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Flags of Our Fathers

Flags of Our Fathers

4.1 21
Director: Clint Eastwood

Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach


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Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the non-fiction book Flags of Our Fathers concerns the lives of the men in the famous picture of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima during that historic WWII battle. Battle scenes are intercut with footage of three of the soldiers - played by Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, and Adam


Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the non-fiction book Flags of Our Fathers concerns the lives of the men in the famous picture of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima during that historic WWII battle. Battle scenes are intercut with footage of three of the soldiers - played by Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, and Adam Beach -- who survived the battle going on a goodwill tour of the United States in order to sell war bonds. Many evening they are forced to reenact their famous pose, something each of them finds more and more difficult to do as they suffer from survivor's guilt. Eastwood frames the story by having one of the men's grown son (Tom McCarthy) interview his father's old comrades in order to find out more about what happened to his father. Eastwood followed this film with Letters from Iwo Jima, a second film about the battle of Iwo Jima, but told from the Japanese perspective. Flags of Our Fathers was produced by Eastwood and Steven Spielberg.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
In this ambitious drama about heroism -- both real and manufactured -- filmmaker Clint Eastwood powerfully re-creates the 1945 battle of Iwo Jima, the United States’ bloodiest single engagement of World War II, offering an ironic, ultimately downbeat look at its effect on three key survivors. Skillfully scripted by William Broyles Jr. and Paul Haggis from the 2000 nonfiction bestseller by James Bradley (the son of one of the three), the movie initially focuses on a handful of the 30,000 troops that landed on that tiny volcanic island to evict 20,000 well-fortified Japanese defenders. On the siege’s fifth day, six soldiers reach the summit where much of the Japanese firepower is concentrated and raise an American flag -- an event depicted in a photo that became a historical icon. Three of the six are subsequently killed, but the surviving three are whisked back to the States to participate in a drive to sell war bonds. Eastwood provides spectacle in the battle scenes, which have the same graphic, visceral quality as those staged by Steven Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan. But the meat of the story is the survivors’ attempts to cope with their newfound stardom and rebuild their lives with the horrors of war still fresh in their minds. Adam Beach is especially moving as Ira Hayes, the Native American who most keenly suffered from the effects of what he felt was undeserved fame. Eastwood delicately acknowledges the nation’s wartime need for heroism while implicitly criticizing the exploitation of its heroes. Powerful, expressive, and superbly made, Flags of Our Fathers is a stunning achievement that will be remembered as one of Eastwood’s finest directorial efforts.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers uses a true story about World War II in order to make timely reminders about sacrifices in wartime. Jesse Bradford, Ryan Philippe, and Adam Beach play three soldiers who appeared in the famous photograph of American troops planting the flag on Iwo Jima. Eastwood economically establishes how this photo affected the mood of the country, but since his tone for the film is not particularly rah-rah, he never indulges in the feelings of patriotism this famous image evokes -- the characters feel it, but the audience does not. Instead Eastwood plunges the viewer into the harsh reality of the invasion. The war footage in Flags of Our Fathers brings to mind the opening passage in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, offering a grunt's eye view of the brutal human cost of war. The carnage becomes so commonplace that viewer must accept this new reality, just as the characters must. These brutal action sequences are intercut with the three soldiers on a homefront tour designed to help sell war bonds. The way the media and the government help shape public sentiment around them recalls certain sequences in The Right Stuff, but where Philip Kaufman's film about the early days of the space program plays those absurdities for comedy, Eastwood's downbeat tone plays those same ironies for tragedy. The audience learns that veterans generally didn't talk about what they saw and what they did, but these three young men are forced to relive their experiences every night before adoring crowds. The survivor's guilt affects each of them differently, most notably Adam Beach as a young man so overcome that he begins drinking himself into oblivion. Beach carries the emotional weight of the film, and Eastwood's measured pacing gives him nowhere to hide. His is a difficult performance that earns much audience sympathy, even though he never once asks for it in the performance. These thematic elements are presented so well that the film suffers when Eastwood gets around to tying up the story's framing device concerning one of the soldier's sons. The interaction between father and son never achieves the depth of the earlier sequences in large part because the audience never sees the veterans raising their kids. The screenwriters miscalculate the audience's interest, leaving a half hour of screentime after an emotional scene involving Beach provides the dramatic climax of the story. The fact that Spielberg also serves as a producer on the film, alongside Eastwood, forces one to consider how Flags of Our Fathers compares to Saving Private Ryan in more ways than just the reality of the battle sequences. Ryan, released in 1998, was directed by a baby-boomer shaping a love letter to his father. Part of a wave of WWII veterans veneration that includes Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation and the miniseries Band of Brothers, many of these projects felt like boomers attempting to close the generation gap now that they themselves were facing mortality. Flags of Our Fathers, although covering much the same ground thematically, improves upon Ryan for two major reasons. First, Eastwood is old enough to be a World War II veteran himself. He feels no need to sentimentalize these young soldiers, or their reasons for fighting. Secondly, this is a post 9/11 movie, and the culture has been saturated with nearly nonstop reminders that war is hell. Eastwood is reminding audiences that the men on the ground are not thinking about anything other than themselves and their fellow soldiers. Flags of Our Fathers is a sobering reminder that the lessons and experiences of WWII soldiers do not belong only to history, but offer valuable insights for any country that finds itself in a time of war.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Dreamworks Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ryan Phillippe John 'Doc' Bradley
Jesse Bradford Rene Gagnon
Adam Beach Ira Hayes
John Benjamin Hickey Keyes Beech
John Slattery Bud Gurber
Barry Pepper Mike Strank
Jamie Bell Ralph 'Iggy' Ignatowski
Paul Walker Hank Hansen
Robert Patrick Colonel Chandler Johnson
Neal McDonough Captain Severance
Melanie Lynskey Pauline Harnois
Tom McCarthy James Bradley
Christopher Bauer Commandant Vandegrift
Judith Ivey Belle Block
Myra Turley Madeline Evelley
Joseph Cross Franklin Sousley
Benjamin Walker Harlon Block
Alessandro Mastrobuono Lindberg
Scott Reeves Lundsford
Stark Sands Gust
George Grizzard John Bradley
Harve Presnell Dave Severance
George Hearn Walter Gust
Len Cariou Mr. Beech
Christopher Curry Ed Block
Bubba Lewis Belle's Young Son
Beth Grant Mother Gagnon
Connie Ray Mrs. Sousley
Ann Dowd Mrs. Strank
Mary Beth Peil Mrs. Bradley
David Patrick Kelly President Truman
Jon Polito Borough President
Ned Eisenberg Joe Rosenthal
Gordon Clapp General 'Howlin Mad' Smith
Michael Cumpsty Secretary Forrestal
V.J. Foster Major on Plane
Kirk B.R. Woller Bill Genaust
Tom Verica Lieutenant Pennel
Jason Gray-Stanford Lieutenant Schrier
Matt Huffman Lieutenant Bell
David Hornsby Louis Lowery
Brian Kimmet Sergeant Boots Thomas
David Rasche Senator
Tom Mason John Tennack
Patrick Dollaghan Businessman
James Newman Local Politician
Steven M. Porter Tourist
Dale Waddington Horowitz Tourist's Wife
Lennie Loftin Justice of the Peace
David Clennon White House Official
Mark Thomason Military Censor
Oliver Davis Young James Bradley
Sean Moran Waiter
Lisa Dodson Iggy's Mother
John Nielsen Senator Boyd
Jon Kellam Senator Haddigan
Ron Fassler Senator Robson
Denise Bella Luncheon Singer
Vlasis-Gascon Luncheon Singer
Jenifer Menedis Luncheon Singer
Joie Shettler Luncheon Singer
Vivien Lesiak Luncheon Singer
John Henry Canavan Jailer
Donn Emerson Navy Lieutenant on Plane
Jayma Mays Nurse in Hawaii
Yukari Black Tokyo Rose
John Hoogenakker Funeral Home Employee
Barry Sigismonde Police Sergeant
William Charlton Bartender
Beth Tapper Bar Car Beauty
Shannon Gayle Bar Car Beauty
Jim Cantafio Reporter in L.A.
Mark Colson Reporter in L.A.
Danny McCarthy Reporter in Chicago
Patrick New Reporter in Chicago
James Horan Reporter in NYC
Michael Canavan Reporter at Hansen's
Erica Grant Secretary
Silas Weir Mitchell Lab Tech
George Cambio Lab Tech
David S. Brooks Sergeant A. Company
Johann Johannson Sergeant on Beach
Martin Delaney Marine at Cave
Daniel Forcey Marine on Beach
Bjorgvin Franz Gislason Impaled Marine
Darri Ingolfsson Wounded Marine
Hilmar Gudjonsson Wounded Marine 4
Jeremy Merrill Marine in Shellhole
Jeremiah Bitsui Young Indian
Lennie Niehaus Conductor

Technical Credits
Clint Eastwood Director,Score Composer,Producer
Jane Alderman Casting
Stefan Jorgen Argustsson Makeup Special Effects
William Broyles Screenwriter
Henry Bumstead Production Designer
Matthew Butler Special Effects
Stephen Campanelli Camera Operator
Joel Cox Editor
Leifur Dagfinnsson Production Manager
Gabriel De Cunto Makeup
Digital Domain Animator
Adrian H. Gorton Art Director,Set Decoration/Design
Ottar Gudnason Camera Operator
Paul Haggis Screenwriter
Zoe Hay Makeup
Deborah Hopper Costumes/Costume Designer
Phyllis Huffman Casting
Eryn Krueger Makeup
Gary A. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Robert Lorenz Producer
Petra Dis Magnúsdottir Makeup
Walt Martin Sound Mixer
Donald Murphy Asst. Director
Leo Napolitano Camera Operator
Joseph G. Pacelli Set Decoration/Design
Steve Riley Special Effects Supervisor
Aslaug Cookie Sigurdardóttir Makeup
Steven Spielberg Producer
Tom Stern Cinematographer
Jack G. Taylor Art Director
Steven Ticknor Sound/Sound Designer
Tim Moore Co-producer
Christien Tinsley Makeup Special Effects
Paul Varrieur Camera Operator
Jay Wejebe Makeup
Steven R. Wojcik Camera Operator

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Flags of Our Fathers [WS Special Edition] - Feature Presentation
1. One Photo [6:43]
2. Doc Bradley [3:51]
3. Buddies [3:58]
4. No Man Left Behind [5:26]
5. 3 Days of Bombing [6:35]
6. Invasion Day [11:18]
7. I Wasn't There [5:05]
8. Welcome Home Heroes [7:48]
9. Buy Bonds [7:11]
10. Ira Struggles on Tour [5:26]
11. Gold Star Mothers [5:54]
12. Raising the Flag [5:22]
13. No One Even Noticed [6:13]
14. He Didn't Serve Me [8:52]
15. Iggy [5:57]
16. Can I See My Mom? [5:51]
17. City After City [5:44]
18. Yesterday's Heroes [4:32]
19. Thanks for Calling [6:33]
20. Swimming [4:42]
21. End Credits [8:25]


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Flags of Our Fathers 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this movie, although I disagree with one reviewer that it was intended to be antiwar. I do not think that was intentional, but when you depict comabat it makes you antiwar. should have nominated for best picture over little miss sunshine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To give a less than shining review of Clint Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is tantamount to being labeled un-American. That is sad because for this viewer the result of the film is not whether or not Eastwood's nonlinear development of a story that bumps and spurts and reflects and meanders and shadows reality lets us get to know the 'heroes' cast in the roles of the three men who survived a single incident in the atrocity of WW II: this is a film that hopefully will be ultimately seen as one of the strongest antiwar statements made to date. Eastwood does not preach to us, but he rather pulls the curtain back to see the staggering atrocities committed by both camps of soldiers on Iwo Jima - a mirror for every other battle that tore the world apart during WW II - while showing the true venom of the politicians and high mucky mucks back home, those rather insensitive men who elected to create mannequins out of the three men who just happened to be photographed in one of the most infamous photographs of the war and made them sell war bonds, cashing in on emotions to get the big bucks needed to keep the war machine well oiled. That aspect is the more terrifying. As the writers place the words in the mouth of James Bradley: 'Heroes are something we create, something we need. It's a way for us to understand what is almost incomprehensible, how people could sacrifice so much for us, but for my dad and these men the risks they took, the wounds they suffered, they did that for their buddies, they may have fought for there country but they died for there friends. For the man in front for the man beside him, and if we wish to truly honor these men we should remember them the way they really were the way my dad remembered them'. The cast is very good: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, Barry Pepper, Jaime Bell, Paul Walker, Joseph Cross as the young men and bit parts of the older men played by such luminaries as George Grizzard, Harve Presnell, George Hearn and Len Cariou. The battle photography is staggering and gruesome. No, we never really get to know the true personalities of the boys named as heroes, but having been through a war this viewer can mention that backgrounds and character studies somehow dissolve when young men are thrown into the horror of survival. They were all heroes, whether they survived or not. Eastwood is asking us to look at the heinous futility of war and the depersonalization war causes - except in the tortured memories of those who come home. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a favorite of mine. I enjoyed watching this film from start to finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read the book then watch the movie, you're going to be horribly disappointed. The characters in the movie are nowhere near like they are in the book. Ira Hayes was actually the quietest man of all of them and in the movie he is a drunken, pyscopathic idiot who blubbers and yells all the time. Doc Bradley only has like two lines in the movie and he is supposed to be the main character, making him very boring. Rene Gagnon was fine, they cast him well. It was almost as if Mr. Eastwood was trying to make it look like no one believed in fighting the war in the Pacific. Doc Bradley says "maybe there are no such things as heroes maybe we just make them up." Very uplifting. This is not Platoon, (a good movie, by the way) Mr. Eastwood. Find another screenwriter and another director.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Outstanding Movie to watch with my Dad a true WWII Vet. It was also a research project for my son"s school report and he needless to say recieved an A+ and learned more than a history lesson. This Movie made me proud to stand here and feel what a true soldier sacrifices for his fellow comrades and the Love of his Country and family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clint: Go back to being a mayor. Your acting & directing days are over. This historic event was trivalized with choppy scenes, too long, phony characters & many other faults that destroyed all sense of value. Won't waste time on the follow up film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie isn't what I expected it to be. Granted, it's a good movie. But the scenes are too chopped up between the battle and stateside issues. The battle scenes are excellent but there doesn't seem to be enough time devoted to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Saw the movie on DVD on 2/07 and read the book last year. As best I can remember from reading the book the movie is very close to the book. In fact the movie seems to bring out the real life of what took place with the Flag Raisers. Not much different than the book. What the movie brings out and does it very well is the emotional side of the Flag Raisers.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually kind of boring and nothing like the other great war movies I have seen. (Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, The Great Raid, Saving Private Ryan. If I were James Bradley, I would sue Clint for screwing up my book and warping the characters from the novel. Eastwood I don't think had any idea where he was taking this movie. Was it a recollection? Was it told from the island? Did America even capture Iwo Jima. The characters are indescribably boring and bland. Mike Strank should have had more screen time and when the other flag-raisers die, the audience doesn't even feel sad. We don't even know that they were one of the flag-raisers, they just get shot and someone goes "Franklin!" and the audience asks, "he was one of the flag-raisers wasn't he?" The action is mediocre and could have been worlds better. Spielberg was the producer, he should have been sitting in the director's chair. And they should have sent Eastwood on a permanent vacation back to Alcaltraz for destroying a great chapter in American history. Thank God we have the novel and had it long before the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clint Eastwood did a very good job in the telling of The Battle for Iwo Jima. I would have to say this was better than LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA even though it was good too.