7.5/10
4,713
52 user 16 critic

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

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 »
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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 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:

M-G-M's Great Thrill Romance See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Treinta segundos sobre Tokio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,297,000, 31 December 1944

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,200,000, 31 December 1944
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature film debuts of Tim Murdock, Scott McKay and John R. Reilly. See more »

Goofs

When Lawson's plane lifts off the carrier deck, they immediate raise the landing gear; Several seconds later, when viewed from the side, the gear raises again. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle: [addressing the flight crews assembled in the USS Hornet's briefing room] Lieut. Jurika has detailed maps and pictures of cities and specified targets. Mr. Jurika spent a great many years in Japan. I think it might be a good idea if he gave you some idea of what kind of people you're going to run up against in case you're forced down. Mr. Jurika.
Lieut. Jurika: [Lieut. Jurika gets up and addresses the men] I was assistant Naval attaché at our embassy in Japan, long enough to learn a few things about the Orient.
Bob Gray:
Lieut. Jurika:
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an alternate colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Chattanooga Choo Choo
(1941) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Played on radio in the barracks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best WWII films made and it's true.
25 August 1999 | by Yayo-3See all my reviews

I think this film is one of the best WWII films (if not the best) made during the war. The principal reason is that it's true and based on the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan on April 18, 1942. The movie follows the lives of a few of the members of that raid and focuses specifically on the experiences of Lt. Ted Lawson, who wrote the book. While a few of the stateside scenes are a bit corny and mushy, it nicely weaves in the story of one flyer and his wife and the way they handle their impending separation due to the upcoming mission. One needs to remember the need to portray and establish patriotism and an "apple pie and mom" sense during a difficult wartime environment when the film was released in 1944. In fact, just as the Doolittle Raid was carried out to bolster flagging US morale after Pearl Harbor (Dec 7, 1941)and a series of US and allied losses in the Pacific war in early 1942, this movie of the raid again plays the role of morale booster for the home front in 1944. The flying scenes, as well as the special effects, are pretty good for the 1940's movie making era and perfect for most WWII aviation buffs. This Hollywood movie version of the book of the same name written by Lt. Ted Lawson and edited by Robert Considine is fairly true to the book, with very minor changes for story continuity and some levity. Spencer Tracy does a good job as Lt. Col. Jimmie Doolittle and adds the needed seriousness to the early part of the film. Van Johnson's role of Lt. Ted Lawson was perfectly played and Phyllis Thaxter as his wife is charming. The story of the early part of their marriage adds the right tone to this movie and sort of personifies all of these types of marriages and relationships that were "put on hold" because of a war. The movie turns quite serious, of course, once the raid begins. The underlying story is quite serious and relates the story of a group of flyers who volunteered for an extremely dangerous mission without even knowing what the mission is. I think this is one of the main attractions of this movie for me...that someone is willing to sacrifice their life for their country when asked to possibly do just that. It is selfish acts like this that we in the US should continue to recognize and to be eternally grateful to those of the WWII generation such as those who took part in this famous and unique event in US aviation history.


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