From Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven) comes the World Was II epic Flags of Our Fathers, produced by Eastwood, Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schin... more »dler?s List), and Rob Lorenz (Mystic River), and from a screenplay adapted by William Broyles, Jr. (Cast Away) and Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash).
February 1945. Even as victory in Europe was finally within reach, the war in the Pacific raged on. One of the most crucial and bloodiest battles of the war was the struggle for the island of Iwo Jima, which culminated with what would become one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had been immortalized. But the surviving flag raisers had no interest in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory.
Flags of Our Fathers is based on the bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers, which chronicled the battle of Iwo Jima and the fates of the flag raisers and some of their brothers in Easy Company. Bradley?s father, John "Doc" Bradley, was one of the soldiers pictured raising the flag, although James never knew the full extent of his father?s experiences until after the elder Bradley?s death in 1994.« less
Susan Palmbach | Northeastern Wisconsin | 12/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all the negative responses to the movie "Flags of Our Fathers" I would guess 85% did not read the book with the same title by James Bradley, son of John "Doc" Bradley. This book will give you the whole, true story of what the movie is all about with many details not shown in the film. You will get so much more out of the movie. I can't even fathom seeing the film beforehand. I am absolutely NOT soliciting the book but I am personally acquainted with the Bradley family and my extended family from Antigo, Wisconsin were very good friends with John and continue to be with his wife Betty. My cousins went to school with James and his siblings. John was the funeral director for my grandmother and others I know. I have attended memorials for "Jack" in Appleton, WI (where he went to school), after the book was released. Jim Bradley, the author of "Flags of Our Fathers" agonized over writing the book and consulted with his family whether to do it until he got the go ahead from his mother. Since his father only spoke of the war once to his family is the reason, in the movie, there isn't much personal information on him. People who wrote other reviews stated that they were confused as to why James was interviewing other WWII, Iwo Jima families. This is why. As for the other "stars" of the movie, which very little is said about their personal lives before and then again after the war you will find many details in the book which will help you to understand what lies beneath each personality. I cried when I read the book and I cried when I saw the movie. PLEASE read the book first, or if you've already seen the movie before reading the book, read it and then go back and see the movie again!"
Flawed But Still Powerful
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 12/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Iwo Jima ("Sulfur Island" in Japanese) is a little island six hundred miles south of Tokyo. (Today there is only a Japanese military base now, and you cannot visit the island.) But the name of the island got famous immediately after one photo was taken and published in America nationwide during WWII. The memorable image of six soldiers raising a flag gave courage to the people in America, and three surviving soldiers returning their country became national heroes. It's a famous story.
Clint Eastwood's new film `Flags of Our Fathers' does not try to `debunk' this story. It gives human face to these flag-holing soldiers without over-glorifying them, showing what happened to these heroes John "Doc" Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford) and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach) before, during, and after the Battle of Iwo Jima. Familiar actors like Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick and Barry Pepper appear, but the three above play the pivotal roles here.
Remember this is a war movie, and the battle scenes on the beach are often disturbing. (One of the film's producers is Steven Spielberg). Though the fight scenes are less bloody and brutal than those of `Saving Private Ryan,' they are still honest, often shocking, not only because of the bullets and grenades, but because of the confusion and total chaos of the grey-colored battlefield. Eastwood refuses to soften or sensationalize anything, but the results are riveting.
Though the film's theme is clear, its narrative requires our patience a little. The film's story goes back and forth (screenplay part done by Paul Haggis, `Crush'), and this only makes the film look slightly detached from us. The disjointed story requires us to reconstruct, not follow, the experiences of the soldiers. The emotions are certainly there on the screen (thanks to the effective acting), but I am not sure that this is the best way to visualize them. But as I said, the three actors did a fine job as three soldiers who travel around the country for Bond rallies where they have to face another reality during wartime - they are war heroes and people expect them to behave as such.
Finally, some people, not without good reason, say this film is dull. It is true that Eastwood's films tend to be slow, and he takes time to show certain things about the characters. He avoids melodramatic storytelling and showy camerawork, and that does not change in this film. If the battle scenes look confusing, it is perhaps because the war is confusing. If the descirtios of their life as war hero look boring, that is because it is really boring; they were required to do the same thing again and again before finally being forgotten. We just share their feeling, but perhaps too much of it.
This is Clint Eastwood's most ambitious film (and there is "Letters from Iwo Jima" still waiting), and maybe too ambitious as far as its screenplay is concerned. I am impressed with the film, however, with the sincere message from the director who realized the one of the saddest events in history for both people in America and Japan with his touch subtle and powerful at the same time."
I Don't Even Like War Movies, But This Was Great...
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 2006, Clint Eastwood launched one of his most inspired projects; Two war movies, set during World War II on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. "Flags of Our Fathers" was the first. It received generally good reviews, but had a lukewarm reception from audiences. Then came the 2nd one, the Japanese language "Letters from Iwo Jima." That film received great reviews, was embraced by audiences, and was nominated for Best Picture. Having said that, "Flags of Our Fathers" definitely falls into the category of underrated. I don't particularly like war movies, but this is a great film and I think it's one of the best films of 2006. The cast is made up of mostly young actors, often called "pretty-boys" such as Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, and Paul Walker. It also features an Oscar worthy supporting performance by Adam Beach and some great supporting work by Jamie Bell, Barry Pepper, and others. Phillippe plays John "Doc" Bradley, a Navy Corpsman. Bradford plays Rene Gagon, a runner. Beach plays Ira Hayes, an Indian. These three men go from mere soldiers to American heroes after a picture is taken of them raising the flag. Thrust into the spotlight, the men cope with being considered heroes when they point out that the real heroes are the men lying dead on the island of Iwo Jima. Eastwood uses cinematography with a heightened visual reality that makes the film a wonder to behold. Now, as I said, audiences haven't received this movie in the same way they did say "Saving Private Ryan." I will say that out of the last few films Eastwood has directed (Mystic River & Million Dollar Baby), this one is the weakest. But it's an inspired project with a great script, terrific cinematography, wonderful performances, and great direction. Beach (a relative newcomer) delivers the best performance in the movie, really getting under the skin of the most troubled of the characters. Phillippe and Bradford are also very good, although hardly Oscar worthy. A lot of people complain that the film doesn't make you care enough about the characters and that is partly true. It's certainly not as character-driven as "Saving Private Ryan" or "The Deer Hunter," but I liked the characters and did care about them so I guess it's just a matter of perspective. Even if you're hesitant to see this film because you don't like war movies or something, I urge you to see it. It's a great film.
Flags of our Fathers
Richards | IN | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best war movies ever mad. It realy shows what alot of the soldiers went through. A great cast and terrific action."
P. Brocksmith | 03/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Flags of our Fathers is one of the best WWII movies I have ever had the privilage of watching. It gave me a sense of what it must have felt like in that time period, of who the greatest generation truly were. The movie conveys perfectly the horror that the men on Iwo Jima must have faced. The scene when the men find a cave with dead Japanese was horrifying. The acting was perfect, and the actors themselves bear a lot of resemblence to those that were shown in the photographs.
Some have critiqued the film with low ratings because of the flashbacks or not enough battle sequences. Though the flashbacks can be a little distracting, I was able to get used to it by simply "paying closer attention," and as for the battle scenes, I thought the ones that were shown were breathtaking. Those that complain that there are not enough of them, stick to Saving Private Ryan (another good war movie I might add), because you must be missing the bigger picture that Flags of our Fathers is trying to show.
Overall, I give Flags of our Fathers 5 stars. A terrific watch. Also recommended is Letters from Iwo Jima."