Tora! Tora! Tora!


Tora! Tora! Tora!

Critics Consensus

Tora! Tora! Tora! is scrupulously accurate and lays out of the tragedy of Pearl Harbor with intricate detail, but the film's clinical approach to the sound and fury signifies little feeling.



Total Count: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,450
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Movie Info

This 25-million dollar epic collaboration accurately recreates the events that led to the Japanese attack on the American naval base during World War II. With Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the wheels are set in motion by Japan to plan the attack. After internal differences in the government, the Japanese quickly mobilize plans for the assault. Key American personnel ignored warnings of the possibility of Japanese aggression. The first part of the film divides scenes from both countries. Part two contains spectacular battle scenes of the bombing that destroyed the American naval base of operations in Hawaii. Governmental errors on both sides add to the confusion, but the Japanese ultimately carry out the deadly mission. The film did well in Japan, did not do well in the he United States, and took years to make back the production costs. It remains an insightful and well crafted World War II action drama that was the result of years of negotiations between the two countries. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi


Martin Balsam
as Adm. Husband E. Kimmel
Jason Robards
as Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short
Joseph Cotten
as Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
E.G. Marshall
as Lt. Col. Rufus S. Bratton
Sô Yamamura
as Adm. Yamamoto
Tatsuya Mihashi
as Cmdr. Genda
Takahiro Tamura
as Lt. Cmdr. Fuchida
James Whitmore
as Adm. Halsey
Eijirô Tono
as Adm. Nagumo
Wesley Addy
as Lt. Cmdr. Kramer
Shôgo Shimada
as Ambassador Nomura
Frank Aletter
as Lt. Cmdr. Thomas
Koreya Senda
as Prince Konoye
Leon Ames
as Frank Knox
Junya Usami
as Adm. Yoshida
Richard Anderson
as Capt. Earle
Kazuo Kitamura
as Foreign Minister Matuoka
Keith Andes
as Gen. Marshall
Edward Andrews
as Adm. Stark
Neville Brand
as Lt. Kaminsky
Leora Dana
as Mrs. Kramer
Asao Uchida
as Gen. Tojo
George Macready
as Cordell Hull
Norman Alden
as Maj. Landon
Walter Brooke
as Capt. Wilkinson
Rick Cooper
as Lt. Welch
Elven Havard
as Doris Miller
June Dayton
as Miss Ray Cave
Jeff Donnell
as Cornelia
Richard Erdman
as Col. French
Jerry Fogel
as Lt. Cmdr. Outerbridge
Shunichi Nakamura
as Kameto Kirojima
Carl Reindel
as Lt. Taylor
Edmon Ryan
as Rear Adm. Bellinger
Hisao Toake
as Saburo Kurusu
G.D. Spradlin
as Cmdr. Maurice E. Curts
Susumu Fujita
as Rear Adm. Tamon Yamaguchi
Bontarô Miyake
as Adm. Koshiro Oikawa
Ichiro Reuzaki
as Rear Adm. Ryunosuke Kusaka
Kazuko Ichikawa
as Geisha in Kagoshima
Karl Lukas
as Capt. Harold C. Train
Ron Masak
as Lt. Laurence Ruff
Kan Nihonyanagi
as Rear Adm. Chuichi Hara
Toshio Hosokawa
as Lt. Cmdr. Shigeharu Murata
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Critic Reviews for Tora! Tora! Tora!

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (13)

  • Both overall director Richard Fleischer and his Japanese counterparts do a dull job, and the monotonously low-key tone of scene after scene almost suggests that each was filmed without a sense of ultimate slotting in the finished form.

    Jul 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • The climax, in particular, manages to be more than just a shoot-out, with Fleischer's intelligent direction generating a real feeling of chaos and apocalypse.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • As history, it seems a fairly accurate account of what happened, although it never much bothers its head about why. As film art, it is nothing less than a $25-million irrelevancy.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 2/5
  • Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of the deadest, dullest blockbusters ever made.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • It's rare for a feature film to attain the trifecta of entertaining, informing, and educating.

    Feb 24, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Displaying an uncharacteristic even-handedness for Hollywood, this Japanese-American production is certainly the epic equal of Pearl Harbor, while consistently maintaining an almost unimpeachable honesty with its dual perspectives.

    Jun 13, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Danny Graydon
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tora! Tora! Tora!

  • Dec 08, 2014
    Tora! Tora! Tora! is a thrilling war epic that delves into one of the seminal events in American history. Beginning with the summer of 1941, the film follows the events in the U.S. and Japanese militaries as the two countries head down a path toward war, culminating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The filmmakers take a largely dispassionate view, showing both sides as professional soldiers committed to their duty (leaving politics out of it). However, this results in a rather thin narrative that has too many characters. Still, the action scenes are well-done, creating an intense and riveting depiction of the attack. An ambitious historical drama, Tora! Tora! Tora! delivers a comprehensive look at the build-up to America's entry into World War II.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2014
    Richard Fleischer is back to war already, probably to apologize for 1969's "Che!" with this, the more successful of the two installments in the "Exclamation Mark War Movie Title Trilogy"...! Yeah, just in case the Melvins EP wasn't hardcore enough for you, here's the inspiration, with exclamation points, so you know that it's going grungy something fierce, y'all! Speaking of nonsense that angry and pretentious '90s kids thought was good rock music, this film's title really does sound like some kind of a frat chant or something. If you think that's offensive to the memory of those who were tragically killed in the Pearl Harbor attacks, just go watch Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor"... boasts the jerk who actually liked Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor"... more than...well, you can guess. Sorry, people, but then again, I might have just been brainwashed into liking that film because even though I like a good, long movie, I particularly subscribe to the idea that a film better be good if it's going to run three hours... or simply be two-and-a-half hours of mostly combat. Oh, hey, I guess that would make this an honorary Michael Bay film, but, no, people, although this film is better than some Bay watches, it isn't quite as lively, even in its cast. These films like "The Longest Day", "Battle of the Bulge", "A Bridge Too Far", and so and so forth, are exhausting enough when they have more than just one big-name star (This film could have at least featured Joseph Cotten more), thanks to pacing issues that are unsurprisingly prominent here. It pulls its fair share of formula twists, but on the whole, this is one of those classic war films which focus on military exposition, followed by extensive action, falling into enough tropes for films of those to hit the tendency to desperately bloat itself into something of an epic, which ends up being packed with near-aimless, or at least near-monotonous filler that helps the film achieve its runtime of almost two-and-half hours, ironically at the expense of extensive execution. The film wastes hardly any time before leaping into a sprawling narrative, expending immediate development that is barely, if at all compensated for during a body that shifts focus just enough for you to not feel satisfied by the amount of flesh-out to storytelling, and for the dragging, in spite of limited exposition, to bloat each layer so greatly that the eventual shifts jar. This film has quite an ambition, in that it heavily focuses on both the American and Japanese perspectives on the Pearl Harbor attacks of 1941, and such an ambition fumbles enough in the long run to inspire a high sense of unevenness in focus, and already has to worry about perhaps glorifying the Japanese for their misdeeds, or at least jarring with tonal shifts, in addition to the focal shifts. I must admit that the filmmakers did find a pretty effective method to avoiding underplaying a sense of protagonism on one side of the spectrum, while overplaying a sense of anatagonism on the other: simply dehumanizing everyone in this story, which is well-handled in enough areas to compensate for limitations in dramatic weight, but is still lacking a human touch that you would figure would be instrumental in a film interpreting subject matter of this nature, resulting in natural thinness to a story concept that could have been pretty meaty. Through these active downplays of dramatic themes, in addition to the underdevelopment and unevenness in character focus, the film comes off as surprisingly cold with its humanity, and I honestly could get over that if the film didn't also apply such coldness to Richard Fleischer's, Toshio Masuda's and Kinji Fukasaku's directorial momentum, which often resorts to quiet thoughtfulness that has no subtle material to draw upon, which, of course, leads to dry spells that range from simply bland to down-right boring. When the film doesn't fire up the action, it's kind of limp, and when the action does come into play, it's missing resonance, offering plenty of visceral value which is rarely completely lost in the film, - even when things slow down - but not enough for the final product to transcend some considerable underwhelmingness, let alone reward like 2001's "Pearl Harbor"-I mean, I mean, like it should have (Sorry about that). Still, as far as entertainment value, this film serves its duties well enough to get you by with some serious technical proficiency. At the very least, this $25 million, mostly visceral opus has technical value on its side, in the form of anything from immersively subtle production designs by Richard Day, Taizô Kawashima and Yoshirō Muraki, to almost equally immersive cinematography by Charles F. Wheeler, Shinsaku Himeda, Masamichi Satoh and Osamu Furuya that, while not especially flashy, is unique enough in quality and framing at the time and, to a certain extent, to this day for you to get a tight grip on the settings of this film. Of course, technical value most thrives on Oscar-winning special effects which are indeed nothing short of outstanding, with all of its convincing layers of crafts and explosives which go into making some dynamite action set pieces that take their sweet, sweet time coming into play, but are well worth waiting for, thanks to a wealth of spectacle and entertainment value, regardless of a lack of resonance. There's an almost criminal lack of emotion to this reenactment of a great military travesty, not just to the action, but throughout the somehow simultaneously overblown and thin epic, and yet, at least when battles are taking place, visceral intrigue all but makes up for a lack of depth, and doesn't exactly require prominent spectacle to stand. The interpretation of this subject matter is so superficial that even the story concept feels thin, even though it could have easily donned a great deal of dramatic potential, but what the final product lacks in humanity, it almost matches with a certain intrigue as an ambitiously extensive take on most every angle - be it political or military - of the precursor to and actual event of the Pearl Harbor attacks. This idea establishes a certain immediate degree of intrigue, and its execution challenges such intrigue, but only to an extent, because when the writing efforts of Larry Forrester, Hideo Oguni, Ryuzo Kikushima, and even the uncredited, legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa admittedly hit their highlights, excess is broken by a tightness to genuinely interesting political mumbo-jumbo, and thinness is broken by a moderate dramatic meat. The writing highlights are at least just bright enough to provide material to do justice within highlights in Richard Fleischer's direction, which is a mess, same as most every form of storytelling, but far from a total misfire with its often dull and empty meanderings, as the thoughtfulness establishes a certain sense of sophistication to hold your interest when entertainment value isn't juicy enough to, and subtly, yet surely charge the color when it is laid out. I am pretty disappointed with the film as it is so often so bland and uneven, and is consistently lacking in something that it very much should have: heart, and yet, where final product more-or-less fails as drama, it succeeds enough as spectacle to entertain adequately, regardless of all of its sloppiness. When the mission is complete, repetitious dragging, expository thinness, uneven focus and glaring slow spells chill down momentum collectively about as much as a surprising absence of a sense of humanity does single-handedly, thus, the final product collapses as decidedly underwhelming, but where mediocrity could have set in, technical proficiency, outstanding action, and intriguing subject matter and highlights in writing and direction prove to be enough to save Richard Fleischer's "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Yeah, frat party!) as a viscerally fair, if still often lacking interpretation of the Pearl Harbor attacks. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2012
    Co-directed in English and Japanese by Richard Fleischer and Kinji Fukasaku, this shows a gripping story doesn't need any relatable characters or trite romances (are you listening Mister Bay?). A cast of some of the best character actors of the era coupled with the elaborate and realistic staging of the Pearl Harbour attack make this compelling viewing.
    The Movie W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 17, 2011
    Tora! Tora! Tora! was at the time, a big budget (25 million dollars) historical account of the Pearl Harbor attack that did well in Japan but was considered a boring and critical failure in the U.S. I watched the slightly longer Japanese Extended version of the film and running just shy of 2 and a half hours, the film does take a long time to get to the actual attack, which is an exciting and devastating attack sequence. The majority of the film, that a lot of critics find boring, is a focused look at the politics involved at the time between The United States and Japan as well as the military on both sides and their methodology that lead to the attack and subsequent bombing of Japan. There is a lot of frustrating moments in the film due to the historically accurate account of how and why the men in Pearl Harbor were not the wiser of the incoming attack. There was not one letter or telegram that caused the surprise attack, but a host of potential forewarning that were either ignored, looked over, or just plan taken casually by the officers involved. The ending battle sequence, after the long-winded build up, is explosive and filled with action and battle between the shocked men on the ground and the Japanese bombers above and chaos abounds everywhere and with everyone involved. While not the greatest of war films, it is a soid and historically accurate look at the incident and takes an outside approach to the situation and doesn't mix in love stories or other side stories and instead focuses on the attack and does better for doing so!
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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