- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Under appreciated cult classic
Sorry to see lots of negative reviews about this movie. I've always loved this movie. Saw it back in the early 80's and laughed my ass off and it still cracks me up today. Yes, it bombed at the box office, but from what I understand, it did much better in Europe and still remains a popular cult classic "over there". All I can say is give it a chance. Many of the reviews here say it's unfunny, but I gotta say is that compared to some of the dumbass comedies that are churned out these days, 1941 is a cut above.
- kevin sellers
Spielberg is one of those directors (De Mille was another) who succeeded big and failed even bigger. This, alas, is one of his failures; a spectacularly unfunny comedy that in its stolid, epic sweep is matched only by "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Give it a C minus. P.S. Great theme music (perversely put at the end of this 2 hour bore) by Johnny Williams.
During WW2 (1941-42) several Japanese submarines actively patrolled the west coast of the U.S. (including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Santa Monica) and they sunk a few ships, some well within eyesight of the shore. In 1941, Chevron expanded its El Segundo refinery operations (among many others) to help with the war effort. When I was a kid it was rumored that Jap subs patrolling off S. Calif kept an eye on the plant and even lobbed a couple of ineffective rounds at the plant hoping to ignite the storage tanks. Due to the inexperience and hysteria of the times there were also quite a few false alarms. "The Battle of Los Angeles also known as "The Great Los Angeles Air Raid" is the name given by contemporary sources to the imaginary enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place in 1942 from Feb 24-to early Feb 25 over Los Angeles, Calif. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox speaking at a press conference shortly afterward called the incident a "false alarm." Newspapers of the time published a number of sensational reports and speculations of a cover-up. When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of "war nerves" likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries."So for those of us today with longer (and perhaps more localized) memories of WW2 can perhaps better appreciate Spielberg's belated effort to find humor and make light of those very frightening and dark times.
you gotta laugh!
I have been amazed to read negative reviews on this movie, saying it's "not funny". Perhaps some people in today's age think "funny" means telling jokes, or finding clever new ways to blow things up. If this is what you think comedy is, you are missing the point of this movie.The point of this movie is literally the title -- the music is 1941. The setting and situations and costumes are 1941. And most of all, so is the sense of humor. Maybe our 21st century sense of humor doesn't line up with the way this movie is put together. But in the best tradition of screwball comedies from Hollywood's Golden Age, I guarantee you that movie audiences in 1941 would have LOVED this film.
- Michael Whitty
Steven Spielberg's attempt at comedy wasn't so successful but there are still moments here that make you laugh as we see what happens around Los Angeles after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Maybe everyone was thinking the Japs are going to come to the west coast and let's get prepared. An all-star cast of comedians add to the fun as this movie destroys almost everything in front of the cameras as the chaos goes on. This big budget comedy gets crazier as the story goes along as the nervousness mounts. The soldiers and the citizens can't get together too well so anarchy reigns. Spielberg is better with dramatic war instead of comedy war.
- Cary Moy
I have an aversion to movies involving Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and John Williams because they always do everything in excess. This film only reinforces it. Having said that, I found Lionel Stander's understated performance very refreshing.
An Un-Funny Comedy
Illeana Douglas claimed that Stanley Kubrick said 1941 was "a great movie, but not funny". Mr. Kubrick was half-right. The only thing great about this mess, was the enormous amount of cocaine allegedly consumed by the younger actors and crew. Belushi's mugging and posturing was embarrassing. Veteran actors Toshiro Mifune, Warren Oates, Christopher Lee and Elisha Cook must have agreed to act in this movie purely on the reputation of the director. In the Jaws inspired opening scene Steven Spielberg actually paid homage to himself. Spielberg considered changing the film to a musical mid-way through production. He must have sensed that he was making a big-budget turkey. There were more laughs in Jaws than in this pseudo-comedy. Sorry Steven, but as Dirty Harry Callahan said, "A man has to know his limitations".
- yuri bohlen
while not a laugh a minute comedy a true cinematic homage to the time period. the fears of a nation and yes the great john belushi and dan aykroyd despite no scenes together. spielberg might have taken some lumps on this one but still a great film.
Huge, Overblown, Exhausting and I Love It!
- Bill Sisson
I saw this on opening night in NYC at a huge theater in Times Square. There were seven people on the main floor. I doubt there were many more in the balconies. I must have missed the word-of-mouth that afternoon. The story is ridiculous and convoluted, but that's part of what makes it so much fun. Belushi's "Wild Bill Kelso" is probably his best role in films (certainly his most excessive); I love the cigar that refuses to go out until the final minutes of the movie. Treat Williams is so off-the-wall I can't even figure out what he's a parody of. But some of the set pieces are among Spielberg's best: the USO Dance/Brawl, the dogfight down Hollywood Blvd and Belushi's bailout ("He's going to jump!"), the insane colonel (Oates) and his obsession with secret enemy bases in the alfalfa fields of Pomona, and finally the grand shoot-out between the Japanese submarine and the Ferris wheel in Santa Monica (the Ferris wheel loses). In the end, the most memorable and redeeming feature is John Williams' remarkable score, from the great march to the re-imagined Big Band music at the USO dance. It's big, stupid, offensive and wonderful, and I'll happily waste an evening with it anytime.
nothing funny about pearl harbor
and this epic time-waster proves it.
Big Budget Disaster
I saw this movie in the theatre when it was released in 1979. I'll watch tonight 5/31/13, to see if it is as bad as I remember.
Who on earth gave this turkey five stars?
Spielberg's heavy-handed, hit-'em-over-the-head-with-it directing is bad enough in any genre, but it kills comedy stone cold dead. The only scene I found even mildly entertaining was the soda-jerking choreography. If you think a Japanese pilot repeatedly shouting "Holly'ood!" is screamingly funny, or a close-up of a U.S. general watching the "Go to Sleep, Baby of Mine" sequence from "Dumbo" is genuinely moving, rather than maudlin, superficial and totally fake, then this movie is for you. And you may keep it.
West Coast Invasion - Can You Take A Joke
- The Moravian Of Goth
A Steven Spielberg movie that has somehow been overlooked because its a comedy??? If you like comedy and have some idea of the phobias that were prevalent on the west coast after the attack on Pearl Harbor you'll love this movie.