Are you curious about what movies about Pearl Harbor you can watch to improve your knowledge of America’s history while having fun? You’re in luck.
Now and then, Hollywood action/thriller directors and producers churn out another piece based on actual life events, including all the movies about Pearl Harbor.
The Pearl Harbor incident on December 7th, 1941, was both devastating and significant in the history of the United States.
It was the day America lost its sons and daughters serving the country stationed at the Naval Base in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Movies about Pearl Harbor adopt certain parts of the events that occurred that fateful day and retell them uniquely.
We’ll share 10 of the best movies about Pearl Harbor that you should check out if you love action films.
1. Pearl Harbor (2001)
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Colm Feore, and Alec Baldwin.
- IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
Although the movie Pearl Harbor wasn’t released until 2001, it is inarguably one of the most popular movies about Pearl Harbor, focusing on the war crimes committed on US soil.
It’ll be hard to forget the film for several reasons, including that it featured Ben Affleck in his prime.
Affleck played the role of Rafe, a combat pilot, and was joined by stars like Alec Baldwin, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale.
The movie starts with two best friends pretending to be combat air fighters, and nearly 20 years later, they’re both first lieutenants fighting in World War II.
Along the way, one loses their life after crash-landing in enemy territory, leaving his pregnant girlfriend behind.
2. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
- Cast: Martin Balsam, So Yamamura, Joseph Cotten, Tatsuya Mihashi, E. G. Marshall, James Whitmore, Takahiro Tamura, Ejirō Tōno, Jason Robards.
- IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of the movies about Pearl Harbor that critics and fans believe makes an effort to tell the story as it was.
It started when the US limited the trade relationship between their country and Japan, causing the Japanese to assume that a war crime was the best solution to the ban.
Judging by the fact that, according to the script, the US military intelligence had intercepted messages that showed the Japanese were up to something, the attack wasn’t a complete surprise.
However, despite solid suspicions, no strict precautions were taken, leaving many open to the attack that occurred at Pearl Harbor.
News of the attack shook the US, and the Japanese embassy was supposedly also left in the dark.
3. Remember Pearl Harbor (2016)
- Cast: John D. Anderson, Ray Chavez, Joseph Connolly, Louis Conter, James Downing, and Tom Selleck.
- IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
Many movies about Pearl Harbor are narrated from the POV of a war historian or a cast member.
In this case, the storyline is narrated by Thomas Selleck, who is no stranger to the movie screen and has produced a few movies to date.
The film shows the events that happened on December 7th, 1941, based on the accounts of military and civilian survivors.
The day started like any other regular day at the base, with some playing, sleeping off the effects of a long night partying, or preparing for work.
However, by 7:48 AM, gunshots and bombs go off, throwing everyone into a state of confusion.
Everyone has a unique story that makes the whole account disturbing and exciting.
4. From Here to Eternity (1953)
- Cast: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Philip Ober, Mickey Shaughnessy,
- IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
From Here to Eternity features 118 minutes of intense war scenes and sizzling romance that show similar intensity between the lovebirds.
It is one of the few movies about Pearl Harbor that doesn’t only show the action side of things but also manages to convey all the drama that would have surrounded the lives of those on the front lines.
Prewitt was a former boxer turned Non commissioned army officer whose life was miserable after refusing to join Holmes’s regimental team.
Karen is unfaithful to Holmes and plans to run off with Warden, while Prewitt meets Lorene and starts a relationship.
So much drama happened before the Pearl Harbor attack occurred a few days later.
5. The Pacific (2010)
- Cast: James Badge Dale, Jon Seda, Joseph Mazzello, and Rami Malek.
- IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
The Pacific is a miniseries, and although it is featured on our list of movies about Pearl Harbor, it focuses more on the ensuing war between the United States and the Japanese Army.
The screenplay was inspired by the stories of Marines who fought during World War II, which America joined following the Pearl Harbor attack.
You’ll follow three Marine Corps members on their journey across various war fronts until they return to their loved ones.
6. They Were Expendable (1945)
- Cast: John Wayne, Robert Montgomery, Donna Reed, Ward Bond, Jack Holt, Jack Pennick, and Marshall Thompson.
- IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
They Were Expendables shows a small naval crew stationed in the Philippines around Cavite struggling to prove themselves when news of the carnage at Pearl Harbor hit.
When the Japanese army moves over to attack the Philippines, the small team is called to help once the attacking force overwhelms the US army.
The battle is fierce, and several crew members lose their lives and boats during the attacks.
There’s also a romantic twist for those who appreciate a good love story.
7. Midway (2019)
- Cast: Ed Skrein, Woody Harrelson, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Dennis Quaid, and Alexander Ludwig.
- IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Midway, released late on November 8th, 2019, is one of the most recent movies about Pearl Harbor.
Midway starts by conveying that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor due to the United States’ decision to stop supplying oil.
The Japanese are relentless in their attacks and formulate a plan to attack Midway Island, where the US has an airstrip.
The US Army intercepts some Japanese communications and prepares for the surprise attack.
8. Air Force (1943)
- Cast: John Garfield, John Ridgely, Gig Young, Arthur Kennedy, Harry Carey.
- IMDb Rating: 7/10
The US Army Air Corps, Mary Ann, had to fly B-17C bombers across the Pacific Ocean a day before the Pearl Harbor attack.
The crew arrived at their destination while the attack occurred at Pearl Harbor and joined the counterattack team. Afterward, they are also asked to provide US support in the Philippines.
Once the Mary Ann team lands at the Philippine Air Base in Clark Field, they’re immediately surrounded by Japanese carrier fighter jets.
It caused them to lose equipment and some men. Once rescued, the crew moves and succeeds on different battle fronts.
9. 1941 (1979)
- Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson.
- IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
Before getting into the meat, if you’re a fan of Steven Spielberg films, you’ll be in for a shocker; it’s nothing like the other works you’re probably used to.
1941 is another movie about Pearl Harbor. Although it doesn’t cover the attack, it portrays some events that occurred 6 days after the attack.
The Japanese army was still on the prowl for things to blow up, and one of their targets was Hollywood.
While top military officials are trying to calm the country’s citizens following the attack, others are accidentally blowing up planes and gas stations.
There’s so much going on in this comedy War/Action film that you might get whiplash.
10. Attack on Pearl Harbor – Minute by Minute (2021)
- Cast: Russell Boulter, Jonathan Parshall, Laura Lawfer Orr, J. Michael Wenger, Timothy Orr, Daniel Martinez.
- IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the movies about Pearl Harbor that documents events that occurred on December 7th, 1941.
Discussions were put out in the miniseries about the issues that led to the attack, and it also covered some details on what plans the Japanese put in play behind the scenes.
After the attack occurred, you’ll get to see the losses that were recorded and the measures the US took to prepare for another attack.
It also showcases all the confusion and activities after the bombing.