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Empire of the Sun Details


Based on J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun stars Christian Bale as a spoiled young British boy, living with his wealthy family in pre-World War II Shanghai. During the Japanese invasion, Bale is separated from his parents. With the help of soldier-of-fortune John Malkovich, Bale learns to survive without a retinue of servants at his beck and call. By the time Malkovich and Bale are tossed into a Japanese prison camp, the boy has picked up enough street-smarts and developed enough intestinal fortitude to regard his imprisonment as an exciting adventure. The story ends during the 1945 liberation: on the verge of manhood, the 13-year-old Bale will never again be the pampered, privileged brat whom we met in the early scenes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:December 9, 1987


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Harry Cordwell Best Art Direction 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Knudson Best Sound 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tony Dawe Best Sound 1987 Nominee
American Society of Cinematographers Allen Daviau Best Cinematography 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Allen Daviau Best Cinematography 1987 Nominee
National Board of Review Christian Bale Outstanding Juvenile Performance 1987 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Williams Best Score 1987 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts John Williams Best Score 1988 Winner
National Board of Review Steven Spielberg Best Director 1987 Winner
Directors Guild of America Steven Spielberg Best Director 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Bob Ringwood Best Costume Design 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Norman Reynolds Best Art Direction 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Michael Kahn Best Editing 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don Digirolamo Best Sound 1987 Nominee


Christian Bale
as Jim Graham
John Malkovich
as Basie
Miranda Richardson
as Mrs. Victor
Nigel Havers
as Dr. Rawlins
Joe Pantoliano
as Frank Demerest
Leslie Phillips
as Maxton
Masato Ibu
as Sgt. Nagata
Rupert Frazer
as Jim's Father
Peter Gale
as Mr. Victor
Takatoro Kataoka
as Kamikaze Boy Pilot
Ben Stiller
as Dainty
David Neidorf
as Tiptree
Ralph Seymour
as Cohen
Robert Stephens
as Mr. Lockwood
Judy Taylor
Ann Queensbury
as Mrs. Pym
Tom Danaher
as Col. Marshall
Ronald Eng
as Mr. Chen's Wife
Marc de Jonge
as Frenchman
Paul McGann
as Lieutenant Price
Susan Leong
as Amah
Barrie Houghton
as British Prisoner
Yvonne Gilan
as Mrs. Lockwood
Jane Feinberg
Keiron Jecchinis
as American Prisoner
Anna Turner
as Mrs. Gilmour
Jack Dearlove
as Singing Prisoner
Mike Fenton
Frank Duncan
as Mrs. Hug's Father
Francesca Longrigg
as British Prisoner
Burt Kwouk
as Mr. Chen
Hiro Arai
as Japanese Sergeant/Airfield
Simon Harrison
as British Prisoner
Ray Charleson
as American Prisoner
Maggie Cartier
Ralph Michael
as Mr. Partridge
Nicholas Dastor
as Paul
Guts Ishimatsu
as Sgt. Uchida
Peter Copley
as British Prisoner
Emma Piper
as Amy Matthews
Ann Castle
as Mrs. Phillips
Sylvia Marriott
as Mrs. Partridge
Sybil Maas
as Mrs. Hug
Edith Platten
as Paul's Sister
Shirley Chantrell
as Chinese Cook At Detention Center
Yuriko Matsubara
Barbara Bolton
as British Prisoner
James Greene
as British Prisoner
Gary Parker
as American Prisoner
Eric Flynn
as British Prisoner


Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Frank Marshall
Kathleen Kennedy
Tom Stoppard
Menno Meyjes
Allen Daviau
John Williams
Composer (Music Score)
Manning Sherwin
Harry Link
Jack Strachey
Jimmy Kennedy
Featured Music
Eric Maschwitz
Featured Music
Michael Kahn
Rick Carter
Production Designer
Gavin Bocquet
Production Designer
Norman Reynolds
Production Designer
Charles Bishop
Art Director
Charles Bishop
Supervising Art Director
Maurice Fowler
Art Director
Maurice Fowler
Supervising Art Director
Norman Dorme
Art Director
Norman Dorme
Supervising Art Director
Fred Hole
Art Director
Chris Kenny
Associate Producer
Harry Cordwell
Set Designer
Bob Ringwood
Costume Designer
Tony Dawe
Sound/Sound Designer
Colin Charles
Sound/Sound Designer
Dennis Muren
Special Effects
David Watkin
Special Effects
Kit West
Special Effects
Michael Pangrazio
Special Effects
David Tomblin
First Assistant Director
Michael Roberts
Camera Operator
Vic Armstrong
Yuriko Matsubara
Maggie Cartier
Mike Fenton
Judy Taylor
Jane Feinberg
Kit West
Special Effects Supervisor
Kevin Bartnof
Foley Artist
James Devis
Second Unit Director Of Photography
Paul Engelen
Peter Childs
Frank Marshall
Second Unit Director