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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (2007)

Spencer Tracy , Van Johnson  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Mitchum
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NTPG6Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,744 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Academy Award-nominated Pete Smith Specialty short "Movie Pests"
  • Vintage Passing Parade short "A Lady Fights Back"
  • Classic cartoon "Bear Raid Warden"
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

First B-25's in training for bombing mission over Japan, under General Jimmy Doolittle's command.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Now that most people know "Pearl Harbor" is a combination of "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," this 1944 film directed by Mergyn LeRoy might get some renewed interest. Dalton Trumbo's screenplay is based on the book by Captain Ted. W. Lawson and Robert Considine, and it is Van Johnson as Lawson who is the main character in this film. Spencer Tracy's role as Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle is basically a supporting part, which, or course, Tracy nails. The film is an exciting and essentially faithful retelling of the famous air raid of Japan that was America's first significant payback for the raid on Pearl Harbor. The film not only has a documentary style, including actual footage of the B-25s taking off from the carrier Hornet, it also uses the real name of the raiders, which is a nice tribute to the members of the Doolittle Raid. Covering both the grueling training as well as the actual raid, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" has the deserved reputation of being one of the most accurate films produced during World War II about the actual war, winning the 1945 Oscar for Best Special Effects. The cast includes Robert Walker, Don DeFore, and a very young Robert Mitchum. If you prefer history to melodrama, then it might be worth your while to do a double-feature of "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" some weekend.
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85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This 1944 film, shot in black and white, is based on a true story. Four months after Pearl Harbor had been bombed, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle devised a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this he had to train army bomber pilots to do something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully loaded bombers from an aircraft carrier. It was a success. And this film is a tribute to those men.
Van Johnson stars as Lieutenant Ted Lawson and he does a great job as the fighter pilot who is sometimes scared, confused and very human. The supporting cast includes Spencer Tracy as Doolittle, and Robert Mitchum, Don Defore, Robert Walker and a dozen other young actors whose names never did become household words. Phyllis Thaxter is cast as Van Johnson's young wife and the romance scenes they have together, complete with background violin music, are the only scenes I found a bit too overdone for modern tastes.
The rest of the film however, was full of action. I can well understand why it won an Academy Award for special effects because it put the audience right there on those little planes along with the men and used newsreel footage to supplement the scenes shot inside the planes. I really learned about the mission and the nature of the training, and felt the authenticity of a film that was actually made in 1944, not just a revisionist historian's interpretation. Here, the slang was real. They got the "dope" on what was going on, found out that everything was "swell" and the women were called "girls". Everyone smoked cigarettes too, a reality the recent politically correct "Pearl Harbor" seemed to ignore.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in history and aviation. You're on board ! April 18, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
April 18, 1942 - April 2002. The Doolittle raid over Japan took place 60 years ago which gives me a reason to write a review of this movie really worth seeing.
Like the book it's faithfully based on, the film is divided in 3 main parts :
1) the training for the raid or how to learn on land to get a heavy B-25 to take off from a carrier knowing you only have one chance to do it : the day of the mission,
2) the bombing raid itself involving 16 planes (if I remember right), and
3) the survival story : how to get back home after crashing in hostile territory : mainland China occupied by Japanese forces (knowing it was impossible to fly back to the carrier and that you couldn't probably have landed on it with a heavy plane like a B-25).
The movie focuses mostly one one crew, the one headed by captain Lawson.
It's interesting in many ways.
First, there's the historical aspect of this first US raid on Japan after Pearl Harbor. One purpose of it was to create a strong psychological impact on the Japanese who used to believe their territory was safe from such an attack (a parallel can be drawn here with what happened in New York on September 11, 2001). Another purpose was to boost the morale of Americans, both that of the civil population and of the military. This dual aim was fully reached.
Other main interesting aspects of the film - and the book - include : the training for the mission, the fact that you see the planes from the inside a great deal of the time, the relationships (between the airmen and their machines, between captain Lawson and his wife, between the pilots and their crews, between the army and the navy and between the Chinese and the Americans), another strong aspect being the struggle to survive.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Wartime, war movie after all September 2, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" is based on the book of the same name, authored by Captain Lawson. The book tells the story of the training, execution and aftermath of the "Doolittle Raid" through the perspective of Lawson (and to a lesser degree, his crew). Lawson never meant the book to be more than a personal retelling of what happened. The movie pretty faithfully follows the book, though some wartime schmaltz is tossed in as well.

The strike itself was in fact designed primarily to raise morale of the homefront and US armed forces, who were taking a pounding in the first 6 months of the war in the Pacific. The success of the raid, made Doolittle-already famous as an air racer in the 30's- and the B25 household words.

This is ironic in the B25's case as it was accepted for production in the 1940-41 "50000 a year" aircraft expansion authorized by President Roosevelt. As a medium bomber it really had no doctrinal role in airpower as conceived by the AAC at the time; it was accepted because it was reasonably quick, had excellent range and was easy to fly. No small advantage, when the average age of the pilots who would take this aircraft into combat was 22.... The aircraft proved one of the most versatile of the war, especially after conversion into an attack aircraft with the bombardier comparment replaced with a solid-nose of guns and cannon. Doolittle basically chose the aircraft for the simple reason they were available (the upper echelon refused to release the B17/B24 "Strategic" Bombers for what may be a suicide mission) and had the range. Only after he saw what the AAC was willing to cough up did the idea for carrier transport come about-contrary to myth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great war movie
I like most all of Spencer Tracy's movies. This is another good one and good war movie.
Published 3 days ago by jillyj
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another of the war movies my father spends hours and hours watching and enjoying.
Published 6 days ago by Patricia Matheson
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a classic World War!! film that ...
This is a classic World War IIfilm that spends the first hour introducing the representative array of airmen chosen shortly after Pearl Harbor for special training to bomb Tokyo as... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Eugene Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 8 days ago by Cathy Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Cast. Good, Old-Fashioned, Patriotic Film.
One of my favorite movies of all time.
Published 9 days ago by Amelia Royce Lumsden
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange Geography!
Let's see - They bombed Tokyo in Japan and had to dump the plane in the ocean on their way to China.
The nearest Chinese landfall from Japan is Shandong in northeast China. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Vimala Nowlis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
MOVIE WAS IN GREAT CONDITION AND COLOR WAS GREAT.
Published 10 days ago by DON HARDISON
5.0 out of 5 stars WW2 Classic Movie.
This movie was produced during the war. No CG here, just real aircraft and great acting by great actors.
Published 12 days ago by K. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It is a great movie and a good story. The purchase was without any problems.
Published 17 days ago by boydm
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Ecxellent Movie - Based upon true WWII events - Thanks
Published 20 days ago by John K. Sorrells
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