6.7/10
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177 user 63 critic

The Final Countdown (1980)

PG | | Action, Sci-Fi | 1 August 1980 (USA)
Trailer
3:14 | Trailer
A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Director:

Don Taylor

Writers:

Thomas Hunter (story), Peter Powell (story) | 5 more credits »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Capt. Matthew Yelland
Martin Sheen ... Warren Lasky
Katharine Ross ... Laurel Scott
James Farentino ... Cdr. Richard Owens / Mr.Tideman
Ron O'Neal ... Cdr. Dan Thurman
Charles Durning ... Sen. Samuel Chapman
Victor Mohica ... Black Cloud
James Coleman James Coleman ... Lt. Perry (as James C. Lawrence)
Soon-Tek Oh ... Simura (as Soon-Teck Oh)
Joe Lowry Joe Lowry ... Cdr. Damon
Alvin Ing ... Lt. Kajima
Mark Thomas Mark Thomas ... Marine Cpl. Kullman
Harold Bergman Harold Bergman ... Bellman
Dan Fitzgerald ... Navy Doctor
Lloyd Kaufman ... LCdr. Kaufman
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Storyline

In 1980, an assistant in the Department of Defense Warren Lasky is assigned by his mysterious chief Richard Tideman to visit the aircraft carrier USS Nimtz commanded by Capt. Matthew Yelland as an observer of the routines. Lasky finds that Wing Commander Richard T. Owens has a great knowledge of history. Out of the blue, the vessel faces a weird storm and they find that they have traveled back in time to the eve of the attack of Pearl Harbor on 06 December 1941. When the two Japanese Zeros attack the motorboat of Senator Samuel Chapman, the crew of the Nimitz rescues the senator and his assistant Laurel Scott. But sooner Lasky learns that the senator had disappeared on that day and Capt. Matthew Yelland is planning to attack the Japanese. Will these actions create a time paradox? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

On December 7, 1980 --- The nuclear carrier USS Nimitz disappeared in the Pacific...and reappeared December 7, 1941...the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Independently made but distributed theatrically in 1980 by United Artists, this film was given a VHS & Betamax home rental release around 1983 by Warner Bros (distributing on behalf of UA). Sometime after that the distribution rights must have elapsed as the film turned up as a budget DVD release on a low budget independent label in the early 2000s but the transfer was off a poor quality source (possibly either a videotape or a 16mm film print). However a few years later this seems to have been rectified as in the years since independent cult film specialists have released a high definition Blu-Ray DVD apparently based on a pristine 35mm (possibly 70mm) film print. See more »

Goofs

Commander Owens gets onboard the helicopter to take Senator Chapman to the deserted island. The next scene he is still on the ship watching the captain's announcement about the time shift. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
F-14 Pilot: [voice over radio] Pearl Tower, Tomcat two-zero-zero. requesting clearance for departure runway zero-nine. Over.
Pearl Harbor Tower: [voice over radio] Two-zero-zero, Pearl Harbor Tower. You are cleared runway oh-niner. Winds zero-four-five at eight. SH-three approaching from the right. Have a nice day.
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Alternate Versions

Norwegian cinema version was cut by some seconds to get a 12 rating. See more »

Connections

Featured in Starring the Jolly Rogers (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

You Made Me Love You
(uncredited)
Written by James V. Monaco and Joseph McCarthy
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User Reviews

 
All-timer great movie, fantastic flying, top acting, themes for men & women
17 March 2000 | by dc747See all my reviews

This film is one of the great ones. Having served on an aircraft carrier for 2.5 years, I'm familiar with aircraft carrier excitement. But the movie was more than just wonderful shots of the U.S. Nimitz. The cast was top drawer, and their acting was as good as it gets. Standing above all the great performances was a Japanese actor portraying a shot-down, highly competent, captured Japanese Zero pilot. While racism understandably raises its ugly head during wartime, with epithets and insults hurled in both directions, in fact this Japanese actor portrayed a Japanese warrior at his finest--someone whom Japanese viewers would be proud of. Played equally well were American military personnel, including some Marines. One of the candid themes of the movie is the tragedy of such fine people going to war against each other, whatever their race.

The film is undeniably top drawer, far more mature than than "Top Gun," with even better flying scenes. So I've often wondered why it isn't widely known and not kept in stock in widescreen format. Perhaps the answer is today's wimpy trend towards "politically correct" dialog. In one scene, Kirk Douglas refers to the captured Japanese pilot as a "yellow bastard." In the video version, this was sanitized. However, sanitized or not, the original racial comment, by itself, may have doomed the film from greater video distribution.

I saw the film when it came out in wide-screen format and saw it several times before it left town. Thereafter, the only other versions available in video were "fit-to-TV-screen" size. That was tragic! Though still exciting in "box" format, the widescreen original was breathtaking. I cannot imagine why producers haven't released this in DVD in original wide-screen format. It makes a huge difference with this film! (Aircraft carriers are huge!)

One interesting comment to add about the F-14 flying scenes. I was awed by one particular F-14 maneuver, which I didn't think airplanes were capable of doing. A couple of years later, I talked with a Navy fighter pilot and brought this up. He was very familiar with that scene and personally knew the pilot who flew the F-14 in the movie. He told me that the F-14 almost crashed in that scene, stalling while trying to fly too slow, diving for the ocean to pick up speed, and barely recovering just above the wave tops. This near-accident was caught on film and added immensely to the exhibition of flying skill. An exception had been granted to the Navy's policy of not allowing "dissimilar aircraft" to fly together in movie scenes. The result of that granted exception was almost the loss of an F-14.

This is an incredibly good drama. I found that the various twists and turns, and particularly the call-it-off ending, all contributed to the drama and moral dilemmas. This is a fine, great movie. Like others who commented here, it seems tragic that this film is not available in widescreen DVD format. Everyone I've shown it to loves it, male and female. Feminism and romance are included, along with a collie dog for the kids.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese | Russian

Release Date:

1 August 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Final Countdown See more »

Filming Locations:

USS Kitty Hawk See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,647,800

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,647,800
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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