Quote: "You know, the only thing that scares me... is that you might love him more than you love me."
- Early Life Edit
Danny was born on a farm in Tennessee in 1918. His best friend was Rafe McCawley, who lived next door and was a year older. From an early age, Danny had a passion for flying and wanted to be a pilot. The two boys would often pretend to fly with an old plane in Rafe's barn.
One day, after Rafe's father finished dusting the crops, Danny and Rafe began to play in the plane. While play with the controls, Rafe accidentally turned the plane on, and the two boys began to fly. Danny's father see the incident and comes to get his son to bring him home. The two boys remained friends, eventually enlisting in the service and becoming officers.
Eighteen years later, Danny and Rafe are both first lieutenants in the Army under the command of Major Doolittle. Doolittle informs Rafe that his request to volunteer in England has been accepted. Rafe tells Danny that he is leaving to join the Eagle Squadron (a RAF outfit for American pilots during the Battle of Britain). Danny is upset that his friend is seeking to fight in the war when it is already close to their home front. Rafe defends himself saying that it’s his duty. “Don’t tell me that, I wear the same uniform you do!” Danny responds. Rafe finally tells him to not worry and to forget about it. Danny does so reluctantly.
That night, Rafe goes to New York City to meet a nurse named Evelyn Johnson who he is dating. They spend the rest of the night with their fellow nurses and pilots dancing at a local nightclub. The Next day Danny takes Rafe to the train station. Rafe asks Danny to look after Evelyn while he is away. And that of anything should happen to him, that he will be the one to tell her. Danny promises and adds - 'just be sure to come back for the both of us'.The two friends hug and Rafe leaves for England.
- Pearl Harbor Edit
In mid January, Danny and the rest of the Squadron are transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Evelyn and the other nurses are there as well. A few months pass and Danny is informed that Rafe was killed in action during The Battle of Britain. Keeping the promise he made to Rafe before he left, Danny tells Evelyn, who is devastated. Three months pass before Danny and Evelyn see each other again. They run into each at the movies after Evelyn storms out during a news reel. Danny goes after her and they have dinner together.
They recount their memories of Rafe, they each saying how much they miss him. And how much he touched both their lives. Evelyn eventually leaves to go home, but forgets her handkerchief at the restaurant. Danny sees it and decides to take it over to her. While enroute, Danny tries to think of a way to ask her out, but becomes nervous when he sees that he was woken everyone in the house. Apologizing for the inconvenience of the hour, he gives Evelyn her handkerchief and leaves. Danny begins to realize that he beginning to have feelings for her, but decides to say nothing, knowing she has a history with his best friend. Danny is unaware that Evelyn also has feelings, but tires to hide it because of the love she still has for Rafe.
A few days later, Danny is working on one of the planes in the hanger bay with his friends and fellow officers. Gooz spots Evelyn walking towards them saying in comment to the dress that she is wearing, “that ain’t no Navy issued uniform.” Danny sees her and panics. When Billy asks what’s wrong, Danny admits that he is starting to fall in love with her. He states that it was the last thing we wanted to happen. Red encourages him to pursue things with Evelyn, and to forget about Rafe. The others exit the hanger, leaving Danny and Evelyn alone. The two talk, during which time Evelyn expresses discomfort in the thought that his fellow officers might believe something is going on between them. Danny denies any rumors that might be spreading, agreeing that it would be embarrassing. Satisfied, Evelyn says goodbye and turns to leave. Danny calls her back and asks if she has ever seen Pearl Harbor at sunset. She replies yes. He then asks if she has ever seen it from the sky. Danny takes her up in his plane where they watch the sunset together. It is dark before they arrive back at the base. Danny hears the staff sergeant yelling and tells Evelyn to hide in the parachute hanger. She runs off and he follows behind. The two end up spending the night together. The next morning, Evelyn runs into Danny while trying to find a way to explain what happened. But Danny tells Evelyn about his feelings for her and they begin a romantic relationship.
On the December 6, Danny receives a later from Rafe informing him that he is alive. Danny races to the hospital to tell Evelyn, but finds that Rafe is already there. Rafe sees that they’re together and storms off in a rage. Danny ends up finding him drunk and tries to explain that he never intended for it to happen, but the two start fighting, causing a brawl erupt. They drive away, to avoid being put in the brig when the military police arrive at the bar. Danny again tries to explain what happened, expressing the hope that they could work things out between them. “I don’t see how things will ever be the same.” Rafe says. The two eventually pass out in Danny's car.
In the early hours of December 7, 1941, Rafe and Danny awake to explosions of the Japanese attack on Battleship Row. They rush to the airfield to alert the others and begin the counterattack. But they find that the Japanese have already reached the base and destroyed most of the planes.Yet the two pilots make manage to make it to some planes that were untouched. They make it into the air just in time before the enemy comes around again. The two single-handedly shoot down seven Japanese planes.
-The Doolittle Raid Edit
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are called to report stateside for a new mission. Danny admits to Evelyn, as he is about to board the plane, that he scared that she might love Rafe more then him. Evelyn replies that she loves only him and will be waiting for him to return. The two kiss and embrace before he leaves. Once stateside, Danny and Rafe are promoted to the rank of Captain and asked to join a top secret mission, which is now known as The Doolittle Raid. They accept knowing full well the possible outcome. The two are later joined by the rest of their squadron. Rafe tries to talk Danny out of going on the mission, but Danny refuses to listen to him. He states that Rafe has always tried to protect him since they were children. Rafe again tries to sway Danny form going. He even says the Evelyn has already lost the man she loved once, and that she shouldn't have to go through that again. But Danny still refuses to listen to his friend.
On the morning of April 18, 1942, the sixteen bombers take off from the USS Hornet in the direction of Japan. The mission is a success, but two planes are hit and crash somewhere in the forests of Japan. One of the planes is Danny's, the other is Rafe's. All but two make it out alive. Danny is wounded by a piece of shrapnel in his neck. When the Japanese soldiers arrive, Danny is shot while trying to block the fire that was aimed at Rafe. He knows that he is dying, and asks Rafe that someone else write his name on the tombstone. Rafe pulls him close and tells him he can't die because he is going to be a father, but he promised Evelyn that he wasn't going to tell. Danny gives a weak smile, but then tells Rafe that it is he who will be a father, not him. He dies in his best friends arms. Back in the states, a pregnant Evelyn arrives at the air field to meet Danny. She see Rafe in the doorway of the plane and smiles, thinking Danny is right behind him. Rafe then carries off Danny's casket. Evelyn breaks down and falls into Rafe's arms. Years later, Evelyn and Rafe, now married, are raising Danny and Evelyn's son, who is named after his father. Rafe kept his promise and his taking care of his friends child. The two of them watch as the little boy visits his fathers grave, which by the old barn where he and Rafe used to play as children. The film ends with Rafe asking his step-son if he would like to go flying in his fathers old plane.