The Last War

Japan Release: 1961
Running Time:
110 minutes

The Last War

Japanese Title

[Sekai Dai Senso]

Distributor: Production:


Sixteen years after the closure of World War II, another global conflict is brewing. Nations are aligning themselves into "Federation" and "Alliance" world powers. Tensions rise from a global Cold War stand off of military might. Meanwhile, in Japan, the Tamura family lives in relatively normal bliss, with plans of marriage for their daughter. Unfortunately for all, the Cold War stand off erupts. A simple airspace violation, committed by the Alliance forces, leads to a fire fight and a destroyed Federation squadron. From that simple conflict, a new world war is born. After a Federation submarine is captured by an Alliance fleet, and a new Korean War breaks out on the 38th Parallel, the tension builds to the point where the world fears a nuclear war may soon commence. A war mixed with false diplomacy in the political field and nuclear weapons at standby. This conflict places Japan in a tenuous situation, worried about the escalating war around them...

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International Title

The Last War

Initial US Title

The Last War
US Distributor: Brenco Pictures (1964) / Time: 79 minutes

Alternate Titles

The Great World War
[Literal Translation]

The Last War of the Apocalypse
[French Title]

Aliens, SDF & Misc.



Directed by Shuei Matsubayashi
Writing credits Takeshi Kimura, Toshio Yasumi
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Sanezumi Fujimoto
Music by Ikuma Dan
Cinematography by Rokuro Nishigaki
Film Editing by Koichi Iwashita
Production Design by Teruaki Abe, Takeo Kita
Director of Special Effects Eiji Tsuburaya
Assistant Director of Special Effects Teruyoshi Nakano
Mokichi Tamura Frankie Sakai
Mokichi's Wife Nobuko Otowa
Mokichi's Younger Sister Yuriko Hoshi
Takano Akira Takarada
Saeko Yumi Shirakawa
Wadkins Jerry Ito
Arimura Shigeki Ishida
General of Defense Agency Seizaburo Kawazu
Commander Minoru Takada
Neighbor Toshiko Nakano
Prime Minister So Yamamura
Foreign Minister Ken Uehara
Secretariat Director Nobuo Nakamura
Allied Forces Personnel Robert Dunham
Federal Troop Lieutenant Hank Brown
Federal Troop Personnel Howard Larson
- Chieko Nakakita
- Shinpei Tsuchiya
- Eijiro Tono
- So Yamamura
- Koji Uno
- Harold Conway
- Nadao Kirino
- Yutaka Sada
- Chishu Ryu
- Wataru Omae
- Yutaka Oka
- Kozo Nomura
- Hans Horneff
- Roy Leonard
- Daniel Jones
- Osman Yusuf
- Toshihiko Furuta


Box Office

Release Date: August 10th, 1961 (Japan)
Distribution Earning: ¥284,000,000 (Japan, Rough Figure)

DVDs and Blu-rays

Japan Region 2 The Great World War Toho (2004)

CD Soundtracks

The Great World War

Background and Trivia

  • Toho submitted the movie to the US copyright office on January 13th, 1989. This was under registration number PA0000420173. The titles they user were the international title, The Last War, and the Romaji title, Sekai Dai Senso.
  • In a press release surrounding the film, Masashi Shimizu, future president of Toho, stated: "The time has come to make this picture, we, the Japanese, are in a better position of people of any other nation to make a film such as this. We side with no one, we are inimical to no one. This movie is presented as our appeal to the world. It is our sincere hope that by producing and exhibiting this film we can preserve the cause of peace." Noted in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • Cost $830,000 to make, which was more than the budget for Mothra (1961) that same year, the latter film even enjoying additional funding for Columbia. Mentioned in Age of the Gods (self-published).
  • The Last War was not released in theaters in the US, but instead went straight to TV.
  • The American version closes out with a speech from John Kennedy and a version of the Disney song "It's a Small World".
  • The film editor for the American version was Kenneth Wannberg, who would later become a music editor that would work with the likes of John Williams on Star Wars.
  • After Brenco Pictures went out of business, they started selling segments of their films as stock footage for other productions. This lead to a stock footage sequence of the destruction of Tokyo from The Last War appearing in The Corvini Inheritance TV show from Fox that was made in 1973. Brought up in Age of the Gods (self-published).


Alexander Smith Star Rating
September 24, 2011
Patrick Galvan Star Rating
September 18, 2014