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Reviews for Sands of Iwo Jima ( 1949 )

The first film I remember (IMDB: 10)

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................

William Manchester notwithstanding (IMDB: 5)

On: 3/13/2005 12:00:00 AM By: inspectors71
I remember seeing this film as a child and wondering if combat looked as antiseptic as it does in Sands of Iwo Jima, then the Japanese soldiers dropped into a foxhole of Marines and started bayoneting them. The scene still frightens me, regardless of how many times I've seen Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. The great William Manchester wrote about being a Marine in the Pacific in his memoir Goodbye, Darkness. He talked about how phony the movie was, how John Wayne-ish and Hollywoodized it portrayed the sort of in-your-face combat he experienced. He and a friend were thrown out of a theater for laughing so hard at the histrionics and the cliches. Yet, the average viewer would be hard-pressed not to feel for John Wayne's broken, alcoholic Marine non-com, and the squad he commands. The best moment of the film isn't the tragic, inevitable ending, but Wayne's discovery that his love interest is just as damaged and as hurt as he is. With that in mind--and William Manchester notwithstanding--this is more than just a war movie, and that's why it's so good.

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 Great Classic triumphs over age and minor flaws. (IMDB: 5)

On: 8/18/2003 12:00:00 AM By: Cleon
Yes, today some of it seems campy and jingoistic, but Sands of Iwo Jima, is such a classic that it can't help being a worthy way to spend 100 minutes. First of all, there is John Wayne as Sergeant Stryker. Stryker was the model on which virtually every screen portrayal of a tough sergeant is based. The character's angst and intensity also give us a rare glimpse of John Wayne's true acting ability. In most movies he just portrayed himself, but there is no swagger in Stryker, just loneliness, fear, and hope. He is by far the most convincing character in this movie, and one of the top from any war movie, period. Next: the history. Ok, the actual characters have no basis in fact, but the battles certainly do. The battles for Tarawa and Iwo Jima were very important to the war and tragically costly in lives. They deserve to be remembered. The production mixed a lot of actual footage taken at the actual battles and mixed it in with the regular film. The two look fairly similar since both are black and white, but you can tell what is real and what was shot for the movie. One's first reaction to this might be that the production went cheapskate, but, in a way, the use of real stock battle footage was more moving than an epic legion of extras like in The Longest Day. You just can't beat reality for realism, and seeing the real islands and the real marines is an eerie reminder of how many men died in those horrific battles. Finally: the supporting cast. Ok, I can't rave about them all, but most were entertaining, especially Wally Cassell. Also, Forrest Tucker puts in a fine performance, the only one remotely close to Wayne's in its depth. Some of the anachronisms are a bit funny, but my only real complaint in the whole movie was John Agar's character Peter Conway. I don't know who was at fault for it, Agar or the writers, but his character is hard to take. I think we are meant to like him, but for about the first 90 minutes that is pretty much impossible. Otherwise, it's a great movie. See it!

Hypnotic in its flag-waving way... (IMDB: 8)

On: 7/15/2001 12:00:00 AM By: Righty-Sock ([email protected])
For 'Sands of Iwo Jima,' Wayne won his first Academy Award nomination in a role that presented him again as a ruthless leader of men, this time the toughest leatherneck, hated and then loved for his hardness:'In boot camp you learned the book. Out here, you gotta remember the book and learn a thousand things that have never been printed, probably never will be. You gotta learn and you gotta learn fast. And any man that doesn't want to cooperate, I'll make him wish he hadn't been born. Before I'm through with you, you're gonna move like one man and think like one man. If you don't, you're dead.' Wayne plays Sergeant Stryker, a battle-hardened U.S. Marine training a company of raw recruits in New Zealand... He is merciless to his men... They are consistently kept on the go ('If you're nervous, count your toes. I'll do the masterminding around here.'), and they detest him... The conflict focuses on Stryker and Private First Class Conway (John Agar) who in the end will assume Stryker's position... At the Battle of Tarawa, one of the bloodiest fights of the whole Pacific campaign, director Allan Dwan establishes his ground rules for describing combat, mixing authentic combat footage with shots of his actors... The few casualties in Stryker's company justifies his methods, and the men begin to respect him... Allan Dwan's 'Sands of Iwo Jima', anticipated the new vogue for action-packed war movies... His film is quite hypnotic in its flag-waving way...