In the intense backdrop of World War II, this 1968 war adventure film, directed by John Boorman, unfolds a gripping tale of survival on a remote Pacific island. Japanese naval officer Captain Tsuruhiko Kuroda, played by the iconic Toshiro Mifune, finds himself stranded alongside a brash American pilot, portrayed by Lee Marvin. Initially locked in a battle of wills, the two adversaries must transcend their animosity as they confront the harsh realities of starvation, dehydration, and exhaustion. Their unlikely alliance becomes a testament to the resilience of the human spirit amidst the chaos of war.
The film contains these tropes:
- Blood from the Mouth: Happens to Kuroda after the American stabs him from behind in an Indulgent Fantasy Segue.
- Clothing Damage: Both men have several articles of clothing ruined during the film, with the American having a pair of khakis reduced to a loincloth.
- Deserted Island: The majority of the film is set on an uninhabited island, and the final act takes place on another island with a bombed-out Japanese medical base.
- Enemy Mine: The American and Kuroda are enemies of war. But when it comes to surviving on an island? Teamwork!
- "Everybody Dies" Ending: At the end of the movie, the American soldier and the Japanese soldier seem to be about to turn on each other... and then a bomb kills them.
- Excrement Statement: At one point, the American disdainfully urinates on Kuroda.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Upon meeting, each man imagines being killed by the other before deciding against fighting at all.
- Language Barrier: The American and Kuroda manage to overcome this to build and operate a raft together.
- Minimalist Cast: The film only stars 2 actors. What did you expect?
- No Name Given: The American pilot's name is never stated in the movie or the ending credits.
- Rated M for Manly: As a war film, two men surviving on an island and fighting each other is just too manly!
- Reality Has No Subtitles: Kuroda's dialogue goes untranslated in the film (unless you manually activate the subtitles on the Blu-Ray).
- Robinsonade: The two leads are marooned on an island in World War II. Neither understand the other's language, and after a period of hostility, work together to survive and escape the island.
- Translation by Volume: The American gets increasingly agitated during his final conversation with Kuroda, and attempts translation via yelling, spelling and repetition.