7.8/10
107,192
318 user 56 critic

Empire of the Sun (1987)

Trailer
1:39 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
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)
Reviews
Popularity
2,230 ( 659)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Munich (2005)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josée Croze
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr
Amistad (1997)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins
War Horse (2011)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor
Always (1989)
Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The spirit of a recently deceased expert pilot mentors a newer pilot while watching him fall in love with the girlfriend that he left behind.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson
1941 (1979)
Action | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Treat Williams
Lincoln (2012)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn
The Terminal (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An Eastern European tourist unexpectedly finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chi McBride
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara
Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins
Edit

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 ... 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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Release Date:

25 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Empire of the Sun See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,314,509, 13 December 1987

Gross USA:

$22,238,696

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,238,696
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Eric Flynn, who plays a British POW, was actually a POW as a child in a Japanese camp. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, Jim is thirteen or fourteen years old , meaning he would be about seventeen or eighteen when World War II ends. Christian Bale, who was 12 when the film was made, barely appears to age, and is still a small boy in 1945. 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 ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Broken Bones (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

SUO GAN
Performed by The Ambrosian Junior Choir
Arranged and conducted by John McCarthy
Soloist James Rainbird
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

ASTOUNDING
13 December 2004 | by NeuroticMovieLoverSee all my reviews

I came across this film while I was flipping through the channels on my t.v. This is truly an astounding film. The inimitable dialogue, the dazzling scenes, and most importantly the profundity of its premise make this film unforgettable and worthy of sycophantic obsession. I was completely enraptured by the brilliant acting. I believe this is Steven Spielberg's most noteworthy film. His other movies pale in comparison to this one. John Malkovich and Christian Bale are incredible as usual, but in this film they bring to life a story of a boy who loses everything due to a country trying to conquer everything. The physical and mental destruction of war and the injurious effects of loneliness are very clichéd themes, but this film conveys them in an incomparable way. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite films, and I suggest that everyone take the time to watch it. It would be exceedingly foolish of one to not watch it.


156 of 216 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 318 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed