This film is one of the great ones. Having served on an aircraft carrier
2.5 years, I'm familiar with aircraft carrier excitement. But the movie was
more than just wonderful shots of the U.S. Nimitz. The cast was top drawer,
and their acting was as good as it gets. Standing above all the great
performances was a Japanese actor portraying a shot-down, highly competent,
captured Japanese Zero pilot. While racism understandably raises its ugly
head during wartime, with epithets and insults hurled in both directions,
fact this Japanese actor portrayed a Japanese warrior at his
whom Japanese viewers would be proud of. Played equally well were American
military personnel, including some Marines. One of the candid themes of the
movie is the tragedy of such fine people going to war against each other,
whatever their race.
The film is undeniably top drawer, far more mature than than "Top Gun,"
even better flying scenes. So I've often wondered why it isn't widely known
and not kept in stock in widescreen format. Perhaps the answer is today's
wimpy trend towards "politically correct" dialog. In one scene, Kirk
refers to the captured Japanese pilot as a "yellow bastard." In the video
version, this was sanitized. However, sanitized or not, the original racial
comment, by itself, may have doomed the film from greater video
I saw the film when it came out in wide-screen format and saw it several
times before it left town. Thereafter, the only other versions available in
video were "fit-to-TV-screen" size. That was tragic! Though still exciting
in "box" format, the widescreen original was breathtaking. I cannot imagine
why producers haven't released this in DVD in original wide-screen format.
It makes a huge difference with this film! (Aircraft carriers are
One interesting comment to add about the F-14 flying scenes. I was awed by
one particular F-14 maneuver, which I didn't think airplanes were capable
doing. A couple of years later, I talked with a Navy fighter pilot and
brought this up. He was very familiar with that scene and personally knew
the pilot who flew the F-14 in the movie. He told me that the F-14 almost
crashed in that scene, stalling while trying to fly too slow, diving for
ocean to pick up speed, and barely recovering just above the wave tops.
near-accident was caught on film and added immensely to the exhibition of
flying skill. An exception had been granted to the Navy's policy of not
allowing "dissimilar aircraft" to fly together in movie scenes. The result
of that granted exception was almost the loss of an F-14.
This is an incredibly good drama. I found that the various twists and
and particularly the call-it-off ending, all contributed to the drama and
moral dilemmas. This is a fine, great movie. Like others who commented
it seems tragic that this film is not available in widescreen DVD format.
Everyone I've shown it to loves it, male and female. Feminism and romance
are included, along with a collie dog for the kids.