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Empire of the Sun

HD   PG Closed Captioning

Steven Spielberg

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About the Movie

From one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, Steven Spielberg, comes an epic film telling the story of a young boy's determination to survive in the face of the devastating events that transpire after Japan invades Shanghai on December 8, 1941.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 47
  • Fresh: 33
  • Rotten: 14
  • Average Rating: 6.8/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: There are many glorious moments here. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Oct 26, 2016

Fresh: Spielberg has dreamed of flying before, and this time he earns his wings. – Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: No special use is made of the talents of Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano and the others, so it is up to young English thesp Bale to engage the viewer's interest, which he does superbly. – Variety Staff, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: The film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to. – Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times, Oct 26, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Spielberg's Best WWII Picture

Subtler and more restrained than either 'Ryan' or 'List', 'Empire' was Spielberg's first serious foray into filming World War II. In choosing J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel to adapt, he managed to find a story challenging enough to his strengths and weaknesses that both improved each other. It's been said a lot, but it must be repeated, that Christian Bale gives one of the best performances of a child actor ever, and arguably still the best of his career. 'Empire' is also notable for its being shot on-location in Shanghai when China was only beginning to open up to the world; and for its humane yet clear-eyed depiction of the Japanese. The "raid on the airstrip" sequence is still one of the most thrilling combinations of cinematography and score (John Williams stretching his legs with Japanese and Chinese influences) Spielberg ever filmed. Also interesting to note the arresting poster with IIRC the first of the many "silhouette" images used in Spielberg-related WW2 productions.

One of the most beautiful films of our time

Christian Bale is one of the few child stars to make it to an adult. And from this film you can easily see why he was and still is amazing. Speilburg took a whole new approach and visited a whole different part of World War II. He took a the life of a luxurious boy and showed how he transformed and grew with the horrors of the changing world around him. This is not something to think about watching, JUST DO IT. by reading this review I COMMAND YOU TO BUY THIS. trust me, you will not be dissapointed, but you will be blissful and have shivvers going down your spine five stars.

Spielberg gives us...Christian Bale

Bale had to give one of the best child performances I've ever seen, I was with his character Jim all the way to the end of the Chinese occupation of Japan. But, despite this film's fine performances, it is not perfect. the film does sag considerably in the mid-section, and, unless you are very focused on it, you may lose interest in the story. But, fighting through this rough patch is well worth it to experience the film's uplifting, and tragic, finale. An underrated perspective on WWII from Spielberg.

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