Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American epic coming-of-age war film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tom Stoppard, based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical 1984 novel of the same name. The film tells the story of Jamie "Jim" Graham (Christian Bale), a young boy who goes from living with his wealthy British family in Shanghai to becoming a prisoner of war in an internment camp operated by the Japanese during World War II.
Harold Becker and David Lean were originally to direct before Spielberg came on board, initially as a producer for Lean. Spielberg was attracted to directing the film because of a personal connection to Lean's films and World War II topics. He considers it to be his most profound work on "the loss of innocence". The film received positive reviews, with praise towards Bale's performance, the cinematography, the visuals, Williams' score and Spielberg's direction. However, the film was not initially a commercial success, earning only $22 million at the US b