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The Final Countdown (1980)

 -  Action | Sci-Fi  -  1 August 1980 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 13,739 users  
Reviews: 133 user | 46 critic

A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Writers:

(story), (story), 5 more credits »
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Title: The Final Countdown (1980)

The Final Countdown (1980) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Laurel Scott
...
Cdr. Richard Owens / Mr.Tideman
...
Cdr. Dan Thurman
...
Senator Samuel Chapman
Victor Mohica ...
Black Cloud
James Coleman ...
Lt. Perry (as James C. Lawrence)
...
Simura (as Soon-Teck Oh)
Joe Lowry ...
Cdr. Damon
Alvin Ing ...
Lt. Kajima
Mark Thomas ...
Marine Cpl. Kullman
Harold Bergman ...
Bellman
...
Navy Doctor
...
LCdr. Kaufman
Edit

Storyline

An American nuclear aircraft carrier and its crew are caught in a classic dilemma when a supernatural storm sends them back in time just before the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing in the world can prepare you for ... See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

1 August 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Countdown  »

Box Office

Gross:

SEK 2,722,598 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script called for the Japanese pilot to try to force the F-14 into the water. The pilot who basically did a hammerhead and pulled out real close to the water was Richard "Fox" Farrell (VF-84 XO), now retired. He did kick up quite a bit of seawater and was really pushing the envelope with the Tomcat. WWII ace-in-a-day Archie Donahue was one of the Zero pilots. The Zeroes (converted AT-6 Texans) were flying with the throttle to the stops and the F-14s were flying at stall speed (note wings fully extended in most scenes). That was so they could get both aircraft in the same shot at the same time (remember, no CGI stuff back then!). See more »

Goofs

The Nimitz crew intercepted some radio transmissions from the Japanese Imperial Navy ships. But this would have never happened because the Japanese Imperial Navy kept a very strict radio silence in order to avoid detection before the Pearl Harbor attack. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
F-14 Pilot: [voice over radio] Pearl Tower, Tomcat two-zero-zero. requesting clearance for departure runway zero-nine. Over.
Pearl Harbor Tower: [voice over radio] Two-zero-zero, Pearl Harbor Tower. You are cleared runway oh-niner. Winds zero-four-five at eight. SH-three approaching from the right. Have a nice day.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Danger Zone: The Making of 'Top Gun' (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

I like it even more 18 years later
15 December 2000 | by (planet Earth) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film when I was right out of high school, and I wasn't surprised to see the lobby-card poster hanging in a Navy recruiter's office a few months later when I dropped by. And that's entirely appropriate; the film is, among other things, a love letter to the modern Navy. I mean that as high praise: Where lots of military movies (and plenty of recruiting commercials) overdo the martial aspects of their characters with a gung-ho Sergeant Rock style, the byplay in this movie provided glimpses of the the Navy (and the Marine Corps too, God bless 'em), honestly and simply, as people taking pride in a demanding, sacrificial profession.

To this day I wonder which, if any, sailors and Marines I saw were actual service people. If any were, Don Taylor and his second-unit directorial crew got excellent small performances from them. Here's an example: In a brief scene that probably barely survived the final cut, there's interaction among some sailors: "Christ, Chief, all we wanna know is what's going on," asserts one mildly exasperated rating. "If you need to know, you'll be told," replies the Chief Master-at-Arms curtly. The people who spoke this dialogue definitely weren't Screen Actors Guild types; they looked and sounded pretty much like sailors I've known. And that's a little detail that's done right so seldom that I hardly notice anymore that I'm deliberately overlooking it.

The aerial sequences set a standard that wouldn't be touched until /Top Gun/ hit the screen. To be sure, both movies relied to some extent on stock footage of naval-aviation ops, but as with /Top Gun/, this film's flying was spectacular -- and, in the last of the years before CGI took hold, REAL. (Compare this film's or /Top Gun/'s exteriors of aircraft with, say, /Air Force One/, and you'll see what I mean.

The "name-actor" ensemble of Kirk Douglas et al. performed, perhaps not brilliantly, but serviceably in a film that certainly was more plot-driven than character-focused. The story -- revealed by plenty of other comments here -- though implausible, is still capable of holding one's interest. But after you catch this flick on the tube for the second or third time, pay attention to the enlisted pukes doing their jobs -- to me, they're the real stars.

If it's on the shelf, rent it. If it's on TV again, watch it. At the least, it's an entertaining story. At its best, it's a good study in style and pacing.


33 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Paradox or plot hole? cartwright33
A 'Better' Battle Plan?!? garyw0001
The Cdr. Richard Owens / Mr.Tideman Paradox DigIt
PLEASE REMAKE THIS FILM!!! mdrnpirate
Richard would have had to rapidly age... ninetymin
Watched 'The Final Countdown' a Second Time asbrand1
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