Letters from Iwo Jima

( 13 )

Overview

After bringing the story of the American soldiers who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima to the screen in his film Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood offers an equally thoughtful portrait of the Japanese forces who held the island for 36 days in this military drama. In 1945, World War II was in its last stages, and U.S. forces were planning to take on the Japanese on a small island known as Iwo Jima. While the island was mostly rock and volcanoes, it was of key strategic value and Japan's leaders saw the island ...
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Overview

After bringing the story of the American soldiers who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima to the screen in his film Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood offers an equally thoughtful portrait of the Japanese forces who held the island for 36 days in this military drama. In 1945, World War II was in its last stages, and U.S. forces were planning to take on the Japanese on a small island known as Iwo Jima. While the island was mostly rock and volcanoes, it was of key strategic value and Japan's leaders saw the island as the final opportunity to prevent an Allied invasion. Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi Ken Watanabe was put in charge of the forces on Iwo Jima; Kuribayashi had spent time in the United States and was not eager to take on the American army, but he also understood his opponents in a way his superiors did not, and devised an unusual strategy of digging tunnels and deep foxholes that allowed his troops a tactical advantage over the invading soldiers. While Kuribayashi's strategy alienated some older officers, it impressed Baron Nishi Tsuyoshi Ihara, the son of a wealthy family who had also studied America firsthand as an athlete at the 1932 Olympics. As Kuribayashi and his men dig in for a battle they are not certain they can win -- and most have been told they will not survive -- their story is told both by watching their actions and through the letters they write home to their loved ones, letters that in many cases would not be delivered until long after they were dead. Among the soldiers manning Japan's last line of defense are Saigo Kazunari Ninomiya, a baker sent to Iwo Jima only days before his wife was to give birth; Shimizu Ryo Kase, who was sent to Iwo Jima after washing out in the military police; and Lieutenant Ito Shidou Nakamura, who has embraced the notion of "Death Before Surrender" with particular ferocity. Filmed in Japanese with a primarily Japanese cast, Letters From Iwo Jima was shot in tandem with Flags of Our Fathers, and the two films were released within two months of one another.
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Special Features

Closed Caption
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Time and again, Clint Eastwood's films have returned to the subject of killing. They try to get at the forces that enable someone to take another man's life, and in the best of his films like Unforgiven and Mystic River, he addresses the multiple ramifications of that action. With a superb script by first-time screenwriter Iris Yamashita, Letters from Iwo Jima allows Eastwood to analyze killing and death in so many different contexts, the audience is left with nothing less than a catalogue of the emotional and physical costs of war. Of the movie's many accomplishments, its capacity to utilize and subvert the clichés of combat films might be the most noteworthy. In Letters from Iwo Jima, the Japanese soldiers have the same dreams, desires, and attitudes as every American GI from every war movie ever made. For example, early in the film a young soldier mocks his orders to dig a seemingly pointless hole, and the audience obeys its war-movie programming to sympathize with that rebellious spirit even though the character is Japanese. Anybody familiar with the genre expects the hole-digging soldier to learn the importance of following orders, and the soldier does learn his lesson, but in ways that force him to question most everything he has been taught about his people. Eastwood subverts the clichés in order to allow the audience to sympathize with the Japanese as a whole, and he allows the actors the breathing room to create individual human beings that we care about specifically. Ken Watanabe, as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, holds the center of the film with a gravity, intelligence, humanity, and reverence that is nearly operatic in the context of the tragedy he oversees, while never once seeming larger than life. Watanabe is remarkable in every moment his character spends onscreen, always credible as an inspiring leader of men, an educated tactician, a loyal soldier, and a simple man who wishes life were different than it is. This performance embodies the spirit of Eastwood's film: a spirit that recognizes the human cost of combat, as well as the limits and necessities of living by a code of honor. Letters from Iwo Jima is the culmination of Eastwood's already-formidable directorial career, offering a fully formed statement on the motifs that have dominated his movies, and a work that will stand as one of the quintessential combat films of all time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/1/2010
  • UPC: 883929107728
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Repackaged / Dubbed
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 2:20:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 5,869

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ken Watanabe General Kuribayashi
Kazunari Ninomiya Saigo
Tsuyoshi Ihara Nishi, Baron
Ryo Kase Shimizu
Shidou Nakamura Lieutenant Ito
Hiroshi Watanabe Lieutenant Fujita
Takumi Bando Captain Tanida
Yuki Matsuzaki Nozaki
Takashi Yamaguchi kashiwara
Eijiro Ozaki Lieutenant Okubo
Nae Hanako
Nobumasa Sakagami Admiral Ohsugi
Luke Elliot Sam
Sonny Saito Medic Endo
Steve Santa Sekiyoshi Kanda
Hiro Abe Lt. Colonel Oiso
Toshiya Agata Captain Iwasaki
Yoshi Ishii Private Yamazaki
Toshi Toda Colonel Adachi
Ken Kensei Maj. General Hayashi
Ikuma Ando Ozawa
Akiko Shima Lead Woman
Masashi Nagadoi Admiral Ichimaru
Mark Moses American Officer
Roxanne Hart Officer's Wife
Yoshio Iizuka Tired Soldier
Mitsu Kurokawa Suicide Soldier
Takuji Kuramoto Ono
Koji Wada Hashimoto
Akira Kaneda Japanese Soldier #1
Shoji Hattori Japanese Soldier #2
Mark Tadashi Takahashi Japanese Soldier #3
Mitsuyuki Oishi Japanese Soldier #4
Evan Ellingson Kid Marine
Kazuyuki Morosawa Ito's Guard
Masayuki Yonezawa Ito's Soldier
Hiroshi Tom Tanaka Hopeless Soldier
Mathew Botuchis American Marine
Yukari Black Mother
Daisuke Nagashima Prisoner
Kirk Enochs Marine Officer
Ryan Kelley Marine #2
Jonathan Oliver Sessler Marine #3
Michael Lawson Marine #4
Taishi Mizuno Cave Soldier #1
Daisuke Tsuji Cave Soldier #2
Yoshi Ando Excavator #1
Yutaka Takeuchi Excavator #2
Tsuguo Mizuno Lead Excavator
Mark Ofuji Kuribayashi's Guard
Hallock Beals Marine at Clearing
Ryan Carnes Marine at Clearing
Jeremy Glazer Marine Lieutenant
Ryoya Katsuyama Boy
Masashi Odate Cook
London Kim Okubo's Soldier
Skip Evans Pilots
Wanliss E. Armstrong Pilots
Technical Credits
Clint Eastwood Director, Producer
Brian Avery Stunts
Frank Bonniwell Animator
Richard L. Bucher Stunts
Henry Bumstead Production Designer
Stephen Campanelli Camera Operator
Steve Chang Stunts
Ilram Choi Stunts
Arnold Chon Stunts
Joel Cox Editor
Dave Snyder Makeup
Digital Domain Animator
J. Mark Donaldson Stunts
Kyle Eastwood Score Composer
Chad Finnerty Animator
Al Goto Stunts
Paul Haggis Executive Producer, Original Story
Zoe Hay Makeup
Deborah Hopper Costumes/Costume Designer
Phyllis Huffman Casting
Michael Hugghins Stunts
Gary A. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Willie Leong Stunts
Scott Leva Stunts
Robert Lorenz Producer
David Luckenbach Camera Operator
Walt Martin Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Maynes Sound/Sound Designer
Dustin Meier Stunts
Tim Moore Co-producer
Thomas Isao Morinaka Stunts
James Murakami Production Designer
Donald Murphy Asst. Director
Eric Petey Animator
Jojo Proud Makeup
Simon Rhee Stunts
Steve Riley Special Effects Supervisor
Gary D. Roach Editor
Shogakukan-Bunko Editor
Sam Situmorang Stunts
Steven Spielberg Producer
Tom Stern Cinematographer
Michael Stevens Score Composer
McKay Stewart Stunts
Dennis Takeda Stunts
Andrew Tamandl Animator
Xuyen T. Valdivia Stunts
John Valera Stunts
Rebecca Watchel Makeup
Jay Wejebe Makeup
Iris Yamashita Original Story, Screenwriter
Tsuyoko Yoshida Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Letters from Iwo Jima
1. We Soldiers Dig [2:54]
2. Kuribiyashi's Arrival [2:15]
3. Coordination for Real War [5:28]
4. Embarrassments [2:34]
5. Nishi's Honest Opinion [4:02]
6. Change in Strategy [6:19]
7. A Kempeitai Among Us [3:47]
8. Your Dad Will Come Home [4:33]
9. Until We Are Dead [5:59]
10. Enemy Bombs [3:05]
11. Address to the Troops [6:01]
12. Belts from Home [4:07]
13. Emptying the Pot [2:57]
14. Enemy Landing [2:47]
15. Life and Death Orders [3:19]
16. Die with Honor [4:02]
17. Inflamed [4:47]
18. Run for Motoyama [1:53]
19. At Sword's Point [2:48]
20. Who's in Charge Here? [3:09]
21. No Reinforcements [5:32]
22. Questioning Sam [2:22]
23. Shimizu's Disgrace [4:01]
24. Farewell Party [5:18]
25. Just a Letter [2:42]
26. Nishi's Farewell [1:58]
27. Surrender with Me [6:48]
28. Let This Be a Lesson [4:25]
29. You Look Familiar [5:13]
30. Song from the Homeland [3:15]
31. Final Attack [4:32]
32. Still Japan [3:47]
33. Rediscovered Voices; End Credits [6:18]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Letters from Iwo Jima
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         Japanese 5.1
      Subtitles
         English
         Français
         Español
         Subtitles: Off
      Web Info
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Memorial Day

    Decoration Day or Memorial Day as it is now called is a day set aside to honor those who fought in all of the wars since the Civil War, wars in defense of country and citizens. While we languish over the misbegotten war on Iraq it is helpful to view the Clint Eastwood film LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA and visit the mindset of the 'enemy' - the soldiers pointing weapons our way - in an attempt to understand the global effect of war on the battlefield. Eastwood wisely pairs his disappointing 'Flags of our Fathers', which addressed the political 'war games' simultaneously with the combat on a small Japanese island in World War II, with a 'look at the other side' viewpoint. The same type of militarism, blind faith in the war machine, brutality, fear of dying, bonding among friends, the spectrum of 'good officers versus cruel inflexible officers, and the spectrum of humanity is equalized and the result is a moving drama that sheds needed light on how 'war' is a universal beast no matter one's stance. The telling of the story with occasional letter contents is sound if somewhat over long. The screenplay by Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis is based on Tadamichi Kuribayashi's "Picture Letters from Commander in Chief" - Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) being the film's chief character. Watanabe is excellent in his well-rounded approach to the role of the 'good commander' in both his wise military judgment and his kindness bestowed on the simplest of soldiers such as Saigo (the sensitive Kazunari Ninomiya). For many of us this is the first encounter with the vantage that the Japanese were minimally supplied and supported in defending their sacred Iwo Jima against the American aggressors: the battle was a doomed last stand for the Japanese despite all the casualties suffered by both sides. Eastwood does away with the 'kamikazi' stereotype of the Japanese soldier and allows us to see them as human beings, away form home, fighting to defend their country and their honor. No one is right in war: circumstances and places vary from Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and here but horrors remain the same. It is good to be reminded of this, as in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, especially on Memorial Day. Grady Harp

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Another Eastwood Success

    This movie is one of the greatest films directed by Mr. Eastwood. I highly reccomend this movie to those who have already seen "Flags of our Fathers".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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