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This dramatic retelling of the Pearl Harbor attack details everything in the days that led up to that tragic moment in American history. As United States and Japanese relations strain over the U.S. embargo of raw materials, Air Staff Officer Minoru Genda (Tatsuya Mihashi) plans the preemptive strike against the United States. Although American intelligence agencies intercept Japanese communications hinting at the attack, they are unwilling to believe such a strike could ever occur on U.S. soil.Written by
Producer Elmo Williams wanted to make the film as historically accurate as possible. After he put together an initial script, he sought out Professor Gordon W. Prange, regarded as the foremost authority on the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of Dr. Prange's books, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" had been a huge bestseller in Japan, and provided source material for this film. Williams asked Dr. Prange to check the script scene by scene for accuracy. Prange made numerous corrections and suggestions. See more »
When Adm. Kimmel arrives at headquarters during the attack, two officers exit the building and casually walk away. No one would've been walking casually that morning. See more »
For the U.S. version, the next to last of the main credits reads "Japanese Sequences Directed by Toshio Masuda Kinji Fukasaku" and the last credit reads, "Directed by Richard Fleischer." For the version released in Japan, the next to last credit reads, "American Sequences Directed by Richard Fleischer" and the final credit reads, "Directed by Toshio Masuda Kinji Fukasaku." See more »
The Japanese release runs roughly ten minutes longer and contains two sequences not included in other versions: Admiral Yamamoto visiting the Imperial Palace and talking with Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Kido, and a comical scene between two cooks about the carrier Akagi that explains how the International Date Line works. Also, for obvious reasons, the Japanese characters' dialogue is not given on-screen English subtitles. See more »
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the cocktail party on Saturday night, Dec. 6. See more »
"I fear we have only awakened a sleeping giant..."
I just finished reading a great book on the history of Japan in the Second World War, "Rising Sun" by John Toland, and decided to watch Tora! Tora! Tora! again.
This is a great movie and immaculately accurate down to the last detail, such as how the Japanese trained for the attack on Pearl Harbor at Kagoshima City on Ryukyu Island. The book describes how the pilots in crews of three, zoomed down over the mountains behind the city, over the pier, and dropped torpedoes at a breakwater 300 yards away. The movie had all these details. Throughout, it was accurate even down to the exact wording of communications and quotes from the various people involved.
I loved how the Japanese directed the Japanese parts and vice versa for the Americans. It really told both sides of the story.
Technically as a film though, it has limitations. Some of the models used are kind of cheesy, but some are actually pretty good. But hey, it was 1970, this is before Star Wars even. And a lot of the acting is pretty wooden.
If you're looking for great special effects, and not much substance, see Pearl Harbor. If you're interested in the story, the "why", and figures involved in this historic event, definitely see Tora! Tora! Tora!.
Better yet, read the book I referenced above - it won the Pulitzer Prize and you won't be able to put it down - and you will be spellbound by this movie knowing all the background and reasons for the Japanese attack, and all the details about the characters.
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