Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ward Douglas
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Joan Douglas
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Claude Crumn
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Capt. Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt
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Cmdr. Akiro Mitamura (as Toshiro Mifune)
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...
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Cpl. Chuck 'Stretch' Sitarski
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Gas Mama (Eloise) (as Lucille Bensen)
Jordan Brian ...
Macey Douglas
...
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Storyline

Hysteria grips California in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An assorted group of defenders attempt to make the coast defensible against an imagined Japanese invasion, in this big budget, big cast comedy. Members of a Japanese submarine crew scout out the madness, along with a Captain in Germany's Kreigsmarine (Navy). Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comedy Spectacular! See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Night the Japs Attacked  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)| (Todd-AO)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Steven Spielberg's appearance in the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), Stanley Kubrick suggested that the film should have been marketed as a drama rather than a comedy. See more »

Goofs

When Betty and Wally first arrive at the dance, Wally pulls her blue jacket off her and wraps it around Cpl. Sitarsky's head. She wears the jacket for the rest of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: On December 7, 1941, the Naval Air Arm of the Imperial Japanese Fleet, in a surprise attack, struck the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and hurtled an unsuspecting America into World War II.
Title Card: American citizens were stunned, shocked and outraged at this treacherous attack. On the West Coast, paranoia gripped the entire population as panic-stricken citizens were convinced that California was the next target of the Imperial Japanese Forces.
Title Card: Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

End credits feature scenes showing cast members screaming. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Ohio
Music by Abe Olman (uncredited)
Lyrics by Jack Yellen (uncredited)
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It's gonna be a long war....
15 September 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

You can't have lofty aspirations all the time.

Even the director of such powerful films as "Jaws", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "ET" and "Schindler's List" has to take a break from all the serious issues in his films and play dumb at least once.

Just look at "1941".

With a plotline straight out of The Three Stooges and special effects befitting a WWII epic, "1941" abandons all pretense by parodying the opening of "Jaws" right off the bat and hitting every slapstick point from there on in. Spielberg knew that even if this turned out be a flop, it would be a good-natured one.

Just look at this cast! Not only are Aykroyd and Belushi at the helm, but there's talent like Matheson, Allen, Oates, Williams, Beatty, Gary (Roy Scheider's wife from the "Jaws" films), Candy, Flaherty, Stack (in his first comedic turn before "Airplane!"), Lee, Pickens, Deezen (a comic genius if ever there was one), Sperber and a whole herd of other I probably missed. All of them in the midst of the hugest battlefield of comic carnage ever seen.

And no wonder. "1941" was co-written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Spielberg protogees who went on to further success with the "Back to the Future" films, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", "Used Cars", (all with climaxes as wild as the entire running time of "1941") and the vastly under-appreciated "Death Becomes Her". Even John Milius (director/co-writer of "Conan the Barbarian") lends his pen hand.

In the end, you'll be dazzled, breathless, stunned and amazed, but by no means bored. And, with any luck, amused.

"1941" - it was a very good year.

Nine stars. And don't worry: it's all for the good of the war effort.


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