Empire of the Sun 1987

Empire of the Sun

Critics Consensus

One of Steven Spielberg's most ambitious efforts of the 1980s, Empire of the Sun remains an underrated gem in the director's distinguished filmography.

75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 60,280

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Movie Info

Jamie Graham (Christian Bale), a privileged English boy, is living in Shanghai when the Japanese invade and force all foreigners into prison camps. Jamie is captured with an American sailor named Basie (John Malkovich), who looks out for him while they are in the camp together. Even though he is separated from his parents and in a hostile environment, Jamie maintains his dignity and youthful spirits, providing a beacon of hope for the others held captive with him.

Cast & Crew

Christian Bale
Jim "Jamie" Graham
Nigel Havers
Dr. Rawlins
Joe Pantoliano
Frank Demarest
Masatô Ibu
Sgt. Nagata
Emily Richard
Mary Graham
Rupert Frazer
John Graham
Tom Stoppard
Screenwriter
Robert Shapiro
Executive Producer
John Williams
Original Music
Allen Daviau
Cinematographer
Michael Kahn
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Empire of the Sun

Critic Reviews for Empire of the Sun

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (14)

Audience Reviews for Empire of the Sun

  • Jun 01, 2016
    Perhaps the best Spielberg film ever, this war drama has a large cast but focuses on mainly one character, a boy out of his familiars. Malkevich plays an American, capitalism uncaged, for whom the war is primarily an opportunity for gain. Richardson is a British socialite, forced against her will to look at real life and none too happy about it. And Bale, the star, is a Brit of privilege too, but barely manages to make do. This piece had two things against it as I went in, Spielberg and Bale, but both rise above their comfort zones to deliver an exceptional story.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2016
    Another film I have only just got aroundd to seeing. Superbly done by Steven Spielberg and with a great performance from Christian Bale, it's strange that this film is underrated. A harrowing coming of age tale of life during World War 2 occupation and all the nightmares that entails. If you haven't seen it, I do recommend it.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2015
    "Empire of The Sun" is a superb drama film of 1987. The plot to this movie is that a 13 year old boy named "Jim" portrayed by "Christian Bale", who's family is extremely wealthy. Jim's family lives in Shanghai during the 1940's. After Jim and his family are trying to escape Shanghai, Jim looses his family and tries to find them. The plot to this film is amazing, the character change of Jim's character is perfect. The acting in this movie is superb, even at age 13 "Christain Bale" was an amazing actor. Another great actor in this film is "John Malkovich", he does a great job at playing the character "Basie". "John Williams" is perfect for creating suspenseful and dramatic music in movies, and "Empire of The Sun" is no exception. "Steven Spielberg" always films movies beautifully, he made a hot and dusty place look great. The drama in this movie was handled very well, because this movie could have easily become a kid crying all the time, but due to "Steven Spielberg's" perfect directing it didn't. If you enjoy drama films then I highly recommend you watch "Empire of The Sun" as it is a film with great acting, great directing and amazing music. I give "Empire of The Sun" an 8/10.
    Steve G Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2015
    Between a 4 and 4.5. Bumped up for emotional impact and overall good work by everyone involved.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer

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