Windtalkers: The Making of the John Woo Film about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II

Overview

In the first movie made on the subject, director John Woo reveals the invaluable actions of the Navajo code talkers during the war in the Pacific, heroes whose bravery earned them the Congressional Gold and Silver Medals. The code talkers transmitted radio messages using a secret, efficient, unbreakable code based on their native language. The film's gripping climax takes place during the Battle of Saipan when the Marines, fighting off the Japanese, must risk their lives to safeguard the code. Nicolas Cage and ...
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Overview

In the first movie made on the subject, director John Woo reveals the invaluable actions of the Navajo code talkers during the war in the Pacific, heroes whose bravery earned them the Congressional Gold and Silver Medals. The code talkers transmitted radio messages using a secret, efficient, unbreakable code based on their native language. The film's gripping climax takes place during the Battle of Saipan when the Marines, fighting off the Japanese, must risk their lives to safeguard the code. Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater play the Marine bodyguards ordered to protect the code talkers, two Navajo soldiers portrayed by Native American actors Adam Beach and Roger Willie. With an introduction by Senator Jeff Bingaman who led the way for the Congressional Medals to be awarded to the Navajo code talkers, this full-color companion book is filled with personal reflections from director John Woo, the screenwriters, producers, and actors of Windtalkers, and is accompanied by nearly 100 dramatic color photographs from the MGM studio files as well as historic photographs from the U.S. Marines and the National Archives and Records Administration -- plus samples and translations of the Navajo code.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Navajo code talkers were instrumental in helping the U.S. win in the Pacific during World War II. There were only a few men who could speak the code, and Marines were told to protect them above all else. With 100 color photos, this book pays homage to John Woo's film Windtalkers, about the code talkers, which stars Nicholas Cage and Christian Slater. In addition to explanations about the "brutal" filming (the actors did many of their own stunts) and interviews with screenwriter John Rice and others, this official companion to the film also offers historical material. Included are a code talker dictionary, information about last year's Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony for the living code talkers and details about the Navajo nation and the code's origins. (June 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The movie Windtalkers tells of war, but also about men "from different cultures and backgrounds bridging those contrasts through friendship, trust, and the harrowing experience of battle." The book details facts about a special group of men during World War II and contains historical photos of the fighting in the Pacific Theater. It explains the basic plot of the movie, how it was made, and shows stills taken from the film. Until 1968 the code talkers or windtalkers were considered classified information. Since that time comes a most remarkable story about 400 men who provided secure battlefield communications through a complex code based on the Navajo language. Since there were no words in the language for some military terms the men needed to learn hundreds of new codes. An iron fish was a submarine, a hummingbird was a fighter plane, and black street stood for squad. The Japanese were never able to break the code. The movie describes both the Navajos and the marines who were under orders to protect them. Preparing for the film meant rigorous marine basic training and learning how to load and clean weapons properly. Movie buffs and war enthusiasts should enjoy the book. Looking at the photographs is a visual treat. 2002, Newmarket Press,
— Laura Hummel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557045140
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Series: Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook Series
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 992,753
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 11
Introduction 18
"A Story that Needs to Be Told" 23
The Code Talkers 29
Warrior Legends 37
The Battle of Saipan 40
The Navajo Code Talker Dictionary (Excerpts) 46
Navajo Nation 51
Cast 58
On Location: Hawaii as the South Pacific 64
The Story of the Film 72
Ultimate Tributes: The Congressional Medal Ceremonies 112
The Navajo Code Talker Dictionary (Complete) 116
Credits 124
Acknowledgments 128
Suggested Reading 128
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