Way back in 1976 I saw the “blockbuster” movie of Midway. It starred Charleton Heston, Henry Fonda, and all the greats. Great actors. Not a great movie. It was riddled with historical inaccuracy and all sorts of fiction. Typical for Hollywood.
The other day I went to see the latest remake of the story of the Battle of Midway on the silver screen. Not too many famous actors, but at least Hollywood seriously tried to get the story right. Yes, there were a few historical inaccuracies (the kind only history nerds would notice), but for the most part the movie is faithful to the actual historical line of events. It gives very good background for the war in the Pacific (to generations of history-starved Americans).
When you watch this recent remake a couple of things stand out: We came dangerously close to losing most or all of our aircraft carriers (the primary weapon of both navies in the Pacific). The pivotal battle of Midway could easily have gone either way. The Japanese were tough, committed, incredibly courageous warriors. If they had won Midway, they could have conquered Hawaii, and then started raiding (bombing/shelling) the West Coast of the US at their leisure. If they had won Midway, the war in the Pacific would have been prolonged for years.
Another thing stands out. The amazing courage and skill …. and patriotism…of twenty-somethings in the US Navy at that time. Imagine flying at a 75 degree angle at 300 miles per hour, while enemy ships are firing at you, and then dropping your bomb on target, and then pulling out without getting killed.
Even though the movie does not have the best acting (it is acceptable however), the story line is excellent, the computer graphics make you feel like you are in the battle, and the lessons learned make this a good movie for Americans who need a solid history lesson on how the good guys, the United States of America, defeated the evil empire of Japan in World War II.