Pearl Harbor And Hollywood

December 6, 2008 by Derrick Faw · 1 Comment
Filed under: Cinephile 

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Tomorrow will mark the 67th anniversary of the Japanese attack of the US Military base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th, 1941. This tremendous date which lives in infamy has forever changed the course of politics and culture. All of America jumped into a massive effort of unity, Hollywood was no exception. Some of the most noted figures in cinema put their talents to work for the war effort. Great directors like John Ford, John Houston, and Frank Capra enlisted making documentaries. Actors and actresses alike joined in the war bond and recruitment effort. And others served as soldiers. People like: Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Eddie Albert, Robert Ryan, and James Stewart. Though we all remember Stewart for his boyish and gentle demeanor, his heroism is legendary as a B-24 pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm for his service in Europe. Stewart remained in the Air Force Reserves until 1968, when he retired a Brigadier General. Other noted servicemen who found success in Hollywood after the war include: Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, George C. Scott, Brian Keith, John Russell, Ernest Borgnine, Charlton Heston, and Audie Murphy. Murphy, by the way, is the most decorated serviceman of WWII.

In the years to follow dozens of films and documentaries were made featuring the events of Pearl Harbor, not to mention several newsreels. There are more than 500 films dealing with WWII, many of which at least make a reference to Pearl Harbor. Below is a partial list of those dealing with Pearl Harbor.

Air Force (1943)

From Here To Eternity (1953)

From Here To Eternity (1953)

In Harms Way (1965)

In Harms Way (1965)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Films about WWII are rarely true to fact. For the most part however, they stand as a lasting memory of a special generation of men and women. In a time of depression they faced grave challenges, in a time of war they united together, and in times of prosperity they flurished.  Their achievements stand above any other generation before their time and most likely after.

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