Dauntless: The Battle of Midway

UCM.ONE releases on the film label “M-Square Pictures” the war film “Dauntless: The Battle of Midway” (German title: “Die Schlacht um Midway – Entscheidung im Pazifik“) by Mike Philipps in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which focuses on the suffering of two soldiers involved during the decisive battle in World War II between the Americans and the Japanese.


June 04, 1942 – two hundred nautical miles off the Midway Islands in the North Pacific… To change the course of the war and break the dominance of the Japanese forces in the Pacific, a US aircraft carrier group is stationed off the coast of the island atoll. In the ensuing decisive battle, the crew of a U.S. Navy dive bomber has to make an emergency landing after they have decisively hit a Japanese aircraft carrier and come under fire themselves. Kept afloat only by their life jackets, pilot Norman Vandivier (Jade Willey) and his seriously wounded gunner Lee Keaney (John Enick) drift hundreds of miles away from their fleet in the cold Pacific Ocean. As they fight for survival and try not to attract the attention of the Japanese or be eaten by the sharks, the Navy leadership, with Admiral Spruance (Judd Nelson) and Commander Browning (C. Thomas Howell), disagree on rescue operations and valuable time is lost in the face of ongoing fighting.

The film is based on the events of the Battle of the Midway Islands, which decided the Pacific War.  However, the Navy soldier Norman Vandivier and his gunner Lee Keaney were never found despite days of searching by the Navy, unlike in the film. They were declared dead and Vandivier was posthumously awarded the “Navy Cross“.

About Judd Nelson (Admiral Raymond Spruance)

Judd Nelson (*28 November 1959 in Portland, Maine) came to acting more by chance. He was studying philosophy when he accompanied a friend to an audition and was engaged on the spot. Once infected by the acting bug, he gave up his old studies, went to New York and studied acting with Stella Adler. Right at the beginning of his career he was cast by John Hughes for his legendary teenager movie “The Breakfast Club, after which he starred in Joel Schumacher’s “St. Elmo’s Fire“. From that moment on he became part of the so-called Brat Pack, a group of young actors who appeared together in many films made for young audiences in the 80s and who also met often in private and were known for their wild parties. Some of the actors who were counted among the group were, besides Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kevin Bacon, John Cusack, Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Jennifer Grey, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn or Matthew Broderick.

The Brat Pack era ended in the 90s at the latest, when the actors gradually became too old for youthful roles. Many of them managed to continue their film careers very successfully even later on. Others, like Judd Nelson, shifted more into the TV business and only took part in a few Hollywood movies.

The Battle of Midway

After the attack on the US Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese troops conquered large parts of Southeast Asia in successful blitzkrieg campaigns. The Japanese admiral Yamamoto demanded the extension of a wide defence belt to protect Japan from American attacks. He feared that every day the war would last would play into the hands of the Americans. When the defence belt proved to be more and more permeable, he put all his eggs in one basket: with a decisive battle he wanted to confront and destroy the US Navy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As a location he chose an atoll halfway between Tokyo and Los Angeles: Midway.

Thanks to his authority, he was able to assert himself against the imperial admiral’s staff. The Midway islands, which are just twelve square kilometres in size, became the target of an armada of eleven battleships, four large and four light carriers with 319 aircraft, 26 cruisers, 55 destroyers, 20 submarines and 39 transporters.

Since the dive bombers had gotten lost, the American torpedo bombers attacked alone first. This showed once again the superiority of the imperial pilots and their planes. Almost all attackers were shot down by the Japanese Zero fighters. But while these were still fighting in part, but largely refuelled on the carriers, 68 US dive bombers reached the combat area.

Between 10.25 and 10.30 they pounced on the Japanese carriers. Within minutes, leaking aviation fuel and exploding bombs transformed the ships into flaming hells. Within five minutes and almost half a year to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan had lost the core of its naval forces. Despite the still oppressive superiority of battleships, Yamamoto broke up the company and withdrew. From then on, Japan fought a losing battle.

Original title: Dauntless: The Battle of Midway

Director: Mike Phillips

Screenplay: Adam Klein

Actor & actresses: Joe Barrino, Aidan Bristow, Jerry Buteyn, Louie Chapman Louie Chapman, Jamison Coe, Wyatt Derman, John Enick, Mendel Fogelman, Drew Garrett, Alejandro Gehry, Nicholas Golowko, Demetris Hartman, C. Thomas Howell, Will Jorgenson, Paul Kennedy Jr., James Austin Kerr, Jack Malykin, Francisco Merino, Henry Miller, Troy Musil, Judd Nelson, Jackie Nichols, Anatole Odolant, Byrne Offutt, Christopher Lee Pagem Adam Peltier, Daniel Mckinley Rhodes, Chris Roark, Kasee Shambora, Nate Slaughter, David Snyder, Miles Tagtmeyer, Jade Willey

Producers: Jason Newfield, Mike Phillips

Executive producers: Stephanie Kelly, Joshua Minyard

Co-producers: Adam Klein, Julian Moss, Kasee Shambora

Cinematography: Jason Newfield

Editing: Jason Newfield, Mike Phillips

Sound: Joe Bartone, Mike Horton, Tim McKeown, Joshua Minyard, Jessie Pariseau, Avery Randolph, D. Chris Smith, Walter Spencer, Randy Torres, Brandon Tucker, David Werntz, Paul Wustrack

Technical department: Scott Baker, Ferid Hasbun, Brieana Johnson, Evan Kopel, Ben Lawson, Adriana Ledesma, Rachel Meguerdijian, Joey Skaggs, Derek Vass, Zack Wilcox

Music: Ryan Franks, Scott Nickoley

Costume and wardrobe department: Julian Moss, Brian Thomson

Make-up: Brittany Fontaine, Oasis Nguyen, Hannah Sherer

Casting: Mark Tillman


Production companies: Bayou Pictures, Gypsy Lane Films

Year of production: 2019

Genres: Drama, War

Country: USA

Language: English

Dubbing: German


Lenght: 98 Min

Rating: FSK12

Aspect ration: 16:9 – 2.40:1

Ton: Dolby Digital 5.1

Auflösung: 4K

Other titles:

English: Dauntless (working title)

English: Dauntless: Battle of Midway

German: Schlacht um Midway – Entscheidung im Pazifik

Russian: Бесстрашные: Битва за Мидуэй

Filmlabel: M-Square Pictures


Blu-Ray & DVD-Start: 31.01.2020

VoD-Start: 31.01.2020

Dauntless - Battle of Midway | Trailer (English) ᴴᴰ


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Reviews and comments

“A small but very effective and convincing war drama.” (thatmomentin.com)

“Hollywood veterans Judd Nelson (Breakfast Club) and C. Thomas Howell (Hitcher, the Highway Killer) in a powerful war drama about the struggle for survival and hope in the shadow of the Pacific War.” (shoutfactory.com)

“The film convinced me with its surprising and emotional ending. It also deserves a 5-star rating because of the great acting of all the characters that brought the film to life!” (Mike Kelly – chicagoreader.com)

“The attack scenes are also well adapted to reality. The actual bomber attacks on the Japanese carriers lasted about 10 minutes. The script is surprisingly accurate in its adherence to the facts.” (Tracy Lightcap, sevendaysvt.com)

Technical data

Picture format Blu-Ray: WS 2.40:1 / 1080p 23,976; DVD: WS 2.40:1 (anamorphic) | Total running time Blu-Ray: 97 Min; Total running time DVD: 93 Min | German DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) | Extras: Original Trailer; Making of, alternative end,  trailer show | Rating: FSK 12