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Empire of the Sun [Blu-ray] (1987)

Christian Bale , John Malkovich , Steven Spielberg  |  PG |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano
  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Writers: Tom Stoppard
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Shapiro
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007KW5N9Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,831 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
220 of 238 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unheralded Masterpiece November 27, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This epic film is the first of Spielberg's World War II trilogy that includes "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." It was made at a time when Spielberg was financially successfully but artistic merit eluded him. That this remarkable piece of filmmaking has been overlooked is no reflection on him; it is the failure of the tastes of critics and the public alike. Spielberg tells a beautiful story of the horrors of war, how families are uprooted and separated, and how the human spirit overcomes adversity. Christian Bale is superb in the film. I cannot comprehend why his career did not soar after the film's release. It was good to see him in the role of Jesus in the recently televised movie on Mary. John Malkovich is his usual fantastic self as a fellow POW who becomes Bale's Long John Silver, a sly comparison to the classic "Treasure Island." The film is beautifully photographed and has a subtle and moving score from Spielberg stalwart John Williams. It is a must for fans of the director and those who appreciate masterful storytelling.
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147 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Classic June 21, 2000
By Matt
Format:VHS Tape
The first time I ever saw this film was just last year when I was 15 years old. I had never even heard about it until I watched the Making of Saving Private Ryan. This documentary played a clip of some of Steven Spielberg's movies set during World War 2.
When I heard the beautiful John Williams' score play on my TV and a boy watching a lone fighter plane soar across the runway, I was immediately captivated and sat in awe as this boy cheered on the fighter plane. I immediately rewound the tape and read the title of this clip: Empire of the Sun.
I quickly ran to my local Blockbuster and rented the movie not even knowing what the film was about and was witnessed to the most amazing film I had ever seen!
The performances were top notch and the performance from the young Christian Bale, who plays the young boy, Jim, forced in a Japanese Intern Camp, is the greatest performance by a child I have ever seen, exceeding that of such names as Henry Thomas (E.T.) and young oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense).
The movie itself is a visual masterpiece with never a dull moment. This movie contains some of the most memorable and beuatiful scenes I have ever seen anywhere. The story itself is full of drama, action, and suspence that captures your heart and never lets go even after the end credits are rolling!
As usual, John Williams delivers with one of his greatest scores ever. The visual effects are astounding and perfectly executed to enhance the storytelling of the movie.
I disagree with some of the negative reviews that plague this underrated epic. Many people before its release expected it to be this huge blockbuster stemming off as an adaptation of a book by the same name.
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132 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Spielberg May 12, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
EMPIRE OF THE SUN is my favorite Spielberg film. It's a close tie with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS ... but EMPIRE is really high on my list. What an outstanding (and underrated) film! I saw it in the theaters in 1987, owned an old video of it for a while, and bought this DVD as soon as it was released. The film, in all of its forms, has stayed with me all these years.
First, Spielberg has a top-notch script from Tom Stoppard (who is surprisingly restrained with the dialogue). The cinematography by Allen Daviau is exquisite (and the transfer to DVD looks outstanding on my widescreen HDTV). The acting -- especially Christian Bale as the main character, Jim -- is great as well. I get tears in my eyes if I just hear one of the EMPIRE OF THE SUN themes from John Williams' score.
THE COLOR PURPLE and EMPIRE OF THE SUN were Spielberg's "stretch" films where he attempted to do more adult work. EMPIRE OF THE SUN is deeply moving. On the surface, its story concerns young Jim and how is separated from his parents and survives a war camp in pre-World War II China. Thematically, Spielberg tells us the story of growing up, losing one's innocence, and learning that people will do anything for a Hershey bar. When Jim throws his suitcase containing all of his boyhood possessions into the river, he makes an important choice in life. And yet Spielberg, who is a sentimentalist, reminds us that after surviving life's hardships we all still need a hug from our mothers.
EMPIRE OF THE SUN is one of Spielberg's best -- if not THE best film he's made. I think it's been overlooked. Please try to see it.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best child acting performance ever. May 9, 2002
Format:DVD
I have been in awe of Haley Joel Osment for a few years now. However, I think I have finally seen a child actor outperform him. Christian Bale was nothing short of flawless in "Empire Of The Sun". In a different actor's hands, this film wouldn't have been nearly as moving and special. However, Bale displays more talent than most seasoned Hollywood actors.
As you probably know, "Empire Of The Sun" is about a young British boy who becomes separated from his parents during WWII and ends up in an internment camp. Being a Spielberg film, the direction and cinematography are, of course, stunning. Great effort was put into making this film appear realistic and it works wonderfully. In fact, this was the first major American film shot in China.
Another strong point of this movie is that it is shown through the eyes of a child. Often, war movies are all too harsh, violent and depressing. "Empire Of The Sun" successfully shows us glimpses of the brutalness of war but it also allows us to keep a constant feeling of hope and determination. That is in no small part due to the talent of Bale. He makes the viewer feel what he feels. There is an amazing amount of passion in his performance.
It's a shame that this is one of Spielberg's least respected efforts. I put off seeing "Empire Of The Sun" for a long time because of the tepid reviews it received. Instead of mediocrity, however, I found a movie filled with inspiration. Please do yourself a favor and see it as well!
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