13 user 3 critic

First Yank Into Tokyo (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 5 September 1945 (USA)
An American agent undergoes plastic surgery to make him look Japanese so he can infiltrate Japan and help to free an American POW.


Gordon Douglas


J. Robert Bren (story), Gladys Atwater (story) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Tom Neal ... Major Steve Ross
Barbara Hale ... Abby Drake
Marc Cramer ... Lewis Jardine
Richard Loo ... Col. Hideko Okanura
Keye Luke ... Haan-Soo
Leonard Strong ... Major Nogira
Benson Fong ... Capt. Tanahe
Clarence Lung Clarence Lung ... Major Ichibo
Keye Chang Keye Chang ... Capt. Sato
Michael St. Angel ... Capt. Andrew Kent


An American agent undergoes plastic surgery to make him look Japanese so he can infiltrate Japan and help to free an American POW.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A REVELATION OF JAP ATROCITY! (all caps-original ad)


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 September 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

1st Yank Into Tokyo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996. See more »


In the final battle scene, Steve Ross and Han-Soo are fighting off the Japanese troops armed with sub-machine guns. Both these guns appear to be Thompson sub-machine guns which it would have been impossible to obtain in Japan. The only Japanese submachine gun was the Type 100 model which was of a markedly different appearance to the Thompson. See more »


Referenced in You Only Live Twice (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Splendid acting?
12 September 2002 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

I agree that a movie -- or almost any other cultural artifact -- should be judged on the basis of the times and circumstances of its production. It's unfair to judge what people have done in the past through the prism of our own prevailing prejudices. Barbara Field, the African-American historian, was critical of Lincoln's deciding to wait until after Antietam to announce the emancipation of slaves -- this in Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War. That sort of statement has always irritated me, brimming over with self righteousness. (I wonder how historians will judge us a hundred years from now. I hope they're kinder to us.) So I am willing to take the temporal context into account. The simple fact is that a movie that humanized the enemy would not have been made in 1945 -- or for years afterward for that matter. Steinbeck's script for "The Moon is Down" was criticized for turning a German soldier into something resembling a human being. And in "The Desert Fox" (ca. 1950) James Mason's touching performance as Erwin Rommel was blasted. In the later "The Desert Rats," playing Rommel again, Mason was forced to resort to the usual stereotype. How would you feel if you now saw a movie that included a partly sympathetic portrayal of a member of Al Qeda? Given all that, this movie is pretty crummy. The crumminess is not only in the script, although it's certainly there too, but especially in the performances, and most notably in Tom Neal's. He was out of his depth, although the part was simple enough. (He was IN his depth in "Detour".) He doesn't even get the Japanese bow right. The bow is face down, smart and snappy, in real military life. Neal bows slowly from the hips down, keeping his face up all the time, as if involved in some particularly outre tai ji exercise. The make up job is astonishing. And his speech! He evidently has a set of false teeth (all Japs are buck-toothed) which make him sound as if he's speaking through a mouth full of tooth paste. On top of that he struggles desperately to impose a "Japanese" accent which consists mostly of substituting [r] for [l] and vice versa. Let's just say he speaks his lines memorably. Sure it's a racist movie, but it WAS wartime, and it's understandable -- a lot more understandable than rounding up Japanese-American families and shuffling them off to internment camps. THAT manifestation of racism is less justifiable. But the movie is pretty bad nonetheless, unless you can enjoy it as pozlost.

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