Starring: Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Ed Skrein, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson, Jake Weber
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Historical war drama directed by Roland Emmerich. Based on the real-life events, the story centers on US soldiers and pilots who change the course of World War II by persevering through the Battle of Midway in June 1942, where the US and Imperial Japanese naval forces fought for four days.
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Our Favorite Quote:'If you know that you came through when people were counting on you, you'll be able to face anything.' - Dick Best (Midway) Click To Tweet
President Franklin D. Roosevelt: The political situation in the world has now reached a stage where the very foundations of civilization are seriously threatened. War is a contagion. The peace of the world, the welfare and security of every nation, including our own, is being threatened by that very thing. Let no one imagine that America will escape. Yes, we are determined to keep out of war. Yet, we cannot insure ourselves against the disastrous effects of war, and the dangers of involvement.
Isoroku Yamamoto: I was once our naval attache in Washington.
Edwin Layton: After you went to Harvard.
Isoroku Yamamoto: Like you, I thought there was value in studying a potential adversary.
Edwin Layton: There’s a rumor that you told the prime minister that Japan can’t win a war with the United States.
Isoroku Yamamoto: I said we couldn’t win a long war.
Dick Best: Hey, Lindsey, this is what I was afraid of. One of your men almost blows up the damn carrier, because you were too afraid to get shot down flying into Pearl.
Eugene Lindsey: Do I have to remind you that I am your superior officer, lieutenant?
Dick Best: Are you going to hide behind your rank?
[separates Best and Lindsey]
Wade McClusky: Save it for the Japs!
Dick Best: We’re at war now, McClusky. When that guy screws up, people die!
Wade McClusky: Listen to me. You want to keep flying? I suggest you knock off the cowboy bullsh*t.
[over the radio]
President Franklin D. Roosevelt: December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
Isoroku Yamamoto: [in Japanese] We have awakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with terrible resolve.
Ernest King: The situation in the Pacific is far worse than has been reported. We have three carriers. The Japs have ten. We have zero functional battleships, they have nine. They have more cruisers, more bombers, more fighters, and much of their equipment is more modern. We’ll just have to count on the men that we have out there to hold the line.
Chester W. Nimitz: I don’t envy the new commander.
Chester W. Nimitz: It’s me, isn’t it?
Ernest King: The president asked for you himself. He said, you should get the hell out to Pearl and stay there, until our ships sail into Tokyo Bay.
[they shake hands]
Ernest King: Welcome to the most difficult job in the world.
[shouts at Nimitz as his staff car is driving by them]
Dick Best: Hey, Nimitz, when are you going to let us at those Japs?!
Staff Officer: I’m sorry, sir. Do you want me to get their names?
Chester W. Nimitz: No.
Clarence Dickinson: [to Best] I think he might have heard you.
Chester W. Nimitz: I’m glad at least some of the boys still want to fight.
Edwin Layton: I wish to be reassigned to a destroyer.
Chester W. Nimitz: Didn’t you try to warn my predecessor about the impending attack?
Edwin Layton: Well, not exactly. I said that we had lost track of the enemy carriers and needed to be prepared. I should have pushed harder.
Chester W. Nimitz: A lesson, I assume, you have taken to heart.
Edwin Layton: Sir, I’m the intelligence officer responsible for overseeing the greatest intelligence failure in American history.
Chester W. Nimitz: [to Layton] Morale is at an all time low, and for good reason. The Japanese are advancing on all fronts at a terrifying pace. I, nevertheless, know the fighting spirit of our men. And I have faith in them. But I also need to know that they have faith in themselves. I need you to be my Admiral Yamamoto. Get in his head. Tell me what he’s going to do next. Your first assignment, we need to throw a punch. Not just for morale, but so the Japanese know what it feels like to be hit.
James Murray: What’s the plan, sir?
Dick Best: The other squadrons will strike first. Then we go in and clean up the remaining targets.
James Murray: Japs will know we’re coming. What happens if we get shot down?
Dick Best: Look, I’m not going to end up as a POW. And neither are you.
Dick Best: We got most of the bombers, but not all of them.
Clarence Dickinson: Looks like they almost got you.
Dick Best: Yeah, not enough lead.
[as James steps out of the carrier looking dazed]
Bruno Gaido: What, too much excitement for you?
James Murray: I’m not looking to win a medal.
[as they watch a Japanese plane attack]
Clarence Dickinson: What the hell is he doing?
Dick Best: He’s turning himself into a bomb.
[after an aviation machinist, Bruno, shoots down the attacking Japanese plane]
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: That’s the bravest damn thing I think I’ve ever seen. What’s your name, son?
Bruno Gaido: Bruno Gaido, sir. Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Third Class.
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: Well, Bruno, you are now an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, First Class.
[referring to Best]
Wade McClusky: How long have you been married?
Ann Best: Long enough to know my husband’s talents. Why isn’t he commanding a squadron?
Wade McClusky: Well, I don’t make those decisions.
Ann Best: I understand before the war, when it was about politics, but now?
Clarence Dickinson: I told you she was a firecracker.
Wade McClusky: I have to say, I often wondered what kind of woman would marry Dick Best, and, well, you have not disappointed.
[to Ann; referring to Best]
Wade McClusky: Every time we go up in one of those planes, there’s a chance we won’t come back. Now, it’s hard to follow a man who doesn’t know that. Or even worse, doesn’t care.
Dick Best: [to his men] Welcome aboard Enterprise. You’re replacing good men. Much earlier than me, or the Navy wanted, but, well, that’s the hand we’ve been dealt. Now, you’re going in the rotation, and as XO, it’s my job to make sure, you’re worth more than a bucket of warm spit. The Japs are waiting for us, so we need pilots who can hold their own.
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: Every mile we get Doolittle closer to Japan is fuel he can use to get the hell out of there. But I’m not going to risk these carriers.
Miles Browning: What do we tell Doolittle?
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: The truth.
Jimmy Doolittle: We got the order to launch.
Hank Potter: How far out are we?
Jimmy Doolittle: Too far. We’ll probably end up ditching in the East China Sea. But if we bomb Tokyo, we’ll be the first enemy in Japan’s history to hit their home territory. If any of you want to bow out, now’s your chance.
Hank Potter: We all want to fly, sir.
Jimmy Doolittle: Man your planes. I’ll see you all in China.
[referring to Doolittle’s men as they are about to takeoff]
Clarence Dickinson: They can’t take off. Certainly not with a load, and they sure as hell can’t land.
Eugene Lindsey: Ten bucks says they don’t make it off the deck.
Dick Best: Yeah, I’ll take that bet.
Edwin Layton: I heard a theory.
Chester W. Nimitz: What kind of theory?
Edwin Layton: According to one of my officers, Coral Sea is just a warm-up. He thinks that the Japanese are planning something bigger. Much bigger.
Chester W. Nimitz: What makes him think that?
Edwin Layton: Little bits and pieces that we’ve intercepted. A message about a battleship not being ready for an upcoming operation. Request for maps of the Aleutian Islands.
Chester W. Nimitz: What’s the target?
Edwin Layton: We don’t know yet.
Chester W. Nimitz: Do you trust this officer?
Edwin Layton: He’s the most brilliant man I know.
Chester W. Nimitz: Well, have him figure it out.
[after Doolittle and his men up in Japanese occupied territory in China and the Japanese fire on the village]
Jimmy Doolittle: There are no installations here. What’s their target?
Zhu Xuesan: People are target.
Jimmy Doolittle: People. People. And we just made it worse.
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: Listen up. I’m done playing politics. The Navy, hell, the whole damn country is counting on us. And I need my best men in the right spots. So, McClusky, you are now in charge of the air group. I don’t have a lick of confidence in those damn torpedoes. So I want you in a dive bomber. And, Best, I’m bumping you up from XO. You’re the new skipper of Bombing Six. Good luck, boys.
[Halsey turns and walks off]
Dick Best: Well, I guess you’re going to have to learn to fly an SBD.
Wade McClusky: I’ve logged plenty of hours in the Dauntless.
Dick Best: Not diving at a live target.
Wade McClusky: Can’t be that hard. I mean, you do it.
Chester W. Nimitz: So I just got off the phone with Washington, and their intelligence guys think you’re wrong about this big operation.
Edwin Layton: They think that the Japs are sending their carriers back into the Coral Sea.
Chester W. Nimitz: Yeah, and they’ve ordered me to keep Enterprise down there.
Edwin Layton: That’s a mistake. Washington is starting from a faulty assumption and looking for evidence to corroborate it.
Chester W. Nimitz: So what’s the Japs real target?
Edwin Layton: We believe it’s Midway. They see our base there as a step towards Hawaii, and eventually the West Coast.
Chester W. Nimitz: When?
Edwin Layton: In a few weeks.
Edwin Layton: I have to warn you, sir, codebreakers are a rare breed. Rochefort’s way of doing things is especially particular.
Chester W. Nimitz: I don’t care if he consults coffee grounds while doing the boogie-woogie as long as the intel is good.
Chester W. Nimitz: Explain the disagreement with Washington.
Joseph Rochefort: Well, we all have access to the same raw information, but, uh, over here, is where our paths diverge.
Edwin Layton: Translation and analysis.
Joseph Rochefort: Now, Washington agrees with us that Japs are going to attack a major target codenamed AF.
Edwin Layton: But Washington believes that AF is located in the South Pacific, which is why they ordered you to keep Enterprise down there.
Chester W. Nimitz: Do you have any direct proof that they’re wrong?
Joseph Rochefort: Direct proof? No, but…
Joseph Rochefort: Sir, imagine that you’re throwing a wedding. And maybe I’ve never seen the invitation, but I hear from the caterers that they have an event on a certain date. The flower guy is buying up all the roses on the island. The best band is booked. That’s what signal intelligence can give you. Clues. Not a definitive answer.
Edwin Layton: Sir, after Pearl, you told me to stick to my guns. I swear to you, Joe’s right about this.
[referring to Joseph]
Chester W. Nimitz: I’m not generally predisposed to trust a bunch of tuba players, led by a man wearing fuzzy slippers. But I’ll figure a way to get the Enterprise back here. Meantime, you gentlemen need to convince Washington that the Japs’ real target is Midway.
Edwin Layton: How, sir? Washington doesn’t exactly have a habit of listening to us.
Chester W. Nimitz: Well, I’m sure you’ll think of something.
Chester W. Nimitz: They’ve intercepted several Japanese messages claiming that the target of their upcoming attack is out of fresh water.
Edwin Layton: Interesting, sir. I heard that Midway accidentally sent out an unencrypted transmission that their water plant was broken.
Chester W. Nimitz: And is their water plant broken?
Edwin Layton: Not that I know of, sir. But that proves Midway is AF.
Chester W. Nimitz: Okay, tell your man, Rochefort, that everyone now agrees on where his wedding is going to be held. We just need to know how many guests are coming, and when they plan to arrive.
Dick Best: [to his men] I’m going to keep this short. I know some of you thought I was a pain in the a** as XO, but, well, that’s about to get worse. We’re headed back to Pearl to resupply, and it’s probably because something big is coming down the pipe. I’m therefore doubling our scouting flights, and I expect you to practice diving runs whenever you get a chance. Don’t be the man who lets down the squadron when we finally face the Japs.
Willie West: I don’t know if I can do this, sir. I thought I was a good pilot, but I’ve lost my confidence.
Dick Best: Why did you become a pilot? Your dad wanted you to be an officer, huh?
Willie West: Actually, my dad didn’t have much respect for officers. Said that most of them didn’t know their a** from their elbow.
Dick Best: You know, my dad was a tough son of a b**ch. You know how I got his respect? By always staying in the fight. I wish I had the luxury of worrying about your confidence, but we’re short on pilots. So, you got to suck it up.
Willie West: Tell me. What’s your secret?
Bruno Gaido: My secret?
James Murray: He wants to know why nothing bothers you.
Bruno Gaido: My uncle was a welder on the Empire State Building. He’d walk on a beam, a thousand feet up in the sky, no ropes, nothing. And everyone thought he was crazy, but to him, he was just doing a job. And one Sunday, he’s walking home from church. He’s a block away from his house, when a cab jumps over the curb, and splatters him like a bug. You never know what’s going to get you. So why worry about it?
Dick Best: And we keep losing men. It’s not even the Japs. Herman crashed on takeoff. Tom Durkin disappeared on patrol. And there’s this other kid, Willie West. He didn’t think he could cut it. I figured it was just the usual jitters. I take him under my wing. I wrote a letter to his mother yesterday telling her I failed him.
Ann Best: It’s not your fault.
Dick Best: He was right to be scared. Everybody knows something big is coming. We’re talking about a couple dozen planes against the whole Japanese fleet. And if we lose, they own the Pacific, and they raid the West Coast. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, will burn, and this damn war will last a decade.
Ann Best: I’ve never seen you this worried before.
Dick Best: I never had to worry when it was just me and my plane, but, Ann, it’s different now. I have to lead these men. What do I say to them?
Ann Best: Just be honest, and let them see what I can see. They’ll follow you anywhere, Dick Best.
[referring to Yorktown, the damaged aircraft carrier]
Clarence Dickinson: How the hell did she get out of dry dock in time?
Dick Best: I don’t know.
Clarence Dickinson: I guess every battle needs a miracle.
Dick Best: Do you trust the intelligence?
Wade McClusky: I’m trying. Because we’re betting a hell of a lot on this hand.
Dick Best: Yeah.
Wade McClusky: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, uh, I liked you better when you were cocky.
Dick Best: Hey, you don’t have to worry about me.
Wade McClusky: Oh, really? You’ve been blaming yourself for that kid who went down.
Dick Best: How do I make it right?
Wade McClusky: Make sure your men are ready for tomorrow. And you bring back as many of them as you can.
Dick Best: [to his men] I’m not going to sugarcoat it, boys. Nobody thinks we can go toe-to-toe with the Japanese. Not in a fair fight. Today, we’re going to be big underdogs. Me? I think the men in this room can fly with anyone. Maybe that’s because I’m a cocky son of a b**ch. But it’s also because I’ve seen what you can do. You’re ready for this.
Clarence Dickinson: We’re going to give them a shellacking.
[after he gets captured by the Japanese]
Bruno Gaido: You know, I had a lot of friends at Pearl Harbor. So how about you go f**k yourself?
[he is thrown overboard and sunk with an anchor]
Dick Best: Hey, strap up. We’re going back out.
James Murray: I’m sorry, sir, but I think you need to find somebody else. You don’t know what it’s like to be in the back seat, sir. You fly like you don’t care if we come home.
Dick Best: I want to go home too. I want to spend more than a few days at a time with my wife. See my little girl grow up. And you’re right, if we go out there, we probably aren’t coming back. But this is our job, and we’re the guys who have to hold the fort till the cavalry arrives. Look, if you really can’t fly, I’ll find someone else. But you should get back in that plane. You’ll remember this moment for the rest of your life. And if you know that you came through when people were counting on you, you’ll be able to face anything.
[Best goes to leave, but turns back]
Dick Best: We’ve come this far, Murray. Don’t make me go back out there without you.
Wade McClusky: [to Dickinson] Men like Dick Best are the reason we’re going to win this war.
[to James as he’s about to land their carrier]
Dick Best: Hang in there, kid. We’re almost home.
Dick Best: I thought you were dead.
Clarence Dickinson: Yeah, they said the same thing about you.
Dick Best: I’m glad they were wrong.
William ‘Bull’ Halsey: God bless those boys. Turns out all they needed was a fair fight.
[Best finds Dickinson staring the names of their men on the board]
Dick Best: Half our men, dead or missing.
Clarence Dickinson: Yeah.
Dick Best: Hey, whatever happened to that whiskey?
Clarence Dickinson: I was waiting for you to sneak out of sick bay.
[Dickinson gives Best his flash of whisky and they both take a swig from it]
Clarence Dickinson: We did it.
[last lines; after Best reunites with his wife and daughter]
Ann Best: What happened?
Dick Best: Apparently, I inhaled caustic soda.
Ann Best: What does that mean?
Dick Best: My lungs are shot. The Navy’s never going to let me fly again.
Ann Best: Well, get good at something else. You have the rest of your life to figure it out.
[she embraces him]
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