The Final Countdown. In 1980, an assistant in the Department of Defense Warren Lasky is assigned by his mysterious chief Richard Tideman to visit the aircraft carrier USS Nimtz commanded by Capt. Matthew Yelland as an observer of the routines. Lasky finds that Wing Commander Richard T. Owens has a great knowledge of history. Out of the blue, the vessel faces a weird storm and they find that they have traveled back in time to the eve of the attack of Pearl Harbor on 06 December 1941. When the two Japanese Zeros attack the motorboat of Senator Samuel Chapman, the crew of the Nimitz rescues the senator and his assistant Laurel Scott. But sooner Lasky learns that the senator had disappeared on that day and Capt. Matthew Yelland is planning to attack the Japanese. Will these actions create a time paradox?
All-timer great movie, fantastic flying, top acting, themes for men & women
The Final Countdown. This film is one of the great ones. Having served on an aircraft carrier for 2.5 years, I’m familiar with aircraft carrier excitement. But the movie was more than just wonderful shots of the U.S. Nimitz. The cast was top drawer, and their acting was as good as it gets. Standing above all the great performances was a Japanese actor portraying a shot-down, highly competent, captured Japanese Zero pilot. While racism understandably raises its ugly head during wartime, with epithets and insults hurled in both directions, in fact this Japanese actor portrayed a Japanese warrior at his finest–someone whom Japanese viewers would be proud of. Played equally well were American military personnel, including some Marines. One of the candid themes of the movie is the tragedy of such fine people going to war against each other, whatever their race.
The film is undeniably top drawer, far more mature than than “Top Gun,” with even better flying scenes. So I’ve often wondered why it isn’t widely known and not kept in stock in widescreen format. Perhaps the answer is today’s wimpy trend towards “politically correct” dialog. In one scene, Kirk Douglas refers to the captured Japanese pilot as a “yellow bastard.” In the video version, this was sanitized. However, sanitized or not, the original racial comment, by itself, may have doomed the film from greater video distribution.