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The Final Countdown (1980)

PG  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  1 August 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 15,221 users  
Reviews: 140 user | 45 critic

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



(story), (story), 5 more credits »
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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
Lt. Kajima
Mark Thomas ...
Marine Cpl. Kullman
Harold Bergman ...
Navy Doctor
LCdr. Kaufman


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


On December 7, 1980 --- The nuclear carrier USS Nimitz disappeared in the Pacific...and reappeared December 7, 1941...the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

1 August 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Countdown  »

Box Office


SEK 2,722,598 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lead actor Kirk Douglas' son, Peter Douglas, was the film's producer and the main force behind the movie, his first credit as a producer at age 25, he had been working on the film since he was 23. See more »


When the survivors are picked up out of the water, it is clear that helicopter 736 rescues Senator Samuel Chapman, Laurel Scott, and Charlie while helicopter 733 rescues Simura. These helicopters return to the Nimitz flight deck. The closeup of the side door of the helicopter shows the 6 of 736 in both shots where Chapman, Scott, and Charlie exit the helicopter and then later when Simura exits the helicopter. See more »


[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 »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Guilty Pleasure
5 December 2001 | by (St. Petersburg, FL, USA) – See all my reviews

There are great films ("Citizen Kane," eg), and there are "big films", like "ET" or "Star Wars." Then there are absolute crap films (eg, WAY too-many to list!). I propose another legitimate category: "Guilty Pleasure Films." These are movies that one can see over and over, through countless repetitions on cable and broadcast channels, and enjoy the experience every time.

For example, I have probably seen "Brighton Beach Memoirs" 40 times. I loved it during its first run, and I've loved it each of the 39 times I've seen it on the small screen. No, it's not a great movie, but it's one that brings me pleasure when I watch it. Same with (blush) "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure": the movie's stupid, but it just always entertains me!

Similarly, nobody is going to compare "The Final Countdown" to "2001: A Space Odyssey" as far as absolute quality, but "The Final Countdown" is a classic example of an unabashed "guilty pleasure" movie.

The story is intriguing--what would YOU do if you were commanding a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier full of supersonic jets, etc, when you were transferred through a time-warp (ref: a CHEESY looking laser and smoke effect storm!) to December 6, 1941?? Would you alter history, just to win a battle against those attacking Pearl Harbor? Or would you hold back because you'd change history if you did anything?

Interesting point! Kirk Douglas, as the ship's captain, looks like he's having a ball acting in this, and Martin Sheen does a great job as the "civilian consultant," Mr. Laskey.

No, this movie isn't an Oscar-winner, nor did it really deserve to be. But I'll put it this way. A local independant station showed "The Final Countdown" tonight at the same time TNN was showing "The Godfather 2" uncut.

I spent maybe five minutes on the Oscar-winning Godfather 2. Yes, it is an empirically great film, but I've seen it once before. But with American fighter jets dogfighting 1941 Japanese Zeros, I was FAR more entertained watching "The Final Countdown" for the 10th time!

125 of 139 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Alternate timelines fitzer1
Paradox or plot hole? cartwright33
The Cdr. Richard Owens / Mr.Tideman Paradox DigIt
Richard would have had to rapidly age... ninetymin
UFOs... raketex
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