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1941 (1979)

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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 »
Reviews
Popularity
3,262 ( 440)
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 Brian Jordan Brian ... Macey Douglas
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:

As They Roared Into Battle, Only One Thing Was Missing...The Enemy! 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,755,742

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$92,455,742, 31 December 2004
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

Some scenes were so noisy during filming, the crew could not hear Steven Spielberg yell, "Cut". He had to fire a prop machine gun in the air to get the action to stop. See more »

Goofs

When Donna says "You get me up in that plane, then we'll talk about forward thrust," the reflection of her mouth movements in her hand-held makeup mirror don't match her voice. 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

During the closing credits shooting explosions are seen. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released on network television and VHS/DVD/laserdisc is Spielberg's original director's cut, running 146 minutes, fleshing out sub-plots and characterizations, including:
  • Wally and Dennis getting thrown out onto the street by Mr. Malcomb after he fires them from the diner where they work.
  • Miss Fitzroy lecturing a group of women, Betty and Maxine among them, about tonight's USO dance which is interupted by a group of Army service men and Sailors entering and chanting wanting the women.
  • A department store scene with Wally fussing about buying an expensive new zoot suit and Dennis sounding a phoney air-raid siren which leads to panic in the store including a gun-toting Santa Claus yelling out command orders which is revealed to be a set up by Wally who walks out of the store wearing the zoot suit while Dennis meets the twin girls for the first time.
  • A scene with Scioli outside his house arguing with his non-English speaking wife about converting their car into an armored car while talking with Claude about sending him and someone else atop the Santa Monica ferris wheel on a spot mission for Japanese planes.
  • A extra scene with Ito and the I-19 Japanese submarine shore party disguising themselves as Christmas trees in a remote Christmas tree lot and the drunken Hollis Wood trying to "chop" them down which leads to his capture.
  • Scioli arriving at the ferris wheel with Claude and Herbie and explaing to them about their mission in the ferris wheel.
  • A dinner scene at the Douglas home and Ward explaining to Betty about her going to the USO dance and telling her about the pros and cons about meeting servicemen.
  • A barracks scene with Odgen Johnson Jones arriving for the first time at the barracks and imediately quarling with the racist Foley about property lines within their quarters.
  • A scene outside the USO club where Wally arrives and meets with Martinez and his Zoot Suit friends where they are denied access to the club where Corporal Stretch shows up and sets Wally's zoot suit afire which nearly leads to a riot between the Zoot Suiters and the Servicemen. Wally then meets Dennis dressed up as a Marine in order to gain entrance into the club with the twins as his dates.
  • Additional dialoge between Captain Birkhead and Donna in their car on the way to the airstrip and being afraid of the dark.
  • Another barracks scene where Sergeant Tree breaks up a fistfight between Jones and Foley by informing them about the riot on Hollywood Blvd. and showing them climing into their tank and starting it up.
  • A scene of the Japanese submarine I-19 arriving for the first time outside the Douglas house and the sub's entire crew on the deck watching Joan Douglas taking a bath through the bathroom window.
  • A scene of the tank traveling down a residential street and Wally shooting up Officer Miller's police car to pieces, sending the policeman and some paserby's running for their lives.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Crimewave (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Down by the Ohio
Music by Abe Olman (uncredited)
Lyrics by Jack Yellen (uncredited)
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Great Comedy Spoof
2 December 1999 | by VWAdamSee all my reviews

I'll admit, the first time I ever saw this movie, I thought it was kind of dumb, but upon seeing it a couple more times, I had a relevation.

This movie is a wild ride of hysterics concerning a small town on the coast of California. Spielberg pokes a lot of fun at the military throughout this film. It's definitely a movie you have to watch several times and always watch it with a clear mind, don't expect it to be dumb or to be a serious commentary on war, it is neither. It's another of those really good movies that was a box office flop and was panned by the critics. Seems the best films always receive this treatment.


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