Midway Movie Poster

Trivia for Midway

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  • Scheduled to start shooting in Hawaii towards the end of 2018.
  • This is Woody Harrelson's second collaboration with Roland Emmerich. The first was 2012 (2009).
  • This is Roland Emmerich's first war movie since The Patriot (2000).
  • This is Dennis Quaid's second collaboration with Roland Emmerich; the first was The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
  • Wes Tooke's first feature film.
  • This is the second collaboration for Mandy Moore and Dennis Quaid; the first was American Dreamz (2006).
  • The wreckage of the Akagi and the Kaga were found the month before the film's premiere.
  • The USS Midway (CV-41), the Midway-class aircraft carrier named in remembrance of the Battle of Midway, was the longest-serving US aircraft carrier of the 20th century (1945-1992). It has been at Navy Pier in San Diego, California, since 2004 as a museum ship. As of 2015, it's the most popular naval warcraft museum in the United States, with over 1 million visitors per year.
  • Luke Kleintank and Brennan Brown starred in The Man in the High Castle (2015), a series set in an America that lost WWII. Japan occupies the West Coast, while the German Reich occupies the US from the East Coast to roughly the Rocky Mountains (neutral territory).
  • The Doolittle raid caused little damage, and had no strategic importance. However, it was a huge morale boost to U.S. forces, and a major blow to the morale of the Japanese military, who felt their home islands were impenetrable. While these two reasons are partial causes they do not represent the basic reasoning for the Midway attack.
  • Brennan Brown plays code breaker Joseph Rochefort, whose work was vital in defeating the Japanese at Midway. In The Man in the High Castle (2015), he plays an American businessman who swindles the Japanese in occupied San Francisco.
  • The United States backed China over Japan in 1940, leading to the attack on the naval base. This is only partially true but not the basic cause of the Midway attack.
  • Nick Jonas plays Aviation Machinist's Mate Bruno Gaido. In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), he plays pilot Seaplane McDonough.
  • It was Edwin Layton's idea to invite John Ford to shoot footage of the Midway battle, as he thought it would be good for morale. Layton went to Chester W. Nimitz and the Admiral agreed to give Ford and his cameraman the opportunity. The resulting footage would later be edited as the promotional documentary The Battle of Midway (1942). Ford, pleased with the result, gave Layton a big part in Big Jim McLain (1952).
  • Midway airport in Chicago, IL is named after the battle of Midway.
  • The Mitchell bombers are referred to as "army" planes. The United States Army Air Corps was formed in 1907. It became the United States Air Force, a separate entity, in 1947.
  • The SBD Dauntless' designation SBD comes from its description - Scout Bomber, Douglas (manufactured by Douglas). In the film, it is shown as being nearly equal in ability to the Japanese fighters; while in reality it was both slower and far less maneuverable, it was nevertheless exceptionally swift and well-armed for a bomber and very well regarded by crews for its reliability, versatility and ease of use. As a result, it was often referred to by a different acronym - Slow But Deadly.
  • The Japanese admiral Yamamoto expresses his regret over the Pearl Harbor attack, making the famous quote "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve". Yamamoto said something similar in other films about the Pearl Harbor attack, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Pearl Harbor (2001) (which omits the second part of the sentence). Despite the persistence of this quote in movie history, it has never been officially attributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in real life; no one heard him explicitly say it, nor has it ever been found within any of his writings. Yamamoto had indeed withdrawn to his room after the attack in a depressed state, but it was reportedly because the Japanese Foreign Ministry had failed to declare war on the USA prior to the assault, which made Yamamoto's actions an unprovoked attack rather than a military engagement.
  • Before the closing credits, the producers express their gratitude to American and Filipino soldiers who valiantly fought in the War in the Pacific. Interestingly, Japanese soldiers are praised for fighting for their own country.
  • During the depiction of the Midway Island air group's failed attack on the Japanese fleet, the film briefly shows a close-up view of the pilot of the leading Dauntless bomber struggling as he is shot down. This appears to be U.S. Marine Major Lofton R. Henderson, commanding officer of Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241). Killed at Midway, his name would become synonymous with the following Guadalcanal Campaign as the namesake of the lynchpin Henderson Field.
  • As of 2020, the only known surviving aircraft confirmed to have participated in the Battle of Midway is a Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless, Bureau Number 2106. The plane, a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attacks and the early 1942 island raids, had been handed down to U.S. Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241, operating from Midway Island, in May 1942. The plane, flown by First Lieutenant Daniel Iverson Jr. and Private First Class Wallace Reid, barely survived the island's unsuccessful counterstrike against the Japanese fleet on June 4, 1942, returning to Midway with over 200 holes and both crew members wounded. Named the "Midway Madness" after the battle, the plane returned to the United States to be used as a trainer aircraft. It crashed into Lake Michigan in 1943, and was recovered in 1994. After restoration, it is now in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.
  • The carrier-based torpedo bomber depicted in the film is the TBD Devastator, which was the front line torpedo bomber used by the Navy prior to the Battle of Midway. So dismal was its performance in that battle that it was withdrawn shortly afterwards and replaced with the TBF Avenger. The poor performance of the Devastator is referenced several times in the film, most notably by Japanese admiral Yamaguchi (Tadanobu Asano).
  • Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was already at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. This is based on family knowledge of his whereabouts at the time of the attack. He was at the mountain house of his good friend Hans L'Orange along with other naval staff members.
  • Admiral William F. Halsey's rash was actually eczema - an incurable skin disease that causes extreme itching. He was able to use medicinal cremes to treat it, but it would be a life-long condition.
  • Best's lung problems were caused by an element of his rebreather to overheat, which created caustic soda to be generated. The rebreather contains a filter that removes carbon dioxide from expelled breath, making it possible to "re-breathe" expelled oxygen. This is supplemented by another tank containing oxygen to make up the difference. Best had contracted tuberculosis in his youth but it had remained dormant, contained in nodules that were sealed over in response to the initial infection. The caustic fumes penetrated these nodules, releasing the tuberculosis. He was later treated for it and cured. While his lungs had sustained some permanent damage, he was returned to health.
  • The last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders was James Doolittle's copilot Dick Cole, who passed away at the age of 103 in April of 2019, seven months before the release of this film.
  • Tadanobu Asano (Admiral Yamaguchi) is best known for playing Hogun in the Thor films.
  • In the movie Admiral Nagumo is the target of some criticism. During the attack on Pearl Harbor the prime targets - the carriers - were all out to sea, so the victory was limited. If he had launched a second wave that targeted the dry docks and oil tanks, this would have doubled the victory and set the Americans back by a full year. To the astonishment of his fliers, crews and his entire battle group, he decided not to do so, stating that the element of surprise was lost and he needed to preserve his fleet for future operations. As the U.S. defenses had been all but destroyed, this was a very timid and hugely fateful decision. Among other things, as seen in the film, the Yorktown was able to make use of the dry dock. Were it not for this, it would not have been present at Midway and struck a fatal blow to the Japanese carrier, Hiryu. Later, during the battle of Midway, Nogumo's flip-flopping between arming his planes for bombing Midway and for torpedoing the U.S. fleet would cost him all four of his carriers and make the defeat of Japan inevitable. All the deaths in the Pacific theater for the subsequent three years of fighting were a complete an total waste that did nothing but prolong the war.
  • The Japanese confidence in their codes led them to change the codes less frequently than they should have. Not only did the partial decryption of their codes lead to the American victory at Midway in June of 1942, but it alerted the Americans to an inspection itinerary of Admiral Yamamoto the following year, resulting in his plane being shot down in April of 1943.
  • The code broken by the Americans that was key to their victory at Midway was Japanese naval code D, which was known to the American forces as JN-25.
  • At Midway the Japanese forces greatly outnumbered those of the Americans. The Japanese forces there included four carriers, two light carriers, 11 battleships, 16 cruisers and 46 destroyers. The Americans had three carriers, eight cruisers, and 15 destroyers. The only parity was in the number of submarines, planes and, counting the airfield at Midway, in landing surfaces.
  • Raymond A. Spruance, played by Jake Weber, had no previous carrier experience and was appointed to the position over other more senior officers. William F. Halsey nominated him to take his place during Midway because of his strategic skills, his experience commanding destroyers, and his ability to keep pace with Halsey.
  • During the attack on one Japanese carrier one squadron of SBDs were described as "glide bombing". This was Marine Corps squadron VMSB-241, which was flying from Midway Atoll. They had not been trained for the art of dive bombing and most of them were easily shot down. The only one of these Marine SDBs that is still in existence today is at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. It is also the only surviving SBD from the Battle of Midway.
  • Most of the SBD Dauntless dive bombers were shot down during the battle of Midway, but few of these were shot down by Japanese Zeroes. With squadrons of up to 45 SBDs attacking simultaneously and thanks to their escort of F4F Wildcats, enemy fighters were ineffective against the dive bombers. As seen in the film, the SBDs pushed through massive amount of antiaircraft fire from the carriers and escort ships, which largely reduced the numbers of attacking dive bombers. The effectiveness of the Dauntless was such that, even though it was a bomber, when pitted against enemy fighters its victories significantly surpassed its losses.
  • Admiral Nagumo's decision not to launch a second wave during the attack on Pearl Harbor would have terrible repercussions. With the Americans ability to recover and eventually turn the tide, Nagumo would eventually be assigned to the hopeless defense of Okinawa and, in the end, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
  • Patrick Wilson and Dennis Quaid were also both in the 2004 film the Alamo.
  • It's not shown, but Ensign Frank O'Flaherty was executed along with his gunner, Bruno Gaido by being thrown overboard with weights attached. At least one other American aviator, Ensign Wesley Osmus, was shot down and captured by the Japanese. Like the O'Flaherty and Gaido, he was thrown overboard with weights attached and died.
  • The film highlights the faulty Mark 13 aerial torpedo used by the US Devestator. Produced before the war, even then the Mark 13 was shown to be faulty with most test torpedoes either sinking, run on the surface or just fail to launch. Studies later found that the torpedo would be damaged upon impact with the water, namely the propellers and the torpedo head. It took two years of testing and reevaluation before the Mark 13 became a reliable weapon by incorporating a propeller shroud to protect the fins and adding a wood drag ring to the torpedo head to cushion the impact, it was made of wood and would break away upon impact. During Midway, only a single Mark 13 found its target and detonated during the Battle of Midway, it was dropped by a Catalina float-plane and hit the oil-tanker Kiyosumi Maru. The explosion ripped a 33 foot hole in the ship's bow but still continued with its mission.
  • The scenes of the sailors trying to get off the Arizona by climbing across a rope hand over hand are echos of a similar experience described in a book titled "All the Gallant Men". (2016) An Arizona sailor, Donald Stratton wrote the book, authored by Ken Gire. In the book, Stratton describes how a sailor, Joe George on the ship Vestal, which was moored alongside the Arizona, threw a line to the Arizona so the men could escape to the Vestal. During the rescue, the captain of the Vestal ordered George to cut all lines to the Arizona so the Vestal could move away. George refused, knowing it would mean death for the men trying to cross over. Despite threats of court martial from the captain, George maintained the line until Stratton and several of his shipmates made it to the safety of the Vestal.
  • Lt Commander Wade McClusky was the Squad Leader of the Enterprise receiving that command two weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a well seasoned pilot and this was his second command of a dive bomber squad. His job immediately before this one was as a fighter squad leader. The man he replaced was his roommate at Annapolis who recommended McClusky as his replacement. This created a lot of friction between McClusky and his XO Lt Dick Best who thought he was bypassed and was due the job of Squad Leader. McCluskey gave Best many high grades while under his command despite the friction. McClusky, Best and Lt. Commander Max Leslie from the Hornet are considered the three men most responsible for the victory at Midway.
  • This was Ed Skrein and Keean Johnson second collaboration. Their first film together was Alita: Battle Angel.

Spoilers

  • Bruno Gaido's actions, including his death, are historically accurate, with a few exceptions. In the film, Gaido outright refused to cooperate with the Japanese. In real life, according to Japanese reports, he and pilot Frank O'Flaherty supplied them with information regarding Midway's defenses, but said nothing about the aircraft carriers. Gaido and O'Flaherty had never been to Midway Atoll, so they made up whatever information was passed along. According to historian Stephen Moore, Japanese officer Shireo Hirayama reported that when they were executed, they accepted their fate quietly and without fear.
  • Richard "Dick" Best was successfully treated for latent tuberculosis. He died in 2001, aged 91.
  • Before the closing credits, the movie teases a sequel about the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The upcoming movie has a 2022 release date.
  • The film makes little mention of the effects of an American admiral swap. The Japanese expected William F. Halsey, an aggressive and impetuous admiral, to be in command of the American carrier force, believing they could lure him into a trap and wipe out the last major combatants of the Pacific fleet. Halsey ended up hospitalized with a skin disease. Raymond A. Spruance, his replacement, waited for the Japanese to come within range, and withdrew after sinking all four carriers, rather than chasing down the rest of the Imperial fleet.
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