Francois Mori / Associated Press
Steven Spielberg was riding high in the late 1970s thanks to the phenomenal success of 1975s Jaws and 1977s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So it was inevitable he would have to hit a bump in the career road. And his broad 1979 World War II comedy was this first commercial and critical disappointment. The Times, in fact, said it was the last major oil spill.
Ambitious and filled with some memorable moments including the Jaws spoof in the opening scene 1941 isnt all that funny or frenetic. Penned by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the film is based on a true story that took place off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1943 where a Japanese sub surfaced and fired on an oil refinery, causing panic throughout the country.
Besides a rollicking score by John Williams, 1941 boasts a terrific cast John Belushi, whose drug problem caused problems on set, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Stack, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and Joe Flaherty -- and cameos by venerable character actors such as Slim Pickens, Lionel Stander, Elisha Cook Jr., Dub Taylor and Christopher Lee.