Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

The bombing of Pearl Harbor is presented from the perspectives of both the Japanese and American sides, with the first half of the film showing the collapse of diplomacy between the nations as tensions rise.

While the Japanese military plans its attack on American military installations, the American forces – due to a series of blunders – leaves the naval and air forces sitting ducks for the impending attack. The second half of the movie is the devastating battle itself.

Despite audiences knowing the result of the build-up towards Pearl Harbor, the tension that leads up to it is palpable and the climactic 30-minute battle, a massive feat of cinematic engineering, still excites as well as surprises.


What makes this epic war film stand out from previous chronicles of World War II is that Tora! Tora! Tora! was an American-Japanese co-production giving an equitable view of the historic battle.

Reportedly costing $25 million the complicated production was overseen by Richard Fleischer, who had to work with two Japanese directors after Akira Kurosawa withdrew from the film, to turn the story, with dozens of characters, into a coherent whole.

It’s a lavish production, and its extravagance pays unexpected dividends in scenes of awesome logistical beauty. In one, an endless supply of fighter planes is seen swarming over the idyllic Hawaiian countryside as field workers go about their chores. In another, there is a shot of a secluded bright yellow civilian training plane in which a lady instructor is giving a flying lesson. She and her neophyte are gradually engulfed in a sea of Japanese pilots in lustreless brown warplanes. It is a bizarre scene.

Admiral Husband E Kimmel
Martin Balsam
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
So Yamamura
General Walter C Short
Jason Robards
Henry L Stimson
Joseph Cotten
Commander Minoru Genda
Tatsuya Mihashi
Lt Col Rufus S Bratton
E G Marshall
Lt Com Fuchida
Takahiro Tamura
Admiral William F Halsey
James Whitmore
Admiral Chuichi Nagumo
Eijiro Tono
Lt Com Alvin D Kramer
Wesley Addy
Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura
Shogo Shimada
Lieutenant Commander Thomas
Frank Aletter

Richard Fleischer
Toshio Masuda
Kinji Fukasaku