[[caption-width-right:350:The Japanese military planning the attack on TheBigBoard.]]

->''I fear all we have done is to [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant awaken a sleeping giant]] and filled him with a terrible resolve.''
-->-- '''Admiral Yamamoto'''

''Tora! Tora! Tora!'' is a 1970 film telling the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor from both the American and Japanese perspectives. Unusually, the film was made by two almost independent units -- an American unit directed by Richard Fleischer, and a Japanese unit directed by Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda.[[note]]None other than Creator/AkiraKurosawa was supposed to direct the Japanese half, and Kurosawa spent two years in pre-production, but conflicts and budget arguments between him and his American producers led to Kurosawa getting fired just two weeks into filming.[[/note]] This technique would be repeated with its [[SpiritualSuccessor pseudo-sequel]] ''Film/{{Midway}}''. The original idea was to blend the two stories seamlessly, until Fleischer realized it would be better to let the two halves retain contrasting styles.

The film is noted for being remarkably even-handed in an era in which war movies were often gung-ho and treated the Germans/Japanese as disposable {{Mooks}} at best and AlwaysChaoticEvil at worst. It may have helped end that era.

It was filmed before CGI was invented. The scenes of the bombing of Pearl Harbor were among the most complex ever successfully attempted before CGI; specially modified American planes "played" Japanese aircraft, and real explosions were choreographed.

''Tora! Tora! Tora!'' is a member of the [[BattleEpic "historical" school of war movies]], alongside ''Film/TheLongestDay'', ''Film/ABridgeTooFar'' and ''Film/BattleOfBritain''. The filmmakers didn't use the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a backdrop to a fictional story; the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the events leading to it, in their full sweep, ''is'' the story.

The title is the Japanese code-word used to indicate that complete surprise was achieved. "Tora" is Japanese for "tiger".

Compare ''Film/PearlHarbor''.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AbandonShip: Shouted on at least one American ship during the attack.
* AnachronismStew: Mostly averted, aside from some modern ships in the harbor ... but when the Japanese aircraft fly over the island en route to the harbor, they memorably fly over the huge white cross erected at Schofield Barracks to commemorate the people who died in the attack they are supposedly about to make. A microwave relay tower is also clearly visible in the same shot.
* ArmchairMilitary: The US top brass seem very reluctant to act on intelligence.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: A Japanese bomber drops an armor-piercing bomb that sets off the [[MadeOfExplodium powder magazine]] of the battleship ''Arizona''. The resulting explosion blows the ship apart, resulting in over a thousand officers and crew killed.
* AwakeningTheSleepingGiant: TropeNamer, and Admiral Yamamoto's memorable closing lines when he hears that America learned of the attack before they could deliver their official declaration of war.
* BadassBystander: Doris Miller, a black Navy cook, takes up a machine gun on the ''West Virginia'' after the gun crew are killed, and manages to shoot down one of the Japanese planes.
* BattleEpic: truly epic, with filming in the US, Japan, Hawaii, culminating in an actual recreation of the Pearl Harbor attack filmed on location using more than thirty airplanes.
* BeamMeUpScotty: [[invoked]] There's no evidence that Yamamoto spoke the "sleeping giant" line in real life, but it did sum up his feelings about the war pretty well.
* BittersweetEnding: While the Japanese manage to destroy huge numbers of American planes and severely damage most of their battleships, they fail to take out the American carriers (which were still at sea at the time of the attack), as well as missing other important targets in the harbor such as the sub pens and oil storage facilities. This would come back to haunt them a few months later. On the American side, despite the heavy losses, the attack only strengthens their resolve and puts an end to both isolationism and the Great Depression. And we all know how the war eventually went for both sides.
* CaptainObvious: Justified. An officer [[NotNowKiddo who tried to pass up a warning earlier that morning]] angrily points out the window during the attack as proof to one of the {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s there was reason to be concerned about an attack.
-->'''Lieutenant Kaminsky:''' You wanted confirmation, Captain? Take a look! There's your confirmation!
* ComingInHot: Hobo One's B-17 is unable to lower one of their landing gear due to damage from a Japanese fighter, so they bring it in on one wheel and drop the other wing right onto the pavement. Another B-17 attempts to land but is waved off because they've got a fighter on their tail.
* RealLife/CoolPlane: Several, but most notably the [=A6M2=] Zero and the P-40 Warhawk.
* CryingWolf: Decrypted Japanese diplomatic messages, plus observations of their military movements, lead the US military to think Hawaii and the Philippines are going to be attacked ... on 30 November, 1941. When an attack is predicted ''again'' a week later, there is an uphill battle to get anyone to take it seriously.
* CurbStompCushion: The Japanese achieve total surprise in their attack on the American military installations, and the ensuring fight generally proceeds [[CurbStompBattle the way you'd expect]] it to from there, with some notable exceptions, including planes shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and a small handful of American fighters making it into the air to shoot down some of the attackers.
* DamageControl: Numerous sailors are seen fighting fires, references are made to counterflooding on listing ships, etc.
* DangerDeadpan: The officer in command of the battleship ''Nevada.'' The base is under fierce attack, his ship is in flames and sinking, and he is calmly issuing orders maneuvering the ship through the harbor and beaching it so as to avoid blocking the channel.
* DramaticIrony: See CryingWolf.
* EagleLand: Most of the Japanese officers see America as Type II. Yamamoto, however, sees far more Type I.
** This is very much TruthInTelevision; the Japanese Army saw a fight with America as a sideshow, keeping the decadent Yankees occupied while the real war in China was won. Yamamoto had spent years as an attache in America, and he knew firsthand what sort of resources America could call on.
* EveryBulletIsATracer: Inverted, oddly enough. There was tracer fire at Pearl Harbor, but not in this movie.
* FighterLaunchingSequence: Most of the American fighters are destroyed on the ground, [[SittingDuck including many trying to get into the air.]]
** The Japanese get one when they launch their planes from their carriers, though.
** The Americans actually do get one successful launch sequence...with only two P-40s.
* FlatCharacter: One of the problems pointed out in reviews is that few of the people portrayed in the film get any backstory or character definition. Most of the main protagonists can be described in single words (Admiral Kimmel is worried, Admiral Yamamoto is brooding, and so on). The fact most of them are wearing military uniforms makes it hard to distinguish who's supposed to be who anyway unless you've studied the attack fairly thoroughly. The US cast consists almost entirely of character actors, reportedly because the producers felt that stars would distract from the documentary feel of the film.
* ForegoneConclusion: Textbook example.
* FragileSpeedster: The Japanese Zero fighter. Demonstrated when two P-40s take a few down in only one or two bursts. (In RealLife, once the Americans deployed the P-51 Mustang--just as fast as the Zero, but not nearly as fragile--the air war in the Pacific got really lopsided.)
* FriendOrFoe: The Japanese force is spotted on radar, and the sighting is called in. The officer who receives the report assumes it is a formation of friendly B-17s expected that morning.
* {{Geisha}}: Briefly seen when Fuchida and his men are practicing bombing runs at a sleepy Japanese port that strongly resembles Pearl Harbor. Geisha girls from a nearby geisha house lean out the window, cheering the pilots on.
--> '''Fisherman''': Navy pilots attract geisha girls but they frighten the fish.
* GetOut: Cordell Hull basically says this after reading the memorandum from Nomura:
-->'''Hull:''' In all my fifty years of public service, I have never seen a document so crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions, on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them.\\
'''Nomura:''' [''pleadingly''] Mr. Hull...\\
'''Hull:''' [''wearily''] Go!
* GoodSmokingEvilSmoking: Related to FlatCharacter. You can tell that Admiral Halsey is a no-nonsense badass because he spends a high-level Navy briefing chewing on and waving around a big ol' cigar.
* GuyInBack: The Japanese "Val" Dive Bombers and "Kate" Torpedo bombers each have rear gunners in order to defend against enemy planes. It does little when [[SittingDucks several of them are attacked by two P-40s late into the film.]]
** Averted with the B-17s coming in from San Diego. They're only on a transport run, so they have no extra crew, much less machine guns, to man.
* HollywoodHistory: Largely averted, as the film attempts to portray real events realistically.
* HopeSpot: Two USAAF P-40s manage to scramble into the air and take down a few Japanese planes. They are forced to retreat eventually though due to being outnumbered and low on ammunition.
* InterserviceRivalry: Quite a bit of political in-fighting between the Imperial Army and Navy in the lead-up to the attack.
** Between the US Army and Navy, as well. When one of the Navy analysts wants to radio Pearl Harbor a potential alert, he's told conditions are preventing communication. He then suggests using the Army, and that is automatically dismissed without even trying.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: Admiral Nagumo calls a halt to the attack after two waves, deciding that conserving his forces after an evidently successful attack on the American base is preferable than risking the fleet being found and attacked by the missing US aircraft carriers and/or US submarines.
* LetsSplitUpGang: Hobo Flight, a formation of unarmed B-17s arriving from California, scatters when they encounter the Japanese attack. Justified in this case, as the bombers are unarmed and have no escorts, so splitting up is their only hope of any of them surviving as a formation of unarmed bombers would be an irresistible target to the Japanese fighters.
* LightningBruiser: The American P-40 Warhawk, compared to the [[FragileSpeedster Zero]] used by the Japanese. This is demonstrated when the two P-40s that manage to get airborne are able to not only absorb damage from the Japanese machine-guns, but also outrun them when being chased, allowing them to get away.
* MajoredInWesternHypocrisy: {{Inverted}}. Admiral Yamamoto was a liaison officer in the US, and studied at Harvard, and declares that the Americans are a [[WorthyOpponent proud and just people.]]
* MercyKill: {{Discussed}} by Admiral Kimmel when he gets hit by a spent bullet shell during the attack.
--> '''Kimmel:''' It would have been merciful had it killed me.
* MoreDakka: The American P-40 Warhawk fighters are shown tearing into Japanese bombers with their six machine guns.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Admiral Yamamoto.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: The entire attack could be considered this on account [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant of what happens to the attackers later on.]]
* OhCrap:
** An American flying teacher's reaction when her training plane is suddenly surrounded by numerous Japanese warplanes heading for Pearl Harbor.
** Yamamoto, (as shown with sleeping giant line) when learning that the Pearl Harbor attack occurred before the formal declaration of war was delivered to the U.S. Realizing that the U.S. would undoubtedly enter the war, plus the fact that the key aircraft carriers and hangars were not destroyed in the attack, he knows that Japan is basically screwed in terms of winning the war.
* OldSchoolDogfight: One happens between two P-40s and a squadron of Zeroes late into the attack.
* OneSidedBattle: The American forces on Oahu are caught completely by surprise, and as a result are unable to respond effectively once the Japanese start going after their ships and bases.
* PointDefenseless:
** The American defenders are caught by surprise, and the Japanese attackers are on top of them before they can open fire. [[DownplayedTrope Even so]], they still manage to tag a few of the enemy planes.
** Once two Army pilots get up in the air, the tail gunners on the Japanese planes prove unable to deter them.
* PoorCommunicationKills:
** Admiral Stark dithers instead of informing Kimmel of the Japanese ultimatum. An Army officer in Washington fails to loop his Navy counterpart in on the fact that they are trying to pass a warning message to the US forces in Hawaii, due to the assumption that the Navy personnel would face the same difficulties they were in passing the message along. It gets worse: They send the message by telegraph, but they don't mark it urgent, so the message sits in a pile for some time before it is delivered -- after the attack.
** Radar spotted the Japanese first wave on its way in; when the crew report it, they are told it's the expected B-17 flight, and not to worry about it.
* PuppetKing: The Emperor is opposed to war with America. And as all the power in the government is held by the Cabinet, the Emperor's opinion carries shockingly little weight.
* RaysFromHeaven: Lieutenant Commander Fuchida notices the morning sun breaking through the last of the storm clouds, and remarks to his comrades that its rays remind him of the Japanese victory flag that was raised when they launched from the carriers. This is regarded by all the Japanese pilots as a good omen: in effect, the blessing of heaven upon their mission to ravage Pearl Harbor.
* ReadingTheEnemysMail: The American military has the capability to decrypt Japanese diplomatic codes, but this capability is kept very very secret. The President is actually removed from the list of people authorized to handle the decrypted messages after one of his staff members improperly disposes of a decrypted message. This adds to the [[PoorCommunicationKills information lag]] that contributes to the Americans being unprepared for the attack.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: The DVDCommentary goes into some detail on a few real events left out of the movie simply because they seemed too over the top to have actually happened.
** Apparently, Martin Balsam was reluctant to say the line "It would have been a mercy if it had killed me" regarding a spent shell that hits him in the chest. Then he was told that Admiral Kimmel actually said it.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: US Secretary of States Cordell Hull is [[{{Understatement}} not amused]] to receive the Japanese ultimatum ''after'' the attack on Pearl Harbor. See GetOut above.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: A base commander, wanting to leave at least some of his planes protected from air attack, sends small detachments of fighters to various outlying airfields. Two pilots, Welsh and Taylor, assume that they are being sent to Haleiwa Field as punishment for fleecing their fellow pilots in poker games. Instead, this assignment allows them to be the only two American pilots shown engaging the enemy in the air. In RealLife they were decorated for it.
* RedAlert: Three times in the film:
** The Americans in Hawaii go on full alert when available intel suggests that the Japanese are going to attack... on 30 November, 1941. Obviously, it turns out to be a false alarm.
** The USS ''Ward'' spots the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine attempting to follow an American ship into the harbor. They go to General Quarters, then close with the submarine and destroy it. Their message warning the higher-ups of the encounter [[PoorCommunicationKills is not passed along fast enough.]]
** Finally, when the Japanese attack, the Americans finally sound the alarm, but it's too little, too late.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere:
** A biplane with a student and instructor pilot are doing their own thing when the Japanese bombers overtake them. The instructor pilot and one of the Japanese pilots stare at each other [[{{Beat}} for a few long moments]] before the instructor rolls the biplane into a dive and gets the hell out of there.
** At Hobo One's orders, the formation of B-17s (unarmed since they were just on a ferrying mission) scatters when they run into the Japanese aircraft, with the planes making for different airfields in hope of finding a safe place to land.
* SittingDuck: The American planes are grouped together in the middle of the airfields to protect from saboteurs, which only serves them up as perfect targets for the air attack. The Air Corps officers are painfully aware of this, but unable to do much about their orders.
** This also happens to the Japanese bombers who were attacked by the two P-40s that managed to get airborne.
* ThemeNaming: The American battleships were all named for US states. The cruisers and destroyers also had their own themes (cities and troops who died in battle, respectively), but feature far less prominently.[[note]]US aircraft carriers, which didn't have much chance to influence the battle, were named after famous sailing ships of the US Navy -- mostly late-18th and early-19th Century sloops-of-war -- as well as significant USN battles. (This naming convention was supposed to go to battlecruisers; aircraft carriers inherited the naming scheme because the battlecruisers ''Lexington'' and ''Saratoga'' were converted to aircraft carriers during construction.) The fact such carriers were named after early sailing ships, which in turn were named after famous cities, battles, people, and insects (''Wasp,'' ''Hornet'') makes the naming scheme appear more than a little haphazard.[[/note]]
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: The B-17 flight commander, upon realizing that they have just witlessly flown headlong into UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
-->'''Hobo One:''' What a way to fly into a war. Unarmed and out of gas.
* ThisIsNotADrill: When the news of the attack starts to filter through.
** No surprise at this. The real attack was the TropeNamer.
* ThisMeansWar: Obviously.
* TitleDrop: The Japanese signal that they've achieved total surprise in the attack.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: It seems as though the film averts this, given the apparent success of the plan, but Yamamoto admits they didn't get all their targets, and of course the line about the sleeping giant.
* WarIsHell: An [[OldSoldier old officer]] watching the Japanese pilots about to take off observes that the men are in such good spirits because they have not yet experienced war.
* WeaponsUnderstudies: Then-modern (but still '40s or '50s era) missile destroyers and frigates playing smaller ships in the harbor during the attack. Rebuilt American prop trainers as the Japanese aircraft. Late model B-17s portraying earlier models. In a nice touch, however, the destroyer escort playing the USS ''Ward'' had her hull number repainted to match ''Ward'''s for the film.