Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo

Released: 1944
Grade: A-

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) on IMDb


Based on the true story of Ted Lawson, this is the story of a group of Army pilots who volunteered to make a bombing run on several Japanese cities only a few months after Pearl Harbor. The film shows their training, the planning of the attack, the execution of the plan, and what happened to them after they landed in China.


This is a fantastic movie. I’m surprised that there isn’t more buzz about it online. Though it is about a true event during World War II, this really isn’t a war movie like The Longest Day or Patton or anything like that. Instead, this is a drama, and an excellent one at that.

What I really enjoy about War films like this is when they show in realistic terms the sacrifices that were made by many brave men (and women) during this extremely crucial period in the history of the world. This movie does not disappoint. I could watch this over and over again.

Of Note

Van Johnson was in an accident about a year before starring in this movie. The director Mervin LeRoy took advantage of this since Johnson’s character also gets pretty beat up in the movie. At the beginning of the movie, the scars on his forehead are not as noticeable, but at the end of the film, they really stand out.