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Empire of the Sun (1987)

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A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Writers:

Tom Stoppard (screenplay), J.G. Ballard (novel)
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Popularity
1,824 ( 166)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... Jim
John Malkovich ... Basie
Miranda Richardson ... Mrs. Victor
Nigel Havers ... Dr. Rawlins
Joe Pantoliano ... Frank Demarest
Leslie Phillips ... Maxton
Masatô Ibu Masatô Ibu ... Sgt. Nagata
Emily Richard Emily Richard ... Mary Graham, Jim's mother
Rupert Frazer Rupert Frazer ... John Graham, Jim's father
Peter Gale Peter Gale ... Mr. Victor
Takatarô Kataoka Takatarô Kataoka ... Kamikaze Boy Pilot (as Takatoro Kataoka)
Ben Stiller ... Dainty
David Neidorf ... Tiptree
Ralph Seymour ... Cohen
Robert Stephens ... Mr. Lockwood
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Storyline

Based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him. Written by Jeff Hansen <jmh@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Release Date:

25 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El imperio del sol See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,314,509, 13 December 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,238,696

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$66,700,000, 31 December 1987
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to some sources, Jean Anderson did not appear in the film. See more »

Goofs

Jim could not have witnessed the atomic bomb explosion in Japan with anything approaching the detail shown in the film. The closest point of the Chinese mainland to Nagasaki is about 475 miles away, and Hiroshima is about 640 miles away. Even with no obstacles, the curvature of the earth would allow him to see nothing more than a brief dim glow on the horizon. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [title card] In 1941 China and Japan had been in a state of undeclared war for four years. A Japanese army of occupation was in control of much of the countryside and many towns and cities. In Shanghai thousands of Westerners, protected by the diplomatic security of the International Settlement, continued to live as they had lived since the British came here in the 19th century and built in the image of their own country... built banking houses, hotels, offices, churches and homes ...
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Soundtracks

SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Written by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr
Performed by Al Bowlly / Mayfair Orchestra / Ronnie Munro
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Another Wonderful Spielberg Creation
13 November 2004 | by slayer_5_By_5See all my reviews

it was one of those movies i never expected to watch. it was late, i was bored, and i happened to stumble upon a channel i barely ever watch. and while i sat watching events unfold in front of me, i slowly forgot about my usual program of interest. there is something about this film that truly captivates you and leaves your eyes glued to it every second. Christian bale displays his talents wonderfully in this movie, and the most striking thing to me was his ability to give such a realistic, yet youthful performance. his subtle acts of defiance against authority, his brave expeditions that left older men in awe, the fact that a little boy could irritate a general so much. friendships were forged, even with the enemy and it was by far one of the most astounding movies i've ever seen. it's long, it's good, and if you haven't seen it - do so.


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