Battle of Midway (1976) starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook, Toshirô Mifune, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, Robert Wagner directed by Jack Smight Movie Review

Battle of Midway (1976)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda in Battle of Midway (1976)

Simply a Battle to Watch

I am no historian, it is something I often find myself saying when reviewing movies about actual historical events but I feel a need to. Why? Well it validates my point of view because when I watch a movie it is usually to be entertained rather than to be educated and as such after watching the "Battle of Midway" I have to say I am disappointed. What I watched seemed nothing more than Hollywood using a true story to bring together several aging Hollywood stars splicing them together with some archive and stock footage and passing it off as a movie. For those who read that and our outraged should realise I am not condemning the true story of "Midway" but this movie for being poor as there is a difference.

The trouble I have with "Battle of Midway" is that it is incredibly dull with the dramatization of the events leading up to Midway with a subplot about Captain Matt Garth having to deal with his son who has a Japanese girlfriend. For historians maybe the dramatization of events is interesting as we see little ships pushed around large maps but it isn't entertaining. And it gets worse as when it tries to be entertaining it uses far too much stock footage giving it the feeling of being made on the cheap.

The irony of that statement is that I am sure it wasn't a cheap movie as it is full of big star names such as Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda and Charlton Heston to name but a few. But so many of these great actors are in pointless roles; take Robert Mitchum who is cast as Admiral William F. Halsey who is bed ridden because he has some sort of contagious skin disease, it is a waste of talent. The same can be said of Hal Holbrook who for some reason has been cast in a role which requires him to wear a tatty dressing gown which I think is meant to smell or something. In the end the only actor who really makes his presence felt is Charlton Heston but that isn't because he has a decent character but purely because he is the central character and in the most scenes.

What this all boils down to is that "Battle of Midway" just failed as a movie for me as it feels like the producers thought chucking lots of star names into a movie is enough to make it work. Maybe those with an interest in actual events from WWII will find it interesting but for most who watch expecting a star studded war movie with great action will be left wanting.