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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.


Clint Eastwood


Iris Yamashita (screenplay), Iris Yamashita (story) | 3 more credits »
4,617 ( 207)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Watanabe ... General Kuribayashi
Kazunari Ninomiya ... Saigo
Tsuyoshi Ihara ... Baron Nishi
Ryô Kase ... Shimizu
Shidô Nakamura ... Lieutenant Ito (as Shidou Nakamura)
Hiroshi Watanabe ... Lieutenant Fujita
Takumi Bando ... Captain Tanida
Yuki Matsuzaki ... Nozaki
Takashi Yamaguchi ... Kashiwara
Eijiro Ozaki ... Lieutenant Okubo
Nae ... Hanako
Nobumasa Sakagami Nobumasa Sakagami ... Admiral Ohsugi
Lucas Elliot Eberl ... Sam (as Lucas Elliot)
Sonny Saito ... Medic Endo (as Sonny Seiichi Saito)
Steve Santa Sekiyoshi Steve Santa Sekiyoshi ... Kanda


The island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester amongst his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese Army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The battle of Iwo Jima seen through the eyes of the Japanese soldiers. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie was originally scheduled to open in February, and Flags of Our Fathers (2006) was originally expected to be Warner Brothers' big Oscar contender that year. When it fell short of expectations, critically and commercially, Warner Bros. decided to rush this movie into release for award consideration. See more »


The bottle of Johnnie Walker appears to have a screw cap made of aluminum. At that time liquor bottles had a cork stopper. See more »


General Tadamichi Kuribayashi: I will always be in front of you.
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Referenced in The 15:17 to Paris (2018) See more »


String Quartet No.6, Op. 1-6, Hob. III-6, Mov.2
Composed by Joseph Haydn
At a party where Ken Watanabe participated
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User Reviews

Deeply Moving
22 January 2007 | by cloudspongeSee all my reviews

At the conclusion of the film a person behind me said, "Incredible," twice. Another person followed with, "A masterpiece." I would concur. Perhaps it isn't a perfect film but it is a movie with great impact. I find that it is a testament to the skill of Clint Eastwood as a director and Iris Yamashita as screenwriter that some of the scenes that had the greatest impact were of minor things—a letter read out loud, the way someone saluted, a tear, a song...

There were no clear cut heroes or villains beyond "war" itself. I'm reminded of that saying, "No one wins a war. One side simply loses more than the other." War diminishes us all. We must learn to turn our backs on such endeavors even if it means that the military/industrial death merchants take a cut in profits or that they truly learn to hammer swords into plow shares.

If the film were to depict the battle in a manner that was realistically experienced by the soldiers the film would be unbearable to any viewer. One must see the battle and history as a kind of allegorical backdrop to a story about the utter inhumanity and futility of war. As a film it had to illustrate the overall societal insanity of war through a human lens, and it did this in a deeply moving way.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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USA | Japan


Japanese | English

Release Date:

2 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Sun, Black Sand See more »

Filming Locations:

Iceland See more »


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$89,097, 24 December 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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