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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | November 1944 (USA)
In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (screen play), Ted W. Lawson (based on the book) (as Captain Ted W. Lawson) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Ted Lawson
Robert Walker ... David Thatcher
Tim Murdock Tim Murdock ... Dean Davenport
Don DeFore ... Charles McClure
Herbert Gunn Herbert Gunn ... Bob Clever (as Gordon McDonald)
Phyllis Thaxter ... Ellen Lawson
Stephen McNally ... 'Doc' White (as Horace McNally)
Spencer Tracy ... Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle
John R. Reilly John R. Reilly ... 'Shorty' Manch
Robert Mitchum ... Bob Gray
Scott McKay ... Davey Jones
Donald Curtis ... Lieut. Randall
Louis Jean Heydt ... Lieut. Miller
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Don Smith (as Wm. 'Bill' Phillips)
Douglas Cowan ... 'Brick' Holstrom
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Storyline

The amazingly detailed true story of "The Doolittle Raid" based on the personal account by Doolittle Raider Ted Lawson. Stunned by Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats, America needed a victory - badly. To that end, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, a former air racer and stunt pilot, devises a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this, he must train army bomber pilots to do something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully loaded bombers from an aircraft carrier! Remarkable in its accuracy, this movie even uses film footage from the actual raid. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Heart-Warming Romance . . . Stark, Sensational Drama! Thrills! Action! Adventure! ...Ripped From The Heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Treinta segundos sobre Tokio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,297,000, 31 December 1944

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,200,000, 31 December 1944
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It should be remembered that the names of the crew of the Ruptured Duck and most of the military men in this films are the actual names of the men who were in this raid. See more »

Goofs

The injuries of the crew of the Ruptured Duck are not completely correct. Lawson was hurt the worse, as the movie tries to portray, but in fact his face was pushed in from going through the windscreen of his plane. All of his front teeth were loosened and fell out into his hand when he tried to straighten them. His lower lip was laid open to the cleft in his chin. In addition to his leg being gashed open, his left bicep was severed in half. McClure's injuries were accurately portrayed; both shoulders were broken from hitting the backs of Lawson and Davenports seats. Davenport was shown was being non-ambulatory in the movie and generally helpless; however, other than a bad cut on his forehead (he went through the windscreen too), he was able to move around and help his three more badly injured crew mates. Clever was as badly injured as the movie portrayed him. Thatcher was the least injured, although he had a bleeding bump on his head, which was not shown in the movie. Thatcher received commendation for his efforts to help the three badly-injured crew members. See more »

Quotes

[repeated lines]
Ted Lawson: Tell me, Honey, how come you're so cute?
Ellen Lawson: I had to be if I was going to get such a good looking fella.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is an alternate colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You
(1903) (uncredited)
Written by John Lang Sinclair
Sung by the men in the barracks
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brief bombing mission but a long story
6 December 2003 | by Steve-318See all my reviews

One of those made-during-the-war war movies that comes with the customary Frank Capra-like homeland security flag-waving and all of that but this is a good flick that stands the test of time.

Oh, it's cornball and the soldiers make like scouts at jamboree but there's an edge here--perhaps because the outcome of the WWII encounter was still in doubt at the time.

As a movie, though, "30 Seconds" has a lot going for it: romance (Van Johnson-Phyllis Thaxter), buddies (Johnson and a young Robert Mitchum), strong Army-Navy relations, strong American-Chinese relations--and plenty of great character parts played by people like Robert Walker, Spencer Tracy and Don DeFore, later to become George Baxter in TV's "Hazel."

There's nothing dated about the cinematography employed here. When the Ruptured Duck flies over Tokyo, you feel like you're right there in the cockpit and the crew's low-altitude escape to China is nothing less than harrowing.

It may not be a 20-20 account of the Doolittle mission to ramp up U.S. spirits after Pearl Harbor but it's a entertaining film with a lot of heavy hitters along for the ride, people like Dalton Trumbo (screenplay)and director Mervyn LeRoy.

Yes, it's one-part propaganda, one part-chin uplifter but there's a lot more to it and it makes my all-time top 10 war movie list.


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