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Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970

G CC
Available on Prime

Events from the American and Japanese perspectives leading up to and including the Japanese aerial attack on the U.S. Naval base in pearl harbor on December 7, 1941.

Starring:
Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura
Runtime:
2 hours, 24 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I first saw Tora! Tora! Tora! (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! in Japanese) in 1974, when I was 20 years old on Atlanta's Channel Two. As strange as this may sound, I have always liked movies about World War II. My stepfather had served in the Navy during the war and in fact he had joined the service shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which is the subject of this 2 hour and 25 minute-long Japanese-American 1970 production.
This movie was directed by several directors including Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasuka, but the American version (yes, there is a Japanese version) gives the credit to veteran director Richard Fleischer. Based on Gordon W. Prange's "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and Ladislas Farago's "The Broken Seal", the film accurately depicts the events on both sides of the Pacific leading up to the stunning attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet on Sunday, December 7, 1941.
Even though it covers an 18-month period between Admiral Yamamoto's (Soh Yamamura) initial planning for Operation Hawaii and the attack itself, Tora! Tora! Tora! (the title refers to the code used to inform the Japanese that the Americans had been caught by surprise) never drags or seems dull. I learned, for instance, that Japanese Ambassador Nomura was a skilled and honorable diplomat who did not know what his country's military leaders were planning, and that he hoped to avoid war. I was also stunned by how General Walter C. Short (Jason Robards) was so preoccupied by the threat of sabotage from Hawaii's 125,000 Japanese inhabitants that he foolishly parked all the bombers and fighters in Hickam and Wheeler Fields in neat rows, supposedly to make them easier to guard but actually making them sitting ducks.
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Format: DVD
I'm not a big war-movie buff any more (THE SEARCH FOR PRIVATE RYAN cured me) but this is a worthwhile film if you have an interest in WWII. TORA! TORA! TORA! is a documentary-type film. Think of it as a Stephen Ambrose book recorded live. The film is neither a glorified fifties war-film (IN HARMS WAY, BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEA), nor is it a Viet Nam noir-war film (PLATOON, THE DEER HUNTER). (Neither of which are particularly authentic.)
TORA! TORA! TORA! recreates war from the perspective of news correspondent-participant-observer. The story is presented from both the Japanese and American viewpoints and it is presented like a History Channel film.
It took the film crew several months to film TORA! TORA! TORA! I was living in Navy housing on Pearl Harbor at the time and a number of our friends and acquaintences found part-time jobs acting in the film. "Real" military pilots in-between rounds in Viet Nam flew some of the planes (this was 1969).
Much of the architecture in Honolulu was vintage WWII era or earlier and the rest of the island was relatively unchanged from the 1940s. The terrain looked very much as it had when my father-in-law passed through on his way to Guadalcanel and later Iwo Jima.
I cannot tell you the names of the aircraft (my husband could) but I was told that they used real aircraft from the period including the P40s the U.S. flew and the captured Zeros the Japanese flew. We drove up to Schoffield Barracks to look at the old airplanes lined up row on row. During the filming, one of these old planes crashed in a sugar cane field and burned up before the pilot could be rescued.
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Format: Blu-ray
I feel that the release by 20th Century Fox of the Japanese cinema version of Tora! Tora! Tora! on Blu-ray and with an additional ten minutes of Japanese produced scenes warrants further attention directed largely at its historical content. The Blu-ray is noticeably darker and the grain heavier in scenes such as the Japanese aircraft launch from the flagship Akagi in the pre-dawn of December 7.

Tora! Tora! Tora! is a gripping and mostly accurate account of Japan's treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and the events that preceded it. Fox intended that the film would be both historically accurate and balanced. To achieve that balance, Fox arranged for American and Japanese producers and directors to film their accounts of the Japanese attack independently and then blended both accounts into one story. For greater realism, Fox wisely chose to exclude top film stars, such as Charlton Heston or John Wayne, and selected a cast of fine character actors for the American and Japanese roles in the film. The American account appears to have been largely drawn from Professor Gordon W. Prange's authoritative history "At Dawn we slept" and does not shy away from depicting the succession of blunders that should have alerted the American armed forces in Hawaii to the approaching danger.

The logistical problems facing the producers were very challenging. When the film was being made in 1970, computer generated images (CGI) had not been invented. No Japanese aircraft dating from 1941 were available except in museums. So Fox converted American Vultee BT-13 and North American AT-6 Texan basic trainers to look like Zeros, Aichi "Val" dive-bombers, and Nakajima Navy Type 97 "Kate" level and torpedo bombers.
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23 Comments 183 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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