Gung Ho (1986)

PG-13 | 111 mins | Comedy | 14 March 1986

Director:

Ron Howard

Producers:

Tony Ganz, Deborah Blum

Cinematographer:

Don Peterman

Production Designer:

James Schoppe

Production Company:

Ron Howard Production
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HISTORY

In end credits, actor Juhachiro Takada, Instructor #2, is incorrectly listed as “Instructor = 2.” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks to: Power Station Inc., Bob Walters, Ellen Libman, Pennsylvania Film Bureau, Department of Commerce.”
       A Mar 1986 Box article reported that the idea for the script came from an episode of 60 Minutes, regarding the influx of Japanese automobile manufacturers into the United States, and its affect on the American automobile industry. Screenwriter Edwin Blum and his daughter, producer Deborah Blum, saw the report and approached director Ron Howard. In addition, Howard had a relative working for Honda Motor Company Inc., who shared how entertaining it could be to interact with Japanese executives and experience clashes based on cultural differences.
       A 14 Jun 1985 HR article announced that principal photography would begin 18 Jul 1985 with locations in Japan and Pittsburgh, PA. The Box article stated the production spent five days shooting in Japan. According to a 27 Sep 1985 DV news item, the budget was $13 million. A 10 Oct 1985 HR brief stated that principal photography was completed in the beginning of Oct 1985.
       A 9 Jul 1985 HR news item added that shooting would begin 18 Jul 1985 for sixteen days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where director Howard discovered a shuttered automobile assembly plant that would work as a perfect setting for the story. According to a 21 Jul 1985 LAT brief, American auto manufacturers could not accommodate shooting because it disrupted their production schedules for rolling out 1986 models.
Some filming was ... More Less

In end credits, actor Juhachiro Takada, Instructor #2, is incorrectly listed as “Instructor = 2.” The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Special Thanks to: Power Station Inc., Bob Walters, Ellen Libman, Pennsylvania Film Bureau, Department of Commerce.”
       A Mar 1986 Box article reported that the idea for the script came from an episode of 60 Minutes, regarding the influx of Japanese automobile manufacturers into the United States, and its affect on the American automobile industry. Screenwriter Edwin Blum and his daughter, producer Deborah Blum, saw the report and approached director Ron Howard. In addition, Howard had a relative working for Honda Motor Company Inc., who shared how entertaining it could be to interact with Japanese executives and experience clashes based on cultural differences.
       A 14 Jun 1985 HR article announced that principal photography would begin 18 Jul 1985 with locations in Japan and Pittsburgh, PA. The Box article stated the production spent five days shooting in Japan. According to a 27 Sep 1985 DV news item, the budget was $13 million. A 10 Oct 1985 HR brief stated that principal photography was completed in the beginning of Oct 1985.
       A 9 Jul 1985 HR news item added that shooting would begin 18 Jul 1985 for sixteen days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where director Howard discovered a shuttered automobile assembly plant that would work as a perfect setting for the story. According to a 21 Jul 1985 LAT brief, American auto manufacturers could not accommodate shooting because it disrupted their production schedules for rolling out 1986 models.
Some filming was also expected to take place in OH. According to the 14 Mar 1986 The Times Leader, the production spent two days, during the summer of 1985, filming at the Shadyside Stamping Corp. in Shadyside, OH.
       A 22 Aug 1985 HR article stated that several Pittsburgh neighborhoods were used as a stand-in for the make-believe town of Hadleyville including Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Garfield, Highland Park, McKees Rocks, and South Side. The company filmed in the state for five weeks, beginning 13 Aug 1985. According to The Times Leader, for a 4th of July sequence supplied by Ohio Fireworks and shot at a Beaver, PA, park, approximately 500 fireworks shells were used over the course of several days.
       A 7 Apr 1986 DV reported that Sumi Haru, an advocacy and industrial relations officer with The Association of Asian Pacific American Artists (AAPA), read twelve pages of the Gung Ho script during pre-production and discovered several instances where the expression “Jap” had negative connotations. She made several attempts to telephone Paramount Pictures executives while John Faito, a representative of the Japanese American Citizens League, also wrote expressing the same concerns. Haru claimed that company employees never responded to their complaints. When Haru saw the film, she noticed “Jap” was only used once and inoffensively. The film did well at the box office, and members of her organization decided not to protest the film because its negative, stereotypical portrayal of Japanese businessmen was balanced by negative stereotypes of Americans.
       Articles in the 9 Jul 1987 issues of DV and LAT reported that writer Dyanne Asimov Simon filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Paramount Pictures and director Howard for allegedly stealing her story idea without giving her credit and receiving permission for its use. She asked for $2 million in punitive damages. Simon claimed in 1982 she had met several times with producer, Tony Ganz, from Howard’s production company, Imagine Films. Although Ganz and Howard pitched her idea to Paramount executives, she was told her concept had been rejected. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that Dock P. Ellis, Jr., a former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher turned Los Angeles drug counselor, made his theatrical film debut in the film.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Mar 1986
p. 20-21.
Daily Variety
27 Sep 1985.
---
Daily Variety
7 Apr 1986.
---
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1986
p. 3, 50.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jul 1985
p. 26.
Los Angeles Times
14 Mar 1986
p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jul 1987.
---
New York Times
14 Mar 1986
p. 8.
The Times Leader
14 Mar 1986
p.1, 6.
Variety
12 Mar 1986
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Ron Howard Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr, Argentine crew
1st asst dir, Argentine crew
2d asst dir, Argentine crew
Prod mgr, Japan crew
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d unit dir of photog
N. Y. dir of photog
N. Y. cam op
N. Y. 1st asst photog
N. Y. 2d asst photog
N. Y. 2d asst photog
Still photog
1st company grip
2d company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
1st asst photog, Argentine crew
Asst photog, Japan crew
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept, Argentine crew
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Paint foreperson
Const coord
Lead person
Lead person
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost supv
Men's costumer
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus supv
Spec mus consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
Title des
Spec eff, Argentine crew
Spec eff, Argentine crew
Titles & opt eff by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Secy to Neil A. Machlis
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Asst to Ron Howard
Casting asst
Extra casting coord
Extra casting-Pittsburgh
Extra casting-Pittsburgh
Unit pub
Caterer
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod exec, Argentine crew
Prod exec, Argentine crew
Asst to prod execs, Argentine crew
Prod secy, Argentine crew
Transportation, Argentine crew
Prod exec, Japan crew
Prod exec, Japan crew
Supv exec, Japan crew
Prod asst, Japan crew
Transportation coord, Japan crew
Prod coord/Translator, Japan crew
Prod coord/Translator, Japan crew
Spec asst to Soh Yamamura, Japan crew
Prod services, Japan crew
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
Musical performances by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s performances courtesy of Epic Records. “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” by Chrissie Hynde, performed by The Pretenders, produced by Jimmy Iovine & Bob Clearmountain, courtesy of Sire Records Company
“Tuff Enuff,” by Kim Wilson, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, produced by Dave Edmunds, courtesy of CBS Records
“Breakin’ The Ice,” by Ken Thomas, Matthew Wells, Patrick Klein & Michael Anderson, performed by Martha Wash, courtesy of The Entertainment Music Co., CBS Records, produced by Tony Bongiovi
+
SONGS
Musical performances by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stevie Ray Vaughan’s performances courtesy of Epic Records. “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” by Chrissie Hynde, performed by The Pretenders, produced by Jimmy Iovine & Bob Clearmountain, courtesy of Sire Records Company
“Tuff Enuff,” by Kim Wilson, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, produced by Dave Edmunds, courtesy of CBS Records
“Breakin’ The Ice,” by Ken Thomas, Matthew Wells, Patrick Klein & Michael Anderson, performed by Martha Wash, courtesy of The Entertainment Music Co., CBS Records, produced by Tony Bongiovi
“Working Class Man,” written & produced by Jonathan Cain, performed by Jimmy Barnes, additional remix by Bob Clearmountain, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products and Mushroom Records Pty. Ltd.
“Can’t Wait Another Minute,” by Sue Sheridan & Paul Chiten
“We’re Not Gonna Take It,” by Dee Snider, performed by Twisted Sister, produced by Tom Werman, courtesy of Callner Shapiro.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 March 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 March 1986
Production Date:
18 July--early October 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 March 1986
Copyright Number:
PA282762
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
111
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28054
SYNOPSIS

In Japan, Assan Motors corporate managing director, Kazihiro, receives a blow to the back from a sadistic trainer during a management class on corporate discipline. Former automobile factory foreman Hunt Stevenson makes a trip to Japan to entice Assan Motors to open a factory in his hometown of Hadleyville, Pennsylvania. If he is not successful, hundreds of autoworkers will remain unemployed. On the way to his meeting, Hunt gets lost in the countryside, and a farmer gives him directions. He returns to the city, and interrupts Kazihiro’s training to ask for more directions. This time he is a block away from his intended destination. Upon entering the Assan Motors conference room, a table of stone-faced executives barely acknowledges his presence. He shows slides of an American automobile factory built thirty-five years earlier, and completely renovated two years ago, then closed in the previous nine months. When he sees that he is not getting much of a reaction, he stops the slide presentation, and describes how the factory provided employment for the entire town. When it closed, hard working people lost their livelihood, but if Assan Motors agrees to open a plant in Hadleyville, it would save the town. However, the Assan executives are unresponsive, and Hunt returns home defeated. There, his girl friend, Audrey, tells Hunt that more small businesses have closed. One day, Hunt’s friend, “Junior,” announces Assan executives are coming to Hadleyville. Later, Hunt stops by the plant office and recognizes Kazihiro from their conversation at his training session in Japan. Kazihiro offers him the position of employee liaison with the promise of a hefty raise. Kazihiro gives Hunt a copy of the company’s labor ... +


In Japan, Assan Motors corporate managing director, Kazihiro, receives a blow to the back from a sadistic trainer during a management class on corporate discipline. Former automobile factory foreman Hunt Stevenson makes a trip to Japan to entice Assan Motors to open a factory in his hometown of Hadleyville, Pennsylvania. If he is not successful, hundreds of autoworkers will remain unemployed. On the way to his meeting, Hunt gets lost in the countryside, and a farmer gives him directions. He returns to the city, and interrupts Kazihiro’s training to ask for more directions. This time he is a block away from his intended destination. Upon entering the Assan Motors conference room, a table of stone-faced executives barely acknowledges his presence. He shows slides of an American automobile factory built thirty-five years earlier, and completely renovated two years ago, then closed in the previous nine months. When he sees that he is not getting much of a reaction, he stops the slide presentation, and describes how the factory provided employment for the entire town. When it closed, hard working people lost their livelihood, but if Assan Motors agrees to open a plant in Hadleyville, it would save the town. However, the Assan executives are unresponsive, and Hunt returns home defeated. There, his girl friend, Audrey, tells Hunt that more small businesses have closed. One day, Hunt’s friend, “Junior,” announces Assan executives are coming to Hadleyville. Later, Hunt stops by the plant office and recognizes Kazihiro from their conversation at his training session in Japan. Kazihiro offers him the position of employee liaison with the promise of a hefty raise. Kazihiro gives Hunt a copy of the company’s labor policy, and expects him to explain the Japanese way of making cars and conducting business. At an autoworkers union meeting, Hunt convinces workers they are lucky to have the Japanese company in their town and should let management acclimate before they make demands, and they agree. Kazihiro welcomes the workers on the first day. To build teamwork, Kazihiro and Mr. Saito, another executive, lead morning exercises while the Americans laugh. Kazihiro turns to Hunt for support, and he motivates the workers to cooperate. The Assan executive team observes the workers through closed-circuit television to spot any problems on the assembly line. One supervisor tells a worker named Paul he cannot smoke a cigar or listen to music on the job. When Buster, another worker, complains that he has to do a lot of different jobs instead of his specialty, Hunt takes Mr. Saito aside for a talk, but Saito insists Buster can only go back to his job once he understands how everyone else’s job works. Another worker, Googie, is told he cannot read a newspaper in the bathroom. A worker named Willie thought he had permission to see his son in the hospital but is prevented from leaving the factory. Hunt tells Kazihiro the rules are oppressive and the workers dislike Saito. Kazihiro reveals that Saito is the nephew of the company CEO, Mr. Sakamoto. However, Hunt obtains permission to let the workers do the jobs they know best. He invites Kazihiro and the other executives to a practice softball game over the weekend. The Assan executives arrive in pressed team uniforms while the American workers are dressed casually in t-shirts and sweat pants. While the Japanese rely on sacrifice bunts for hits, their defense is strong and, at first, the Americans cannot score. Once they catch up, Buster scores a deciding run by barreling into Saito before he can catch the ball and tag him out. The win is bittersweet for the Americans as Hunt apologizes for the rough play. At night, Mr. Sakamoto, the boss, calls Kazihiro at home. Kazihiro’s wife hears her husband say the plant’s productivity is down three and a half percent for the month. At the factory, a former worker, Tony, is assigned to Buster’s position on the assembly line, and Buster assumes he is getting a promotion, but Saito reassigns him to sweep the floors. Buster is irate and wants to quit but Hunt reminds him that he has a family to support, and promises to smooth things over at dinner with the Kazihiros. At the dinner, Hunt criticizes the Japanese way of doing business. Kazihiro tells him he is fired and will go back on the assembly line. Hunt argues when the factory was still open, production was up ten percent. Kazihiro responds that in a Japanese factory, production would normally be up forty percent. Hunt says if the workers have to work longer hours, they are paid time and a half. Kazihiro answers the Japanese way is to make the company look good without extra compensation. Hunt claims he will be able to work things out. Later, Hunt joins the Assan executives’ morning swimming ritual in the river, and claims he will press the workers to produce 15,000 cars in one month, if the company increases salaries up to their previous levels and guarantees full employment. At a union meeting, Hunt stirs up the crowd by announcing Japanese workers are better. At first, producing 15,000 cars a month intimidates the Americans, but then they agree to the challenge. The autoworkers arrive earlier, leave later, and take shorter lunch breaks. After two weeks, they inform Hunt they will be happy to produce 13,000 cars and get a little less compensation. However, Hunt has misled them. They will not get anything if they miss their quota. At a supermarket, Hunt and Buster get into a fight when Buster accuses Hunt of siding with management. Later, Kazihiro tells Hunt he heard about the fight, and praises him on his lasting friendships. In Japan, workmates are not able to bond as easily. Hunt invites Kazihiro to go have a beer. They get drunk and Kazihiro admits Saito is telling the head office he is losing control. One more mishap and he will be fired. Hunt admits he falsely promised the men they would receive partial compensation if they produced 13,000 cars. Kazihiro laughs because Hunt is in even more trouble, and he feels better. Later, Tony has an accident on the assembly line. Saito orders the men back to work but Kazihiro says it is appropriate to stop since a man was hurt. At the hospital, the workers learn from an executive that they will not be compensated for 13,000 cars. They confront Hunt at his house, and theorize that the Japanese broke their promise to Hunt. Instead of telling his friends the truth, he promises to sort out the problem. Meanwhile, the CEO, Mr. Sakamoto, surprises Kazihiro at his home and is angry to learn that the workers are planning a big union meeting. Later, Hunt explains that he is in a bind because the men are expecting compensation for producing 13,000 cars. Kazihiro will not grant raises, and the men argue over what is wrong with the other’s culture. Hunt storms out and destroys a surveillance camera in the plant. Kazihiro fires Hunt and argues the Japanese method is the right way to run a factory. Hunt retorts if Japan is so great how come they lost the war. Buster calls for a walk out, and the other workers join him. At a fourth of July town celebration at the park, the mayor praises Hunt for saving the town, and then informs the crowd the owners have shut the factory. On the podium, Hunt confesses that he lied. He thought the autoworkers would meet their obligation, but they have lost their can-do spirit. At the factory, Kazihiro tells Mr. Sakamoto that his team is working too hard, and it is killing them. They do not have time to enjoy their families and they could learn a few things from the Americans. He walks out. At the park, Audrey tells Hunt his speech took guts and she is proud of him. As they drive home, they just miss hitting Kazihiro who walks in front of their car. Hunt chases after him as he runs into the river. When Hunt calms Kazihiro, he remarks that he could do better if he had a second chance. Outside the factory, the workers jeer at the Japanese as they dismantle the factory. Hunt and Kazihiro arrive and announce they are going to build the remaining thousand cars. Buster says Hunt wants to look good for management, but Tony says maybe he just wants to save the town. Soon, the workers are back on the floor building cars. Later, Mr. Sakamoto counts 14,994 cars and is disappointed. However, Kazihiro says there are other cars still on the factory floor. When Mr. Sakamoto is skeptical, Hunt says the cars were built with teamwork. To prove his point, he starts the ignition of a new car, and plans to drive away but the seats and rear wheels fall apart. When the situation looks dire, Mr. Sakamoto announces he believes the workers have fulfilled their quota. A cheer erupts and he says that he likes Hunt because he makes him laugh. He also tells his nephew, Saito, that he is fired. The next morning, the workers join Hunt and Kazihiro as they lead the morning exercise. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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