Pearl Harbor

  • 12
  • Michael Bay (2001)
  • US
  • 175 min
Pearl Harbor
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

The surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was a major event in US history (awakening the sleeping giant and all that), but this attempt to capture it on screen by the big-thinking producer/director team of Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay (The Rock, Armageddon) is a huge disappointment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the actual attack, which forms the middle act of the film's bloated three hours, is an amazing spectacle - it's almost worth the obscene $135-million budget. However, sheer cinematic power is undermined by our total lack of empathy for any of the cardboard cut-out characters who populate Bay's advert-like world of slow-motion and colour filters (and baseball-playing kids to signify America - yes, we get it). Weaknesses of plot and characterisation are only amplified by the film's unwieldy size and patriotic portent, and the script is toe-curlingly bad. Bruckheimer and Bay presumably think their love story and wartime heroics are charmingly old-fashioned. They have clearly not studied Casablanca or From Here to Eternity.

Plot Summary

Second World War romantic drama starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale. Offered the chance to fly with the Royal Air Force, Rafe McCawley leaves his home in the United States behind. When news reaches his best friend, Danny, and sweetheart, Evelyn, that Rafe is missing presumed dead, the two embark on an affair. But their romance is soon disrupted by the events of 7 December 1941.

Cast and crew


Rafe McCawley
Ben Affleck
Danny Walker
Josh Hartnett
Evelyn Johnson
Kate Beckinsale
Doris "Dorie" Miller
Cuba Gooding Jr
Earl Sistern
Tom Sizemore
President Franklin D Roosevelt
Jon Voight
Admiral Kimmel
Colm Feore
Admiral Yamamoto
Gen James H Doolittle
Alec Baldwin
William Lee Scott
Michael Shannon
General Marshall
Scott Wilson
Captain of the West Virginia
Peter Firth
Anthony R Fusco
Greg Zola
Ewen Bremner
Jaime King
Jennifer Garner
Captain Thurman
Dan Aykroyd
Lieutenant Commander Genda
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Danny's father
William Fichtner


Michael Bay

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Buena Vista
Edited for violence, language and sex scenes.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 1 Jun 2001
Certificate 12