Ben Affleck stars as Rafe McCawley, a military pilot stationed under Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin) in New Jersey, along with his best friend from childhood, Danny Walker (Josh Hartnett). Rafe is chomping at the bit to get involved in World War II, but America has not entered the conflict, so he is forced to fight on loan to the Royal Air Force in Britain, leaving behind his beautiful girlfriend Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale). After Rafe goes overseas, both Danny and Evelyn are transferred to the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where word arrives that Rafe has been killed in action. A grief-stricken Evelyn and Danny become romantically attached, a situation that becomes a lit powder keg when Rafe suddenly reappears, having survived his ordeal in the European war. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor puts the romantic triangle on hold, as the best friends are ordered to undertake a top-secret and highly dangerous retaliatory mission to bomb Tokyo, once again under the command of Doolittle. Although the trio of leads are entirely fictional, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Jon Voight (as FDR) co-star in the roles of real-life historical figures.