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1941 (Collector's Edition)

4.0 out of 5 stars 470 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Spectacular is certainly the word for this utterly wild comedy epic directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for three Academy Awards. Lavish effects sequences highlight this hilarious, all-star extravaganza set in Los Angeles just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when fear of a Japanese invasion threw the city into a state of Pandemonium. Screwball characters run wild on Hollywood Boulevard as manic servicemen, zealous store owners, teary-eyed girls and bickering Nazis are thrown together in this fast-rising comic souffle that even features a sendup of Spielberg's own Jaws opening.


Watching this director's cut, it's finally possible to see why the studio made Spielberg mercilessly hack up this comedy: it's a screaming movie (everyone screams a lot), and screaming movies do not need character development. So all those character-development scenes hit the cutting-room floor and, surprise, they were all critical to Spielberg's pace for the humor in this film. The screaming wasn't that funny then--and it still isn't--but what is funny are the reinserted development scenes, showcasing the now-evident sense of hysteria in the Los Angeles community, post-Pearl Harbor. A bunch of certified nitwits, and a few certified lunatics, act as if Tojo Hideki's entire Imperial force is just off the mainland. Actually, one Japanese submarine is, and it helps fuel the frenzy. John Belushi is Wild Bill Kelso, an insane fighter pilot, and Dan Aykroyd plays a conciliatory tank commander. Robert Stack's performance as General Stilwell, one of the best of the film, finally makes sense. Also fun for the numerous cameos, Spielberg's inside jokes, and John Williams's great score. --Keith Simanton

Special Features

  • The Making of 1941
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Production Photographs
  • 1941 Comic Relief
  • The Marketing of 1941
  • The Reviews
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Lorraine Gary, Christopher Lee, Ned Beatty
    • Directors: Steven Spielberg
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: March 23, 1999
    • Run Time: 146 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (470 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 0783231032
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,210 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "1941 (Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By A Customer on April 15, 2000
    Format: DVD
    Since 1941 is one of my all-time favorite movies,it was with great anticipation that I purchased the DVD. The supplemental material is exhaustive and fascinating, well worth the price of the DVD alone, but I was extremely disappointed in the sound and picture quality. Having seen 1941 in it's previous incarnations on VHS and laserdisc, I was eagerly looking forward to seeing how it looked on DVD. While the picture quality is somewhat improved over the laserdisc (slightly sharper picture and brighter colors) the overall look of the film is still hazy and washed-out (although, having viewed the 'making of' documentary, I discovered that Spielberg and his cinematographer may have intentionally been going for that look, since they used a lot of smoke throughout filming, to give it a feeling of having stepped back in time to another era.) As for the sound quality, this is where I was most disappointed. The laserdisc was THX certified, and the sound effects and music score had a nice, expansive quality to them to which the DVD cannot hold a candle. As for the movie itself, what can I say that hasn't already been beaten into the ground over the past 21 years? I agree that the movie really isn't that funny. What I enjoy so much about this movie, and I think most people who like this movie will agree with me, is how brilliantly crafted the movie is. Everything---the sets, the costumes, the special effects, the editing, the score---is first-rate. The film is consistently dazzling to look at. And to see most of Los Angeles get demolished in such a spectacular way---well, call me crazy, but I get a vicarious thrill out of it it all. Best scenes: the dogfight over Hollywood Blvd.Read more ›
    Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    This 1979 WWII comedy spectacle bombed when it first released but its not as bad as its reputation suggests. Steven Spielberg's direction in this movie can be compared to some of the type of direction of today's big budget films (i.e Armageddon). The movie is noteworthy for the fact that it boasts an all-star cast including Tishiro Mifune, Christopher Lee (as a German officer on board the Japanese sub as a guest), stars from SNL, Second City, and stars from tv sitcoms of the 1970's. Also, it's one of the few movies John Belushi did before his untimely death. There are a lot of people screaming, great special effects and stunts, and some outrageous characters. The plot is mainly about a Japanese submarine that is off course, arriving in the L.A. harbor, and causing hysteria among the L.A residences. With that, there are related subplots such as Belushi's Wild Bill Kelso flying an airplane to L.A. and Ned Beatty's Ward Douglas receiving an anti-aircraft gun from the army to be placed on his beachfront backyard. Some standout supporting performances from Bobby Di Cicco as Wally Stephens, an unlisted man whose only joy is to dance in his zoot suit, and Dianne Kay (from TV's EIGHT IS ENOUGH) as his girlfriend. These two (along with Robert Stack as General Stillwell) are the "calm in the hurricane" or the only sane people in this movie. The rest are all too cartoony and over the top. This is the type of movie to watch as background noise if you are doing other things like writing your bills, doing your homework, or surfing the net. You can look up occasionally to catch something for a chuckle or two.
    Note: Back in 1979, Dan Ackroyed must have been embarassed by this movie. In movie ads and posters released after this film, his face is removed from the original movie poster and replaced with someone else's face.
    2 Comments 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    The reverential tone Steven Spielberg has taken lately with World War II as evident in "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan" (in addition to the 1987 boys' adventure "Empire Of The Sun") is nowhere to be found in this largely panned yet outrageously entertaining screwball comedy that would have done Blake Edwards proud.

    Based loosely on events that actually occurred stateside during World War II (specifically the sighting of a Japanese submarine off the coast of California and the infamous "zoot suit riots" among day-glo dressed street hoods and servicemen), this movie pays tribute to the paranoia that gripped the West Coast in the days following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Notoriously overbudget, this film was considered the "Waterworld" of its day, with the obvious difference being that it took itself not the least bit seriously. It was Spielberg's much-expected flop in the wake of "Jaws" and "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind"...but did it deserve to be?

    An able cast of comedic talent headlined by the incomparable John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd with up-and-coming SCTV alumnus John Candy and recent "Animal House" veteran Tim Matheson supported ably by character actors Ned Beatty, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, and Lorraine Gary and all-time good ol' boy Slim Pickens on one side...and veteran Hammer Films horror star Christopher Lee slumming with Akira Kurosawa's number-one samurai Toshiro Mifune and the crew of a Japanese submarine with faulty navigational equipment on the other.

    It is an all-star cast performing well up to its own high standard in what would be the most unusual twist on war since "Hogan's Heroes"...
    Read more ›
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