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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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2,494 ( 33)
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

Mark Rylance was offered a part, but took a stage role instead. He would work with Steven Spielberg over 25 years later, in Bridge of Spies (2015). See more »

Goofs

When Jamie first approaches the crashed Zero at the costume party, the rudder on the tail is straight. When his model plane disappears over the hill and he gets out and goes after it, the rudder on the Zero is all the way to the left. Between those shots, he is sitting in the wrecked aircraft playing with the controls. He could have pressed the rudder pedals. 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 Brief Film Reviews: My DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

THESE FOOLISH THINGS
Lyrics by by Eric Maschwitz and music by Jack Strachey
Performed by Elizabeth Welch
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Another Wonderful Spielberg Creation
13 November 2004 | by See 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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