Action / Drama / History / War

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 47%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 16


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 30, -0001 at 12:00 AM



Tom Selleck as Aide to Capt. Cyril Simard
James Coburn as Capt. Vinton Maddox
Robert Wagner as Lieutenant Commander Ernest L. Blake
Charlton Heston as Capt. Matt Garth
1.95 GB
23.976 fps
2 hr 12 min
P/S 25/114

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by LeroyBrown-2 7 / 10

A good movie about how grand battles are won and lost

I remember reading that this movie was made primarily because they had excessive footage from when they shot "Tora! Tora! Tora! and some of the shot looks like they did came from that film. But this film also includes old actual shots taken by service men and news people.

The movie is based on the American victory off Midway Island. The movie was made 30 years after WWII and a couple of years after Vietnam, so it doesn't have a jingoistic feel to it. It has more of a matter of fact feel to it, more a docudrama than propaganda.

The movie is different from most war movies because it shows how Grand battles are won and lost. There isn't much individual heroism from ordinary soldiers shown. Instead we see how commanders, in this case admirals make decisions and take risks usually based on sketchy information. They put their reputations on line, along with the safety of their men, and the security of their nations. We see how the outcome of a battle can hinged on risky decisions or sometimes on indecision. We see how commanders have to sweat out their decisions as History hangs on the balance. Yes! History! This battle after all is considered the turning point of the War in the Pacific.

In this movie decisions are made on what certain letters mean, whether enemy carriers are where they are supposed to be. If viewers give it the appropriate attention, they will see that this movie plays like a giant chess match. The outcome determined by gutsy moves and bad decisions, sometimes indecision.

The movie boasts an impressive cast which include, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, Charlton Heston and they all do fine jobs. They play the typical Grand characters in epic movies, they move the story along but has no personal stories themselves. The one personal story belongs to Edward Albert, who plays Heston's son. He's not very convincing and playing opposite a pro like Mr. Heston, he comes across as being weak almost amateurish.

The movie is good but far from great. I love how the filmmakers remained true to the events. But the special effects looked cheap and the use of actual combat footage feels inappropriate and even exploitive. Nevertheless I think it's a good film not to be missed by Military History buffs.

Reviewed by arodrig6 9 / 10

OK War Film, Great Documentary?

This film is not an action-packed war film filled with constant loud heroism and stirring speeches. It is, however, a film which gives a good overview of how the battle of 'Midway' unfolded. Fewer explosions, more dialog - almost like a documentary in its pacing and focus. It has a large cast, and thus cannot focus much on character development, instead looking to the events to power the story (again, like a non-biographical documentary).

Though the 'goofs' page is filled with anachronisms and inaccuracies (stock footage from the wrong era, using Essex-class ships for Japanese, etc...) the film does get the major 'plot' points down. i.e.: American signal intelligence intercepts revealing the Japanese plan, the sequence of carrier and land attacks, the critical decision(s) to arm and rearm the Japanese attack craft, etc...

Overall, this film seems to be one of a lost genre - big-budget semi-documentaries. Similar to 'Tora Tora Tora' or 'The Longest Day'. A large cast of big-name actors, focus on factual retelling of the events.

Reviewed by jdferrell784 7 / 10

Dated, flawed and imperfect, but gets many things right

As many others have stated, the flaws in this film are many. There is the unnecessary subplot of an American aviator and his interned Japanese/American girlfriend, which serves as nothing more than a gratuitous distraction. Limits in 1976 technology forced the use of cheap-looking special effects and recycled footage from other movies and war footage, often resulting in incorrect historical portrayals of the ships and aircraft present. Some historical plot details were omitted or glossed over entirely, mostly due to production and budget limits. And the acting was uneven, and in a few parts pretty bad, and sometimes failed to realistically portray a few figures.

But there are few war movies that can generate as much excitement in me to this day like this one. I first saw this movie as a two-part NBC Movie of the Week when I was ten years old and instantly developed a passion for the Battle of Midway and WWII military history in general. The climatic scene of the dive bombers pounding the Japanese carriers into wrecks still gives me goosebumps thirty-five years later, as does the horror of watching a young fighter pilot nearly burn to death in his plane. The John Williams score was fantastic, as it was in many movies, and kept the sense of drama on the edge. And for me, the standout performances were by Henry Fonda as Admiral Nimitz, Glenn Ford as Admiral Spruance, and James Shigeta as Admiral Nagumo. Fonda brought to life Nimitz's cool but tough demeanor, and his willingness to take calculated risks based on his intelligence sources, rather than play it safe and guard what he has left. Ford played Spruance well as a calm, cerebral admiral that plays by his own instincts rather than the way the man he replaced (Halsey) would've played it. And I enjoyed Shigeta's portrayal of Nagumo as a leader who, despite his perceived material superiority, is wary of the lack of intelligence and communication regarding the whereabouts of the American fleet, and the uncertainty of what really may be waiting for his carriers as he undertakes his mission.

It's real easy to pick apart the historical details of this movie, especially given more recent information and sources that weren't available back in 1976. But even allowing for that, the movie stays mostly true to history. And to those who aren't looking to nitpick details and just want to enjoy the story being told, there's more than enough "wow" in this movie even almost forty years later. I would recommend it as a primer for young kids (but not too young, there is some blood, language, and tense scenes) with an interest in military and WWII history that hasn't yet researched more comprehensive works written like Walter Lord's Incredible Victory, Gordon Prange's Miracle at Midway, and Anthony Tully/Jonathan Parshall's Shattered Sword.

I would like to see Hollywood do another adaptation of the battle of Midway someday, but am fearful of them turning it turning into another Pearl Harbor, or becoming a political statement rather than the retelling of an incredible true story. Until that day comes, this one will have to do. And it does surprisingly well, if you can tolerate the flaws and just enjoy the show.

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