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Hell in the Pacific (1968)

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director:

John Boorman

Writers:

Alexander Jacobs (screenplay), Eric Bercovici (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lee Marvin ... American Pilot
Toshirô Mifune ... Captain Tsuruhiko Kuroda (as Toshiro Mifune)
Edit

Storyline

During World War II, a shot-down American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain find themselves stranded on the same small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. Following war logic, each time the crafty Japanese devises something useful, he guards it to deny its use to the Yank, who then steals it, its proceeds or the idea and/or ruins it. Yet each gets his chance to kill and/or capture the other, but neither pushes this to the end. After a while of this pointless pestering, they end up joining forces to build and man a raft... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They hunted each other as enemies...they tormented each other as savages...they faced each other as men! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

18 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Infierno en el Pacífico See more »

Filming Locations:

Airai, Babelthuap, Palau See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,150,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,330,000, 31 December 1968

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,230,000, 31 December 1968
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm mag-optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the producers changed the original ending without consulting him, director John Boorman vowed to always retain creative control of his projects from then on. See more »

Quotes

American Pilot: How come you guys don't believe in God?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Released in Panavision 70 (70mm blown up from 35mm Panavision) in Japan. See more »

Connections

Featured in Man vs. Man (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in the Cane Brake
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Lee Marvin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cast Away on Steroids
3 December 2002 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

Isolation in extreme conditions allows for very telling studies of human beings, and potentially unpleasant philosophical conclusions. Marooning a character on an island will get you some dramatic results, and the only way to take it a step further is to maroon that character's worst possible enemy with him. That's what Hell in The Pacific proposes.

This is not Cast Away Meets WWII. For one thing, it has a much tighter focus, completely losing anything beyond the island's horizon. It is admirable in its bloody-minded focus, and, with only two actors to cast, it's hard to imagine how it could have been any more perfect that pitching wild-man extraordinaire Lee Marvin opposite Kurosawa favorite Toshiro Mifune. A genius idea, but one that could have failed with a more conventional approach.

We are introduced to both antagonists in a neutral way, free to prefer which ever one we choose, though that is hardly the point, and director John Boorman makes it both easy and at times hard to sympathise with either in equal measure. Both actors do a fine job, playing mostly emotional and physical roles with great restrain and intelligence.

Boorman's direction is perfect, rejecting excess stylization in favor of a subtle approach, aided by superb photography. You have got to see this at least once, simply because, for all its visceral thrills, it is quite profound without ever trying to be. Because it boasts top performances from two of the last century's greatest leading presences in action cinema. Because, though frustrating at first, the ending is, for once, the smartest one that could have been chosen. Humanity is on trial and the judges choose to be honest and pragmatic, thus delivering something that combines greatness and very thoughtful substance.

We need more films like this!


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