The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
9 user 2 critic

A Quality of Mercy 

Hot shot new Lieutanant Katell tries to make his mark on the last day of World War II in the Pacific and gets a unique perspective on his actions.


Buzz Kulik


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Sam Rolfe (based on an idea by) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
Dean Stockwell ... Lt. Katell / Lt. Yamuri
Albert Salmi ... Sgt. Causarano
Rayford Barnes ... Andrew Watkins
Ralph Votrian ... Hanachek
Leonard Nimoy ... Hansen
Dale Ishimoto ... Sgt. Yamazaki
Jerry Fujikawa ... Japanese Captain (as J.H. Fujikawa)


On August 6, 1945 - the last day of World War II - a forward platoon acting as artillery spotters get an eager and aggressive Lieutenant Katell. The artillery has been unable to dislodge a Japanese unit from a cave and Katell decides that the unit is going to attack. He suddenly finds himself in 1942 however, leading a Japanese unit that is about to attack Americans who are holed up in a cave. He looks into a mirror of sorts when his Japanese superior orders destroy the American stronghold. When he flashes back to 1945, he has second thoughts about the attack. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

29 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Quality of Mercy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dean Stockwell had to drop out of The Twilight Zone: The Purple Testament (1960) due to scheduling conflicts. Two years later, he starred in this episode. Both stories are about American soldiers who have supernatural visions during the Pacific War in 1945, and both have William Shakespeare quotes as titles. See more »


When the Lieutenant first raises his binoculars to see the Japanese position, he hits the binoculars on his helmet. This is scripted. It's supposed to show that the Lieutenant is new to the battlefield. Although he acts tough and bloodthirsty, he is still new to being out in the field. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: 'The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.' Shakespeare, the Merchant of Venice, but applicable to any moment in time, to any group of soldiery, to any nation on the face of the Earth - or, as in this case, to The Twilight Zone.
See more »


Referenced in Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wasn't this done in the movie?
2 August 2018 | by ericstevensonSee all my reviews

The 1983 Twilight Zone movie featured one entirely new segment and it was actually kind of like this. This has a guy fighting in World War II getting ready to kill the Japanese. He's fairly racist. He then switches places with a Japanese soldier. I really don't know why they had it set back to 1942. Well, I guess it doesn't make much difference in the long run.

Interestingly enough, the segment from the movie became infamous because it actually killed three actors. It didn't show the guy literally changing, at least not to the audience. The moral is kind of too basic. It's still well acted. It's always fun to look at the actors in an anthology series. It's fine for what it is. ***

0 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to 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 all our 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