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  • Awesome Music: The score by Jerry Goldsmith. The parts with Japanese instruments and pentatonic motifs especially add a lot to that side of the film.
  • Narm:
    • One of the officers gets angry at a plane for flying either too low or into a restricted area and wants him identified so he can chew him out. The plane identifies itself to him by bombing a structure.
      Get that guy's number, Dick! I'll have him reported for safety violations! *D3A drops bomb*
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    • The conductor speeds up the anthem upon realizing that the base is under attack.
    • A server in the mess hall exclaims to everyone that the radio is broadcasting an emergency report that Pearl Harbor is under attack. Everyone drops what they're doing, rushes to the windows, and manage to get a glimpse of a D3A dropping a bomb right in front of them... hitting them with a blast wave and a spray of shrapnel and broken glass.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The American pilots trying desperately to get up in the air while their base is under attack. Most of the planes are blown to pieces before they make can begin their takeoff roll. One plane is sent skidding sideways along the pavement, making a nightmarish screeching noise as the fighter bursts into flames.
  • Vindicated by History: It was a box-office flop in the U.S. and for the most part, critics didn't like it (Roger Ebert awarded it only one star). But it did pretty well in Japan (eventually breaking even), the expensive special effects shots were convincing enough to be re-used for over a decade (Toshio Masuda even reused most of the Pearl Harbor attack in his 1982 war epic The Imperial Japanese Empire) , and if you need historical accuracy more than you need character-driven drama in a film, this is a good go-to. After the 2001 film, Pearl Harbor, proved a boring and badly researched flop, the reputation of this film as the best dramatization of the attack grew still more.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: So... now that we've listed this trope, guess which Academy Award it did get?
    • When you watch the movie today, modern viewers should take a moment to realize that this was long before CGI. All of the effects shots were done with physical models or real planes and ships.
    • The film involved the construction of some thirty-odd replica Japanese aircraft from WWII era US T-6 and BT-13 trainers. All of them are present in some formation flying scenes. There were also five B-17s, two P-40s, and one PBY Catalina. Some of the footage shot was later reused for Pearl Harbor.
  • The Woobie: Plenty to go around in Oahu once the battle starts.
    • One scene features a young Japanese or Japanese-American (a substantial portion of Hawaii's population included immigrants from Japan) messenger delivering General Marshall's telegram to Fort Shafter. The Sergeant signing for the message shares a long look with the obviously terrified boy, who is part of a population who are in for a very ugly time.
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    • Stoic Woobie: Admiral Kimmell. Once the attack is in full swing, a machine gun bullet breaks the window he is standing in front of and strikes him in the chest. The round is spent, not having enough energy to even penetrate his uniform. He feels it would have been a mercy if he had been struck dead on the spot. Both the incident and Kimmell's dialogue musing on this are Truth in Television.


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