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The Fighter Pilot

7.32 h 23 min201412
A young man discovers how his grandfather perished in a last-minute Kamikaze mission which devastated the United States Pacific Fleet.
Takashi Yamazaki
Jun'ichi OkadaHaruma Miura
ActionDramaRomanceMilitary and War
None Available
Audio Languages
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Icon Film Distribution
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4.4 out of 5 stars

347 global ratings

  1. 65% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 22% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Dr. Patrick A. G. DegenaarReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 June 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
good but missed its target
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The story is about a grandson tracking down his grandfather's exploits as an instructor and eventual Kamikaze pilot in WW2.

The problem with the film is that it is a little too Japanese - Jingoistic for my liking and historically innacurate.
1. The Kamikaze did not fly zero fighters - unless they committed suicide in the heat of battle. Rather they flew a really rubbish flying bomb that could barely get off the ground and was easy picking for the Americans
2. The Kamikaze were not all volunteers. Many were effectively press-ganged into doing it. The film hints at this point, but largely glosses over it.
3. The zero fighters were completely obsolete by the end of the war and were very few in number compared to the American air force. Hence very few actually managed to shoot any American planes down late-war. This was mentioned in the script but the footage was different.

The subtitles were generally good, but there were a few occasions were the meaning was subtly different to the original Japanese.

Those complaints aside this was a love story in a very Japanese way. - about a man torn between the love of his wife and child on one hand, and his comrades on the other. Overall it is very well done.
4 people found this helpful
HotshotReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 September 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Watch and Weep
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This is a brilliant movie to come out of Japan. It tells the story of a Japanese fighter pilot from Pearl Harbor through to the last days of the war when he becomes a Kamikaze pilot on a desperate mission. The end is quite poignant and certainly get's you thinking about these men who were once our enemies! The English subtitles are easy to keep up with without intruding into the vision of the film, while the action/flight shot's are superb.
All in all this is a film you must watch and easily scores the full 5 stars.
42 people found this helpful
SeafirelivReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 May 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Is he side- slipping?
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Nice to see things from the Japanese point of view for a change.

There's one Japanese pilot who's supposed to be a super-good pilot, and towards the end the American ships can't hit him. From the looks of it (and from what another guy said in the movie), he uses a bit of left or right rudder, maybe even trimming his aircraft while flying. You can see him using some rudder towards the end of the film with his feet.

My point is, he LOOKS like he's flying straight, but is in fact always flying off-angle, or side slipping, so when you shoot at him, you always miss. At least that's what I think is going on from a guy who is never flown an aircraft.

Nice CGI effects too.

A little too emotional, but then again, shouldn't they be? Kamikazes are Humans too with friends and relations. Good movie.
klwReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 July 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good, but not great.
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Unlike so many war films, this one avoids mawkish sentamentality and facile moralising - and for that it is to be praised. The action pieces are not brilliant, the same sequences being repeated, which destroys the effect, but the main problem is the basis on which the whole film revolves. I am not Japanese and cannot view it from a Japanese perspective but it is difficult to credit that a man could be promoted to and hold senior rank in any navy (His exact rank is not clear but he is repeatedly referred to as "the Chief") while being widely considered to be a coward. In time of war, that would earn dismissal (or worse) in any navy and it is difficult to believe that the Japanese Navy was any different in this respect. However, you will spend your time better in watching this war film than a great many others.
Tommy DooleyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 December 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Film let down in part by over sentimentality and lack lustre CGI
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This is the story of two children who discover that on the death of their grandmother that she was married before and that their mother was the daughter of another man. They then set out to find out who he was.

The journey is an emotional one and by meeting veterans they piece together the life of this fighter pilot. There are highs and lows and a lot of flying scenes. Some of the planes look great especially the Zero’s, but some of the CGI scenes were a bit poor and let the side down. There is also a fair amount of sentimentality that was not really needed, the final scene made me knock a star off – but to say what it was would be a spoiler so I will demure.

It is long too at 137 minutes but it is also fairly entertaining and in no way glorifies war and in that respect it is due credit. It does have a twelve certificate so in Japan may have been aimed at a younger market. If you like WW 2 films then this will deliver the goods as there were some very well realised scenes including the Aircraft carrier shots. So a mixed bag but one that has more to praise than to criticise on balance.
6 people found this helpful
barrygoulderReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 June 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
from the Japanese side of the war.
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Very moving film about Japanese suicide pilots in world war two.told in flash back a young boy tries to find out if his grand father was a coward during the war.What he finds is a man who wanted to survive the war and return to his wife and child.along the way he also helps other pilots come to terms with their fears and duty.great action scenes excellent acting.the time just flew by.(pardon the pun!)
27 people found this helpful
Derby MarkReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 March 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
The central character's motive for this is for love of his family rather than duty towards the nation
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This is a very moving film and though a tad long, is worth watching to the end. The flying sequences are very realistic but are subservient to the overall story that centres around one man's struggle to retain some kind of moral focus whilst surrounded by the insanity of war and of a nation whose prevailing culture at the time has a warped view of what true self-sacrifice is.

The central character's motive for this is for love of his family rather than duty towards the nation. He treads this tightrope with courage whilst having to live with the continual charge that his efforts to stay alive for his family and preserve the lives of the men he is fighting with as evidence that he is a coward.

Other themes such as questioning the moral ideals we pass on to the generations that come after us, are delicately woven into a very moving and engrossing film. Well worth the watch.
10 people found this helpful
Peter F.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 June 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great story; very good movie
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I can't think of many movies that attempt to address, from the Japanese perspective, the issue of kamikaze pilots, which this film does very well with a really engaging story. The battle scenes inevitably use CGI, but it's pretty well done.
One point about the previous reviews: one reviewer claimed the movie was inaccurate because it depicts Zeros as kamikaze aircraft, with the reviewer claiming the Japanese instead used 'flying bombs'. That's completely wrong. In fact the fast majority of kamikaze attacks used fighters or light bombers, and while the Japanese did develop a rocket-powered kamikaze 'flying bomb' called the Ohka, only several dozen of these were actually used operationally.
One person found this helpful
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