastly inferior "Pearl Harbor" used ad nauseum. This fact makes this film much more amazing. (This film must cost 300 million to make nowadays!)

The only bad battle scene in this movie is the bombing of Arizona, in which you can tell the ship is floating on a bath tub. But other than that, you'll be hard-pressed not to say, "Wow!"

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Magnificent Epic

Author: sddavis63 ( from Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada
16 May 2003

In absolutely every respect this movie is far superior to "Pearl Harbor" of a few years ago. Rather than using the pending Japanese attack as the backdrop for a fictional romance, "Tora Tora Tora" faithfully recounts the events leading up to December 7, 1941, and then offers a chilling portrayal of the attack itself. In spite of being over 30 years old, the effects used during the attack scenes are excellent, and create the feeling that one is right there as they happen. The performances are solid although unspectacular, which seems appropriate. Clearly the desire of Directors Richard Fleischer and Kinji Fukasaku was to let the events speak for themselves, and in this they succeeded.

The movie is told from both the Japanese and American points of view, and one of the better aspects of it was that the scenes on board the Japanese fleet were shot using the Japanese language, rather than having the Japanese speaking English with Japanese accents. I felt that this added to the authenticity of the movie. The confusion, miscommunication and poor preparedness of the U.S. is truthfully recounted, as is the division between the military and political machinery over various issues: the choice of Pearl Harbor as the base for the Pacific Fleet, and the decision to transfer navy resources from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

There are a few scenes that drag. We spent an inordinate amount of time watching Japanese Zeros taking off from the deck of a Japanese carrier and it's somewhat difficult to establish the timeline of the movie, particularly in the first hour or so, but overall this must surely be the definitive movie version of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Everyone interested in the "day that will live in infamy" should watch this.


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Powerful Production

Author: Eric-62 from Athens, Ohio
9 March 1999

While "Patton" was the superior WWII film to be released in 1970, "Tora! Tora! Tora!", a meticulous recreation of the events leading up to, and the actual attack on Pearl Harbor, is a fine film in its own right and is one of the best WWII epics. The cast, on both the Japanese and American sides is excellent, the score by Jerry Goldsmith is powerful, and the special effects by 1970 standards are quite competent.

I have only one complaint though, and that revolves around the strange decision not to depict Franklin Roosevelt in this film. Many people have said that "Tora" suffered at the box office because it left audiences too depressed upon leaving. This could easily have been rectified had the producers recreated FDR's "Day Of Infamy" speech to Congress and recreated the wild, enthusiastic cheers of a determined America declaring war and vowing revenge and total victory. But Roosevelt is nowhere to be seen in this film, and I don't think there's a legitimate excuse for this.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Decent, but missing something

Author: Stu-42 ( from Las Vegas
15 August 2003

This movie had great actors, was shot on location for much of it and contained some very interesting history. However, it wasn't a great film, rather it was pretty flat for the first hour and a half. I think the length hurt without solid direction and the battle scene while very good was not enough to make this one a winner. Even the excellent Jason Robards didn't seem to have much of a chance to do anything here. I couldn't help but have the feeling it could have done a lot better with tightening up some of the history which came out somewhat confusing. For example, the time references on Dec. 7th were mixed up including a mistranslation of the Japanese language. Also, certain points of the story which could have been made to be very dramatic just sat there such as the anticipation of an attack on Nov. 30th that didn't happen. Ideas like these were just forgotten about leaving this viewer with an unsatisfied feeling as if somehow there was a cohesion that was lacking. The last 45 mins. with the battle scene was what really had an impact here. There, I got the whole review done without mentioning Pearl Harbor. Darn! No I didn't!!!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good Treatment of a Preventable Event

Author: Geoffrey DeLeons from United States
16 June 2014

I just watched this movie (3rd or 4th time) again last night, and I was shocked to read that it was made in 1970. The sophistication of the screenplay is such that I thought it was from the mid-eighties, at least. The multitude of human, social factors involved in the U.S. failure and the Japanese (partial) success is given due consideration in the movie, as scenes with numerous political and military figures on both sides characterize the forces involved that lead inevitably to the attack. The sceenplay is thorough, relentless and intelligent. To make-simple and accessible a very tangled situation with many cross-currents and short circuits is a testament to the skill of the producers of this movie. I was very impressed that the producers were able to somehow manage scenes with period-correct ships and aircraft. I did not know there were that many Zero's, Kate's and P-40B's airworthy back in 1970. I'm not sure how they did it. The scenes on the runway are some of the most thrilling I have ever seen in cinema. I need to say that I think more time should have been devoted to the sailors trapped below decks. I know there was a fleeting scene where-in someone yelled "The hatch is jammed", but there should have been more, considering, perhaps especially, the travail of those trapped inside the U.S.S. Pennsylvania and the massive effort conducted to liberate them. An important movie, both historically and cinematically.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Action Sequences and Special Effects

Author: Uriah43 from Amarillo, Texas
8 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film leads up to and culminates in the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which resulted in America entering World War 2. Although a bit long (144 minutes) it offers perspectives from a number of people who were either involved in the circumstances leading up to war or were personally affected by the decision. While historically correct for the most part I think it also bears mentioning that it also includes some opinions which have endured since this event that might not be as accurate as some people may believe. For example, many people have blamed "Major General Walter C. Short" (played by Jason Robards) for his decision to crowd the American airplanes together on the airfield which made them a very easy target for the Japanese dive-bombers. However, this decision was based on a logical assumption that sabotage from Japanese agents was a far greater threat than an actual surprise attack prior to a declaration of war. And while the movie presents his concern it also continues the unfair portrayal of incompetence which he had to endure until his untimely death 8 years later. He was eventually exonerated by the United States Senate in 1999. Be that as it may, this was an exciting film to watch with some very good action sequences and special effects. As a matter of fact it won the Academy Award that year for its special effects. That said, this movie should definitely interest those who enjoy films of this type. Above average.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Best War film in existence today!

Author: ofpsmith from United States
17 November 2013

This is the film that got me in to history. I'm a history nut now, especially about World War 2. This film sparked my interest in the subject of history and the Military particularly aviation(My dad is in the US Air Force). Now I know more about WW2 that some adults do. And everyone at school calls me the human dictionary. And this film is the start of it. Richard Fleischer really took it upon himself to review a movie that was 100% fact about Pearl Harbor. He perfectly showcased the Japanese precision of the attack and the elements that the United States was not aware of. The attack scene is excellent, especially for it's time. If it was done now, there's no doubt it would be 100% CGI. This was done before that business even existed. It's intense and spectacular to watch. A perfect grand finale for one of the greatest films in history!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

TKO against Pearl Habor

Author: SnoopyStyle
11 November 2013

This is the true story of the events leading up to and including the attack on Pearl Habor. Two things stand out in this version as oppose to Michael Bay's version. It goes into a lot of the historical details leading up to the attack. And the action is done with real planes and look the better for it.

I can't debate how accurate it is. There's certainly enough there that's heavily researched. The biggest risk is the heavy concentration on the Japanese side of the story. They account for half the screen time. And it's quite informative. These Japanese are not some Hollywood movie creations.

Not only do the characters come off as real. So too does the action. Sure this is a lot of miniature models. That's to be expected for the era. However the crazy number of planes and the real action is truly jaw dropping. There are some stunts there that just can't be believed. I take this over any amount of CG that Michael Bay can come up with. This has some of the best of the old fashion big Hollywood war extravaganza.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tell those damn fools to stop shooting at us, we're Americans!

Author: Ben Larson from Leesburg, FL
11 November 2013

A Veteran's Day tribute - the war in the Pacific.

We tend to think of the Ben Affleck vehicle when we think of Pearl Harbor, but war is not about love stories. It is about death and destruction, and there is no greater story about such destruction than this one.

It was a brilliant military move made in an atmosphere where no one could believe it was happening. It was great strategy among a comedy of errors. And, as Admiral Yamamoto predicted, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

Directed by Richard Fleisher, who gave us Soylent Green; and by multiple award winning Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, this film is characterized by excellence in Special visual effects, art direction, editing, sound and cinematography.

It is an excellent film all around.

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