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 <email@example.com>
The film was initially set up at MGM, where John Milius had a production deal. It wound up at Columbia because Steven Spielberg did not want to work at MGM. Besides, he made Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) for Columbia and wanted to make another movie there. Spielberg got Universal to co-produce because he wanted to fulfill a contractual obligation with the studio. See more »
After Sgt. Tree was hit in the head by the Santa Claus statue and tells Wally to knock out the lights, his crew agrees to listen to Wally because he's "wearing stripes," even though they know he's not in the military. In reality, there would be a second in command they would have to listen to. See more »
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.
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.
Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, ...
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End credits feature scenes showing cast members screaming. See more »
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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