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Windtalkers (2002)

R | | Action, Drama, War | 14 June 2002 (USA)
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Two U.S. Marines in World War II are assigned to protect Navajo Marines, who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher.


John Woo
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Joe Enders
Adam Beach ... Ben Yahzee
Peter Stormare ... Hjelmstad
Noah Emmerich ... Chick
Mark Ruffalo ... Pappas
Brian Van Holt ... Harrigan
Martin Henderson ... Nellie
Roger Willie ... Charlie Whitehorse
Frances O'Connor ... Rita
Christian Slater ... Ox Henderson
Jason Isaacs ... Major Mellitz
William Morts ... Fortino
Cameron Thor Cameron Thor ... Mertens
Kevin Cooney ... Ear Doctor
Holmes Osborne ... Colonel Hollings


During World War II when the Americans needed to find a secure method of communicating they devised a code using the Navajo language. So Navajos were recruited to become what they call code talkers. They would be assigned to a unit and would communicate with other units using the code so that even though the enemy could listen they couldn't understand what they were saying. And to insure that the code is protected men are assigned to protect it at all costs. One of these men is Joe Enders, a man who sustained an injury that can make him unfit for duty but he manages to avoid it and is told of his duty and that the man he is suppose to protect is Ben Yahzee. Initially there is tension but the two men learn to get along. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Navajo Has the Code. Protect the Code at All Costs. See more »


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive graphic war violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

MGM | Official site [South Korea]




English | Navajo | Japanese

Release Date:

14 June 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wind Talkers See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$115,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,520,412, 16 June 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Weapons Coordinator Robert "Rock" Galotti amassed over five hundred vintage World War II-era firing weapons, and seven hundred rubber replica weapons for the film from private collectors and prop houses. Also featured moving across battlefields, are vintage Sherman tanks, their smaller Stuart brethren, and Japanese Hago tanks. See more »


The start of the Camp Pendleton sequence opens with a closeup of a 50-star U.S. flag which is incorrect for 1943, the year of the action. The closeup dissolves to an establishing shot of the camp's parade square where a correct, 48-star flag is visible on the mast. The U.S. would not require a 50-star flag until 1959. See more »


Major Mellitz: [Showing a series of photographs] Take a look. It's a Navajo... or was. Tortured to death by Japanese intelligence trying to bust our code. Fortunately, couldn't help them even if he wanted to.
Joe Enders: Sir?
Major Mellitz: Man's a Navajo, not a Code Talker. Code's based on their language, but it is still a code. Tojo'd like nothing more than to catch a live one.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Due to restrictions/limitations in the German retail market at the time, MGM also released a cut version on DVD which misses ca. 12 minutes of footage. This version is rated "Not under 16" (uncut version has a "Not under 18" rating). See more »


Featured in The Code Talkers: A Secret Code of Honor (2003) See more »


Little Jug
Written by Ib Glindemann
Provided by APM
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not much plot and lots of overdone battle scenes
21 February 2011 | by hdjones-imdbSee all my reviews

Windtalkers (2002) is a World War II action flick with plenty of overdone action and not much of a story. At 2.25 hours in length, it overstayed its welcome by an hour or so for me.

The windtalkers referenced in the title are Navajo marine codetalkers dispatched to the Pacific theater during World War II. They were trained in a special code based on the Navajo language, and distributed among units in an attempt to provide coded radio transmissions that couldn't be understood by the Japanese. This was accomplished both by using the Navajo language and also using coding within that language to add a complication that the Japanese were never able to overcome during World War II.

Sounds like an interesting story, right? Maybe so, in another movie. The only real reason to include the codetalkers in this movie was to provide a focal point for a storyline about bigotry and personal biases among some of the troops. That's also a legitimate storyline for a movie, but it's been done many times before with other targets. The title seems to hint that this movie will go beyond that aspect, but it doesn't. Actually, even the storyline about bigotry doesn't matter much in this movie. Everything is just an excuse for action battle scenes.

This movie is all about the battle scenes, and it contains a lot of bad ones. I guess this is supposed to have been a modern, therefore realistically portrayed, Pacific Theater World War II movie. The photography and noise and gore are done with modern techniques, but not the story or scenes. All of the worst battle clichés of war movie history have been brought together and updated. Hand grenades, artillery shells, land mines, everything explodes with giant fuel-laden fireballs. There are slow motion sequences of soldiers successfully diving away from exploding artillery shells and fiery eruptions. There are enemies too stupid to recognize infiltrators of a different race and language.

And always, always, always, there is the crazy protagonist who goes nuts in every battle and charges headlong into the enemy fire unscathed as bodies are being torn apart on all sides of him. No marine-issue semi-automatic rifle for this guy-- as a Sergeant he has a sub-machine gun and indiscriminately sprays hundreds of pounds of rounds in all directions, never running out of ammunition. While in the middle of one heated battle he over-ran an enemy foxhole with a dead soldier at the bottom and stopped for a few seconds to spray a couple dozen bullets into the body while screaming triumphantly. Why not? His magic gun isn't going to run dry.

The movie is supposedly about the codetalkers, or at least about how the Navajo code was used, but that hardly gets addressed. The code is used in a couple instances when a non-code English transmission would have been fine, but when two American soldiers transmit from a Japanese radio at an over-run enemy post and might be expected to use code to provide verification, everything is done in open English. Of course, the Japanese radio also conveniently had Arabic numerals on the frequency tuner so they could change to the correct transmission frequency.

If you like this type of battle footage, I recommend that instead of devoting your time to watching the movie straight through you just drop in somewhere in the middle and watch a few minutes of battle. If you want more than a few minutes you can either continue with the movie or just keep re-watching the same few minutes you already saw. There won't be any difference.

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