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TORA! TORA! TORA! - Blu-ray review

Blu-ray Review


Directed by: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda Cast: Jason Robards, Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Takahiro Tamura Running Time: 2 hr 25 min Rating: G Due Out: December 6, 2011

PLOT: The story of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor is told from the point of view of both sides of the conflict.

WHO'S IT FOR? War buffs, your Dad, but also any American who wants to know a little more about their country's history.


Though not a financial success at the time of its release, TORA! TORA! TORA! has aged well thanks to the accuracy of the filmmakers. Unlike Pearl Harbor, the filmmakers focus on the actual story of the attack and the events that led up to it, rather than trying to force in a love story or anything else that may detract from what happened. Also, to tell the story from both sides, the Japanese scenes were directed by Japanese directors and subtitled, which gives a greater sense of authenticity.

The result is pretty impressive. Despite the long running time and the fact that I know what's going to happen, I was caught up in the effort to warn the U.S. military that there may be an impending attack. By the time the invasion finally occurs (about two thirds in) it seems tragic for both sides. It's awful to watch Pearl Harbor being attacked, all these unsuspecting sailors and airmen trying to reconcile what's going on and deal with the situation, but also the Japanese, especially the commanders with the foresight that a war with America is pretty much a no-win situaiton, but forced to come up with an attack plan anyway. Still, the attack goes on for a long time and I started to zone out with so many explosions.

History vs. Hollywood gives fascinating tidbits behind the making of the film, like that Akira Kurosawa was picked to be the original director of the Japanese scenes before things went south. The Movietonews reels are worth watching as well.

This would make a pretty good gift to anyone who watches a lot of The History Channel. Except for my Dad, who still doesn't have a Blu-ray player.



Commentary by Director Richard Fleischer and Japanese Film Historian Stuart Galbraith IV

Day of Infamy Documentary

History vs. Hollywood - TORA! TORA! TORA!: A Giant Awakens

AMC Backstory: TORA! TORA! TORA!

Behind-the-Scenes Gallery

Production Gallery

FOX MOVIETONEWS: The First Pictures of the Attack; Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, "Now It Can Be Shown"; A Year of War Since Pearl Harbor; War with Japan; U.S. Declares War on Japan; First Pictures of the Attack on Japan Islands; Jap Cities Were Bombed by U.S. Army Planes; President Honors "Jimmy" Doolittle for Raid on Japan; War Reports of the United Nations; Doolittle's Raisers, Who Bombed Tokyo, Mark Anniversary

Original Theatrical Trailer

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' interview with actor Gary Oldman