Hell in the Pacific
Hell in the Pacific is a 1968 World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 film starring Lee Marvin
Lee Marvin
Lee Marvin was an American film actor. Known for his gravelly voice, white hair and 6' 2" stature, Marvin at first did supporting roles, mostly villains, soldiers and other hardboiled characters, but after winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual roles in Cat Ballou , he landed more...

 and Toshirō Mifune
Toshiro Mifune
Toshirō Mifune was a Japanese actor who appeared in almost 170 feature films. He is best known for his 16-film collaboration with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, from 1948 to 1965, in works such as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Yojimbo...

, the only two actors in the entire film. It was directed by John Boorman
John Boorman
John Boorman is a British filmmaker who is a long time resident of Ireland and is best known for his feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Zardoz, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory, The General and The Tailor of Panama.-Early life:Boorman was born in Shepperton, Surrey,...


A two-man version of 1965's None But the Brave
None But the Brave
None But the Brave, also known as in Japan, is a 1965 war film starring Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, Tatsuya Mihashi, Tommy Sands and Brad Dexter. This is the only film directed by Frank Sinatra, and the first Japanese-American co-production, produced by Sinatra for Warner Bros...

the film is a story of two soldiers, one American and the other Japanese, marooned on an uninhabited Pacific island, who, in order to survive, must accept their differences and work together, despite their two countries being at war.

The film contains little dialogue, and much like its predecessor, is not dubbed or sub-titled, thus authentically portraying the frustration of restricted communication between the Japanese- and English-speaking. The film was entirely shot in the Rock Islands of Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

 in the north Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, near the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in the Philippine Sea
Philippine Sea
The Philippine Sea is a marginal sea east and north of the Philippines occupying an estimated surface area of 2 million mi² on the western part of the North Pacific Ocean...


The film was originally released with a rather abrupt ending, one that left many dissatisfied with the outcome of the struggle these men endured. The subsequent DVD release has an alternative ending, which while leaving the eventual destiny of the two ambiguous, was much more in line with the overall direction of the movie.

Both actors had real-life World War II combat experience: Marvin served with the US Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 in the Pacific, where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

; meanwhile Mifune served in the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.

Critical reception

  • "Toshiro Mifune also took on foreign assignments, but few did him justice. It was only John Boorman's Hell in the Pacific that captured something of his range, humour and power." - British Film Institute
    British Film Institute
    The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

Post-film collaboration

One of the writers, Eric Bercovici, would go on to write the screenplay for, and produce, the Emmy Award winning television mini-series Shōgun
Shogun (TV miniseries)
Shōgun is an American television miniseries based on the namesake novel by James Clavell. As with the novel, the title is often shown as Shōgun in order to conform to Hepburn romanization. The miniseries was broadcast over five nights, between September 15 and September 19, 1980 on NBC in the...

(based on the James Clavell novel
Shogun (novel)
Shōgun is a 1975 novel by James Clavell. It is the first novel of the author's Asian Saga. A major bestseller, by 1990 the book had sold 15 million copies worldwide...

) for NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

, with Toshirō Mifune cast as "Toranaga" the man who would eventually become the Shogun.


The concept was re-worked in 1979 for the Hugo
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

- and Nebula Award
Nebula Award
The Nebula Award is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America , for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the previous year...

-winning novella Enemy Mine, later adapted to film
Enemy Mine (film)
Enemy Mine is a 1985 science fiction film based on the story of the same title by Barry B. Longyear. It was produced by 20th Century Fox, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, and starred Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr...

 in 1985 and directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Wolfgang Petersen
Wolfgang Petersen is a German film director and screenwriter. His films include The NeverEnding Story, Enemy Mine, Outbreak, In the Line of Fire, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm, Troy, and Poseidon...


In 1980, Hell in the Pacific was the basis for "The Return of Starbuck
The Return of Starbuck
"The Return of Starbuck" is the tenth and final episode of the television series Galactica 1980, a spin-off of the earlier ABC science fiction series Battlestar Galactica....

," an episode of Galactica 1980
Galactica 1980
Galactica 1980 is a science fiction television series, and a spin-off from the 1978–1979 series Battlestar Galactica. It was first broadcast on the ABC network in the United States from January 27 to May 4, 1980.-Development:...

, the short-lived spin-off of the original Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)
Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson. It starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict and ran for one season in 1978–79. After cancellation, its story was continued in 1980 as Galactica 1980 with Adama, Lieutenant Boomer and...

TV series.

See also

  • None But the Brave
    None But the Brave
    None But the Brave, also known as in Japan, is a 1965 war film starring Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, Tatsuya Mihashi, Tommy Sands and Brad Dexter. This is the only film directed by Frank Sinatra, and the first Japanese-American co-production, produced by Sinatra for Warner Bros...

    (1965), Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra
    Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

    's earlier film with a similar premise

External links

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