Director: Jack Smight Cast: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn

DVD (Wide Screen / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)

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Midway has aged somewhat better than anyone could have anticipated when it was released in 1976. Charlton Heston, the movie's nominal star, can say anything he wishes, but the movie seemed to take mostly wrong turns at the time of its release, injecting superficial fictional personal stories (centered on Heston's character) where none were needed, and only the superbly staged battle scenes (enhanced by "Sensurround") made it worth the two hours and change it demanded -- Heston, Henry Fonda, Hal Holbrook, Glenn Ford, Robert Webber, James Coburn, Toshiro Mifune, and others were mostly wasted, uttering predictable dialogue and stock characterizations. Indeed, some of the supporting players, including Kevin Dobson and Erik Estrada, fare better with their few lines than Heston and Fonda do as the stars. The movie still seems like a mess, but, as we've seen from pictures such as Pearl Harbor, not nearly as much of a mess as more recent and ambitious films have made of World War II history. The Universal DVD reissue of Midway supplants the old Goodtimes edition in every respect. Not only does it offer a better transfer of the movie, but a ton of supplementary materials. The producers have tried to give us all of the additional footage that has become familiar from television showings of the movie, but in this regard they've come up short; the scenes involving Charlton Heston and Susan Sullivan, portraying his love interest, are appended to the movie rather than integrated with it, and there is no sign of the footage depicting the battle of the Coral Sea, which figures into the first quarter of the film obliquely and was depicted in the television version of the film. "The Making of Midway," running 36 minutes, begins with the recollections of Charlton Heston about the actual period, and offers producer Walter Mirisch giving a history lesson -- it's the sort of thing that the History Channel does better, with less padding from the movie itself. Director Jack Smight recalled how his successful direction of Airport 1975 led to the assignment to do Midway, whose biggest challenge, apart from stage managing the reenactment of a battle involving thousands of men and dozens of ships, was matching the Navy's archival footage with newly shot material. Astonishingly, the assembly of stock footage, done by editor Frank Urioste, cost 60,000 dollars, extraordinarily high for second unit material, but impressive to the executives at Universal when they saw that they were getting air and sea battles that would have cost millions to film in a studio, assuming that this could be done. The movie started life as a documentary, and it was only midway through pre-production that it became a dramatic blockbuster and required star power, hence the involvement of Heston, Fonda, Mitchum, and others. The only dubious moment is when the makers explain their decision to kill off the Charlton Heston character, taking bows for their "honesty" in killing off a character in which the audience is "invested." The Heston character, however, is so sketchily and superficially depicted, that it's hard to believe that audience members cared one way or the other. "The Score of Midway" includes a good interview with composer John Williams, recalling his career from the first half of the 1970s. This was, in fairness, not one of his better scores, even from the era, inspired only in a handful of places, but Williams, Smight, and Mirisch give a good account of the fine points of the score. The documentary "They Were There" was a 1976 promotional film hosted by Charlton Heston in which he interviewed the real-life aircraft squadron commander Max Leslie and intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort, and the real-life George Gay, whose plane was shot down in the first attack on the Japanese carriers -- he recalls being stranded in the water, surrounded by Japanese carriers that were soon on fire. Unfortunately, the short doesn't last nearly long enough to satisfy one's interest in the actual battle, but it is handy to have, and it's nice that someone thought to shoot it at the time. The DVD opens automatically to the main menu, which, in turn, opens to a simple two-part menu presenting the bonus selections.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/30/2001
UPC: 0025192122026
Original Release: 1976
Rating: PG
Source: Universal Studios
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time: 2:12:00
Sales rank: 78

Special Features

Additional scenes exclusively shot for the network television version; documentary featuring new interviews with producer Walter Mirisch, director Jack Smight, editor Frank J. Urioste and star Charlton Heston; featurettes on composer John Williams and Sensuround sound; production photographs and portraits with score by John Williams; theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlton Heston Capt. Matt Garth
Henry Fonda Adm. Chester W. Nimitz
James Coburn Capt. Vinton Maddox
Glenn Ford Rear Adm. Raymond A. Spruance
Hal Holbrook Cmdr. Joseph Rochefort
Toshiro Mifune Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto
Robert Mitchum Adm. William F. Halsey
Robert Wagner Lt. Cmdr. Ernest L. Blake
Christina Kokubo Haruko Sakura
Monte Markham Cmdr. Max Leslie
Kevin Dobson Ensign George Gay
Glenn Corbett Lt. Cmdr. John Waldron
Gregory Walcott Capt. Elliott Buckmaster
Phillip Richard Allen Actor
Dabney Coleman Capt. Murray Arnold
Larry Csonka Cmdr. Delaney
Erik Estrada Actor
John Fujioka Actor
James Ingersoll Actor
Dale Ishimoto Vice Adm. Moshiro Hosogaya
Robert Ito Actor
Steve Kanaly Actor
Lloyd Kino Actor
Clyde Kusatsu Actor
David Macklin Actor
Kip Niven Actor
Bennett Ohta Actor
Dennis Rucker Ens. Mansen
Tom Selleck Actor
Sab Shimono Actor
Conrad Yama Adm. Nobutake Kondo
Michael Richardson Actor
Kurt Grayson Actor
Cliff Robertson Cmdr. Carl Jessop
Robert Webber Rear Adm. Frank J. "Jack" Fletcher
Ed Nelson Adm. Harry Pearson
James Shigeta Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo
Biff McGuire Capt. Miles Browning
Christopher George Lt. Cmdr. C. Wade McClusky
Edward Albert Lt. Tom Garth
Yuki Shimoda Actor
Seth Sakai Actor
Alfie Wise Actor
Beeson Carroll Actor
John Bennett Perry Actor
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita Actor

Technical Credits
Jack Smight Director
John M. Dwyer Set Decoration/Design
Richard Hashimoto Asst. Director
Robert Martin Sound/Sound Designer
Jack McMasters Special Effects
Walter Mirisch Producer
Leonard Peterson Sound/Sound Designer
Donald S. Sanford Screenwriter
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Robert Swink Editor
Walter Tyler Art Director
Frank J. Urioste Editor
John Williams [composer] Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
0. Scenes
1. Main Titles [5:21]
2. Something's Stirring [4:02]
3. Tom's Surprise [7:00]
4. Hot Information [9:56]
5. An Enemy Ruse? [5:23]
6. Haruko [5:47]
7. Nimitz's Team [4:19]
8. Kissing the Enemy [11:57]
9. The Air Search [13:10]
10. The First Wave [6:35]
11. Attack on Midway Island [16:58]
12. The Americans Attack [11:29]
13. Air Strike [3:12]
14. Bandits [7:17]
15. The Japanese Strike Back [6:07]
16. Victory [5:48]
17. Crash Landing [2:03]
18. End Titles [2:41]

Customer Reviews

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Midway 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Would give it 5 stars if the whole thing were there!!! Certainly a turning point in the war in the Pacific, Midway was a monumental battle that is inspiring to all those who study history. The movie does a very good job of accurately depicting most of the battle scenes and superb performances by the likes of Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Glenn Ford, and of course, Charlton Heston, make this a real keeper for the video library. The DVD bosts bonus scenes from the network television version, but buyer beware! You may be familiar with the network version that is, in fact, the full length movie. This DVD or VHS that is 2 hrs, 12 min is NOT the full movie! It is missing approximately 45 minutes of scenes showing the Battle of the Coral Sea which happened about 3 weeks before Midway that ARE in some versions. I have written the movie producers twice complaining about it, but alas, I, like you, am a peon who is ignored. I was even dumb enough to buy it on DVD and VHS thinking I would get the whole thing. Wrong! If enough people would write and DEMAND the full version of the movie (which I have recorded from network TV, so I KNOW it exists), maybe they would make it! ??
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
please understand that I’m thankful for my Walmart job even with what I’m about to confess. I admit that I purchased this midway dvd from my Walmart job for just five dollars to satisfy my navy nostalgia but that does not discount the fact that I appreciate having my current job. With that said, this midway dvd is packed with an abundance of historical information when it comes to the history of pearl habor and the military significance of the battle of the midway. The movie is two hours and 12 minutes and I’m about to list a sampler of the information shared in this movie; I do not know if it is based on truth or just a Hollywood addition but one of the military officer characters (I think played by henry fonda) has a son who is also a naval officer and was trying to woo a female who ended up in one of the temporary internment camps that were set up during the world war two conflict between the united States and japan (they used the name hiroko sakura for the fiance). Charlton heston and henry fonda are listed on the front of the dvd with their images and one of the scenes from the movie. A sampler of the historical details in the dvd; uss hornet april 18 1942, movie re-enactment of admiral yamamoto being greeted by one of his officers, Hiroshima april 18, 1942 was mentioned along with the cities of yokohama, kawasaka, and Yokosuka being affected by the bombings. Hornet, enterprise, and Yorktown were some of the carriers referenced in the film. It appears that the late pat morita (from the karate kid movies) made some brief appearances in this film but I would have to doublecheck internet movie database or Wikipedia to see if im correct. The following are some of the bonus features of this dvd are; midway bonus features, the score of midway, the sounds of midway, scenes shot for the tv version of midway, they were there hosted by charlton heston, and a photograph montage.
mustanggabe More than 1 year ago
The battle of Midway was an important turning point in the Pacific during World War II. There was enough human drama to go round, without having a contrived love story taking up precious flim. The internment of Japanese-Americans was a horrible blight in American history. The love story between the navy flier (Edward Albert) and the Japanese-American woman (Christina Kokubo), could have been made into its own feature film. The movie barely scratches at the loss of an entire navy torpedo squadron based off the USS Hornet, and the effect that had. Other film flubs are the use of documentary footage shot during World War II, spliced in with footage taken from the movie "Tora Tora Tora". To me if your going to make a film on war, any war it has to be visually and historically accurate. The footage shot to represent Midway Island, looked like 100 feet of California beach. That was suppose to represent all of Midway Island. As for the performances, Charlton Heston's over the top performance is what you would expect from him. Henry Fonda's performance as Admiral Nimitz was very good, and enjoyable to watch. The other actors, seemed a little stiff in their performances (some had very little dialogue). If you do not know anything about the battle of Midway, this would be a good starting point, but I suggest reading about it and also look for documentaries about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie is the perfect way to watch history
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully done film about a key point of World War II,and the all star cast makes it better.Without any big push for special effects or rush of story,this film puts the battles of Coral Sea and Midway on the screen in a great way.There is an important ''plot'' to follow(being the factual events) and it is done right.The sideline stories of a love relationship and family members being in the navy together were widespread in wartime back in the 1940's,but the true meaning of the battles is what really wins out.Charlton Heston and the rest of the cast deliver excellent performances and live up to the storyline(and history).The film is longer than a regular theatrical release,but that gives it the right amount of time to present as many details as possible.A great film for any World War II historian,any war buff,any history archivist,any fan of the cast,or anyone who wants to sit back and watch a true classic.We all knew the ending,but how it got to that point is something to respect and this picture does that.A great job.