Get All The Greatest Big Band & Jazz Music On 10 Different CD's From The
Roaring 20's To The Swinging Jazz 30's And To The Post World War II Era...
The idyllic childhood of a young English schoolboy, Jamie Graham living with his rich parents in
a luxurious Shanghai suburb comes to an abrupt end in 1941 when the Japanese invade. He is separated
from his parents, who are evacuated. He spends some time living in his deserted house, living on
the remnants of packaged food. He ventures into Shanghai and finds it bustling with Japanese troops
who ignore his attempts at surrender. Eventually he falls in with an American, Basie (Malkovich),
who calls him Jim, and when they are captured Jim uses great ingenuity to stay with Basie. They
are taken to Soochow Creek Internment Camp where they are put to work constructing a runway for
the Japanese air force. In one dreamlike sequence, Jim wanders away from the group and finds several
Japanese Zeros fighter planes and their proud pilots.
The story then jumps ahead to 1945, a few months before the end of the Pacific Campaign of the war.
Jim is now about 13 or 14 years old and has eked out a good living, despite the poor conditions of
the camp. He has an extensive trading network, involving even the campís commanding officer,
Sergeant Nagata. He is being schooled by the campís British doctor, Dr. Rawlins, who has a difficult
time teaching Jim humility. Through the barbwired fence, Jim "befriends" a Japanese teenager who
also dreams of becoming a pilot. Jim still idolized Basie and visits him in the American menís
barracks. He is attracted to the Americans, whose relaxed good nature contrasts starkly with their
dull British counterparts. He talks of airplanes with them and learns that the North American P-51
fighter is the "Cadillac of the sky." Jim hopes to move into the American menís barracks. Jim later
rescues Dr. Rawlins from a beating by Sgt. Nagata, by delivering a humble speech to the sergeant
in Japanese. The doctor gives Jim a pair of golf shoes as a reward. Jim seeks to Basie when Basie
charges him with setting snare traps outside the wire of the camp to catch wild pheasants that Basie
claims have been roosting there. Jim creeps into the marsh undetected, but the golf shoes he left
behind are discovered by Nagata, who tromps into the marsh to find the owner. Just as Nagata is
about to find Jim, he is distracted by the Japanese boy from the air base on the other side of
the wire, and Jim escapes detection, and as a reward Basie allows him to move into the American
barracks next to Basie. Meanwhile, Basie has been plotting to escape the camp. Basieís callous
private reason for sending Jim into the marsh had been to test the area for mines. Nagata makes
an unexpected visit to Basieís corner of the barracks and finds some soap that Jim had earlier
stolen. Basie is beaten, and spends several days in the infirmary. The other men steal Basie's
possessions and Jim leaves the American men's barracks in shame.
One morning at dawn, Jim witnesses a kamikaze ritual of three Japanese pilots at the air base.
Overcome with emotion at the solemnity of the ceremony, he begins to sing the same Welsh hymn
("Suo G‚n") he sang as a choir boy in Shanghai. As the pilots take off on their suicide mission,
the base is suddendly attacked by the mighty P-51 Mustangs Jim has heard of. He runs to the roof
of a building, where he sees one of the pilots wave at him. Excited, he begins to cheer them on.
The base is heavily damaged in a matter of minutes. Dr Rawlins finds Jim on the roof, oblivious
to the danger of the bombs. Jim turns to the doctor and starts talking to him in a highly emotional
and excited state that verges on hysteria. The event seems to have an impact on Jim that brings
about a type of mental breakdown. Rawlins sharply brings Jim back to reality by telling him ďnot
to think so much.Ē The Japanese decide to evacuate the camp. Running to tell Basie the news, Jim
is devastated to find that Basie has already escaped with another American, Dainty (Ben Stiller
in film debut). Meanwhile, the last remaining Zero fails to start and take off, the improvised
pilot being the friendly Japanese teenager, who breaks down in tears, ashamed. The camp's population
begins a grueling march to Nantow where they are told there will be food. Many die along the way,
including Mrs. Victor, a British woman who was Jim's "neighbour" at Suzhou. As Jim sits with her
body among the war spoils stored in Nantow Stadium by the Japanese, Jim sees a bright light in
the sky to the East. He believes it to be Mrs. Victor's soul floating to Heaven but finds out
later, through a radio broadcast, that it was the flash from one of the atomic bombs dropped on
Japan, hundreds of miles away. Christian Bale and Steven Spielberg discussing a scene during
production of Empire of the Sun.Starving and weak, Jim trudges back to the camp at Soochow.
Making his way through rice paddies, he notices cylindrical objects attached to parachutes falling
from the sky. They contain Red Cross relief packages and food items. Jim fills a parachute with
supplies and arrives at the camp. He finds the same young Japanese boy he knew from his internment
deliriously and angrily slashing at the plants in the marsh with his katana. The boy calms down
and offers Jim a mango and begins to cut it with his sword. He is shot dead by one of Basieís
companions. Jim is furious and throws the man who shot his friend into the marsh and begins to
beat him. Basie drags him off and promises to take him back to Shanghai and find his parents.
Jim refuses the offer and stays behind. Jim is found by a unit of American soldiers. He is sent
back to Shanghai and housed with other children who have lost their parents. Jim, obviously
more scarred by his experiences during the war than the other kids, doesnít recognize his
parents when they arrive at the home and they scarcely recognize him. The paralysis is
broken when his mother finds him in the crowd. Jim collapses into his motherís arms, the
nightmare having ended.
Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg
Year Released - Dec. 1987
Length - 154 minutes
Music Composer: John Williams
Movie Distributed by Warner Brothers
To search and purchase anything related with the movie listed on this page
Empire Of The Sun
,then simply just click on this link here.
Click on VHS tape
for enlarged view
to buy this VHS tape
Click on DVD tape |
for enlarged view
CLICK HERE to Purchase DVD
View The Movie Image Library
(Movie Stills) -
Empire Of The Sun
Click Here To View
Return to the "World War II" Index Page
Videos in the BLU-RAY, DVD, VHS format or the CD soundtracks
can be purchased through
Thank you very much...
Please Help Support This Site By Purchasing A Couple Of CD's
Come Visit The Historic Complete Victory At Sea Online Homepage