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

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
...
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

It took so long to set up the final shot of the house falling down that cast and crew members actually started a betting pool on what day and time the shot would actually begin filming. Dan Aykroyd won the bet. See more »

Goofs

In the final scene, when Cpl. Sitarsky and Maxine get out of the car, they are handcuffed together. The next time they are shown, the handcuffs are gone. 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, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Geeks Who Drink: Matthew MacCaull vs. Andrew Daly (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

When I See an Elephant Fly
(uncredited)
Music by Oliver Wallace
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Performed by Cliff Edwards, Jim Carmichael and the Hall Johnson Choir
See more »

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.


76 of 110 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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