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Empire of the Sun

2 h 26 min1987X-RayPG
Based on a true story, British schoolboy Jim is separated from his parents when the Japanese sweep into Shanghai during WW2. He attaches himself to American opportunist Basie. When interned in a prison camp Jim's fantasies are fuelled by the daring of the Japanese fighter pilots he comes to idolise.
Steven Spielberg
Christian BaleJohn MalkovichMiranda Richardson
DramaMilitary and War
None Available
Audio Languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Nigel HaversJoe PantolianoLeslie PhillipsBen Stiller
Warner Bros.
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

665 global ratings

  1. 81% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Michael HetheringtonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Epic recolation of a historical turmil era
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Great to see this Epic presented in Blue Ray, what a difference to see it in such definition , What makes this film so interesting is it was actually filmed in China not some Hollywood studio so can see Shanghai and its western architecture and the great shots across the city along with the many extras required to make this a convincing representation of that bloody time in history . To have filmed this in China was a first I think for communist China to allow such a major Film be made there.
The ex pat's residence were very convincing and interesting you really lost yourself and were transported into this World of Chaos mayhem and Death.
Well worth watching not only for its story line but also the cinematography.
7 people found this helpful
chris binghamReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Spielberg's second best movie
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Next to Schindler's List, this is Spielberg's most absorbing movie. The scene with the lad transfixed by the sight of a Mustang and the pilot' wave is among the best movie scenes of all time. It would rate a five-star, except that on third viewing I thought it could have been edited by 30 minutes or so.
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 February 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A brilliant portrayal of life in Shanghai as the Japanese attacked
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A brilliant portrayal of life in Shanghai as the Japanese attacked. Christian Bale is fantastic as 'Jim' and the rest of the cast shine brilliantly in their supporting roles. I loved this film the first time I watched it, which must have been 30 years ago now! Didn't let me down the 2nd time round, absolutely brilliant!! Watch it before it goes off of Prime. Which, incidentally, will be soon, 28th Feb '18 I think. Watch it now!
One person found this helpful
SuchetReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Supremely powerful war movie seen through the eyes of a child
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I love this movie. Its got one of the greatest performances ever by Christian Bale , who is intense as Jim and we see the events take place through him. Spielberg's direction is awesome and the cinematography is absolutely stunning. The movie is absolutely flawless and timeless. It's totally epic and everyone should see this.
5 people found this helpful
PennyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 November 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stands the Time Test
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Although an old production, this film stands the test of time with Christian Bale as the young boy. And what a wonderful actor he was then, as now ! Full of atmosphere, tension, and brilliantly filmed. Based on a true story apparently.
Lt. Col Thomas J B Kelly, ACIBReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 December 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Moving and accurate
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Interesting how the survival instinct kicks in for even children. Very well portrayed especially the terrifying episode of the Japanese invasion of China and Shanghai.
C R BoughReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 March 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Outstanding film.
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Outstanding film. I first saw this shortly after its release but it was well worth watching again. My partner had not previously seen this but afterwards commented that it was the best film she had seen for a long time.
JC FanReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 October 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A brilliant modern classic.
Verified purchase
Steven Spielberg at the top of his game. The film that brilliantly launched the career of a future Batman.
A brilliant modern classic.
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