- Crowning Music of Awesome: John Williams' score, especially the awesomely hilarious (or hilariously awesome) main theme. Spielberg calls it his favorite Williams march, and with good reason.
- Values Dissonance: It's a wee bit racist by 21st century standards, although it's debatable how much of that is the era it was made in (The '70s) and how much is the era it was set in (World War II).
- Though some critics at the time also noted that it was surprisingly sympathetic to the Japanese characters (portraying them as disgusted with their Nazi hanger-on until the captain kills him, and letting them finish their mission to their satisfaction and go home with honor).
- It's very hard to imagine any film these days making a Running Gag out of a man trying to rape a woman.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Up until Flight of the Intruder a decade or so later, the 1941 Los Angeles miniature was the largest ever built ... and the dogfight down it beats the Star Wars Death Star Trench run hollow.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: John Belushi and Warren Oates during Lemme hear your guns!