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Reviews for Sands of Iwo Jima ( 1949 )

Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid. (IMDB: 7)

On: 4/30/2009 12:00:00 AM By: Spikeopath
Sgt John M. Stryker is a battle hardened Marine who's job it is to prepare his new charges for the realities of war. With no care for making friends, Stryker does what ever it takes to make these men tough and ready for the Pacific conflicts to come.

Sands Of Iwo Jima is unashamedly proud in its jingoistic fervour, and rightly so. Iwo Jima, and the now immortal portrait of weary American soldiers hoisting the flag atop Mt. Suribachi, has become a bastion of bravery, a beacon of triumph if you will. So it's no surprise to find Allan Dwan's film has no intention if deviating from boasting its colours, and hooray to that. Here as Stryker we find John Wayne giving a bit more to his character portrayal than merely some beefcake winning the war. Wayne puts depth and sincerity into Stryker, an air of believability shines through as he shows vulnerability, we believe he can win this war with his men, but we also see tenderness and it lifts Sands higher than your average war picture.

Wise old director Dwan (432 directing credits to his name), weaves the picture together with admirable restraint. Fusing actual newsreel footage with his own tightly handled action sequences, Sands plays out as the tribute and rally call that it has every right to be, even finding place in the film for three of the soldiers who hoisted that now famous flag. Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley are the three gentlemen to look out for. The rest of the cast don't really have to do much outside of respond to Wayne's two fold performance, but keep an eye out for a fresh faced Richard Jaeckel as Pfc. Frank Flynn, while I personally enjoyed the brief, but important contribution from Julie Bishop as Mary.

Wayne received a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards (too bad for him that 49 contained brilliant shows from the winner Broderick Crawford & a blunderbuss turn from Gregory Peck), with other nominations going to the Best Story, Editing and Sound categories. Ironically it was a role Wayne didn't fancy doing, but some encouragements from war veterans humbled him into starring.

Lock and load and saddle up for a top entry in the WWII pantheon. 8/10

Classic war film with a magnificent John Wayne as tough sergeant fighting Japanese (IMDB: 7)

On: 11/22/2007 12:00:00 AM By: ma-cortes
This is a flag-waging and patriotic tribute to US marines .Very decent war scenes along with documentary footage that convey us the assault troops establish on the Pacific islands, but like the navy, the US army fought its way from island to island in the Pacific. Striker(Wayne) and his squad(Forrest Tucker, John Agar,James Brown,Richard Jaeckel,James Brown,Richard Webb, among others) are responsible for the capture of the Pacific islands. And, of course, the picture brings to life one of the most famous images of the Second World war- Joe Rosenthal's photograph of US marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima, on the morning of February 23, 1945 and with special appearance of the three living survivors of the historic flag raising of Mount Suribachi. John Wayne is top-notch as valiant but deranged sergeant Striker training rebellious recruits and soldiers in this believable war film . Wayne won his only Oscar nomination, before his obtaining in ¨True grit¨. Supporting cast is frankly magnificent. The motion picture is well directed by Allan Dawn.

The film is based correctly on Iwo Jima battle in a hard-fought US operation, one of the most difficult campaigns of the Pacific theater . US capture of Japanese-held island in the Bonin group , about 1450 km south of Tokyo after intense fighting Feb-March 1945. Fortified by the Japanese, it held two airfields, with a third under construction, and was a valuable strategic target for US forces as it would provide a base for land-based bombers to raid the mainland of Japan. It was assaulted by US Marines 19 Feb 1945 after a prolonged air and naval bombardment. The 22000 Japanese troops put up a fanatical resistance but the island was finally secured 16 March. US casualties came to 6891 killed and 18700 wounded, while only 212 of the Japanese garrison survived.The film is dedicated to the United States Marine Corps whose exploits and valor have left a lasting impression on the world and in the hearts of their countrymen . Appreciation is gratefully acknowledged for their assistance and participation which made this picture possible.

Exploiting A Symbol (IMDB: 8)

On: 11/9/2006 12:00:00 AM By: bkoganbing
Although Clint Eastwood's recent Flags of Our Fathers has told the real story about the flag raising at Iwo Jima, it hasn't diminished any of the impact that Sands of Iwo Jima has, either back when it was released or viewed today.

In fact because the three surviving flag raisers, Joseph Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes all were in this film it's even more proof of how the symbolic flag raising has become mythologized.

Of course the real heroism was in capturing the island that was less than a 1000 miles from the main islands of Japan and the airfields on Iwo Jima that could be used by our bombers for land based flights. It took about a month to do that, the flag was raised on the fifth day.

I read a history of the United States Marine Corps from it's formation during the American Revolution. Over the course of its history it was interesting to learn that the Marines many times were threatened with extinction, to be folded into either the army or navy right up to and including World War I.

Right after World War I a very farsighted man named John A. Lejeune became the Marine Corps Commandant and he saw that we would be in a war in the Pacific with the Japanese as our foes. He also saw that the survival of the Marines as an entity involved them training for a very specialized kind of mission, amphibious warfare. He started training them for that and come World War II they were certainly ready.

John Wayne as Sergeant Striker got one of his most memorable parts of his career in Sands of Iwo Jima. Striker is a tough as nails Marine Corps lifer whose got a job to whip a lot of recruits into shape for the later Pacific landings after Guadalcanal. He's also got one lousy personal life as his wife's left him and taken their son.

Wayne got his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in this part. There's a couple of other films he should have gotten a nomination for, but that's another story. Among his competition in 1949 was Kirk Douglas for Champion, Richard Todd for The Hasty Heart, and Gregory Peck for Twelve O'Clock High. Note three of the nominees were for World War II related films. But the winner that year was Broderick Crawford for All the King's Men. At least Peck and Wayne both got Oscars later in their careers.

John Agar who was trying to carve out a reputation as being more than Mr. Shirley Temple back then plays the son of a former commander of Wayne's who has a problem with his Dad and takes it out on Wayne attitude wise as a surrogate father. Julie Bishop and Adele Mara play women drawn to both Wayne and Agar respectively.

Of the supporting cast who play members of Wayne's platoon, my favorite is Wally Cassell, the wisecracking city kid who finds a tank to help his platoon out during a sticky situation.

Flags of Our Fathers teaches us about how the flag raising symbolism became part of the Marine Corps heritage. Sands of Iwo Jima exploits that symbol in the best sense of the word. After almost sixty years, it's still a fine film with a grand performance by the Duke.

The first film I remember (IMDB: 7)

On: 2/19/2006 12:00:00 AM By: David Walker (sadsack-dw)
I first saw this film at the age of 5 and it has been my favourite ever since. This led to my following of the greatest actor of all time JOHN WAYNE. The film follows Sgt John M Stryker, taking a platoon of mostly raw recruits and training them to be mean, tough, and ready for anything Marines, by any way possible, loathed by the squad but by the end of the picture admired by them as they realise what and why he is the way he is.

The film mixes battle scenes with actual footage from the landings and allows for character development instead of just a bunch of guy's grouped together. Wayne deserved his Oscar nomination for his role but you cant leave out the supporting cast. John Agar in possibly his best role and Forrest Tucker as his old adversary also Cassell/Brown and Webb proving equally up to the rolls and a young Richard Jaeckel all playing there parts with zest.

When you look at the events it was based on, the Island hopping of hard bitter fighting the slaughter of both sides on Iwo Jima its self 4,000+ U.S. casualties and 21,000 Japanise you can see why this film is compulsory viewing for all new Marine recruits.

I also believe that this film would have been a masterpiece had it been made without the restrictions of the time compared with the films of today like "Saving Private Ryan".

Whatever your own thoughts are on the film when you next watch it just remember those who fought there and REMAIN there................

Life Imitates Art (IMDB: 7)

On: 5/2/2004 12:00:00 AM By: btillman63
I don't know about currently, but some years ago this film was being shown at the Marine Corps Basic School where second lieutenants are hatched. It's an unexcelled example of military life imitating art: a symbiotic relationship between the Corps' timeless self image and, by extension, that image reinforcing the reality of the Corps itself.

SOIJ is still one of the better WW II combat films, even 55 years after its release. The one factual glitch is the impossibility of a Tarawa unit (2nd Marine Division) being ashore on Iwo (3rd, 4th, and 5th Divisions.) Otherwise, I don't think I've never known a marine who had serious reservations about it.

A brilliant performance by John Wayne (IMDB: 8)

On: 5/4/2001 12:00:00 AM By: Elizabeth-328
This is a fantastic World War II film from Hollywood's golden era. While the movie would have been amazing without him, the Duke really makes this movie stellar. His brilliant performance as Stryker won him an Academy Award nomination, one of only two during his entire career.

Whether you're a John Wayne fan, or just want to see an exciting, touching, and often humorous movie, this is a great one. I fully recommend "Sands of Iwo Jima" to everyone. This is a definite must-see! Watch and enjoy!