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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 ...
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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.
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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
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/30/2001
  • UPC: 025192122026
  • Original Release: 1976
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:12:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 1,632

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
Dabney Coleman Capt. Murray Arnold
Larry Csonka Cmdr. Delaney
Erik Estrada
John Fujioka
James Ingersoll
Dale Ishimoto Vice Adm. Moshiro Hosogaya
Robert Ito
Steve Kanaly
Lloyd Kino
Clyde Kusatsu
David Macklin
Kip Niven
Bennett Ohta
Dennis Rucker Ens. Mansen
Tom Selleck
Sab Shimono
Conrad Yama Adm. Nobutake Kondo
Michael Richardson
Kurt Grayson
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
Seth Sakai
Alfie Wise
Beeson Carroll
John Bennett Perry
Noriyuki "Pat" Morita
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 Jr. Cinematographer
Robert Swink Editor
Walter Tyler Art Director
Frank J. Urioste Editor
John Williams [composer] Score Composer
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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]
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Side #1 -- Widescreen
   Bonus Materials
      The Making of Midway
      The Score of Midway
      Sensurround: The Sound of Midway
      Scenes Shot for the TV Version
      They Were There, Hosted by Charlton Heslon
      Photograph Montage
      Theatrical Trailer
      Production Notes
      Cast and Filmmakers
         Charlton Heston
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Henry Fonda
            Biography/Film Highlights
         James Coburn
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Glenn Ford
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Hal Holbrook
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Toshiro Mifune
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Robert Mitchum
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Cliff Robertson
            Biography/Film Highlights
         Robert Wagner
            Biography/Film Highlights
      DVD Newletter
      Spoken Language
      Captioned for the Hearing Impaired
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    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! ??

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Terrific Historical movie

    This movie is the perfect way to watch history

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Battle of Midway-1970's Hollywood Style

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2001

    Great film of an important point of WW II

    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.

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    Posted March 23, 2009

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    Posted June 16, 2009

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews