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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 72,787 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)

Empire of the Sun (1987) on IMDb 7.8/10

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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

Christian Bale was picked for the role of Jim out of more than 4,000 who auditioned. Steven Spielberg had seen Bale in the miniseries Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986) and Amy Irving, who starred in it, personally recommended Bale to Spielberg, her husband at the time. Spielberg had not thought much of Bale in "Anastasia", but cast him in the role of Jim after he auditioned. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, when Jim encounters the Japanese soldiers in the city as they are gathered for a meal, they are eating dumplings family-style as a group and using long, blunt-ended chopsticks. This would be very unusual for Japanese soldiers and would be more characteristic of Chinese soldiers. Japanese do not normally eat this way and their chopsticks would be pointed. If there is a common bowl of food, Japanese would turn their chopsticks around to transfer the food to their own bowl and then eat it with the narrow end only. 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 Family Guy: Road to Germany (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
Traditional
Arranged and Conducted by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

ASTOUNDING
13 December 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I came across this film while I was flipping through the channels on my t.v. This is truly an astounding film. The inimitable dialogue, the dazzling scenes, and most importantly the profundity of its premise make this film unforgettable and worthy of sycophantic obsession. I was completely enraptured by the brilliant acting. I believe this is Steven Spielberg's most noteworthy film. His other movies pale in comparison to this one. John Malkovich and Christian Bale are incredible as usual, but in this film they bring to life a story of a boy who loses everything due to a country trying to conquer everything. The physical and mental destruction of war and the injurious effects of loneliness are very clichéd themes, but this film conveys them in an incomparable way. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite films, and I suggest that everyone take the time to watch it. It would be exceedingly foolish of one to not watch it.


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