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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
The battle of Iwo Jima involved the USMC, the US Navy (for transport and gun fire, as well as corpsman), the Army, and the Army-Aircorps, and the USCG, all branches were involved in the battle. See more »
The way Stryker holds the rifle when he tells Conway that he checked the records. See more »
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 »
John Wayne did a bunch of war movies, always playing the heroic soldier. It is ironic then that he was considered medically unfit for service in WWII. Nonetheless, "Sands of Iwo Jima" is certainly the definitive John Wayne war movie. He got his first Oscar nomination for this movie which is enough to make it important just for that (he was only nominated one other time, winning for "True Grit").
The movie plot is just straight formula and has the same collection of ethnic types that you find in every war movie ever made---the fast-talking big city guy, the farm boy, the wisecracking Italian, etc. The battle scenes had to be sanitized for audiences back then and the treatment of the Japanese as the enemy in this movie is outrageously stereotyped by today's standards. Every time the Japanese come on camera the background music turns sinister and the little Japanese actors have an appropriate villainous and fanatical look to them. The only war movie I can think of where the Japanese are humanized in any way is "Bridge on the River Kwai" while there are many movies where the German soldiers and especially General Rommel, are portrayed if not sympathetically, at least respectfully.
Catch the last scene where the three real-life survivors of the Iwo Jima flag raising are given the flag by the Duke to raise on Suribachi. One of the flag-raisers, John Bradley, was so modest about his exploits afterwards that he didn't even have a copy of the famous flag-raising photo hanging up in his home. It wasn't until after he died that his children learned that he had won the Navy Cross for his heroism in the war. The book written by his son, "Flags of Our Fathers" is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg and is sure to be sensational. No doubt that it will be immediately compared to "Sands of Iwo Jima" which, until "Flags" comes out, is the definitive movie about that battle.
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