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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Cmdr. Akiro Mitamura (as Toshiro Mifune)
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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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)
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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

The extras cast as the Japanese submarine crew were hired because they were Asian. Most were typical laid-back Southern Californians, and none had any acting training. Toshirô Mifune (an actual Japanese WWII veteran) was so outraged at their attitudes that he asked Steven Spielberg if he could deal with them. He then started yelling at them to get in line, and slapped one of them, saying, "This is how Japanese men are trained!" Mifune worked with them from that point on. See more »

Goofs

The tank crew has an African-American member. The US Army wasn't officially desegregated until 1948. Limited desegregation came to combat units in December 1944 and January 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge. 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

During the closing credits shooting explosions are seen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Future: In the Beginning (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Be Home for Christmas
(uncredited)
Written by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram
Performed by Bing Crosby
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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