Pearl Harbor Analysis: Differentiating Facts from Fiction

download print

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 800 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 800|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

With its heartdrenching romance interweaved in its heartpounding action, movie critics have hailed Pearl Harbor as the summer blockbuster of the year and the second coming of Titanic. Pearl Harbor, a movie about the 1941 surprise aerial attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet, is seen as movie which is less of a history lesson, and more of a love story. However, despite booming box office sales and rave reviews, some say the movie distorts reality and is not a World War Two role model movie. This is an issue which is debatable. Indeed, many are dismayed to see the attack that provoked the U.S. entry into the second world war serving as a backdrop to a Hollywood-style love triangle. Some even wonder why the film - one which spans from the war in Europe to James Doolittle's raid on Tokyo in 1942 - is even named "Pearl Harbor."

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

World War Two veterans are dying by the thousands every month. For the four to five million veterans that are still alive, this may be the last time they witness Hollywood trying to tell their story, and that may partly account for why the film is being held to a high standard of accuracy. While nobody claimed colossal misrepresentations in Pearl Harbor, critics of the film, mainly historians, say the movie's battle scenes contain many inaccuracies. The scene which Japanese torpedo bombers are attacking the American airfields, is especially reaping criticism since a war zone like that was never recorded into history. The most obvious Hollywood versus history conflict comes about in actor Jon Voight's shiniest moment, when he portrays Franklin D. Roosevelt struggling out of his wheelchair in order to show his cabinet that the impossible can happen. Historians claim that they have never read of any incident remotely close. The movie also suggests that Japan had a chance of winning the war, and that if the empire has pressed its advantage, it could have invaded the United States all the way from California to Chicago. Once again, historians abroad and local alike claim that the Japanese had no such ambition. Some criticism originating from the Japanese-American community reveals complaints about not reflecting the Japanese side to the full extent and ignoring the long, pained debates and calculations that preceded the decision to attack the US fleet.

While the film generates many complaints from off-the-mark portrayals mentioned above, there are some very poignant moments where it may bring war veterans close to home. In a tragic scene following the Japanese attack on the Pacific fleet, Evelyn, leading female nurse played by Kate Beckinsale, marks soldiers with lipstick at the hospital to indicate who should be treated and who was beyond help, something nurses were forced to do during the war. Another scene in which one sailor tells another he can't swim as the USS Oklahoma capsizes is based on a real event.

Another issue which brings the movie to attention for some Asian-Americans, is the anti-Asian sentiment being stirred up as a result of the film. After sitting in a movie theater for nearly three hours watching Americans getting bombed by Japanese warplanes, what kind of reaction will filmgoers have to the first Asian- Americans they see when they come out of the theater? Will viewers understand that the men who bombed Pearl Harbor are either dead or old men living in Japan, and not the Asian Americans living here? Will Asian-Americans again be subjected to the "Jap" slur? And will Asian-Americans become anti- Japanese because they are victims of racial slurs? However, concerns for the psychological consequences of the film cannot be logically blamed on filmmakers, or else the Germans would protest every time a Nazi movie came out.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Many also see much redeeming value in the film, particularly in its balanced portrayal of war and its ability to reach across the generations. In preparation for the film, Pearl Harbor director/producer Michael Bay, interviewed some eighty survivors. He remains vocal about his goal: give a feeling of what it was like to be at Pearl Harbor, not a historical play-by-play. "Pearl Harbor makes no claim to absolute accuracy," said senior vice president of Walt Disney Studios, Andrea Marozas, in an interview with the Boston Globe, said, "We tried to make the film as historically accurate as possible, but it's entertainment. We employed a lot of historical consultants. But still, it's a movie." Many fans identify with Bay and Marozas' comments. While the film does not have a firm grip on reality, it brings the war back to attention. Younger audiences may not sit still for a World War Two documentary, but squeeze in Disney and Ben Affleck somewhere and they're ready for their history lesson.

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Pearl Harbor Analysis: Differentiating Facts from Fiction. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
“Pearl Harbor Analysis: Differentiating Facts from Fiction.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
Pearl Harbor Analysis: Differentiating Facts from Fiction. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Pearl Harbor Analysis: Differentiating Facts from Fiction [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now