Pearl Harbor

Synopsis: This sweeping drama, based on real historical events, follows American boyhood friends Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett) as they enter World War II as pilots. Rafe is so eager to take part in the war that he departs to fight in Europe alongside England's Royal Air Force. On the home front, his girlfriend, Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale), finds comfort in the arms of Danny. The three of them reunite in Hawaii just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Production: Touchstone
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 51 nominations.
 
IMDB:
6.1
Metacritic:
44
Rotten Tomatoes:
25%
PG-13
Year:
2001
183 min
$197,761,540
Website
2,193 Views


EARLY DRAFT:

Out of BLACK we hear the sound of an airplane roaring by.

EXT. POV OF AN AIRPLANE

Flying over American heartland. We see the earth through the

pilot's perspective as sky and ground swap positions, the

plane swooping down and storming over the ground.

THE PLANE:

is a biplane, racing over a field lush with young plants. It

releases a trail of crop spray, and climbs again...

Up into a crystalline blue sky where sunshine pours like

honey over family farms stretching to the horizon. Maybe

it's not heaven, maybe it's just Tennessee. But as long as

there's been an America, men have fought and died for this

place -- as volunteers.

Far off, but visible from the plane is

A BARN - DAY

The barn is unpainted except for hand lettering that says

"McCawley Crop Dusting." Another plane noise, this one made

by kids, brings us to TWO BOYS, sitting in the shell of an

old plane propped on crates, scavenged of it's engine, seats,

and wheels.

The boys sit in it's cockpit, butts crowded onto the nail keg

they've replaced the seat with. They've even attached a 2x4

as propeller, as if their imaginations needed any help. They

wear overalls and have bowl haircuts: RAFE and DANNY, 10

years old.

RAFE:

Bandits at 2 o'clock.

DANNY:

Power dive!

They buzz their lips in a flying noise and work the controls,

Rafe's bare feet on one pedal, Danny's on the other.

RAFE:

It's Germans!

DANNY:

Kill the bastards!

Rafe looks at Danny in shock -- then they both laugh and go

right back into their game, manufacturing their own machine

gun and engine sounds.

RAFE:

Good shooting, Danny!

DANNY:

Good shooting, Rafe!

RAFE:

Land of the free...

DANNY:

Home of the brave!

RAFE:

There's another one!

Their vocal motors roar again... But a man's hand grabs Danny

by the straps of his overalls and jerks him from the cockpit.

It's Danny's FATHER and he's a fearsome sight; drunk, his

hair uncombed, his face unshaven, his teeth -- those still

left -- are rotting. He's also missing an arm; but the one

that's left is potent, and he's shaking Danny with it.

DANNY'S FATHER

You no count boy! Johnson come lookin',

said he'd pay a dime for you to shovel

his pig shed, and I can't find you no

place.

DANNY:

Daddy, I told you I was comin' here.

His father slaps him off his feet. Rafe is so horrified he

can't get a sound out. Danny isn't even surprised. But when

his father snatches him up again, twisting the overall straps

so tight they choke him, he struggles. It does no good; his

father starts marching across the field, dragging and

strangling Danny.

DANNY:

Da!... Dad...

The father's drunken anger makes him oblivious -- until

CRACK! The 2x4 propeller slams him across the back, knocking

him to the ground and making him drop Danny.

The father rolls over to see 10-year-old Rafe, holding the

2x4 like a bat.

RAFE:

Let him alone!

The father's eyes bulge in rage; he struggles to his feet.

DANNY:

Rafe... Daddy... No!

The man looks murderous, but Rafe draws back the board.

RAFE:

I'll bust you open, you...German!

The words ring something deep in the man's booze-broken

brain. He begins to cough, convulsively; it brings a blossom

of blood to his mouth. He wipes it with his hand, but blood

clings to his teeth. He chokes out --

DANNY'S FATHER

I fought the Germans.

He looks at Danny in shame, with the realization of what he's

just done. He turns and staggers away.

Danny looks at Rafe -- a communication between boys joined by

something deeper than blood. Then Danny runs off after his

father.

DANNY:

Daddy! Daddy! Wait.

Danny catches him, takes his father's hand, and walks away

with him.

The crop duster we saw in the air has just landed, behind

Rafe. The pilot, RAFE'S FATHER, shuts off the engine.

RAFE'S FATHER

What's goin' on, son?

RAFE:

Nothing. Danny's Dad just come to get

him.

Rafe turns back to the ramshackle plane and replaces the 2x4

propeller. His father looks toward Danny and his father,

walking away, then looks at his own son.

RAFE'S FATHER

Hey, boy -- you wanna go up?

Rafe can't believe it; he runs to the plane and hops into his

father's lap. As his father cranks the engine and tucks him

into the harness, Rafe says --

RAFE:

Daddy, sometime will you take Danny up

too?

RAFE'S FATHER

Sure will, son.

The engine races to life...and we --

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. NEW JERSEY AIR BASE - DAY

American P-40 fighters blast through the air, props screaming

and wind singing by their wings.

There are eight pilots in their individual seats, and we

focus on two:
RAFE MCCAWLEY has grown lean and handsome.

And DANNY WALKER is very much the same.

Their planes start swapping positions in the formation; while

the other guys are flying along in a tight line, Rafe and

Danny are playing, one of them gunning his engine to go high,

the other diving and coming back up in his place,

leapfrogging.

It scares the other guys, having their planes flashing in and

out, so close. The TRAINING CAPTAIN, watching through

binoculars on the ground, talks into his RADIO --

TRAINING CAPTAIN

McCawley! Walker! Cut that out!

RAFE:

I thought this was a training flight.

I'm just trying to give Danny some

training.

DANNY:

Not on your best day, boy!

Rafe grins and guns his plane low, in the opposite direction

he was moving before. Danny reacts almost instantly...

leapfrogging in the opposite direction, scaring the piss out

of everybody else.

TRAINING CAPTAIN

That's it, get into a wedge!

The squadron responds, forming up into a tight V, Rafe and

Danny just behind and on either side of the center.

RAFE:

Didn't you say test the limits?

DANNY:

Hey, you wanna test my limits, you better

line up a couple dozen women on the

GROUND...cause I got NO limits in the

air!

Rafe grins, loving the challenge. Then he and Danny do the

leapfrogging maneuver laterally, swapping sides in the V.

TRAINING CAPTAIN

Everybody down!

EXT. NEW JERSEY AIRFIELD - DAY

The planes land in tight order and taxi off the runway; shut

down their props, slide back the canopies and hop down. We

see young pilots we'll get to know: ANTHONY, BILLY, RED.

TRAINING CAPTAIN

Where are McCawley and Walker?

EXT. RAFE AND DANNY - STILL IN THE AIR - DAY

They've circled to opposite ends of the airfield and are now

heading right at each other, like two bullets playing

chicken.

TRAINING CAPTAIN

Aw sh*t...

INT. THE COCKPITS

From Rafe and Danny's POV, the rush is awesome.

THE PILOTS ON THE GROUND watch in awe as the P-40's get so

close they can't possibly get out of each other's way.

Billy, the most boyish-faced of the pilots, yells to drown

out the sound of the collision...

At the last instant, both planes snap a quarter turn so that

their wings are vertical, and they shoot past each other

belly to belly.

IN THE COCKPITS:

Rafe and Danny burst out laughing.

THE PILOTS ON THE GROUND

laugh and congratulate each other.

TRAINING CAPTAIN

You know what they say... You can take the

crop duster out of the country -- but

don't put him in a P-40.

Rafe banks to land, and Danny tucks in behind him. Danny has

Rafe's plane in his sights.

Rate this script:4.5 / 4 votes

Randall Wallace

Randall Wallace is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and songwriter who came to prominence by writing the screenplay for the 1995 film Braveheart. more…

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    "Pearl Harbor" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/pearl_harbor_1109>.

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