VJ Day marks the full cessation of hostilities at the conclusion of the Second World War. After six years of bloodcurdling, world-shattering conflict that would change world history forever, the war was finally over. On the 15th of August, the Japanese Army formally surrendered, after which the Axis powers accepted their defeat.
The war in the Pacific began with the Japanese assault on the American fleet at Pearl Harbour, and was concluded with the use of American atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. From Burma to Shanghai, Tokyo to Iwo Jima, the Philippines to the Solomon Islands, barely an island in the east was untouched by the merciless bloodshed of the war in the Pacific.
But very often when we think of the Second World War on film, we forget or underplay this enormous oceanic battlefront. The many movies about the war in Europe and in Russia often spring to mind before movies about the war in the Pacific.
But some of the movies about the Allied war against the Imperial Japanese Army are among the best filmic monuments to World War Two. This list gives you ten of the best. Dig in!
10. Hell In The Pacific
Hell in the Pacific is an atmospheric, tough, and deeply human story about two enemies stranded together on a desolate Pacific island.
Two nameless men, an American pilot played by Lee Marvin and a Japanese soldier played by Toshiro Mifune, share the terrible fate of crash-landing on the same uninhabited island. With no escape and no way to contact the outside world, they are reduced to scrambling against each other on the rocks, battling over the meagre resources that the island has to offer.
There is little dialogue, and Mifune's words go untranslated. A great deal of the storytelling takes place visually, and a lot of the emotional texture of the film comes - as well as from the great performances - from its vibrant score and sound design.
The soldiers fight, mistreat, and mistrust one another for a great deal of the movie. Eventually, they come to a grudging peace and begin to cooperate on building a raft for an escape. Ultimately, they travel to another island, where they find civilization - in the form of an abondoned military installation - and begin to remember their humanity.
It's a slow-burner, but this story of two men who grow from bitter enemies into firm friends is remarkable, compasionate, and essential.