Pearl Harbor Anniversary

TCM is marking the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor tomorrow, December 7, with a 24-hour marathon of films involving Japan’s surprise attack that precipitated the United States’ entry into World War II.

For those without access to TCM, The Savvy Screener has identified streaming options for all but one of the films, Task Force (1949) starring Gary Cooper, which is available on disc. Instead, to make it an even dozen, we’ve included here a movie not part of the TCM marathon: Pearl Harbor (2001).

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) – Events leading up to the attack, told from both the American and Japanese point of view. Starring Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotton E.G. Marshall, Sō Yamamura, James Whitmore and Jason Robards. Available on Amazon Prime; non-Prime members can rent for $2.99.

1941 (1979) –  Flush from the successes of such films as Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg stretches into comedy with this fictional portrayal of events in California the day after the attack. Starring John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Ned Beatty and Christopher Lee as Captain Wolfgang von Kleinschmidt. You can rent it on Amazon Video for $3.99.


Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) – Tells the story of America’s immediate response to Pearl Harbor, starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson. The patriotic script was written by Dalton Trumbo, who was later blacklisted in Hollywood during the red scare of the 1950s and forced to write films under a pseudonym. Available for rent on Amazon Video for $3.99.

Pearl Harbor (2001) – The attack, the follow-up Tokyo raid and a love triangle are interwoven in this three-hour film starring Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale and Josh Hartnett. You can rent it on Amazon Video for $3.99.

December 7th: The Movie (1943) – Categorized as a “docudrama” about Pearl Harbor, the film stars American film acting royalty Walter Huston and was directed by Western auteur John Ford. Gregg Toland, the pioneering cinematographer for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, co-directed. Free with an Amazon Prime subscription or you can rent for $1.99.


From Here to Eternity (1953) – Featuring perhaps the most famous beach kiss in film history, this classic stars Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra as Angelo Maggio, the role that garnered Sinatra an Oscar. Rent on Amazon Video for $3.99.

Salute to the Marines (1943) – Wallace Beery stars as a retired marine who goes into action as a civilian when the Japanese invade the Philippines. Wallace’s brother, Noah, is also in the film. (Trivia: Noah’s son and Wallace’s nephew, Noah Berry, Jr., played James Garners’ father, Rocky, on The Rockford Files). Rent on Amazon Video for $2.99.

Bombardier (1943) – Pat O’Brien and Randolph Scott lead a cast about US airmen training for bombing missions during World War II. You can rent on Amazon Video for $4.99.


They Were Expendable (1945) – The “Duke,” John Wayne, as Lieutenant Rusty Ryan in a retelling of American PT boats’ role in defending the Philippines. John Ford directed. Rent on Amazon Video for $3.99.

Air Force (1943) –  John Garfield and Gig Young are part of an air force bomber crew sent to defend the Philippines. Howard Hawkes directed. Rent on Amazon Video for $2.99.

Finally, two films you can watch right here:

The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) – Jane Russell is Mamie Stover, a San Francisco prostitute who escapes the law by jumping on a freighter bound for Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Directed by Raoul Walsh, who had established his reputation in silent movies:

Cry of Battle (1963) – The son of a wealthy businessman joins a guerrilla movement fighting the Japanese. Starring Van Heflin, Rita Moreno and James MacArthur who later played Danny “Danno” Williams on Hawaii Five-0:

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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