Empire of the Sun (1987) directed by Steven Spielberg
Christian Bale as Jim ‘Jamie’ Graham and Nigel Havers as Dr. Rawlins

Jim (watching the American planes bomb the Japanese airfield): Wow! Haha! Go! P-51, Cadillac of the sky! Hahaha! Wow! P-51, Cadillac of the sky!
Dr. Rawlins: Jim? Jim! Get off the roof! Jim!
Jim: Horsepower! Wow!
Dr. Rawlins: Get down Jim! Get down! Go on! Get down!
Jim: P-51! Aren’t they beautiful?
Dr. Rawlins: Jim, get down!
Jim: I touched them! I touched them! I felt their heat! I can taste them in my mouth! Oil and cordite!
Dr. Rawlins: Jim, come back to the hospital. I need your help at the hospital.
Jim: Dr. Rawlins, do you remember how we helped to build the runway? If we’d died like the others, our bones would be in the runway. In a way, it’s our runway.
Dr. Rawlins: No, it’s their runway, Jim! Try not to think so much. Try not to think so much!
Jim (suddenly crying): I can’t remember what my parents look like.

One Response to “Empire of the Sun (1987)”

  1. This glorious epic of heroism and loss of innocence is my personal favorite of all Spielberg’s films, the best film of 1987, and one of the greatest films of the 80’s.

    I well remember going on a tangent back in those days, seeing the film over and over in theatres and securing permission from my district’s Board of Education for a school field trip for seventh graders. Christian Bale’s arresting performance may still be his finest ever, the use of the Scotch hymn ‘Suo Gan’ still brings goosebumps, and Allen Daviau’s breathtaking cinematography indellibly orchestrates Spielberg’s rapturous images. The film had to compete that same year with John Boorman’s superlative HOPE AND GLORY, which broached much of the same subject matter and same period, and it was bumped at Oscar time in favor of the Boorman work.

    But I well remember the many Top Ten lists it placed on including the #1 spot for Andrew Sarris who proclaimed it “moved him on a level he thought not possible in the cinema.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

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