7.3/10
5,299
57 user 20 critic

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | November 1944 (USA)
In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (screen play), Ted W. Lawson (based on the book) (as Captain Ted W. Lawson) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Ted Lawson
Robert Walker ... David Thatcher
Tim Murdock Tim Murdock ... Dean Davenport
Don DeFore ... Charles McClure
Herbert Gunn Herbert Gunn ... Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
Phyllis Thaxter ... Ellen Lawson
Stephen McNally ... 'Doc' White (as Horace McNally)
Spencer Tracy ... Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle
John R. Reilly John R. Reilly ... 'Shorty' Manch
Robert Mitchum ... Bob Gray
Scott McKay ... Davey Jones
Donald Curtis ... Lieut. Randall
Louis Jean Heydt ... Lieut. Miller
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Don Smith (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
Douglas Cowan ... 'Brick' Holstrom
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Storyline

The amazingly detailed true story of "The Doolittle Raid" based on the personal account by Doolittle Raider Ted Lawson. Stunned by Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats, America needed a victory - badly. To that end, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, a former air racer and stunt pilot, devises a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this, he must train army bomber pilots to do something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully loaded bombers from an aircraft carrier! Remarkable in its accuracy, this movie even uses film footage from the actual raid. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Heart-Warming Romance . . . Stark, Sensational Drama! Thrills! Action! Adventure! ...Ripped From The Heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to melodies representing the flight across the United States, the MGM composer Herbert Stothart quotes the catchy title song from the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical "Oklahoma" in his background score for this 1944 film. One of the 80 fliers in the Doolittle Raid was indeed from Oklahoma. He was Robert J. Stephens, born February 28, 1915, in Hobart, Oklahoma. See more »

Goofs

Immediately after take-off from the Hornet, Lawson puts the RUPTURED DUCK into a left turn as indicated by the actual horizon outside the windshield. However, the Attitude Indicator (Or Artificial Horizon Gyro Instrument) on the instrument panel shows the aircraft in straight and level flight. See more »

Quotes

Bob Gray: [pensively] When I was a kid, I used to dream about going someplace on a ship. Well, here I am!
Ted Lawson: And out there is Japan. My mother had a Jap gardener once. He seemed like a nice little guy.
Bob Gray: You know I don't hate Japs yet. It's a funny thing. I don't like them, but I don't hate them.
Ted Lawson: I guess, I don't either. You get kind of mixed up.
Bob Gray: Yeah.
Ted Lawson: It's hard to figure, yet here we are.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an alternate colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Invasion USA (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You
(1903) (uncredited)
Written by John Lang Sinclair
Sung by the men in the barracks
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User Reviews

 
A brief bombing mission but a long story
6 December 2003 | by Steve-318See all my reviews

One of those made-during-the-war war movies that comes with the customary Frank Capra-like homeland security flag-waving and all of that but this is a good flick that stands the test of time.

Oh, it's cornball and the soldiers make like scouts at jamboree but there's an edge here--perhaps because the outcome of the WWII encounter was still in doubt at the time.

As a movie, though, "30 Seconds" has a lot going for it: romance (Van Johnson-Phyllis Thaxter), buddies (Johnson and a young Robert Mitchum), strong Army-Navy relations, strong American-Chinese relations--and plenty of great character parts played by people like Robert Walker, Spencer Tracy and Don DeFore, later to become George Baxter in TV's "Hazel."

There's nothing dated about the cinematography employed here. When the Ruptured Duck flies over Tokyo, you feel like you're right there in the cockpit and the crew's low-altitude escape to China is nothing less than harrowing.

It may not be a 20-20 account of the Doolittle mission to ramp up U.S. spirits after Pearl Harbor but it's a entertaining film with a lot of heavy hitters along for the ride, people like Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)and director Mervyn LeRoy.

Yes, it's one-part propaganda, one part-chin uplifter but there's a lot more to it and it makes my all-time top 10 war movie list.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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