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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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1,980 ( 55)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jim
... Basie
... Mrs. Victor
... Dr. Rawlins
... Frank Demarest
... Maxton
Masatô Ibu ... Sgt. Nagata
Emily Richard ... Mary Graham, Jim's mother
Rupert Frazer ... John Graham, Jim's father
Peter Gale ... Mr. Victor
Takatarô Kataoka ... Kamikaze Boy Pilot (as Takatoro Kataoka)
... Dainty
... Tiptree
... Cohen
... 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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El imperio del sol  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Rescue Dawn (2006), 19 years after this film, Christian Bale recounts an incident during World War II in which an American fighter plane on a strafing run flew closely past him with the canopy open, and the pilots looking straight at him, with his goggles up. See more »

Goofs

During the very last shot of Jim's suitcase floating in the river, a rope is visibly tied to its top right corner, leading off the right side of the screen, keeping the suitcase from drifting out of the shot. 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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Connections

Referenced in Broken Bones (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE
Lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin
Performed by Elizabeth Welch
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A masterpiece in every sense of the word
3 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

When I first saw the epic film 'Empire Of The Sun' by the inspirational director Steven Spielberg I became emotionally involved in the story and could not help but shed a tear for the truly remarkable piece of cinema. Christian Bale performs, without question, better than any other actor has in a Hollywood film that is twice his age. As he closes his eyes at the end of the film in one of the most moving scenes I can remember, you see what a simply fantastic job Spielberg has done to bring J. G Ballard's classic book to the screen. Not ever has a film been more inspirational to me whilst following my dream to become a director as this. At the end of it you feel you want to move people when making a film as much as you were moved by this one. Wonderfully acted, beautifully shot - no other film will ever compare to this.


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