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Flags of Our Fathers
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Produced by Clint Eastwood
Robert Lorenz
Steven Spielberg
Written by James Bradley
Ron Powers
William Broyles, Jr.
Paul Haggis
Starring Ryan Phillippe
Adam Beach
Jesse Bradford
Neal McDonough
Barry Pepper
Robert Patrick
Paul Walker
Jamie Bell
John Benjamin Hickey
John Slattery
Music by Clint Eastwood
Cinematography Tom Stern
Editing by Joel Cox
Studio DreamWorks
Warner Bros.
Malpaso Productions
Amblin Entertainment
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) October 20, 2006 (2006-10-20)
Running time 127 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Gross revenue $65,900,249[1]
Followed by Letters from Iwo Jima

Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American war film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima, the seven men who were involved in raising the flag on Iwo Jima, and the aftereffects of that event on their lives.

Eastwood also directed a complementary film on the battle from the Japanese viewpoint entitled Letters from Iwo Jima. It was released in Japan on December 9, 2006 and in the United States on December 20, 2006, two months after the release of Flags of Our Fathers on October 20, 2006. The film is produced by Eastwood and Steven Spielberg.



The story focuses on seven US Marines of the 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division, Sgt. Mike Strank, Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes, Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Hank Hansen, and Pfc. Ralph Ignatowski, as well as their Navy Corpsman, PhM2. John "Doc" Bradley.

In December 1944, U.S. Marines train at Camp Tarawa, Hawaii. They train by climbing a large mountain and getting in Higgins boats. The Marines then set sail across the Pacific, and it is revealed that they are headed to the small island of Iwo Jima, located less than 700 miles from the Japanese mainland. As Captain Severance puts it, they will be fighting on Japanese soil, and will expect tough resistance. A few days later, the armada arrives off the coast of Iwo Jima and the ships of the US Navy open fire on suspected Japanese positions. On the night before the landings, Mike is put in charge of second platoon.

The next day, February 19, 1945, the Marines hit the beach in landing craft and meet no resistance. Ralph, aka "Iggy", suspects that the Navy killed all the Japanese defenders, as do most of the Marines. After several tense minutes the Marines advance forward and the Japanese open fire. The battle is extremely intense, and the Marines take heavy casualties. Japanese heavy artillery opens fire upon the Marines on shore, as well as the Navy ships. After several attempts, Second Platoon takes out a Japanese pillbox which was pinning them down. They advance forward, as do many other Marines. The battle begins to calm down and the beachheads are secure. Two days later the Marines attack Mount Suribachi under a rain of Japanese artillery and machine gun fire, as the Navy bombards the mountain. It is here that Doc saves the lives of several Marines under fire which later earns him the Navy Cross. Finally, the mountain is secure. For the next four nights, the Marines take cover in foxholes as Japanese soldiers charge through the mist.

On February 23, the platoon under Hank's command is ordered to climb Mount Suribachi. They reach the top and hoist the American flag atop the mountain. For the first time in 1,000 years an enemy flag is raised on Japanese soil. Suddenly the platoon is attacked by Japanese sharp shooters, but the Marines kill them without losing anyone. When Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal arrives on Iwo Jima, he requests to have the flag atop Suribachi. Colonel Johnson is furious, but ultimately gives in, telling Captain Severance to bring the flag down and replace it with another one. Severance sends Rene, who is a runner, to go with Second Platoon to the top of the mountain and switch flags. When Second Platoon reaches the top, they take down the first flag. Mike, Harlon, Doc, Ira, Rene and Franklin then raise the second flag. The event is seemingly insignificant but it is captured by combat photographer Joe Rosenthal, and the image lives forever in the public consciousness.

On March 1, Second Platoon is on patrol when they are ambushed by a Japanese machine gun team. Mike orders Harlon to have his parateam take out the machine gun nest. The gunner is killed. Mike goes up to examine a dead Marine. He turns around and orders the unit to move up. Almost immediately afterward, a Navy shell lands right behind him knocking him down. In the smoke and confusion a Japanese soldier remans the machine gun and opens fire, killing the lieutenant. The machine gunner is quickly killed but Mike is critically wounded. Doc does everything he can but Mike dies within minutes of getting hit. Mike's death hits the squad hard, as they all idolized him. Things only get worse from then on. Later that day Hank is shot in the chest and dies almost instantly. Harlon is killed by machine gun fire hours later. Two nights later while Doc is helping a wounded Marine, Iggy is abducted by Japanese troops and dragged in a tunnel. His mangled and tortured body is found a few days later by Doc. On March 21, as the battle is winding down Franklin is killed by machine gun fire and dies in Ira's arms. Of the eight men in the squad only three are left: Doc, Ira and Rene. A few days after Franklin's death Doc is wounded by artillery fire while trying to save a fellow corpsman. He survives and is sent back home. On March 26 the battle ends, and the U.S. Marines are victorious.

After the battle the press gets hold of the photograph of the second flag raising. It is a huge morale booster, and papers all over the country ask for prints. When Rene is asked who is in the photo, he gives five names, including his own, saying that the other four are, Mike, Doc, Franklin, but says that Hank was in the photograph (Rene thought that Hank was at the base of the flag. In reality it was Harlon). He then tells Ira he is the sixth man. Ira corrects him, saying that it was Harlon, and fiercely denies being in the photo, going as far to threaten Rene with a bayonet to his throat. Even though Rene tells him they'll be sent home, Ira won't give in. However, when Rene is threatened with being sent back to the fighting, he tells their bond tour guide Sgt. Keyes Beech that Ira was the sixth man, though not telling him that Harlon was in the photo, not Hank.

Doc, who was in the hospital, is sent stateside with Ira and Rene as part of the seventh bond tour drive to raise money for the war effort. When they go to Washington, they meet Bud Gerber of the Treasury Department, who will be their other guide. Doc notices that Hank's mother is on the list of mothers of the dead flag raisers. Ira gets mad and calls the whole thing a farce. An annoyed Bud then confesses that the country is bankrupt and that if the bond drive fails the war will be lost. The three give in and decide not to tell anyone that Harlon Block was actually in the photograph.

The bond drive begins, and the three flag raisers are sent around the United States to raise money and make speeches. Ira gets drunk frequently, often breaking down from the memories that haunt him. The night the three men raise a fake flag at Soldier Field, Ira gets drunk and throws up in front of General Alexander Vandergrift, commandant of the Marine Corps. Vandergrift is furious at Bud and Keyes, telling them to send Ira back to his unit. When Keyes tells Ira he's going back, Ira confesses that he can't stand being called a hero, and that Mike was a true hero. Ira says goodbye to Doc and Rene and goes back to the Pacific. The bond drive continues.

In September the war ends and Doc, Rene and Ira go home. Ira tries to move on but is never able to escape his unwanted fame. One day in 1952 after being released from jail, he hitchhikes over 1,300 miles to Texas to see Harlon Block's family. He tells Ed Block, Harlon's father that Harlon was indeed at the base of the flag in the famous photograph. In 1954, the USMC War Memorial is dedicated and the three flag raisers see each other one last time. In 1955 Ira dies of exposure after a night of drinking. That same year Doc drove to a town where Iggy's mom lived and told her how Iggy died, though it is implied that he lied. Rene has little success as the business offers he received on the bond drive are no longer offered to him. He spends the rest of his life as a high school janitor, dying in 1979. Doc is the only successful one. He buys the funeral home he worked at before the war and runs it for the rest of his life. In 1994, as he is on his death bed, he tells his son James how after the flag raising Captain Severance took the men swimming. He then dies peacefully. In a final flashback to 1945, the men swim in the ocean after raising the flags.


Actor Real Life Role
Ryan Phillippe PhM2. John "Doc" Bradley
Jesse Bradford Pfc. Rene Gagnon
Adam Beach Pfc. Ira Hayes
John Benjamin Hickey Keyes Beech
John Slattery Bud Gerber
Barry Pepper Sgt. Michael Strank
Jamie Bell Pfc. Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski
Paul Walker Sgt. Hank Hansen
Robert Patrick Col. Chandler Johnson
Neal McDonough Capt. Dave Severance
Melanie Lynskey Pauline Harnois/Gagnon
Thomas McCarthy James Bradley
Chris Bauer Commandant Alexander Vandegrift
Judith Ivey Belle Block
Myra Turley Madeline Evelley
Joseph Cross Pfc. Franklin Sousley
Benjamin Walker Cpl. Harlon Block
Alessandro Mastrobuono Cpl. Charles W. Lindberg
Scott Eastwood Lundsford
Stark Sands Walter Gust
George Grizzard Older John Bradley
Harve Presnell Older Dave Severance

Critical reception and box office

The film received positive reviews with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 134 out of the 184 reviews they tallied were positive for a score of 73% and a certification of "fresh."[2]

The film made the top ten list of the National Board of Review. Eastwood also earned a Golden Globe nomination for directing. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards — for Best Sound and Sound Editing. Film critic Richard Roeper said "Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers stands with the Oscar-winning Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby as an American masterpiece. It is a searing and powerful work from a seventy-six-year-old artist who remains at the top of his game." and "Flags of Our Fathers is a patriotic film in that it honors those who fought in the Pacific, but it is also patriotic because it questions the official version of the truth, and reminds us that superheroes exist only in comic books and cartoon movies."[3]

Despite critical acclaim, the movie underperformed at the box office, earning just $65,900,249 worldwide on an estimated $90,000,000 production budget.

Spike Lee controversy

At the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, director Spike Lee, who was making Miracle at St. Anna, about an all-black U.S. division fighting in Italy during World War II, criticized director Clint Eastwood for not depicting black Marines in Flags of Our Fathers. Citing historical accuracy, Eastwood responded that his film was specifically about the Marines who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima, pointing out that while black soldiers did fight at Iwo Jima, the U.S. military was segregated during WWII, and none of the men who raised the flag were black. Eastwood angrily said that Lee should "shut his face". Lee responded that Eastwood was acting like an "angry old man", and argued that despite making two Iwo Jima films back to back, Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers, "there was not one black Marine in both of those films".[4][5][6] In fact, black Marines (including an all-black unit) are seen in scenes during which the mission is outlined, as well as during the initial landings, when a wounded black Marine is carried away. During the end credits, historical photographs taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima show black Marines. Although black Marines fought in the battle, they were restricted to auxiliary roles, such as ammunition supply, and were not involved in the battle's major assaults, but took part in defensive actions.[7]

DVD release

The DVD was released in the US by DreamWorks Home Entertainment on February 6, 2007. It is devoid of any special features.[8]

A Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition DVD (with special features) was released on May 22, 2007.[9] It was also released on HD DVD and Blu-ray formats.[10]

The Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition DVD is also available in a five-disc commemorative set that also includes the Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition of Letters from Iwo Jima and a bonus fifth disc containing History Channel's Heroes of Iwo Jima documentary and To the Shores of Iwo Jima, a documentary produced by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.[11]


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American war film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima and the six men who were involved in Raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Eastwood also directed a complementary film on the battle from the Japanese viewpoint entitled Letters from Iwo Jima. The film starred Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford.

A single shot can end the war (taglines)


Bud Gerber

  • You know what they're calling this bond drive? The Mighty Seventh. They might've called it the "We're Flat Fucking Broke And Can't Even Afford Bullets So We're Begging For Your Pennies" bond drive, but it didn't have quite the ring. They could've called it that, though, because the last four bond drives came up so short we just printed money instead. Ask any smart boy on Wall Street, he'll tell you our dollar is next to worthless, we've borrowed so much. And nobody is lending any more. Ships aren't being built, tanks aren't being built, machine guns, bazookas, hand grenades, zip. You think this is a farce? You want to go back to your buddies? Well stuff some rocks in your pockets before you get on the plane, because that's all we got left to throw at the Japanese. And don't be surprised if your plane doesn't make it off the runway, because the fuel dumps are empty. And our good friends, the Arabs, are only taking bullion. If we don't raise $14 billion, and that's million with a "B," this war is over by the end of the month. We make a deal with the Japanese, we give whatever they want and we come home, because you've seen them fight, and they sure as shit ain't giving up. $14 billion! The last three drives didn't make that much all together.
  • People on the street corners, they looked at this picture and they took hope. Don't ask me why, I think it's a crappy picture, myself. You can't even see your faces! But it said we can win this war, are winning this war, we just need you to dig a little deeper. They want to give us that money. No, they want to give it to you.

Captain David Severance

  • This isn't just any island to them. This isn't Tarawa, Guam, Tinian, or Saipan. This is Japanese soil, sacred ground. Twelve thousand Japanese defenders in eight square miles, they will not leave politely, gentlemen! It's up to us to convince them.
  • Nobody even noticed that second flag going up. Everybody saw that damn picture and made up their own story about it. But your dad and the others knew what they had done, and what they had not done. All your friends dying, it's hard enough to be called a hero for saving somebody's life. But for putting up a pole?


Soldiers: [first lines] Corpsman! Corpsman! Corpsman! Corpsman! For God sakes, corpsman! Corpsman! Corpsman!

General "Howlin' Mad" Smith: [on the telephone] I was promised ten days of shelling. You're giving me three and saying that's the best you can do?... I don't give a shit! My men hit that beach with less than ten, and I'll be taking them home to their mamas in buckets!... Yeah, I know exactly why. Because every Navy man with scrambled egg on his chest wants to offload us here and sail to Japan so they can be there for the big finish, tell their kids they captured the Emperor all by themselves. Well, you aren't going to Japan unless we take this piece of shit island! These little pricks are dug in... Okay, appreciate that, Jim. Three days is a fucking beautiful thing.

Colonel Chandler Johnson: Our target, Island X, is an ugly, smelly, dirty little scab of rock called Iwo Jima. It means "Sulfur Island," which accounts for the smell. Looks sort of like a burnt pork chop if you ask me. After twenty straight days of bombing, you won't find a blade of grass or a twig on it. It wasn't that pretty to start with.

James Bradley: [last lines] I finally came to the conclusion that he maybe he was right. Maybe there's no such thing as heroes. Maybe there are just people like my dad. I finally came to understand why they were so uncomfortable being called heroes. Heroes are something we create, something we need. It's a way for us to understand what's 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 their country but they died for their 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.


Lundsford: You actually chose the Marines because they had the best uniforms?
Rene Gagnon: No sense being a hero if you don't look like one.

Lindberg: [while losing at poker] Chief, I had very little to do with Sitting Bull's death, so maybe you could stop taking it out on me.
Ira Hayes: Different tribe. The Pimas fought on the side of the white man.
Gust: See, now that's smart.
Hank Hansen: That is smart.
Ira Hayes: Yeah. Worked real good for us.

Mike Strank: Any man that doesn't have his masturbation papers in order better get them signed by tomorrow night or he ain't going overseas.
Gust: I got mine already.
Lundsford: Oh, yeah, I'm square.
Franklin Sousley: Wait, wait. Why am I just hearing about this?
Mike Strank: That's horseshit, Franklin! I don't have to repeat everything twice for you.
Franklin Sousley: No, I didn't hear nothin' about no masturbating papers!
Ira Hayes: Heard they were running short.
Franklin Sousley: You know, nobody tells me nothing. That's real nice, guys!
Mike Strank: All right, get your ass over to the officer in charge of records. Maybe he's got some more left. Leave your smokes. I'll play for you.
Franklin Sousley Thanks, Mike.
Mike Strank Listen, if he calls you an idiot, you take it like a man, okay? Just do not leave without signing them

Belle Block: Oh my Lord, that's Harlon!
Belle's Young Son: Where?
Belle Block: Right there. Planting that flag, that's your brother.
Belle's Young Son: Ma, all you can see is his behind.
Belle Block: And that's his. I powdered and diapered it, I know my son. That's him. Go get your father.
Belle's Young Son: Daddy, Ma's got a picture of Harlon's keister in the paper!

Ira Hayes: Hank wasn't in the picture.
Bud Gerber: Sorry?
Ira Hayes: Hank didn't raise that flag. He raised the other one. The real flag.
Bud Gerber: The what? The real... the real flag? There's a real flag?
John "Doc" Bradley: Yeah, ours was the replacement flag. We put it up when they took the other one down.
Bud Gerber: Am I the only one getting a headache here? You know about this?
Keyes Beech: It was after it was already in the papers. The mothers had already been told by then.
Bud Gerber: Aw, that's it, that's beautiful. Yeah, that's beautiful. Yeah, why tell me? I'm only the guy that has to explain it to a hundred and fifty million Americans. Who is in the goddamn picture? Are any of you guys in the goddamn picture?
Ira Hayes: Yeah, we're in the goddamn picture.
Bud Gerber: Six guys raising a flag over Iwo Jima. Victory is ours. You're three of them, right?
John "Doc" Bradley: This was the fifth day, sir. The battle went on for thirty-five more.
Bud Gerber: Well, what'd you do, raise a goddamn flag every time you stopped for lunch?
Ira Hayes: [whispers to Bradley] Can I hit this guy?

Bud Gerber: Hey, you know what? I don't give a shit. You're in the picture, you raised the flag, that's the story we're selling, boys.
Ira Hayes: Are you deaf? Hank isn't in the picture. Harlon is in the picture.
Bud Gerber: Well, who the fuck is Harlon?
Ira Hayes: Harlon Block. That's whose mother who should be here if anyone's should be. You know, I think this whole damn thing is a farce, you ask me.

John "Doc" Bradley: [At the mock Mount Suribachi in Soldier Field] You gotta be kidding.
Bud Gerber: Hey, it took a lot of talented folks a long time to make that thing. Just wait till tonight when it's lit properly and there's thousands of cheering people in the stands, it's gonna look a lot better. So, stadium lights come down, spotlight comes up, you get your cue, you charge up this thing with the flag, you plant it at the top. You smile, you wave, you know the drill.
John "Doc" Bradley: You want us to plant the flag on a pile of papier-mache.
Bud Gerber: Hey, that's showbiz. And try to stand how you stood the first time you planted it. Just, you know, pretend the other three guys are with you.
Ira Hayes: The dead guys.

Ira Hayes: I know it's a good thing, raising the money and that, 'cause we need it. But, I can't take them calling me a hero. All I did was try not to get shot. Some of the things I saw done, things I did, they weren't things to be proud of, you know? Mike... Mike was a hero. You ever meet him?
Keyes Beech: No.
Ira Hayes: Best Marine I ever met.
Keyes Beech: You know, Chief, I think if Mike was sitting here instead of you, he'd be saying the same thing about himself, not being a hero.
Ira Hayes: Maybe. He was a good guy, but I think that he'd be ashamed of me, seeing me the way I am.

John "Doc" Bradley: Who are these "Gold Star Mothers?"
Bud Gerber: That's what we're calling the mothers of the dead flag-raisers. You present each mother with a flag, they say a few words, people will shit money. It'll be so moving.


  • A single shot can end the war
  • Every soldier stands beside a hero
  • The real heroes are the ones left on the island.
  • All it takes to win is the right picture.
  • They fight for their country but they die for their friends.
  • Heroes are something we create, something we need.


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