DreamWorks, Warner Bros. and Paramount present a film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles Jr. and Paul Haggis, based on the book by James Bradley with Ron Powers.It’s the life stories of the six men who raised the flag at the battle of Iwo Jima which was a turning point of World War Two.
The film opens with interlocking scenes from past and present, showing the battle underway
and being remembered, with voice-overs from survivors. All the major themes are being introduced, although we will discover that only later. Then, after a tense prelude at sea, it focuses on the initial American landing, which was just too quiet; no Japanese fire was encountered and the troops advanced inland easily.Suddenly the troops were being ambushed by concealed enemy positions. There were over 2,000 dead on the first day and the majority of them were Americans.
There were five Marines and one Navy Corpsman photographed raising the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi by Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945. “Flags of Our Fathers” is the story of three of the six surviving servicemen, John “Doc” Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Pvt. Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford), and Pvt. Ira Hayes (Adam Beach), who fought in the battle to take Iwo Jima. It was one of the most bloody battles of the war and the picture became one pf the most famous pictures of the entire war and it took another month to take this island. Three of the marines were killed in action and the other three serviceman were taken out of the battle and flown home. These men were used to help sell war bonds. It also shows the effect that the memories of war would have on these veterans for the rest of their lives.
Most Americans thought that the flag raising tool place at the end of the battle when in fact the picture was taken on the fifth day of a 35 day battle. Iwo Jima was one of the most strategic islands of the whole war. It was an airbase for the Japanese and it was also a radio station that served an an advanced warning station whenever American bombers from the south were approaching. The Americans needed this base so that they could use it as a staging area for their bombers whenever they could afford to invade the Japanese mainland. It was actually the first battle of World War Two that took place on Japanese soil.
With no chance for victory the Japanese just wanted to inflict the most amount of casualties that they could.They were well dug in with a system of interlocking tunnels and their big gun positions were shielded by steel doors that swung shut after every firing.
The battle resulted in 29 Medals of Honor winners, but at what a terrible price. The marines lost one third of their of their whole WWII combat deaths during this battle and almost all of the 22,000 Japanese died, some by their own hands.The film depicts what the true motive was in bringing the three remaining servicemen home. The Government was in dire straits because they had run out of lenders for the war effort and their funds were drying up rather quickly. The Rosenthal picture that was taken on Iwo Jima sparked the public opinion of the war effort and the money that those men raised turned the financial tide.
Of the three servicemen who returned home to a hero’s welcome only one,Doc, seemed to have a happy life and ended up being a successful undertaker. Gagnon ended up with a lot of dead end jobs and ended up being bitter for the rest of his life. And Haynes returned to his old reservation where he would end up literally drinking himself to death.
The film made the top ten list of the National Board of Review. Eastwood also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Directing. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards – for Best Sound and Sound Editing. I thought that it was a story that had to be told and Eastwood did a good job of putting this story on film. It seems to me that the older he gets, the better he gets.
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