Told fairly from both the Japanese and American perspectives, this unflinching and historically accurate film details the meticulous planning and secrecy that went into the surprise attack on the American naval base of Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941.
While the Japanese High Command bickers over how the attack will be launched, aided by the misgivings of the reluctant Admiral Yamamoto, American Intelligence receives numerous warnings that a strike is imminent but fails to act - or be believed by high-ranking officials.
These early scenes successfully build the tension for the airial attack itself which, when it finally arrives, does not disappoint. From the sinking of the USS Arizona to the straffing of the airfields by Japanese fighters, events hurl along at breakneck speed - although there is still time for Human elements to shine through among the bullets and devestation.
Once the assault is over, these Human elements come to the fore once again. Flight Leader Fuchida (who gives the "Tora! Tora! Tora!" attack signal of the title) cannot believe the cautious Admiral Nagumo is not going to send in another wave of attack aircraft to finish the job and intends instead to head for home, while Admiral Yamamoto is beset by doubts over what has actually been achieved. Meanwhile the Americans at Pearl Harbour assess all the bad luck, faulty intelligence and delayed messages which could have prevented the tradegy.
Thankfully, the film ends on a bleak and rather poignant note, with the USS Enterprise arriving to see the Harbour burning and the anchored fleet in ruins - an ending which, it seems, modern Hollywood would never contemplate today.
The film had four Directors - two for each of the antagonists, and the subtitling of the Japanese scenes increases the realism no end.
The lack of star names attached to the film is a bonus, too, as rather than drawing attention to the next "big" presence to walk onscreen - a problem faced by the later "Midway" - we can concentrate more on the complex dramas being played out. That said, the cast are all excellent in their roles.
For the true story of what happended on that Day Of Infamy, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" cannot be bettered and, as such, should have a proud place in any DVD collection.