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Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  1 March 1950 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,915 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 39 critic

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Adele Mara ...
...
Pfc. Al Thomas
Wally Cassell ...
Pfc. Benny Regazzi
...
Pfc. Charlie Bass
Richard Webb ...
Pfc. 'Handsome' Dan Shipley
Arthur Franz ...
Cpl. Robert Dunne / Narrator
Julie Bishop ...
Mary
James Holden ...
Pfc. Soames
Peter Coe ...
Pfc. George Hellenpolis
...
Pfc. Frank Flynn
William Murphy ...
Pfc. Eddie Flynn (as Bill Murphy)
George Tyne ...
Pfc. Harris
Hal Baylor ...
Pvt. 'Sky' Choynski (as Hal Fieberling)
Edit

Storyline

After his wife takes their son and leaves him, Sgt. John Stryker is an embittered man who takes his misery out on the men under his command. They're a bunch of green recruits who have a hard time dealing with Stryker's tough drills and thicker skin. Even his old friends start to wonder if he's gone from being the epitome of a tough Marine Sergeant to a man over the edge. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Alone and outnumbered, they had one thing in their favor... the American dream. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iwo Jima  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prior to the assault at Tarawa, Sgt. Stryker (John Wayne) is at the rail of a ship with his squad around him. A young Marine standing next to him has his helmet strap secured under his chin, while Stryker's, as well as the other Marines, have their straps unfastened. Stryker motions for the young Marine to unfasten his strap, a reference to the common belief that the concussion from an explosion would rip off a helmet, killing or wounding the wearer. However, later in the movie, while the squad is aboard an LST preparing to hit the beach on Iwo Jima, all helmets, including Stryker's, are fastened. When a Marine tells Stryker that he's scared, and Stryker replies that he is too, you can clearly see their chin straps. If Stryker was convinced it was so dangerous to fasten a helmet, and taught his subordinates the same, it's unlikely he would change the habit. See more »

Goofs

The way Stryker holds the rifle when he tells Conway that he checked the records. See more »

Quotes

Officer giving the preinvasion briefing: Now, nobody knows exactly what they've got on this island, but they've had forty years to put it there
See more »

Crazy Credits

To the United States Marine Corps whose exploits and valor have left a lasting impression on the world and in the hearts of their countrymen. Appreciation is gratefully acknowledged for their assistance and participation which made this picture possible. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Yum Yum Girls (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

A Great Classic triumphs over age and minor flaws.
18 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yes, today some of it seems campy and jingoistic, but Sands of Iwo Jima, is such a classic that it can't help being a worthy way to spend 100 minutes.

First of all, there is John Wayne as Sergeant Stryker. Stryker was the model on which virtually every screen portrayal of a tough sergeant is based. The character's angst and intensity also give us a rare glimpse of John Wayne's true acting ability. In most movies he just portrayed himself, but there is no swagger in Stryker, just loneliness, fear, and hope. He is by far the most convincing character in this movie, and one of the top from any war movie, period.

Next: the history. Ok, the actual characters have no basis in fact, but the battles certainly do. The battles for Tarawa and Iwo Jima were very important to the war and tragically costly in lives. They deserve to be remembered. The production mixed a lot of actual footage taken at the actual battles and mixed it in with the regular film. The two look fairly similar since both are black and white, but you can tell what is real and what was shot for the movie. One's first reaction to this might be that the production went cheapskate, but, in a way, the use of real stock battle footage was more moving than an epic legion of extras like in The Longest Day. You just can't beat reality for realism, and seeing the real islands and the real marines is an eerie reminder of how many men died in those horrific battles.

Finally: the supporting cast. Ok, I can't rave about them all, but most were entertaining, especially Wally Cassell. Also, Forrest Tucker puts in a fine performance, the only one remotely close to Wayne's in its depth.

Some of the anachronisms are a bit funny, but my only real complaint in the whole movie was John Agar's character Peter Conway. I don't know who was at fault for it, Agar or the writers, but his character is hard to take. I think we are meant to like him, but for about the first 90 minutes that is pretty much impossible.

Otherwise, it's a great movie. See it!


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