The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!
2h 6min | Comedy, War | 25 May 1966 (USA)
This is a family-friendly, warm, and funny film. Director Norman Jewison depicts the chaos following the grounding of the Soviet submarine off a small New England island during the Cold War. The fear and rhetoric of the time fuel a rising panic in the locals as a small party of scared and timid Soviet sailors try to sneak in and steal a boat to tow the sub out to sea. Alan Arkin’s Academy-nominated performance is priceless (his best work). Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Brian Keith, and Paul Ford provide the seesaw of panicked reaction and reasoned response. The film was a critical and commercial success
PG | 1h 58min | Action, Comedy, War | 14 December 1979 (USA)
This IS NOT family friendly or warm, but it is really funny. Director Steven Spielberg 13 years later tells the same story in a different place during a different War, depicting the panic in the Los Angeles area after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. The movie is action and comedy at 200 miles an hour. Its packed with parodies, slapstick, ironies, racy scenes, violence, and foul language. And it moves so fast you won’t catch half of the comedy on the first viewing.
Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the large and luminary cast includes Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, John Belushi, John Candy, Christopher Lee, Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Stac, and others you'll recognize. Like after a monster roller coaster ride, you will not be sure exactly why you liked it when it's done, but it was fun. Oddly, the film was a rare Spielberg critical and commercial flop.