American Pastime

Synopsis: The dramatic impact W.W.II had in the home-front as U.S. Japanese families were uprooted from their daily lives and placed in internment camps in western States in the early 1940s.
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport
Director(s): Desmond Nakano
Production: Warner Home Video
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
105 min

Here comes the pitch.

Strike three. He struck him out.

Oh, okay. Tommy Dorsey or Glenn Miller?

- Tommy Dorsey.

- Why?

My Frankie.

That skinny little Italian cat?

- No, hell, no.

- Come on. How about this one, huh?

What's that?

I need your help on Sunday.

Yeah, sure. No problem.

Oh, hey.

I got the promotion.

Can you believe that?

Five years and I'm finally doing it.

That looks so good.

There's only one guy on your team.

Is it Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams?

Yankee Clipper.

Sweetest swing in the game.

How about this one:

Bette Davis or Rita Hayworth?

- I'll take them both.

- In your dreams.

Come and get it. Hot dog, hamburger.

And Benny's hot-and-spicy sausages.

Lane, get your brother.

- Hey, Lyle!

- What do you want?


- Jazz and baseball.

- Faster.

The sax I picked up on my own.

The baseball, that was my dad.

Taught me everything I know about it.

And it got me an athletic scholarship

to San Francisco State.

My older brother Lane went straight from

high school to working to help the family... I'm gonna be the first

to go to college.

Jazz and baseball.


...December 7th, 1941...

...a date which will live in infamy...

...the United States of America...

...was suddenly

and deliberately attacked... naval and air forces

of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace

with that nation...

...and at the solicitation of Japan...

...was still in conversation

with its government and its emperor...

...looking toward the maintenance

of peace in the Pacific.

We were given 10 days' notice.

Ten days to close the family business... sell our furniture,

to clear everything from our home.

We gave our dog to the neighbors.

I smashed my records

and left them there.

We were only allowed to bring

what we could carry with us.

First we were held

at the Santa Anita racetrack... in a horse stall.

Then we were taken further away.

Everything we had known was gone.

--determination of our people.

We will gain the inevitable triumph... help us God.

- Prisoner, step away from the fence.

- Identification?

Get on with it, now.

Keep away from the damn fence!

Follow all instructions and keep calm.

Okay, keep the line moving.

Go to the center circle.

Find your belongings. Stand in line.

Once again, those of you

exiting these vehicles...

...or anyone by the center circle...

...keep the line moving.

Head of the line's right there.

If you're not sure what line

you're supposed to be in...

...find a soldier or an officer

that is near to you and ask them.

Once again, once you exit this vehicle...

...go to the center circle

to get your belongings quickly.

- Okay. Let's go.

- If you're not sure, ask one of the soldiers.

They will tell what line you should be in.

Keep it moving. All right,

right here, just keep it moving.

She can get her own things.

Move on. Move on.

Once you got your bag, just move on.

Hey. You, in the gray cap.

You understand English?

Get up, get back in line.

Go, go, go.

- She's my mother.

- I'm okay. Go, go.

Find your belongings

and then get in line.

Once again,

those of you exiting these vehicles...

- How are you?

- I'm fine.


Can we have everyone's attention?

Inspection is in a few minutes.

Not enough time to go outside.

We change here.

Men and boys, come to this side.

And will please all the women and girls

come to this side.


Block 41, Barracks 11, bed check.

Everybody step to your cots.

Is that one of those trick pictures

like they have at carnivals or...?

No, my dad played semipro ball.

See, Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx,

they're on a barnstorming team.

They play on my dad's all-star team.


Well, this guy right here,

he's about as close as you can get...

...without actually being a real Yankee.

He's in their farm system, Class A ball.

Line up. If you're not there

when your name is called... will be reported as missing curfew.


Emyko, Kazuo, Lane and Lyle Nomura.

I am Kazuo.

My wife, my sons.

Good evening.

My name is Walter Watson,

and I'm the director of this camp.

The government has created this camp

with your well-being in mind.

Every effort has been made here

to make your transition... smooth as possible.

You'll have an opportunity to live

and work here...

...and establish constructive lives

as close to those that you previously had.

As for me personally, I look forward to

working with each and every one of you...

...and I wish to bid you all

a very good first night.

Single-A minor-league pro ball.

Coming to the plate...

...Bees catcher Billy Burrell.

Billy's the heart and soul

of his team's game.

All right, hit it out of the park!

If you ask me, Billy is still showing...

...why he was once considered

a major-league prospect.

My, oh, my, look at it fly.

Billy caught all of that one.

That's a two-run shot.

That's the game winner, Billy Burrell!

Your Abraham Bees pull it out, 6 to 5.

He's having a heck of a season.

His best in years.

The last time he had a start like this

was back in Triple-A.

Don Lemon himself came out

to take a look at him.

We really thought we were gonna get

called up that year.

Billy's son, Billy Jr.,

played with the Bees briefly...

...before he shipped out to the Pacific.

Father and son, both doing their duty

for their country.

Hey, I can play here if I want to, okay?

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Desmond Nakano

Desmond Nakano (born 1953) is an American film director, screenwriter, film score composer, and actor. He is Sansei, or third-generation Japanese American. He directed the feature films, White Man's Burden (1995) and American Pastime (2007). His writing credits include the screenplays for the dramatic feature films Last Exit to Brooklyn (1989), American Me (1992), White Man's Burden, and American Pastime. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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