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Empire of the Sun (1987)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  25 December 1987 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 72,778 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 278 user | 56 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 & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Mrs. Victor
...
Dr. Rawlins
...
...
Maxton
Masatô Ibu ...
Sgt. Nagata
Emily Richard ...
Mary Graham, Jim's mother
Rupert Frazer ...
John Graham, Jim's father
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 more »

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

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El imperio del sol  »

Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (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

Steven Spielberg had planned a long, continuous shot when Jim was standing on top of the building at the prison camp, watching the American planes bomb the airfields. The shot was very complicated and would require a single take. He gave instructions to Christian Bale to get excited, jump up and down, and run around on the rooftop as the planes passed and the bombs went off. However, Bale became nervous as the stunts began, and didn't do much of anything. Since most of the explosions had been used up on this shot, Spielberg (after having some soft, fatherly words with the young Bale) improvised with several shots from different close-up angles, eventually getting Bale to give a more excited performance. See more »

Goofs

The model airplanes that Jim set on fire are plastic models by AURORA. These models were not released until 1957, some 16 years after the story takes place. 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 »


Soundtracks

Chopin Mazurka Opus 17 No. 4
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Arranged and Conducted by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Another Wonderful Spielberg Creation
13 November 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

it was one of those movies i never expected to watch. it was late, i was bored, and i happened to stumble upon a channel i barely ever watch. and while i sat watching events unfold in front of me, i slowly forgot about my usual program of interest. there is something about this film that truly captivates you and leaves your eyes glued to it every second. Christian bale displays his talents wonderfully in this movie, and the most striking thing to me was his ability to give such a realistic, yet youthful performance. his subtle acts of defiance against authority, his brave expeditions that left older men in awe, the fact that a little boy could irritate a general so much. friendships were forged, even with the enemy and it was by far one of the most astounding movies i've ever seen. it's long, it's good, and if you haven't seen it - do so.


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