Flags of Our Fathers
Release Year: 2006
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: William Broyles, Jr. (screenplay), Paul Haggis (screenplay), James Bradley (based on his 2000 non-fiction book Flags of Our Fathers), Ron Powers (based on his 2000 non-fiction book Flags of Fathers)
Starring: Ryan Philippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Melanie Lynskey, Tom McCarthy, Chris Bauer, Judith Ivey, Myra Turley, Joseph Cross, Benjamin Walker
Rating: Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing. Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Director.
A story of the six men who raised the U.S. flag at the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima. An iconic turning point in the Pacific arena of World War II.
The first part of Clint Eastwood two movie rendition of the Battle of Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, tells the story of the battle as experienced by the Americans. The plot focuses on an event that was practically insignificant, but became tremendously significant because of a photograph. We follow three of the men who raised the (second) flag three days into a battle that lasted over a month and was particularly brutal, unknowingly posing for one of the most iconic photo of WWII. However, the image became a symbol of a much needed victory to an American public, which was growing weary of a war that was running out of money for weapons and ammo. The film jumps back and forth between the battle, and the campaign to raise funds undertaken (reluctantly) by three of the men in the photo, as well as scenes of the son of one of these men trying to understand what his father had experienced on Iwo Jima (i.e. one of the authors of the book). The battle scenes are brutal and gripping and there is lots of relalistic gore, and the invasion scene on the beach is reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan (1998), perhaps a result of the fact that Spielberg is producing. The film contrasts the young men suffering and dying for each other on some foreign beach, and the war machine back home concerned with raising money for the cost of the war, and the way an insignificant event was used for propaganda purposes. The result is a complex and nuanced exposition of the nature of war and heroism, really hammering down the point that the soldiers may have been sent to fight for a country but died and fought for each other in the end. The performances as are very good, particularly Ryan Phillipe (Gosford Park, 2001) leaves a lasting impression. Highly recommended.
Despite its Pacific setting, a large part of the film is actually filmed on Iceland.