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The History Channel Presents: Pearl Harbor (2001)

Laura Verklan  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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The History Channel Presents: Pearl Harbor + National Geographic - Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack + Attack on Pearl Harbor - A Day of Infamy
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Product Details

  • Directors: Laura Verklan
  • Writers: Laura Verklan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2001
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059TO6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,832 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Bonus Program: Military Blunders: Pearl Harbor

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Go beyond the wartime headlines for a revealing, in -depth exploration of World War II's most notorious first strike as experienced by both the Japanese attackers and U.S. forces on the ground. Witness as never before the prelude, onslaught and aftermath of the assault, from Japanese Zero pilots recalling the textbook-perfect execution of their plans, to American servicemen fighting to survive the nightmarish inferno of the battle. With gripping archival combat footage, deeply moving personal accounts and richly detailed historical analysis, it's an unprecedented journey back in time to relive this history-changing day of infamy.

Also included is an inside look at the man who almost single=handedly rebuilt the devastated American Naval fleet in the wake of Pearl Harbor - Admiral Chester Nimitz. Learn how the "Thunder of the Pacific" took the tattered remnants of the Pacific fleet and re-shaped them into the force that ultimately ruled the seas and won the war.

This History Channel production provides an in-depth look at the Japanese attack on the American Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor on the fateful day of December 7, 1941. The documentary begins by providing a background to the eventual conflict in the Pacific, noting how Japan had been waging a war of conquest in China since the early 1930s. As a power struggle with the U.S. loomed on the horizon, the Japanese built a formidable navy marked by an innovative utilization of carrier-based aircraft. Special attention is given to Admiral Yamamoto, who had studied at Harvard and admired America but vigorously planned the assault on America's naval might. The attack on the morning of December 7 is explained tactically, and films shot at Pearl Harbor during the Sunday morning air raid, including shots of the massive explosion triggered by a bomb hit on the battleship USS Arizona, provide dramatic proof of how devastating the attack was. Personal stories of the battle are recalled in interviews with veterans from both sides. Various revisionist theories about how America had warning of the attack and sacrificed Pearl Harbor are quickly dismissed, and a closing segment focuses on Japanese and American veterans who have reconciled at a reunion (and some American vets who would have no part of that). An additional documentary provides a biography of Admiral Chester Nimitz, who rebuilt the U.S. Pacific fleet following Pearl Harbor, and a bonus program features brief biographies of other American commanders in the Pacific. --Robert J. McNamara

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentaries On The Pacific War September 25, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a DVD set which is quite well done, but I find the packaging a bit misleading. There are three DVDs included, only one of which is specifically about Pearl Harbor, the other two are biographies of Douglas MacArthur and Chester Nimitz. Obviously these two figures are crucial to an understanding of the Pacific war, but are really tangential to Pearl Harbor. This was the sole reason that I deducted a star from the package.

The Pearl Harbor DVD is quite well done and combines historical and contemporary footage and interviews with some rather early generation computer graphics to produce a slick and powerful telling of the story of the Pearl Harbor attack and its context in history.

The biography of MacArthur is fascinating. I have always found MacArthur to be a brilliant but arrogant General, and this DVD reinforced that appraisal. This production helped me appreciate some of MacArthur's strengths more than I had before, but also helped me understand the psychological side of him which led to his aloofness and arrogance.

The Nimitz biography is wonderful. I have always regarded Nimitz as the greatest of the Pacific commanders. I think Halsey was the better battlefield commander, but Nimitz was an amazing motivator and organizer, and a great, compassionate man. This DVD made me appreciate Nimitz even more that I previously did, and I think anyone interested in naval history would love it.

In total, this is a very good production, with excellent use of archive and current footage and with insightful interviews. I think anyone interested in World War Two would be thrilled with this set, even if it isn't exclusively about Pearl Harbor.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This is a great documentary. It has all of the information you'd need on the events surrounding the "Day of Infamy." It also has a great look at the real life heroes of the events, and the look at their movie counterparts from the epic summer blockbuster PEARL HARBOR. For World War II historians and movie buffs! Worth the price! Grade: A+
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Familiar Stuff To A History Channel Viewer April 25, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
But without a doubt, worth the money. Pearl Harbor will be big this summer with the release of Ben Afleck's big screen beefcake-fest of the same name, so it might inspire your kids to watch just some of the story behind the Hollywood treatment. Showing that wars don't just happen, it explains the steady build up of a world heading non-stop to global conflict. Seeing pictures of some of the survivors as young men and hearing their stories as told today, both Japanese and American, adds a very touching human element to a story that we all know the ending. Also, spending time on what happened on December 8 and shortly after helps fill in the picture of an isolationist nation thrust in a rage into a war. Disk Two offers a wonderful look at the man that was responsible for hold Japan at bay while America rebuilt in the Pacific, Chester Nimitz. Another bonus program,"America's Five Star Heros" is familiar, but no less enlightening. All in all, a great choice for the history buff.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little misleading May 9, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The first disc in this offering rates five stars for being an absolutely fantastic documentary. However, the second disc is about Admiral Nimitz and not about Pearl Harbor itself. Also, the bonus program offered is not "Blunders Of Pearl Harbor" but something about leaders of the Pacific theater, again, not about Pearl Harbor itself. I wanted a thorough documentary on Pearl Harbor, which I got on disc one. The second disc seems thrown in haphazardly. The item description, however, didn't mention the Nimitz material on the second disc and got the bonus program wrong entirely. I would've liked a more thorough, not to mention accurate, description before making my purchase.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Pearl Harbor Documentary October 27, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This fine documentary produced by The History Channel describes the events leading up to and the attack on Pearl Harbor in vivid detail. Drawing on testimonies of famous World War II historians such as Richard Frank and Donald M. Goldstein (who co-authored Gordon Prange's definitive "At Dawn We Slept"), this documentary brings to life the events of December 7, 1941. The documentary covers the entire Pearl Harbor attack, as well as the diplomatic negotiations between Japan and the United States. Japanese and American survivors give their input as well, from Japanese pilots recalling the textbook-perfect execution of their attack to American servicemen fighting to survive the nightmarish inferno of battle.

I believe that oral history is the best way to learn about history or a specific historical event, and this documentary contains excellent testimonies from both Japanese and American survivors. The Japanese describe what it was like to actually travel all the way across the Pacific undetected to make their attack, while the Americans describe the horrors of battle, from bodily injuries to the death of a friend, or being trapped inside a ship and given up for dead when they were really alive. These testimonies are one of the high points of the documentary.

I was also impressed with the computer generated rendition of the sinking of the U.S.S. Arizona. The graphics are excellent, and I learned a great deal more about the loss of the Arizona from this rendition. For example, the rendition shows that the first bomb that struck the Arizona did relatively little damage, but the second bomb is the one that ultimately destroyed the ship.

Also included in this fine set is a documentary of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
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