5.8/10
29,723
238 user 69 critic

1941 (1979)

Trailer
1:47 | Trailer
Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Robert Zemeckis (screenplay), Bob Gale (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dan Aykroyd ... Sgt. Frank Tree
Ned Beatty ... Ward Douglas
John Belushi ... Capt. Wild Bill Kelso
Lorraine Gary ... Joan Douglas
Murray Hamilton ... Claude Crumn
Christopher Lee ... Capt. Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt
Tim Matheson ... Capt. Loomis Birkhead
Toshirô Mifune ... Cmdr. Akiro Mitamura (as Toshiro Mifune)
Warren Oates ... Col. 'Madman' Maddox
Robert Stack ... Maj. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell
Treat Williams ... Cpl. Chuck 'Stretch' Sitarski
Nancy Allen ... Donna Stratton
Lucille Benson ... Gas Mama (Eloise) (as Lucille Bensen)
Jordan Cohen Jordan Cohen ... Macey Douglas (as Jordan Brian)
John Candy ... Pvt. Foley
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Storyline

Hysteria grips California in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. An assorted group of defenders attempt to make the coast defensible against an imagined Japanese invasion, in this big budget, big cast comedy. Members of a Japanese submarine crew scout out the madness, along with a Captain in Germany's Kreigsmarine (Navy). Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comedy Spectacular! See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese | German | Spanish

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night the Japs Attacked See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,701,898, 16 December 1979

Gross USA:

$31,755,742

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,455,742
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Stereo (Todd-AO)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before this movie was released, Steven Spielberg appeared on a radio program with critic Pauline Kael. During a commercial break, Kael and Spielberg were discussing this movie, and Kael told him that he was not going to get off easy with the critics after the massive success, critically and commercially, of his last two movies, Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Kael warned him that they were ready to attack him without mercy if the movie fell even slightly below expectations. Ironically, Kael would be one of the few critics to give this movie a positive review when it was released. See more »

Goofs

When Captain Birkhead and Donna get out of the car, Donna is handcuffed to an MP. Their handcuffs disappear a few minutes later, when the house collapses. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: On December 7, 1941, the Naval Air Arm of the Imperial Japanese Fleet, in a surprise attack, struck the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor and hurtled an unsuspecting America into World War II.
Title Card: American citizens were stunned, shocked and outraged at this treacherous attack. On the West Coast, paranoia gripped the entire population as panic-stricken citizens were convinced that California was the next target of the Imperial Japanese Forces.
Title Card: Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits feature scenes showing cast members screaming. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Blu-ray edition released by Universal in 2015 has a few oddities compared to previous home video versions (likely restoration errors). At about 55 minutes in the long version, 40 in the theatrical version (start of chapter 7), a subtitle for "Hollywood Boulevard, 7:35 p.m." is seen far to the right of center instead of centered like all the others; and in the visual cast credits, Dub Taylor's name is shown in blue instead of white after the flash effect. See more »


Soundtracks

Over There
(uncredited)
Written by George M. Cohan
Performed by Slim Pickens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Expensive and big budgeted comedy about the chaotic events after the bombing of Pearl Harbor
17 April 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A spectacular , sprawling comedy in which hysteria grips California , it is packed with a big cast , entertainment and amusement . Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor . Chaos erupts all over the state in the wake of the bombing , as a family , formed by a father (Ned Beatty) , mother (Lorraine Gary) and sons prepare for an imagined invasion . An assorted misfit group of soldiers (sergeant : Dan Aykroyd , Privates : Treat Williams , John Candy , Frank McRae , among others) attempt to make the coast defensible against an possible Japanese invasion . Crew of a Japanese submarine under command a stiff captain (Toshiro Mifune) scout out the L.A. coast , along with a German officer (Christopher Lee) and they have picked Hollywood as their own target . An Army General (Robert Stack), civilian defenders , deranged Privates , a nutty pilot (John Belushi) and many others all end up on the way of a lost Japanese submarine .

This big budget brought by great Production Companies as Universal and Columbia is starred by an all-star-cast and proved to be the most expensive comedy of all time , 35.000 dollars . This lavish film combines rip-roaring , noisy action , adventure , tongue-in-cheek and lots of action and undisciplined humor . The movie gets entertained and hilarious moments here and there , with some side-splitting situations . This slapstick contains funny scenes , though slowdown and laughters come quickly . The depiction of L.A. in the chaotic after the bombing of Pearl Harbor blends elements of black humor , action and fantasy . However , it contains some flaws , gaps and humorous set-pieces are badly developed . Spielberg here shows he could bomb out the best of them when he made this uneven comedy with regular sense of staging and average pacing , including the silly scenes between Tim Matheson and Nancy Allen . Top-of-the-range star cast who includes veteran secondaries as Toshiro Mifune , Christopher Lee , Elisa Cook Jr , Slim Pickens , Lionel Stander ; furthermore cameos of notorious filmmakers as Samuel Fuller , John Landis and Penny Marshall . Special mention to John Belushi as an absolute disaster pilot , everything he touches turns to ashes . Superbly orchestrated comedy/adventure by the maestro John Williams , as always . Colorful and evocative cinematography by William A Fraker . The picture was nominated for three Oscars but achieved none . In spite of ¨1941¨ was a flop and failed at the box office , very few filmmakers can boast a string of successes as gigantic as Steven Spielberg , an excellent director with his knowledge of the mechanics of cinema gets entertainment and amusement who placed him right at the top of Hollywood tree such as ¨Jaws , Close encounters in third phase , Raiders of the lost ark and its sequels , Empire of the Sun , Purple color , Saving Private Ryan , Munich ¨ and many others .


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