Today is December 7, 2014, and Pearl Harbor was attacked exactly 73 years ago. It was a Sunday morning then, too.
Granted, this film isn’t exactly an Andy Williams Christmas special, but today is the perfect time to reflect on that attack, and this movie does a great job of telling that story as objectively as possible.
Tora! Tora! Tora! was considered a flop in the U.S. at the time, but it was enormously successful in Japan and has since become a classic.
Darryl F. Zanuck, who had also produced The Longest Day (another WWII epic), wanted to create a more objective, historically accurate depiction of that day and not only enlisted experts and advisors from both sides of the conflict, but actually created two separate productions. One was based in the U.S., directed by Richard Fleischer, and the other in Japan, complete with Japanese directors.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: This movie is like two and a half hours long, so buckle up and get ready to for a ridiculous amount of subtitles.
As an American, this movie was of course heartbreaking to watch. But I appreciated learning more about the Japanese side of this story, and this movie gave me more compassion for the Japanese officials who clearly wanted peace while many around them hungered for war.
And while Isoroku Yamamoto’s legendary quote featured in this movie isn’t exactly legitimate, I’m sure it sums up the feelings of many of those officials:
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Japan ultimately paid a dear, dear price for waking that giant when the United States forced the nation’s surrender with nuclear bombs.
No matter which way you look at it, war is just plain sad all the way around.
As we sit around wrapping gifts and decorating trees, may we remember those past and present who have sacrificed Christmas with their own families so we could spend it with ours.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” — Luke 2:14