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Flags of Our Fathers (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

A movie directed by Clint Eastwood

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Flags of our Fathers - 2006

  • Mar 27, 2011
  • by
Pros: acting, story, background information

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
"For all the ones who fought and died
To see Old Glory raised
To each and every hero
Who has ever come and gone
The flags of our fathers carry on"
~Keni Thomas

I was a bit surprised after viewing Flags Of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood, to find out the well known photo was an "also ran".    Not that this diminishes the photo in any sense, but the background was interesting.  The film is rated R for violence, carnage, and language.  It was nominated for 15 awards, winning ten.

The story:
Even I, known to be history-dumb, was aware of this photo, depicting 6 soliders raising a flag on Iwo Jima during WWII.   What writer William Broyles brings us with this film is not so much the war, although there are plenty of scenes, but the story of the flag raising and the aftermath of this scene.

We follow, basically, three soldiers that were shown in the photo; the other three perished in the conflict.  The government, being The Government, decides to capitalize on this photo and brings the three back stateside on campaign for citizens to support the war and purchase more war bonds.  They didn't mind exploiting these guys one bit with no thought as to how it might affect them.

This was evident when, during one fund raising dinner, they were served an ice cream dessert shaped like the immortal photo, covered with raspberry or stawberry sauce, depicting the blood split during the battle.  Seriously, had they no morals?   Another was when they were lead into a stadium with a paper mache replica of Mt. Suribachi and the three were told to climb this "mountain" and set the flag in place, all while the crowd cheered and fireworks exploded around them.  They all had flashbacks of the actual assault and the loss of their friends and comrades.

The three, Navy Corpsman John Bradley and Marines Rene Gagnon & Ira Hayes, were transported throughout the country and used as a ploy to get people to pony up their money to support the war.  Ira, not interested in the notoriety from the beginning, began showing immediate effects as his drinking progressed.  He, along with the others, knew the true identity of the 6 soldiers wasn't given correctly, and he wanted this slight corrected.   He never considered himself a hero, despite their claims.

The flag raising shown in this photo was actually the second to be raised.   The original, carried to the top by advancing troops, was planted just as the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, arrives on shore.  He demands the retrieve that flag for his own personal use, so a second team went up and placed the second flag.   Photographer for the Associated Press, Joe Rosenthal, caught this on film and the rest, as they say, is history.  

The actors:
Ryan Phillippe took on the role of Doc Bradley.  His youthful appearance added to the horror he was facing daily.   Many times he seemed overwhelmed by what he was experiencing and what he was doing, which fit the part perfectly.   This became even more apparent when later is it disclosed he never discussed his experiences in the war after his return.

 Adam Beach played the Native American role as Ira Hayes.  Beach was the ability to look so dejected in his appearance sometimes, which played well in this part. 

Jesse Bradford played Rene Gagnon who wasn't as offended by the whirlwind tour they were taken on, hoping to profit or benefit from the experience. 

DVD extras:
hello? where are they?

Overall impression:
I found it entertaining and interesting.  I wasn't aware of the dual flag situation and found it a pity that the original boys were practically neglected in real life.   Not taking away from the ones shown in the photo, the original boys were the ones that fought their way to the top and were due their rightful recognition.   But that is just my opinion.

I thought the film presented well.  There were some bloody scenes, which you expect in any film dealing war.   The fact that they didn't make these scenes the focus of the film made them a bit more horrific when they were shown.

I liked the way they interplayed scenes between Iwo Jima and the three men touring back stateside.   It was almost like a reminder of what these three were fighting for back home, while their friends continued to fight on the battlefield.



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March 28, 2011
Blech. FLAGS was pretty dismal, if you ask me. Normally, I think Eastwood does stellar work as a director, but I didn't enjoy FLAGS in the slightest. Too anti-American for a film that should've been otherwise. LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA was a much stronger work, in my opinion, but FLAGS just seemed like tripe.
March 28, 2011
that's fine, we all like different things and see differences in everything. that's what makes for a better world, we aren't all clones. I did see Letters and loved it as well. thanks for your comment
March 28, 2011
Love the review! Did you see Letters From Iwo Jima?
March 28, 2011
I did and loved it. thanks
More Flags of Our Fathers reviews
review by . October 16, 2007
Pros: Outstanding cinematography; compelling story-line; outstanding direction     Cons: Choppy narrative      The Bottom Line: In the end Flags of Our Fathers is a story of ordinary man who did what they had to do to survive and come home.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. On Feb. 23, 1945, after days of pitched battle five U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor—a Hospital Corpsman—planted …
review by . April 04, 2007
With every intention of yet reading the book (books are almost always better than movies, I've found) to delve deeper into this piece of international history, I viewed this one of two movies, directed by Clint Eastwood, dealing with the horrific battle at Iwo Jima in February, 1945, a bloody part of World War II. The companion movie to "Flags of Our Fathers," also title of the book, is "Letters From Iwo Jima," which by now I have also seen.     Few if any Americans have not …
review by . February 10, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
To give a less than shining review of Clint Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is tantamount to being labeled un-American. That is sad because for this viewer the result of the film is not whether or not Eastwood's nonlinear development of a story that bumps and spurts and reflects and meanders and shadows reality lets us get to know the 'heroes' cast in the roles of the three men who survived a single incident in the atrocity of WW II: this is a film that hopefully will be ultimately seen as one of …
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About this movie


Thematically ambitious and emotionally complex, Clint Eastwood'sFlags of Our Fathersis an intimate epic with much to say about war and the nature of heroism in America. Based on thenon-fiction bestsellerby James Bradley (with Ron Powers), and adapted byMillion Dollar Babyscreenwriter Paul Haggis (Jarheadscreenwriter William Broyles Jr. wrote an earlier draft that was abandoned when Eastwood signed on to direct), this isn't so much a conventional war movie as it is a thought-provoking meditation on our collective need for heroes, even at the expense of those we deem heroic. In telling the story of the six men (five Marines, one Navy medic) who raised the American flag of victory on the battle-ravaged Japanese island of Iwo Jima on February 23rd, 1945, Eastwood takes us deep into the horror of war (in painstakingly authentic Iwo Jima battle scenes) while emphasizing how three of the surviving flag-raisers (played by Adam Beach, Ryan Phillippe, and Jesse Bradford) became reluctant celebrities – and resentful pawns in a wartime publicity campaign – after their flag-raising was immortalized by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in the most famous photograph in military history.

As the surviving flag-raisers reluctantly play their public roles as "the heroes of Iwo Jima" during an exhausting (but clearly necessary) wartime bond rally tour, Flags of Our Fathers evolves into a pointed study of battlefield valor and misplaced idolatry, ...

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Director: Clint Eastwood
DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
Runtime: 132 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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