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File:L 78723 88c9af0d 105.jpg

Spectacular, big-budget comedy film, directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, which takes place, surprisingly enough, in the year 1941. The script was written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.

The storyline follows the panic that ensues when, in the days after Pearl Harbor, paranoid Californians believe another attack is imminent. It's very loosely based on actual events (which, for one thing, actually occurred in 1942).

Spielberg spared no expense on this film. It has special effects rivaling those of "serious" World War II epics and the cast reads like a who's who list of comedy in the 1970s. All in the service of Slapstick. Unfortunately, it was a critical bomb and received disappointing box office numbers (though it wasn't the complete flop it's usually remembered as), and stands as the one black mark in Spielberg's outstanding career between 1975 and 1982.

Not to be confused with Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Tropes used in 1941 include:

Wally Stephens: I know I can't beat you in a fair fight.
'Stretch' Sitarski: (scoffs) Stupid, I don't fight fair.
Wally Stephens: Neither do I!
(kicks Stretch in the crotch, then hits him across the face with a belt of .50 calibre machine-gun ammo; Stretch smiles dumbly for a second then falls over)

  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The opening scene where a skinnydipping woman finds herself clutching the upthrusting periscope of a surfacing Japanese submarine (also serves as a hilarious Jaws take-off — it's even the same actress who was in the corresponding scene).

Lucky Japanese Lookout: Horrywood! Horrywood!.

  • Doing It for the Art: An actual, functioning, replica of an M3 Lee medium tank was built for filming. Part of the reason the movie went over budget.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The aerial variant, namely the dogfight between Donna Stratton and Wild Bill Kelso in the streets of L.A. That is, just simply Wild Bill Kelso.
  • Eat the Evidence: Hollis P. Wood eats his toy compass when he sees the Japs are interested in it. So they force-feed him prune juice to make him give it up again. Or down.
  • Epic Movie: A rare comedy that can qualify as this.
  • Ferris Wheel of Doom
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Well, Maddox wants to hear Wild Bill Kelso's machine guns. So he fires them while still on ground. Maddox' troops follow suit when Kelso takes off.
  • General Ripper: Colonel 'Mad Man' Maddox.
  • Golden Age of Hollywood
  • Historical In-Joke
    • We learn how the "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign really lost the last four letters.
    • Also the Japanese sailor trying to fit an enormous radio down the submarine hatch.

"We've got to figure out how to make these things smaller!"

    • Robert Stack plays the actual commander of the U.S. coastal defense so accurately that pictures of Stack in costume have been mistaken for ones of the real Stilwell.
  • It's a Long Story: Averted by General Stillwell.

"Is this a long story?"
"Err...yes, sir."
"Then save it."


Sergeant Tree: Do you want to see Mickey Mouse blitzkrieging across Poland?


Cmdr. Mitamura: Where's Hollywood?
Hollis Wood: Right here.

  • World of Ham: And even then, John Belushi's eccentric, overly patriotic Air Force pilot is a standout. Tellingly, each of the primary and supporting characters is represented in the end credits with a clip of them as their actor's name comes up — and in most of the clips, they are screaming.