Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  1 March 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,084 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 39 critic

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



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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 ...
James Holden ...
Pfc. Soames
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)


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


Fightin' . . Laughin' . . Lovin' ! See more »


Action | Drama | War | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 March 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Du warst unser Kamerad  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Even with considerable assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps the film went considerably over the original budget ($1 million) and when completed had cost nearly $1.4 million, making it the most expensive movie Republic Pictures had made up to that time. See more »


Mary's hands change position when Stryker buys her the drink. See more »


[During the night the squad is guarding a trenchline amid word that the Japanese may launch an attack. From out of the night a faint voice can be heard calling "Corpsman."]
Pfc. Benny Regazzi: [his voice hushed] Stryker!
Sgt. Stryker: [hushed] Get down! Stay down! You have your orders, don't move!
Pfc. Peter Conway: [hushed] There's somebody wounded out there. Let's go get him!
Sgt. Stryker: Stay down, it might be a Jap trick, they pulled it off plenty of times at Guadalcanal.
Pfc. Peter Conway: That doesn't sound like a Jap to me!
Sgt. Stryker: I don't care what it sounds like to you! You stick ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Towards the end of the opening cast credits there states: And The three living survivors of the historic flag raising on Mount Suribachi Rene A. Gagnon (as Pfc Rene A. Gagnon), Ira H. Hayes (as Pfc Ira H. Hayes) and John H. Bradley (as PM3/c John H. Bradley). See more »


Referenced in Stryker's War (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid.
30 April 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sgt John M. Stryker is a battle hardened Marine who's job it is to prepare his new charges for the realities of war. With no care for making friends, Stryker does what ever it takes to make these men tough and ready for the Pacific conflicts to come.

Sands Of Iwo Jima is unashamedly proud in its jingoistic fervour, and rightly so. Iwo Jima, and the now immortal portrait of weary American soldiers hoisting the flag atop Mt. Suribachi, has become a bastion of bravery, a beacon of triumph if you will. So it's no surprise to find Allan Dwan's film has no intention if deviating from boasting its colours, and hooray to that. Here as Stryker we find John Wayne giving a bit more to his character portrayal than merely some beefcake winning the war. Wayne puts depth and sincerity into Stryker, an air of believability shines through as he shows vulnerability, we believe he can win this war with his men, but we also see tenderness and it lifts Sands higher than your average war picture.

Wise old director Dwan (432 directing credits to his name), weaves the picture together with admirable restraint. Fusing actual newsreel footage with his own tightly handled action sequences, Sands plays out as the tribute and rally call that it has every right to be, even finding place in the film for three of the soldiers who hoisted that now famous flag. Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley are the three gentlemen to look out for. The rest of the cast don't really have to do much outside of respond to Wayne's two fold performance, but keep an eye out for a fresh faced Richard Jaeckel as Pfc. Frank Flynn, while I personally enjoyed the brief, but important contribution from Julie Bishop as Mary.

Wayne received a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards (too bad for him that 49 contained brilliant shows from the winner Broderick Crawford & a blunderbuss turn from Gregory Peck), with other nominations going to the Best Story, Editing and Sound categories. Ironically it was a role Wayne didn't fancy doing, but some encouragements from war veterans humbled him into starring.

Lock and load and saddle up for a top entry in the WWII pantheon. 8/10

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