7.5/10
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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:

Writers:

(screen play), (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:
...
...
Tim Murdock ...
Dean Davenport
...
Herbert Gunn ...
Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
...
...
'Doc' White (as Horace McNally)
...
John R. Reilly ...
...
...
Davey Jones
...
Lieut. Randall
...
Lieut. Miller
William 'Bill' Phillips ...
Don Smith (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
...
'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:

Language:

|

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Treinta segundos sobre Tokio  »

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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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's opening prologue states: "One-hundred and thirty-one days after December 7, 1941, a handful of young men, who had never dreamed of glory, struck the first blow at the heart of Japan. This is their true story we tell here". See more »

Goofs

Near the end, a Pilot says he's from Pittsburgh, but no true Pittsburgh person would ever pronounce the Monongahela River as "Monongaheeeeela". See more »

Quotes

'Shorty' Manch: Well feed me corn and watch me grow! How did all this scum get in here?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seinfeld: The Keys (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

There's a Long, Long Trail
(1913) (uncredited)
Music by Zo Elliott
Lyrics by Stoddard King
Played and Sung at the dance by the Airmen and wives
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brief bombing mission but a long story
6 December 2003 | by See 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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