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The Last War (1961)

Sekai daisensô (original title)
This Japanese film speculates on the events which lead the U.S. and the Soviet Union into a nuclear Armageddon.


Shûe Matsubayashi
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Furankî Sakai ... Mokichi Tamura
Akira Takarada Akira Takarada ... Takano
Yuriko Hoshi Yuriko Hoshi ... Saeko Tamura
Nobuko Otowa ... Oyoshi Tamura
Yumi Shirakawa Yumi Shirakawa ... Teacher
Chishû Ryû
Jerry Itô Jerry Itô ... Watkins
Eijirô Tôno
Sô Yamamura ... Prime Minister
Ken Uehara Ken Uehara
Seizaburô Kawazu
Nobuo Nakamura
Chieko Nakakita
Minoru Takada Minoru Takada
Shigeki Ishida Shigeki Ishida


This Japanese film speculates on the events which lead the U.S. and the Soviet Union into a nuclear Armageddon.

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An important movie to see and share. See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

8 January 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Great World War See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (English dubbed) | (VHS release) (English)

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Early in the film, Saeko says that four H-bombs would destroy Japan. Later images in the Alliance missile control-center shows four targeted areas on the map of Japan. See more »


When Tamura is turning the car around in a U-turn to take his customer back to where he was picked up, he is turning the wheel to the left but the background footage obviously shows the car going right. See more »


Referenced in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting Curio That Overcomes Its Pretentiousness
3 October 2003 | by Eric-62-2See all my reviews

I was fortunate to obtain a widescreen subtitled edition of this 1961 movie, which is really the proper way to see it, devoid of bad English dubbing and rearranged sequences etc. In its original version, there are some great SFX sequences by Japan's master Eiji Tsubaraya, who was responsible for all the Godzilla movies, but rather than shock the viewer for its "graphic" depiction of nuclear war, as the filmmakers hoped to do, they just come across as neat-interesting in the "Armageddon" way of filmmaking that we see today. What makes "The Last War" more entertaining then films of today like "Armageddon" is that the acting is better (at least the Japanese actors), and there's just a greater sense of style in films from this era then what we see today.

Not that the movie is without flaws. The anti-nuclear war message is delivered in a very pretentious fashion, and its depiction of how the war breaks out is, as noted below, totally ludicrous with no context offered as to why tensions are escalating between the "Federation" (i.e. NATO and the US) and the "Alliance" (i.e. the USSR) in the first place. Scenes of the "Federation" and "Alliance" at their military bases are shot in English and feature very bad amateur "actors" mouthing dialogue that no one with a real grasp of the English language would ever have written (the Alliance commander at one point utters a dated exclamation, "Egads!" among other things) We also get that nice coat of whitewashing of Japan's aggressive past as an Imperial power that infests every Toho sci-fi movie that gets on a soapbox about the evils of atomic weapons. And the ending blatantly plagiarizes the ending of "On The Beach" to not good effect.

Still, I recommend owning a copy of this in the original widescreen subtitled format, just as a fascinating curio piece and also the chance to see some great special FX for the day in full splendor. Along with "Gorath" and "The Mysterians" it shows how there was much more to Toho FX movies of the 50s and 60s then just Godzilla and other giant monsters.

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