Ôzora no samurai
Director: Seiji Maruyama
Starring: Hiroshi Fujioka, Taro Shigaki, Akihiko Hirata, Takeo Chii, Tetsurô Tanba
Zero Fighter, or Zero Pilot, original Japanese title Ôzora no samurai (Samurai of the Sky), which was based on a memoir book written by a Japanese fighter pilot Lt. Saburo Sakai, when it was first released in 1976. This movie shows the blood-soaked battles of Sakai, the highest-scoring Japanese naval fighter ace (at least 65 confirmed kills; some unconfirmed reports state 130) who survived World War II.
It is a well craftet war picture, seen from the Japanese perspective. The movie kept very close to the book, and stuck to the facts. The airbattles are suspensefull and detailed, as good as in the movie Midway, but with a much smaller budged. Sabukuo Sakai got seriously wounded over the airbattle of Guadalcanal. Shot in the head, he had to manage to fly his zero fighter plane, back to his base at rabaul. His struggle to survive is impressive to watch. Sitting in a damaged cockpit, the front window smashed up and bloodstained, fighting to loose conciousness, keeping the aircraft under control and to keep track of navigation.
The movie also depicts the final suicide mission of a Japanese bomber over port Moresby and the August 7, 1942 mission by Zeros and Betty bombers to attack the American landing force on Guadalcanal.
1976 Color Anamorphic Widescreen (16:9)102 Min.
Japanese with English Subtitles