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1941 (1979)

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
4,150 ( 564)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cmdr. Akiro Mitamura (as Toshiro Mifune)
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  »


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,701,898, 16 December 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,455,742, 31 December 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale met while attending the University of Southern California Film School. One of USC's most famous school Presidents was Rufus von Kleinschmidt, for whom the character of Captain Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt (Sir Christopher Lee) was named. Several buildings on campus bear his name. One of von Kleinschmidt's many accomplishments was helping start the film school. See more »


When Donna says "You get me up in that plane, then we'll talk about forward thrust," the reflection of her mouth movements in her hand-held makeup mirror don't match her voice. 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, ...
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Crazy Credits

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


References The Little Rascals (1955) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Worth watching at least once.
19 March 2005 | by 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.

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