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The Battle of Midway (1942)

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.


John Ford (as Lt. Cmdr. John Ford U.S.N.R.)
Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Narrator (voice)
Jane Darwell ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Logan Ramsey Logan Ramsey ... Self
James Roosevelt James Roosevelt ... Self - US Army Major (as Major Roosevelt)


On June 4-6, 1942, a large Japanese force attempted to capture Midway Island in the North Pacific, but was defeated by U.S. forces with a loss ratio of 4:1 in favor of the Americans. On hand was a crew of naval photographers directed by John Ford; their documentary footage was edited together with narration by Hollywood actors. The film covers the attack on Midway, some limited aerial footage, the search for survivors, and aftermath of the battle. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short | War


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This short is featured on Fox's 2007 DVD for Becoming John Ford (2007), along with some additional footage shot for the short. See more »


Narrator: Why that's young Will Kenny. He's from my hometown - Springfield, Ohio. He's not going to fly that great big bomber?
Narrator: Why yes, ma'am. That's his job. He's a skipper.
See more »


Featured in Five Came Back: The Price of Victory (2017) See more »


America, My Country Tis of Thee
(1832) (uncredited)
Music by Lowell Mason, based on the Music by Henry Carey from "God Save the King" (1744)
Words by Samuel F. Smith
Played in the score and later sung by an offscreen chorus
See more »

User Reviews

Actual combat documentary during WW II
10 July 2018 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

This documentary, "The Battle of Midway," is a short film shot during the actual combat on June 4, 1942. The Battle lasted from June 3 to June 7, but the air attack on Midway Island was on June 4. This shows the bombing of the U.S. airfield and positions on Midway. It also shows the defenders in action, and one Japanese plane trailing smoke after it was hit by ground fire.

What is most striking about this film is the concussion of the actual bombs, which have a horizontal spreading impact with huge destruction. What one sees in most movies in which battle scenes are staged, is ground explosions that blow up laterally and dissipate in the air with much less near damage.

Hollywood's John Ford was a Navy officer who directed this and other films for the Navy during WW II. Henry Fonda is the principal narrator. There isn't much by way of aerial combat or Japanese aircraft pictured here. Other Armed Forces photography would capture that. But this documentary earns its stars for the men who shot the film while under heavy enemy fire.

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Release Date:

14 September 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Batalha de Midway See more »

Filming Locations:

Midway Islands

Company Credits

Production Co:

United States Navy See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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