Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Michael Bay (2001)

12 Certificate


Our Score
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.


The reported death of a pilot during the Second World War leaves his girlfriend seeking solace in the arms of his one-time best friend - until the supposedly dead airman turns up. However, when the Japanese launch a bombing raid on a US base in Hawaii, the three of them have to put aside their personal problems. Romantic drama, starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cast & 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 Mako
Gen James H Doolittle Alec Baldwin
Billy William Lee Scott
Gooz Michael Shannon
General Marshall Scott Wilson
Captain of the West Virginia Peter Firth
Anthony R Fusco Greg Zola
Red Ewen Bremner
Betty Jaime King
Sandra Jennifer Garner
Captain Thurman Dan Aykroyd
Lieutenant Commander Genda Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Danny's father William Fichtner
Director Michael Bay
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Buena VistaGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenes.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 1 Jun 2001