Release Date: 20 October 2006 in USA
Rated: Rated R for sequences of graphic war violence and carnage, and for language
Genres: Drama, History, War
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper
Flags of our Fathers is a moving film that recounts the stories behind the lives of some well-known American soldiers from World War II. Upon Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima, one of the most treasured and memorable pictures from World War II was taken on February 23, 1945. The photo of five marines and one navy corpsman raising the American flag is now a nationally recognized icon. Sadly, of the six soldiers depicted, only three survived the war. Flags of our Fathers tells their tale.
The battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most brutal battles in the entire war, and it served to turn around the fight in the Pacific. At the time of this specific battle, the United States government was running low on money and equipment for war. Bonds were not selling well, and voters had grown weary of the idea of war altogether. The Americans at home might have completely decided against the war as a result of the bloodshed in this battle. However, because of the photo, which was published five days after the battle began, Americans once again gained hope and enthusiasm for victory.
When the three surviving soldiers from this picture returned to the United States, they were immediately needed to go on a tour for the sake of lifting American spirits. As they traveled around the country meeting the cheers of crowds, much to their chagrin, these three men had instantly become icons of great fame in America. They did not feel comfortable with this level of notoriety and instead wished that the honor would be given to the other soldiers who perished in the battle at Iwo Jima. One of the soldiers initially even refused to admit that he had been in the photo at all. Much of the movie chronicles the details of the lives of these men after returning home, and shows how the war and the instant heroism changed their lives.
Noting both the bloody battle on foreign shores as well as the mighty campaign of propaganda at home in the United States, this movie faces issues that are still relevant in present times. It explores our fascination and sometimes, obsession with heroes, and our need to put them on a pedestal, even at the expense of the whole truth.
Flags of our Fathers is a poignant tale of human interaction, showing some of the greatest moments in world history, as well as many moments, which were less than honorable. The story does not move along in a chronological timeline, but instead, it effortlessly weaves dreams and flashbacks throughout the movie.
From DreamWorks Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, this movie was directed by two-time Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood, and produced by Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Lorenz. It stars Ryan Phillippe and Jamie Bell, and is based on the book by James Bradley with Ron Powers. It is rated R, and runs 2 hours and 12 minutes.
Disappointingly, the DVD contains only the film itself and no extra features. However, this movie is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys war epics, history movies, or human drama.