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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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2,501 ( 819)
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

Show more on  »

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

The film received six Oscar nominations, but lost all of them to The Last Emperor (1987). 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 Alien Autopsy: (Fact or Fiction?) (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
Traditional
Arranged and Conducted by John Williams
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant and Amazing
9 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

Empire of the Sun is about a wealthy British boy living in British controlled states of China during WW2. He is torn from his parents and placed in a camp for British citizens. He tries to find a way to connect the good of his old life to the good life in the camp and a life filled with war, but finds that no matter what there is no good out of war. This is an amazingly underrated film that should be watched by a mature, attentive person. This film is laced with compassion and power put in one. A must see for war buffs (or for Spielberg buffs). No matter what even if you hate this film, you will have a favorite part. One of Spielberg greatest films ever made (personally his greatest). 10/10


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