Pearl Harbor is a 2001 war film directed by Michael Bay. It features a large ensemble cast, including Ben Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Jon Voight, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Jaime King, and Jennifer Garner. It is a dramatic re-imagining of the attack on Pearl Harbor, produced by the team of Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer, who had previously worked on summer mega-blockbusters as Armageddon and The Rock. The final section of the movie recounts the Doolittle Raid, the first American attack on the Japanese home islands in World War II. Some scenes in the movie were some of the last to be filmed in Technicolor.

Rafael McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Daniel Walker (Josh Hartnett), both in their early twenties and First Lieutenants in the U.S. Army, are at a U.S. Army Air Corps training field commanded by Major Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin). Rafe is very cocky as he and Danny do a particularly dangerous stunt (a game of chicken) that almost kills them (and more importantly to the brass, almost damages the aircraft), impressing the pilots on ground but making the commanding officer unhappy. They are called into Doolittle's office where they are reprimanded, but Doolittle is actually quite impressed with Rafe as he reminds him of himself when he was young. Later, Doolittle tells Rafe that he has been accepted to go to Britain and join Eagle Squadron, a squadron of volunteer American pilots serving with the Royal Air Force in the fight against the Germans. It is strictly a volunteer assignment, and Doolittle tells him it's his duty to talk him out of it. Rafe asks Doolittle what he would do, and Doolittle says he would go, so Rafe agrees to go as well.

Prior to Rafe leaving, there is a big dance in New York, and many nurses are coming to the event. Some of the nurses are traveling there by train, and one of them, Evelyn Johnson (Kate Beckinsale), is telling the other nurses how she first met Rafe while assessing his fitness to fly. As Rafe is dyslexic, he has difficulty reading the letters on the eye chart correctly. He would have failed the vision test had Evelyn not felt sorry and passed him anyway. During his flu shots, she first agreed to go out with him, and they have been going out now for four weeks and two days. At the dance, Rafe tells Evelyn that in the morning he is headed off to England. They have a tearful good-bye, and Rafe tells her not to come to the train station to see him off. He goes to England, and Evelyn, Danny and the other officers get transferred to Pearl Harbor.

Rafe comes to the RAF aerodrome to report for duty and to receive his aircraft (which is a Supermarine Spitfire covered in blood from the previous pilot with the officer commenting on how he died). Back in Hawaii, Danny, Evelyn and their friends enjoy the surf and sun. By now, Rafe writes to Evelyn on how he misses her and how it's hard making friends at the base with all of them getting killed. Evelyn writes back saying how she misses him and hopes he comes back one day. In Japan meanwhile, Admiral Yamamoto plans the attack on Pearl Harbor after the United States freezes its trade. He sends fake codes to confuse U.S. Intelligence and shows some staff his new torpedo invention that the aircraft would use during the attack.

Back in England one day, Rafe's squadron is alerted and scrambled to intercept some German Heinkel He 111s and Bf 109s. At first Rafe shows off his flying skills by helping his wingmate in partially blowing up a Heinkel and shoots down two Bf 109s escorts until his wingmate warns him that another Bf 109 is on his tail. The Bf 109 shoots up Rafe's Spitfire hitting his oil hoses which sets his cockpit on fire then finishes him off with another burst. Rafe attempts to bail out only to be stuck in the cockpit when the canopy jams and the aircraft hits the English Channel. In Hawaii, both Danny and Evelyn are informed that Rafe is presumed killed in action.

This leaves both of them mourning for Rafe along with their friends who knew him. Evelyn continues to mourn for him. Three months later while separately going to the same movie, Danny and Evelyn see a newsreel that shows British fighters being shot down by the Germans. Thinking of Rafe, both Danny and Evelyn leave the theater and by accident meet each other out front of the building. They strike up a friendship again which eventually leads to a romantic after-hours flight.

Evelyn has stopped mourning Rafe, but one morning after discovering she is pregnant, she is stunned to find Rafe. As it turned out, after he crashed into the English Channel, the impact meant he could escape, and he was rescued by a French fishing boat and returned to occupied France for three months where he couldn't get word out to them that he was alive. Suddenly Danny appears, holding a telegram saying that Rafe is alive. Rafe realizes that Danny and Evelyn are now together and leaves, refusing to talk to Danny.

After a bar fight, Danny and Rafe argue and eventually drive to a hillside to discuss what they are going to do about their situation. After talking with Danny, Rafe realizes that if he had in fact died that Danny would be the one he would want Evelyn with. They are awakened the next morning by Japanese Zero fighters, Val dive bombers and Kate torpedo bombers flying overhead. The barely-awake pilots think it is the U.S. Navy performing exercises.

The Japanese attack catches the U.S. fleet largely unaware, despite Admiral Kimmel having been informed of a Japanese midget submarine destroyed near the entrance to the harbor. Much of the surprise came not from a lack of awareness of the aircraft, but a radar station dismissing the large number of contacts as a flight of B-17s. Only one officer is suspicious, calling the group "a heck of a lot of B-17s." A bomb dropped from a Kate bomber ruptures the forward part of the USS Arizona's ammunition magazine, literally splitting the ship in half and sending it to the bottom. Meanwhile, Japanese fighters are attacking the airstrips present on the island to prevent any attempt to intercept the attack aircraft. Petty Officer Doris "Dorie" Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a cook on the USS West Virginia, mans an antiaircraft gun and manages to shoot down a Japanese aircraft. Around the same time, Evelyn, Sandra, Betty and the other nurses head towards the hospital to help injured people. On their way they are strafed, and many people flee into the hospital while some are killed. The gunfire forces Evelyn and Sandra to hide behind a fountain. Suddenly, an aircraft drops a bomb, and Betty is killed while the other women hide in the hospital.

Later, Evelyn and the other nurses are working frantically with masses of incoming casualties, having to prioritize which lives can be saved and who receives priority care (triage). Rafe and Danny make it to their Army auxiliary airfield, and together with another pilot (Joe) manage to get their aircraft moving, though Joe is killed and his aircraft wrecked a few seconds after getting off the ground. The two of them shoot down seven Japanese aircraft over the Harbor. They even use the same maneuver that got them into trouble at Doolittle's school to force four Zeros to crash into each other.

The attack finally ends and, because of their heroism, Rafe and Danny are both promoted to Captain and assigned to Doolittle (now promoted to Lieutenant Colonel) for a top-secret mission. Prior to leaving, a heartbroken Rafe apologizes to Evelyn for leaving her, and asks why she wants to see him. She reveals that she is pregnant, but has not yet told Danny so he can focus on his mission. She also says that she is going to remain with Danny, but deep down she will always love Rafe just as much. When Rafe and Danny leave, Evelyn and Danny kiss and she tells him that she loves him and will be waiting for him.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jon Voight) wants to send a message that the Japanese homeland is not immune from bombing. They are going to put Army Air Corps B-25 Mitchell bombers onto the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (instead of the usual light naval assault bombers), sail out close to Japan, take off a few hundred miles offshore, bomb Tokyo and land in China.

For the next five or six weeks, Rafe and Danny are in training, learning how to fly these aircraft, and most importantly, learn how to take off in such a short space more suited to launching fighters and light-strike aircraft. To achieve this, the aircraft are stripped of any unnecessary weight. Finally, they load the aircraft onto the aircraft carrier and head off towards Japan. The Hornet and her escorts are discovered by Japanese patrol boats, and have to take off a couple of hundred miles earlier than planned. They now know that they won't have enough fuel to get their original landing point in China and will instead have to land their aircraft earlier than planned.

They bomb Tokyo as planned and limp towards China, running out of fuel. Rafe crash lands his aircraft, but is caught by elements of the Imperial Japanese Army which are assigned to the invasion of China. Just as he is about to be shot by the Japanese, Danny comes flying down, shooting the Japanese soldiers, with forward-mounted machine guns as he crashes his aircraft, too.

The two, along with a few other men are confronted by more Japanese soldiers, and after a small gunfight, they are captured. Danny is dying but is tied to a board attached to his shoulders. Rafe is about to be shot when suddenly Danny takes his board and whacks the Japanese soldier, protecting Rafe, just as Rafe had done for him when they were younger and the Japanese open fire, shooting Danny twice in the chest before Gooz finishes them off with a hand grenade. Danny's wounds are fatal, though, and as he lays dying in Rafe's arms, Rafe tells him he can't die because he is going to be a father. Danny, knowing he is dying, tells him no - that Rafe is going to have to be the father of the child.

Later, the surviving Doolittle Raiders are seen coming off the aircraft. Now visibly pregnant, Evelyn is there waiting to see who gets off. Rafe appears, and she is elated but waits to see if Danny is next. A sombre Rafe then reaches back inside and helps carry out the coffin containing Danny's remains. A few years later, Rafe, Evelyn and their son Danny, who is named in honor of his father and their best friend, are back at the farm in Tennessee overlooking Danny's grave. Rafe then asks little Danny if he would like to go flying; an excited Danny points to the crop duster aircraft and, together, Rafe and little Danny fly off into the sunset.

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