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      Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

      Released Nov 15, 1944 2h 18m War List
      100% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 75% Audience Score 500+ Ratings During World War II, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (Spencer Tracy) leads the U.S. Air Force in a bombing mission over Japan. Doolittle and his men stage a successful attack on Tokyo, but most pilots run out of fuel while returning from the raid. Many are forced to land on Japanese soil, but Capt. Ted Lawson (Van Johnson), who has a pregnant wife at home, crash-lands in the sea off the coast of China. Stranded, Lawson must heroically endure a series of harrowing challenges to make it back home. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (6) Critics Reviews
      Jack Karr Toronto Star It's a rare and satisfying occasion when a motion picture of the war combines sound drama, reasonable authenticity and good taste. Such, we're glad to report, is the case with Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. Dec 15, 2022 Full Review Christopher Lloyd Sarasota Herald-Tribune After an overly mushy first half, the movie redeems itself with a second act that is decidedly dark and dreary and an extended air combat sequence that's still amazing nearly 70 years later. Rated: 4/5 May 9, 2011 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews It's winsome because of its sincerity, painting a sympathetic portrait of the men who carried out this dangerous mission. Rated: B Feb 4, 2006 Full Review Bob Bloom Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) wonderful WWII propaganda drama with sincere performances by the cast. Special effects bombing sequence of Tokyo isn't bad either. Rated: 3/5 Jan 28, 2006 Full Review Michael Szymanski International Press Academy Rated: 3/5 Sep 21, 2005 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Mervyn LeRoy's fact-based WWII action-drama was extremely popular due to subject matter, star power (Spencer Tracy), Oscar-winning effects, and intelligent script by Dalton Trumbo, later blacklisted and one of the Hollywood Ten. Rated: B+ Jun 29, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (55) audience reviews
      Dennis D One of my favorite movies ever! They just played it on TCM--Turner Broadcasting-- Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/29/24 Full Review Jeff S Spencer Tracy turns in a solid performance in this dramatic war film that builds slowly but finishes with a flourish. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/26/24 Full Review Red T It's actually good! The acting is solid. The immediate standouts are Spencer & Mitchum even in a small role he had such an ability to stand out. Van Johnson as Ted took awhile to get warmed up too because despite being the main focus he really just blended in with all the other pilots and was quite unremarkable at first but in the second half especially when key events happen you surprisingly get invested in his story. Everyone else is not bad but the pilots all just blend in together and I couldn't tell any apart except Mitchum and he isn't the second half. The cinematography is good with the stock footage really blending in well with the black and white ascetics. The bombing scene was amazing actually and I wish it would've shown more. The leg scene was the best part with a really clever Deep Focus use. The sets are well designed also. The music is good but sometimes especially in the first half it doesn't fit the mood and feels out of place. The editing and pacing are solid but definitely could be refined in certain parts. The love story in the first half with Ted feels out of place and could've just been fitted in with some dialogue of him describing her. Also the party feels out of place as well. These aren't bad scenes at all but they don't fit a factual based movie like this and makes it a bit bloated in runtime. This is about 20 minutes to long. Any attempts we get to get backstory on any other pilots is lost because the acting doesn't really stand out amongst them so it feels lost. However the second half does make up for that. It does take a while to get invested in Ted but late second half it does so. This just needed a bit more distinct actors, less love/intimate moments, and more action would help as well as most is implied at the end. This is still a deep cut classic that while it does have propaganda elements like the national anthem and certain lines uttered by the women in this, it focuses on telling the facts first and patriotism second. Anyone who is a fan of any actors in this or WWII pieces made during this time will like this. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 06/12/23 Full Review Audience Member Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a well-made World War II propaganda epic. I would have cut some of the drawn out emotional prologue before the bombing mission from the overly long picture, because it's the second half that makes it worth watching. The visual effects of the air raid are pretty incredible for the time. The second half of the film's action and suspense are what make this a classic. Spencer Tracy is wonderful but his natural charisma is under-utilised. Van Johnson is the overly affable all-American star who is able to transition to real, hard emotions and turmoil believably. There is plenty to cringe at for a modern viewer especially its offensive charyactatures of the Chinese, racist references to the Japanese, and toxic masculinity. It's still an accurate and compelling representation of the time and this particular mission of the war. These films are important to help modern audiences connect with the past and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is one of the best I've seen. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Robert D WHY do I have to pay $3.99 to rent this 77 year old movie from Amazon? This EXCELLENT, cinematic event should be FREE for everybody to watch Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/25/21 Full Review steve d The performances and story are stronger than the script. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis During World War II, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle (Spencer Tracy) leads the U.S. Air Force in a bombing mission over Japan. Doolittle and his men stage a successful attack on Tokyo, but most pilots run out of fuel while returning from the raid. Many are forced to land on Japanese soil, but Capt. Ted Lawson (Van Johnson), who has a pregnant wife at home, crash-lands in the sea off the coast of China. Stranded, Lawson must heroically endure a series of harrowing challenges to make it back home.
      Director
      Mervyn LeRoy
      Producer
      Sam Zimbalist
      Screenwriter
      Dalton Trumbo
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Loew's Inc.
      Genre
      War
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Nov 15, 1944, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 1, 2009
      Runtime
      2h 18m
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