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Japan's Longest Day

1968 2h 37m War Drama List
Reviews 78% Audience Score 100+ Ratings
The story of the end of World War II and the destruction faced by Japan on Aug. 15, 1945, when the fate of 100 million people would be decided. Read More Read Less

Audience Reviews

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Perfecto C I don't speak a word of Japanese but I never got lost in the story-telling of this excellent film about the Kyūjō incident, the attempted coup by young Japanese officers on August 14-15, 1945 intended to stop Japan's World War II surrender. The brilliant acting, creative camera use, and competent editing kept me glued and it felt like watching a Japanese "Citizen Kane". Rated 5 out of 5 stars 08/11/22 Full Review Audience Member If you like GODZILLA RESURGENCE (SHIN GOJIRA), you would like this fabulous one. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/20/23 Full Review Audience Member Most powerful japanese movie.Many Japan's most famous actors of the day participated ,about Toshir? Mifune as Army Minister Korechika Anami,Chish? Ry? as Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki, Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific. 2 1/2 Stars 12-26-13 Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member By mid-August 1945 Japan's leaders knew that defeat in the "Greater East Asia War" was inevitable. The fire-bombings of Tokyo, the deployment of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's entry into the war against Japan underscored this reality. Yet there were two major impediments to Japan's surrender: bureaucratic paralysis and a looming coup attempt from within the armed forces. The first half of Japan's Longest Day chronicles the first of these obstacles with a high degree of historical accuracy (compare with Tsuyoshi Hasegawa's non-fiction book "Racing the Enemy," published in 2005). Chishu Ryu, Toshiro Mifune, and Takashi Shimura, familiar faces from many Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa movies, portray members of Japan's divided cabinet with dignity and gravitas. Unfortunately, the second half of the movie unfolds more slowly than the first despite a great deal of shouting and violence during the coup attempt, and the script makes little attempt to situate the would-be army revolt in a philosophical or historical context. The film's final moments slip even further into myopia: Japan's military and civilian deaths are tallied, but no mention is made of the millions of deaths inflicted by Japan's armed forces in Asia. Despite these shortcomings, Japan's Longest Day is well worth watching for those with an interest in Japanese cinema or the end of World War II in the Pacific. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member This is a fascinating Japanese war drama about the decision to surrender and the process behind it. It is told in a very realistic and believable way that feels far more modern than it is. It's quite an interesting tale, though the initial twenty minutes setting up the situation rely far too heavily on narration. Once it gets to the day itself the film gets much better. This film reminds me of nothing so much as Downfall. Both films are about the end of the war as told from the POV of an Axis power. This film doesn't offer as negative a view of the Imperial Japanese state as Downfall does the Nazi German one, but both films convey the frustration and despair of a proud empire's surrender. They also deal eith the madness of people unable to accept reality. The sheer eagerness of so many to commit suicide rather than accept defeat and the delusional belief that future victories could turn the situation around are also common themes. It's fascinating to watch. It is always wonderful to see two of my favorite actors together, even outside of a Kurosawa picture. And Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura both give in wonderful performances. Mifune even manages to restrain his tendency to ham it up in favor of a performance full of restrained passion. The performances in general are restrained and realistic, generally managing to convey the anger, frustration, and humiliation involved in the surrender. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Japan's Longest Day

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis The story of the end of World War II and the destruction faced by Japan on Aug. 15, 1945, when the fate of 100 million people would be decided.
Director
Kihachi Okamoto
Producer
Sanezumi Fujimoto, Tomoyuki Tanaka
Screenwriter
Shinobu Hashimoto, Soichi Oya
Production Co
Toho Company
Genre
War, Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Runtime
2h 37m