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1941 (1979)

PG  |   |  Action, Comedy, War  |  14 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 24,055 users  
Reviews: 212 user | 53 critic

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



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »



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


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


A Comedy Spectacular! See more »


Action | Comedy | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Night the Japs Attacked  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 5,051,675 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cinematographer William A. Fraker was reportedly fired late in shooting due to creative differences with Steven Spielberg and John Milius. The remainder of the film was shot by Frank Stanley. See more »


During external scenes of the Japanese submarine, when the girl is on the periscope, the hatch is directly aft of the periscope. During internal scenes, when the Japanese sailor is pulled into the submarine after spotting her, the hatch is 3-4 feet to the Port side of the submarine. See more »


[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, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Bobby Troup (uncredited)
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Worth watching at least once.
19 March 2005 | by (York, PA) – See all my reviews

1941 is a unique movie. 1 part of it is animal house-esque lowbrow humor, 1 part is B-movie love story, and 1 part stoic war movie, and 2 parts insane hilarity.

It is a weird mix to say the least.

First, the problems: 1. The first half of the movie is slow. It grinds on making you wonder why you're watching this movie.

2. The "Love story" subplot is poorly executed for what this movie is trying to do.

3. many of the actors are not used to their fullest potential (especially Dan Akroyd and John Candy) while others receive excessive screen time. (see: The slow moving love story sub-plot) But then there are the good aspects: 1. John Belushi is hilarious. He would have been funnier had he interacted with more characters rather than appearing in many solo shots, but he was funny.

2. The "Epic Battle" was great. It had me laughing as my sides hurt.

3. Slim Pickens: His appearance in the movie was truly where the movie stopped being slow, and the fun really started. He was great in his scenes and between the dialogue and his visual scenes, you can't help but laugh.

There's more, but in short, if you don't mind sitting through a slow build up, the payoff is worth the wait.

It's not the best movie ever, but in the barren entertainment landscape that is Weekend Television: Finding this movie can be like an oasis in the desert. It's solid Saturday afternoon fun.

50 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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If John Landis done this movie it would´ve been a classic. old-skool101
What is it you hate about 1941 stepstonefilms
Something wrong here. VonRyan71
Sorry, but I really like this movie! KatrinaW
The word 'Jap' Jonhny
Couldn't buy a laugh parillamilt
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