Hell in the Pacific (1968)



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Movie Info

The entire cast of Hell in the Pacific consists of two high-powered international stars: Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. The time is World War II. A downed American marine pilot (Marvin), is stalked on a remote Pacific island by a Japanese navy officer (Mifune). The Japanese officer captures the American, but this situation is reversed when he manages to wriggle free. The two enemies finally decide to live and let live, each moving to their own separate portion of the island. By and by the adversaries come to rely upon one another to survive; they set up living quarters in a deserted camp, get drunk together, and almost -- but not quite -- become friends. The present ending of Hell in the Pacific is greatly at odds with director John Boorman's original vision, in which the Japanese officer angrily kills two Japanese soldiers who have come across the American and decapitated him. As it now stands, viewers are left with an explosive "lady or the tiger" denouement.


Lee Marvin
as American Pilot
Toshiro Mifune
as Captain Tsuruhiko Kuroda

Critic Reviews for Hell in the Pacific

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (2)

Intriguing but finally dissatisfying.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Hell in the Pacific grapples with the arresting relationships of character, communication and survival, but succeeds only fitfully in dramatically projecting these elemental qualities.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Hell In The Pacific is a true underseen classic featuring brave work from all the major craftsmen involved and offering much food for thought even today.

Nov 5, 2018 | Full Review…

The distillate of Boorman's metaphysical-elemental conflicts

Jul 4, 2014 | Full Review…

The acting is acceptable but is as extravagant as the script, and Boorman's direction is repetitive and ponderous, beating that single antiwar theme to death long before the adversaries do.

Mar 4, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

More like a silent than a talkie.

Jan 10, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hell in the Pacific


Great concept, and as usual, John Boorman's execution is just as stellar.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

this is a solid film. with only two actors in the entire film performances needed to be great to carry the movie, i felt that marvins performance lacked a little but mifune more than made up for it. the dynamic of the characters was great and the decision to not use subtitles in order to give the audience the same feel of confision that the characters felt was a great one. really good movie.

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer


Highly disappointing, I'm not buying this as a classic. The only reason I watched this was for Mifune, but you never learn how they arrived or how long they've been on the island--you don't even learn their names. Lee Marvin is a bitch to Toshiro Mifune for some unknown reason, but Toshiro doesn't really have to exert himself this movie. I give it credit for the ending, though; it seems that every 60's adventure/scifi movie ends that way (La Jetee, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, etc). The last 20 minutes were more interesting than the entire first hour and a half, we finally start to humanize the story.

a b
a b

Super Reviewer


Pretty interesting film, with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune, and THAT'S IT. They both end up on a desert island together during WWII. It's pretty much the war broken down to an atom -- an American and a Japanese guy. It reminded me a lot of Cast Away, in that there was very little dialogue, but it was still interesting to watch. With the exception of the abrupt ending, I enjoyed it.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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