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Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  25 December 1987 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 80,901 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 282 user | 55 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Empire of the Sun (1987)

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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jim
...
...
Mrs. Victor
...
Dr. Rawlins
...
...
Maxton
Masatô Ibu ...
Sgt. Nagata
Emily Richard ...
Mary Graham, Jim's mother
Rupert Frazer ...
Peter Gale ...
Mr. Victor
Takatarô Kataoka ...
Kamikaze Boy Pilot (as Takatoro Kataoka)
...
Dainty
David Neidorf ...
Tiptree
...
Cohen
...
Mr. Lockwood
Edit

Storyline

Based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him. Written by Jeff Hansen <jmh@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japanese | british | food | pow | pilot | See All (279) »

Taglines:

To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El imperio del sol  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$22,238,696 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Col. Marshall (Tom Danaher) was a Marine night fighter pilot in the Pacific in WWII and was credited with shooting down the last Japanese bomber of the war. He also flies one of the Japanese "Zeros" in the movie. See more »

Goofs

In the establishing shot of the film's final scene, set in the glasshouse, the top deck of a modern British double-decker bus can be seen moving along behind a wall in the background at top right. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [title card] In 1941 China and Japan had been in a state of undeclared war for four years. A Japanese army of occupation was in control of much of the countryside and many towns and cities. In Shanghai thousands of Westerners, protected by the diplomatic security of the International Settlement, continued to live as they had lived since the British came here in the 19th century and built in the image of their own country... built banking houses, hotels, offices, churches and homes ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in War of the Servers (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE
Lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin
Performed by Elizabeth Welch
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A masterpiece in every sense of the word
3 January 2001 | by (Bognor Regis, England) – See all my reviews

When I first saw the epic film 'Empire Of The Sun' by the inspirational director Steven Spielberg I became emotionally involved in the story and could not help but shed a tear for the truly remarkable piece of cinema. Christian Bale performs, without question, better than any other actor has in a Hollywood film that is twice his age. As he closes his eyes at the end of the film in one of the most moving scenes I can remember, you see what a simply fantastic job Spielberg has done to bring J. G Ballard's classic book to the screen. Not ever has a film been more inspirational to me whilst following my dream to become a director as this. At the end of it you feel you want to move people when making a film as much as you were moved by this one. Wonderfully acted, beautifully shot - no other film will ever compare to this.


58 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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