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 If you're looking for the defunct video game developer, see Midway Games.


A war film in 1976 about the Battle of Midway. It was a grand production with such stars as Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda. It had two intertwining threads, one following the Battle itself and the other following the fictional American officer Captain Matt Garth whose son is a fighter pilot who is at this inconvenient time engaged with Haruko Sakura, a Nisei ("second generation," an American child of Japanese immigrants) girl.

The campaign is shown from both sides perspective and shows the Japanese as honorable and brave enemies. History is mostly followed though there are some inaccuracies notably Kamikaze's being used at Midway; while it was not unknown throughout the war for downed planes of both sides to crash into an enemy ship in a Taking You with Me gesture Kamikazes were never official policy even in Japan until toward the end, and they would have been fairly rare. It may be a case of being betrayed by the Stock Footage, as most of the color footage filmed in World War II was late in the War, and scenes from Leyte Gulf and the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa (when Kamikazes were in use) are used for this battle.

One version has the Battle of the Coral Sea as an add-on. This is a very long version but worth your time.

Tropes used in Midway include:

  • Ace Pilot: Genda for Japan, several for America.
  • A Father to His Men: Admirals Nimitz, Nagumo and Yamamoto
  • Batman Gambit: It is suspected that the code word AF means "Midway". Therefore Midway is instructed to radio in the clear that it is short of fresh water in the hope that the Japanese intercept it and radio it back.
  • Battle Epic
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Rochefort head of US codebreakers
    • He has a whole entourage of fellow Bunny Ears Lawyer s around him.
      • ...which really isn't how either Rochefort or the rest of his Codebreakers were in Real Life.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Shown very well
    • Admiral Nagumo feels the weight most and is nervous and indecisive
    • As Yamamoto says, "I am the only one who must apologize to his majesty"
  • Cool Plane: All of them!
  • Cool Ship: See above.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Haruko's family is falsely accused of this by The Government. To be fair to them there is some evidence in the father's background; namely he has an honor-debt to an old friend who is a Japanese Nationalist and has back issues of Japanese patriotic periodicals(possibly no more then "ethnic heritage" magazines of the type that can be found in large bookstores today but never explained). At the time The Government would unfortunately think the whole thing looked suspiciously like a Honey Trap.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Monk Gyatso is apparently an Imperial Japanese Naval Officer.
  • Katanas of the Rising Sun
  • Leave No Survivors: At one time Genda reports that Japanese fighters are "wave-hopping after the survivors." He says it so matter-of-factly that you almost miss the fact that he takes it for granted that his men will be shooting men swimming in the water.
    • He's really talking about shooting down surviving American torpedo planes flying at very low level, aka "wave-hopping".
  • Mooks: Averted. Japanese sailors are just as human as Americans in the movie and the only difference is that they are more formal in conversation.
  • My Girl Back Home: When the fleet returns to Pearl Harbor civilians including Haruko are shown watching while casualties are wheeled in.
  • Old School Dogfighting
  • Radio Silence: This is often a two-edged sword and it hurts Japan badly.
  • Radio Voice: Chatter from the pilots is heard over the radio on ships hundreds of miles away.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Garth's son and Haruko.
  • Stock Footage: quite a bit of the attacks on US ships are taken from 1944-45 Kamikaze attacks. One plane returning to the Yorktown that crash lands and falls apart is a famous 1944 carrier landing on the Essex
    • Most of the combat footage you see is real, taken from various newsreels. Of course, very little if any is actually from the Midway air battle itself.
      • There's no known footage extant from the carriers of either side (though famously there is from Midway Island itself). The Japanese carrier Akagi had a newsreel cameraman named Teiuchi Makishima onboard, but his footage of the attacks on the carrier Kaga and the vessel he was on were lost when he abandoned ship. There's perishingly few photographs of the Japanese ships from the battle at all, taken almost entirely from B-17s. Frustratingly, pictures were taken from an Enterprise dive-bomber during the actual attack, but short on fuel, the plane landed on the first carrier it could find... which wound up being the Yorktown. Shortly thereafter, the Yorktown was sunk and the pictures lost.
    • They also reused a lot of footage from Tora! Tora! Tora! which miffed the Tora! Tora! Tora! director.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Whole aircraft carriers blowing up.
  • Translation Convention: Except for Toshiro Mifune, most of the actors playing the Japanese are Asian-American actors like Pat Morita and their dialogue is all in English.
    • All of the Japanese plotting table markers include English translations for the audience's benefit.
  • Yanks With Carriers
  • You Are in Command Now: Halsey is ill and recommends Spruance for command of his part of the fleet.
  • World War II
  • Worthy Opponent: The Japanese are pictured as this
    • Invoked at the Japanese briefing as a photo of Halsey is passed around and Halsey's dangerous warlike virtues are described
    • "They sacrifice themselves like samurai, these Americans."