1980 Fighter Jets Vs. 1941 Japanese Bombers

Here's the most one-sided dogfight in history, as U.S. fighter jets that have traveled back in time take out two Japanese "zero" planes on their way to bomb Pearl Harbor, in 1980's The Final Countdown. Kirk Douglas, commanding the U.S.S. Nimitz, tries to avoid killing the Japanese after his ship travels back to 1941. But those plucky low-tech bombers keep harrassing his jets, so he finally gives the order to "splash the zeroes." Which is going to be my new catch-phrase. Click through for a clip of a weighty debate about the dangers of altering history.

This scene totally feels like old-school Star Trek, complete with mustache guy channeling McCoy. Back in 1980, when this movie came out, there were still audiences who needed the "grandfather paradox" explained to them. I really want to see the scene where Kirk Douglas explains about time travel and Pearl Harbor to FDR.


The movie sort of cops out, because the Nimitz gets whisked back to the present right before it's about to trash the Japanese bombers. But there are still some alterations to the timeline, and you do get a paradox of sorts, as this one guy obsessively details. Most notably, one guy gets left behind in 1941, and uses his knowledge of future tech to become super-rich... but apparently nothing else changes.

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Actually enjoyed this one as a kid and adult. In reality, F-14s wouldn't need to go all fangs out with 20 mike mike and Sidewinders. They could just knock out the Zeros with their jet wash.

Trivia note: Lloyd Kaufman of Troma fame paid his bills working on the movie and as an extra. Hated it so much that he decided to stick to making his own films.