228 user 61 critic

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


As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing...The Enemy! 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
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Did You Know?


When Steven Spielberg shared the news with his close friends in Hollywood that he would make this his next film, they were supportive but privately could not believe the news. One of those friends, a top director who was quoted anonymously in an article about the rise of mega-budget films in the late 1970s, bluntly said, "Why is he doing a comedy? When has Steven ever been funny?" See more »


The P-40 John Belushi's character flies is called a "Tomahawk" in the film. P-40's flown by US forces in WWII were called "Warhawks". P-40's flown by British and Soviet forces were called "Tomahawks". 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

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


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) 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

best comedy i've seen in a long time
18 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

I'll keep this short; read msa0510's review for a more in-depth review. The best part in this movie is Slim Pickens. Just thinking about his scenes makes me start laughing again.

It was nice having the "Making of 1941" on the dvd and seeing the remarks by Spielberg; I knew this movie had been panned by the critics but I hadn't known that it was popular in Europe. I can't understand why we Americans don't find it funny; it's hysterically funny to me.

It's a perfect 10 in my book; so few comedies these days are so over-the-top funny as this movie is.

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