Pearl Harbor (2001)

3.5 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some impressive visuals

Dull, long, inaccurate story with below par acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pearl Harbor

Studio:  Touchstone Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 25, 2001

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


I love you man!!!

Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) grew up best friends and learned to fly together.  Rafe falls in love with a young nurse named Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale) but volunteers to travel to Europe to fight as the war increases. Evelyn and Danny are sent to Pearl Harbor. Rafe is shot down and presumed dead, and Evelyn and Danny fall in love. When Rafe returns, the betrayal he feels toward Evelyn and Danny is great.  Japanese pilots stage a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and Rafe and Danny must put their differences behind them to defend the United States to stop the Japanese assault.

Directed by Michael Bay, Pearl Harbor was met by mostly negative reviews but still became a big grosser at the box office. It won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing and was nominated for Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Song (“There You’ll Be”). The film was also nominated for a number of Razzies.


Show me the money!!!

I didn’t want to see Pearl Harbor when it was released and I didn’t really want to see it when I did, now, having seen it…I was right to avoid it. The movie first off is about three hours long and probably an hour and a half too long. If the movie had been short sweet and too the point, it might have been better. The movie should have ended with Pearl Harbor, instead another hour is spent with the retaliation attack on Japan. The events leading up to the Pearl Harbor strike likewise are painfully slow. In addition to being bad historians have torn the film apart for events occurring in it.


So anyway, apply pressure, I really lofe Rafe but Danny is so nice…stupid bombers…

I will say that some of the visual effects are good. The movie looks fine and I did love some of the imagery presented in the first trailer for the film with the Zeroes flying over Hawaii in preparation for their bombing run…it actually was quite cool. The attack on Pearl Harbor likewise was impressive at points, but it takes too long to get there and the last third of the movie takes away from the “shock and awe” approach of the bombing attack.

The problem with the movie is the actors and their story. First the whole “I love two men” aspect has been so overdone. In the face of the great danger and death of Pearl Harbor, it also seems belittling to have them whining about who loves more. It is tedious and quite dull.

Pearl Harbor has almost become a punchline for big, bold movie that are bad. The movie and Michael Bay even got special mention in a Team America song for its badness. It could have avoided so much criticism just by making it shorter. If you are going to see a movie about Pearl Harbor, you should probably just stick with Tora! Tora! Tora! or From Here to Eternity.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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