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 all branches of the US military--the Marine Corps, the Navy (for transporting troops and supplies and providing covering shellfire for the attacking Marines, as well as providing medics--corpsmen--for the troops), the Army (the Army Air Corps bombing Japanese emplacements and strafing Japanese troops and equipment. The Coast Guard also took part in the invasion, although technically it is not part of the military-at the time it came under the aegis of the Treasury Department (as of this writing--2015--it is part of the Department of Homeland Security--but can be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Defense Department during wartime, which is what happened during World War II. (The Coast Guard IS a branch of the US military, regardless of "war" status.) See more »
When the Marines are moving up the mountain along a path, a Japanese soldier pops out of hiding and appears to shoot one of the Marines in the stomach at point blank range. One can see that the enemy soldier actor shot just beyond the Marine actor because a puff of smoke from the gun barrel emits out past the Marine actor's back. This was probably a safety requirement in the making of the movie, since blanks fired out of a weapon can seriously injure or kill. See more »
Opening credits: While this photoplay is based on the Battle for Iwo Jima, most of the incidents and, except where true names are knowingly used, all of the characters are fictitious. Any resemblance between any such events or characters and actual events or persons is coincidental. 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.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?