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).
  • Aaron Eckhart played Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight (2008). Patrick Wilson played Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl in Watchmen (2009) and Ocean Master in Aquaman (2018).
  • This is Dennis Quaid's second collaboration with Roland Emmerich; the first was The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
  • Ed Skrein played Ajax in Deadpool (2016). Woody Harrelson was in Venom (2018). Tadanobu Asano played Hogun in the Thor trilogy. Actually Woody Harrelson played Carnage in the movie Venom.
  • This is the first movie about the Battle of Midway since Midway (1976).
  • 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.
  • The Battle of Midway was not a turning point in the Pacific Campaign. Japan did not have the resources or the military/economic/industrial capacity to simultaneously defeat China, the British Commonwealth and Empire, and the United States.
  • The Battle of Midway was of secondary importance to the Guadalcanal Campaign.
  • 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.
  • After the battle of Midway Japan never built another carrier while the US went on to build more than 30.
  • 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 movie incorrectly states that Japan's goal was to eventually invade the US. In actuality, Japan knew they would not be able to beat the US in a protracted war, so the objective was to draw the US Navy into a decisive battle that would be so demoralizing to the US that they would be able to negotiate an end to the war within 6 months and a least keep the oil, steel, and rubber resources in Indonesia. To do that, they had to threaten a US possession that the entire US Navy (including its carriers) would be willing to fight for, so they chose Midway, which was close to Hawaii.
  • 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.
  • John Williams wrote the score to Roland Emmerich's last war movie, The Patriot (2000). He also wrote the score to Midway (1976).
  • 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 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).
  • In the movie, at the beginning of the attack by Midway's planes on the Japanese, it is depicted that about 12-16 twin engine B-26 bombers conducted a level bombing against Nagumo's flagship, the Akagi. In reality, Midway only had 4 B-26s deployed... they were bravely the first to attack at 0710. They had been converted to torpedo bombers and as such approached at a very low level, not high up to bomb as in the film. Of the 4, 2 were shot down by intense AA fire, and the leader, severely damaged, conducted what may be the first kamikaze attack of the war (YES, an American), attempting to hit Admiral Nagumo's bridge to kill him and missed at the last minute by as little as 5 feet by Japanese accounts. There is much historical debate as to whether this scare might have affected Nagumo's thinking in the next 15 minutes and resulted in the Japanese disaster.
  • Movie director John Ford was indeed wounded in the arm during the battle while filming for his semi-documentary "The Battle of Midway". However he was in a much more precarious position standing atop the power plant on Sand Island, one of the most obvious targets for the Japanese Navy, where he survived multiple attacks.
  • It appears that the B-25 bombers (at least one of them) are shown aiming their bombs with a Norden bomb sight. For such a low probability of success they would have been removed and replaced with a less risky and more secure aiming device. It was called the Mark Twain and cost 20 cents (and there was nothing secret about it).
  • Midway airport in Chicago, IL is named after the battle of Midway.
  • The Mitchell bombers which carried out the Doolittle Raid, are referred to in the movie as "army" planes. The United States Army Air Corps was formed in 1907 until becoming a separate entity after World War II as the United States Air Force 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". A similar quote was used by Yamamoto's character in other films about the Pearl Harbor attack, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and Pearl Harbor (2001) (although the latter omits the second part of the sentence). Despite the persistence of this quote in movie history, it has never been officially attributed to the admiral in real life; no one has heard him explicitly say it, nor has it ever been found within any of his writings. Yamamoto had indeed withdrawn himself in 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.
  • The film makes little mention of the effects of an American admiral swap. The Japanese expected Bull 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 shingles. Raymond 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.
  • 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).

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.
  • Towards the end of the movie, Torpedo Squadron 8 from the USS Hornet make a desperate but unsuccessful attack. All the squadron's planes were shot down. The film shows a surviving pilot in the water observing and cheering on the following dive-bomber attack. This is Ensign George Gay. He would later be rescued, then later write a book called the "Battle of Midway." That same book was the primary basis for the movie of the same name in 1976 that starred Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Glen Ford & Pat Morita, among others.
  • Five aircraft carriers (four Japanese, one American) are hit by bombs, but the film only shows the fate of the Hiryu, scuttled by Japanese torpedoes. The three remaining Japanese carriers (Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu) were all scuttled by torpedoes. The American carrier Yorktown was sunk by a Japanese submarine while being towed away from the battle scene.
  • Before the closing credits, the movie teases a sequel about the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The upcoming movie has a 2022 release date.
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