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"FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS"
(2006) (Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Extreme Extreme Extreme Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Mild Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Heavy Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Action: After fighting in the battle of Iwo Jima and helping raise the American flag there, three servicemen try to deal with being labeled heroes as they're transported around the country to help sell war bonds.
PLOT:
It's 1945 and American forces are preparing to storm and hopefully take Iwo Jima, the small but heavily fortified Japanese island that will be crucial for Allied attempts to win the war in the Pacific. Turning down a promotion that might otherwise have removed him from harm's way, Sgt. Mike Strank (BARRY PEPPER) prepares and then leads his men into battle.

They include Native American Ira Hayes (ADAM BEACH), "runner" Rene Gagnon (JESSE BRADFORD), Hank Hansen (PAUL WALKER), Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski (JAMIE BELL), Harlan Block (BENJAMIN WALKER) and Franklin Sousley (JOSEPH CROSS). Also accompanying them is John "Doc" Bradley (RYAN PHILLIPPE), a Navy corpsman present to tend to what might be a high injury rate.

Ambushed after believing the Navy bombardment had left all of the Japanese soldiers there dead, the American servicemen dig in, battle and eventually defeat the Japanese. When they ceremoniously raise an American flag at the top of Mount Suribachi, the image is captured by an AP photographer and soon travels back to the states where it reinvigorates public support for the war.

Realizing they have an opportunity to benefit from that, Treasury Department official Bud Gerber (JOHN SLATTERY) and military liaison Keyes Beach (JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY) have the last surviving men who helped raise that flag -- Doc, Ira and Rene -- shipped back to the states. There, they're hailed as heroes by everyone as they travel around the country on a promotional tour designed to sell bonds for the war effort.

The men react differently to their newfound fame, with Doc being the most levelheaded, Rene enjoying the attention with his fame-seeking girlfriend Pauline (MELANIE LYNSKEY), and Ira turning ever more to booze to try to drown both the battle memories that still haunt him as well as the guilt of being labeled a hero when all he tried to do was survive.

Many years, later, Doc's adult son James Bradley (TOM McCARTHY) sets out to interview any surviving witnesses to help in writing a book about the men who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima as well as the symbolic flag raising, both of which helped change the tide of the war effort.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, director Clint Eastwood, or war-related movies, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For sequences of graphic war violence and carnage, and for language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RYAN PHILLIPPE plays the most balanced of the three military men chosen to travel around the country to raise war bonds. A Navy corpsman, he gives medical aide to those during the battle of Iwo Jima, while also trying to keep Ira in line during their time back in the states. He uses some profanity.
  • JESSE BRADFORD plays a Marine involved in the flag raising who doesn't think he's a hero since he was just a "runner" during the combat, but he adapts quickly to the life of being a celebrity.
  • ADAM BEACH plays the Native American who fought in the battle, but sees both the choice of him as a hero as well as the overall promotional tour as nothing but a farce. Tormented by that and memories of what occurred during the fighting, he spirals downward in alcoholism. He also uses some profanity.
  • BARRY PEPPER plays the Marine sergeant who turns down a promotion in order to keep a promise to his men that he'd lead them into the battle. He shows bravery and smarts while doing so, uses some profanity and smokes some.
  • JAMIE BELL plays a young Marine who fights in the battle and uses some profanity, some of it briefly strong.
  • PAUL WALKER plays another Marine who fights during the battle.
  • BENJAMIN WALKER and JOSEPH CROSS play other Marines who did the same thing.
  • JOHN SLATTERY plays the Treasury Department official who tries to convince and/or manipulate the three military men that they're doing the right thing by appearing as flag-raising heroes and promoting the sale of war bonds. He uses profanity, drinks some, and briefly smokes.
  • JOHN BENJAMIN HICKEY plays the military liaison who accompanies them with the same mission, but helps feed into Ira's alcoholism while doing so. He briefly smokes.
  • MELANIE LYNSKEY plays Rene's girlfriend who appears to seek and then thrive on being in the public limelight.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated war drama. Profanity consists of at least 12 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A sexually related joke is made, while some soldiers strip down to their boxers to swim in the ocean.

    All sorts of war related violence is present, where soldiers on both sides are wounded or killed by various means (gunfire, explosives, being stabbed, etc.) with extremely gory and bloody results (including severed body parts and unbelievably graphic body wounds). Those scenes and other moments of peril will probably be quite unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while characters smoke and/or drink, one to the point of having a drinking problem (and he's seen or heard vomiting several times from that). Tense family material includes various familial deaths, while thematic elements include all of that as well as racism.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are flashes from explosives, as well as that from flash bulbs in various scenes in the film.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's a great deal of camera movement (particularly in the combat scenes) throughout the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In a hotel, Gerber indicates to the three heroes where the bar is, and he, another man and Ira have drinks. When Gerber learns there were two flags raised over Iwo Jima, he has another drink.
  • Doc, Ira, and others drink shots in a train, and then have another round. Later, Ira is intoxicated and vomits off the train (heard but not seen in full).
  • After a drunken Ira mocks Rene by saying at least he fired his weapon on Iwo Jima, Rene mockingly asks if he hit anything, adding, "Or were you drunk then too?" Ira then goes at him and the two have to be separated.
  • Miscellaneous people have wine at a reception, while Beach pours some liquor from a flask into a cup of coffee and then exchanges that for the one in front of Ira (thus feeding his alcoholic habit).
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a reception and Ira appears to be intoxicated. Later, he falls up some stairs while that way.
  • Doc comes across a ruckus where several cops surround a drunken Ira out in the middle of the street, swinging a chair at them. Doc talks him down and we then see that Ira is mad because a bar owner says they don't serve Indians.
  • We see Ira vomit from being drunk.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We hear random gunfire at night on Iwo Jima, and then see a soldier with an extremely bad belly wound (very gross looking and graphic, but not completely lit). We later see blood on the victim's face as well.
  • We see severed limbs during the battle scene, while various people who are shot have varying amounts of blood on their clothing. As the battle continues, artillery hits a man and we see his head land on another soldier who then sees the severed head (with a bloody neck stump), while we see various dead bodies on the beach, in the water and elsewhere.
  • Ira is intoxicated and vomits off a train (heard but not seen in full).
  • We see various wounded soldiers lined up side by side on the ground (some with blood on their clothing), then some dead ones, and then a long line of covered, dead bodies.
  • There's more artillery and gunfire blasted at the Americans, with various ones being hit and wounded or killed (with varying degrees of bloody results).
  • Some American soldiers hear low thuds and discover a cave that they slowly enter with flashlights. They then find many dead Japanese soldiers who are incredibly gory (chests and bellies ripped open, faces bloody, etc.) and comment that they've killed themselves with grenades.
  • A man who's been hit by an explosive is very bloody.
  • A soldier is hit and has blood from his mouth. Machine gun fire mows down another soldier who has bloody holes in his clothing (he dies), while a third has a bloody neck and dies.
  • We see Ira vomit from being drunk.
  • We see a soldier with a bad neck wound, with the medic sticking a retractor or something similar deep into the bloody wound to try to retrieve the bullet, but the man dies.
  • An explosion knocks a man aside and we then see shrapnel sticking out of his pants leg (that's wet, but we can't tell if that's from blood or rain, although we're guessing both).
  • We see a dead (non-bloody) body at a farm lying face down and hear that the person died from exposure.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Throughout the film and from various people, Ira must deal with racism aimed at him being an American Indian (such as repeatedly calling him "chief," asking if a photo is of his "squaw" back in the "wigwam," being called "You dumb redskin," being told, "Get your red ass over here," listening to a U.S. politician trying to talk "Indian," being asked if he used tomahawks on the "Japs," a bar owner saying they don't serve Indians, etc.), while Americans refer to the Japanese as "Japs" and someone pronounces Arabs as "A-rabs."
  • The American and Japanese soldiers have both toward each other (as enemies wanting to kill the other).
  • A Tokyo Rose type announcer (heard but not seen) tries to undermine the Americans' spirits by asking who their girls are with that night back home.
  • After a drunken Ira mocks Rene by saying at least he fired his weapon on Iwo Jima, Rene mockingly asks if he hit anything, adding, "Or were you drunk then too?" Ira then goes at him and the two have to be separated.
  • Miscellaneous people have wine at a reception, while Beach pours some liquor from a flask into a cup of coffee and then exchanges that for the one in front of Ira (thus feeding his alcoholic habit).
  • Doc tells a white lie to one dead soldier's mother about him being in the famous photo (to make her feel better).
  • After the war, a man poses his family with Ira for a photo and then pays him a small token amount of money.
  • Some viewers may see the U.S. Government as having the bad attitude for labeling the three servicemen as heroes and trying to manipulate the public into buying war bonds.
  • Pauline partially seems driven by her desire for being in the limelight with Rene.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful, or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We see Doc on Iwo Jima, seemingly alone, hearing voices in the distance, but he then wakes up from his nightmare (decades later).
  • Doc, now an older man, collapses on the stairs, asking, "Where is he?" as his son comes to his aid and then rushes off to call for an ambulance.
  • What looks like a war scene with flares and such at night is really the three men reenacting the flag raising, this time at Chicago's Soldier Field with fireworks going off.
  • En route to Iwo Jima, one man falls overboard into the ocean, with others there reacting lightly (one does throw a life preserver) and even making jokes, thinking another ship in the convoy will pick him up. However, one man then says the other ships won't stop as they can't, with the comment "So much for no man left behind" being made (we see a distant shot of the man in the water, but the scene ends there so we don't know his fate).
  • Ira shows others the famous photo of a Japanese officer preparing to behind an American POW, as well as bodies lying face down on the beach.
  • The Americans land on the shores of Iwo Jima, but initially don't meet any resistance as some slowly make their way across the barren landscape. However, we then see the point of view of various, hidden gun locations opening, peering out toward the men, with guns slowly being put into position. The Japanese then open fire on them with machine guns and artillery, hitting, wounding and killing many Americans. During this, we see various shots that kill with hard impact, a transport boat is hit and explodes, we see severed limbs, one soldier is blown up, another vehicle is hit and explodes, a soldier is shot in the head, and a plane is hit and more. Grenades are then thrown down into a gun bunker (we see the explosion but not any human impact), while a flamethrower is blasted into a bunker, with one Japanese soldier coming out on fire and being repeatedly shot by the Americans.
  • As the battle continues, artillery hits a man and we see his head land on another soldier who then sees the severed head (with a bloody neck stump). A tank is hit and explodes, as does a battleship, while an armored vehicle drives over a dead body in the surf.
  • Ira has a flashback of a Japanese soldier jumping down at him, but landing on his bayonet by accident (at night, and there's no blood, but Ira sees the man die above him).
  • There's more artillery and gunfire blasted at the Americans, with various ones being hit and wounded or killed (with varying degrees of bloody results).
  • We see a flashback to a nighttime incident during the taking of Iwo Jima where Japanese soldiers rush a foxhole of sorts and stab some men there, with Americans rushing up and shooting them, and one then repeatedly stabbing the Japanese men.
  • Some American soldiers hear low thuds and discover a cave that they slowly enter with flashlights. They then find many dead Japanese soldiers who are incredibly gory (chests and bellies ripped open, faces bloody, etc.) and comment that they've killed themselves with grenades.
  • A Japanese soldier opens fire on the men with a machine gun in a small canyon, hitting some of them. An explosion also mortally wounds one of the leaders.
  • Two soldiers enter a cave and see an American who was apparently dismembered or otherwise tortured (we don't see the body, but the first man says he previously had to go outside to throw up from the sight -- also not seen).
  • We see a soldier with a bad neck wound, with the medic sticking a retractor or something similar deep into the bloody wound to try to retrieve the bullet, but the man dies.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine Guns/Grenades/Knives/Flame throwers/Artillery and other explosives/War machinery (battleships, fighter planes, tanks, etc.): Carried and/or used to threaten, wound, or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cking dominoes," "A f*cking beautiful thing," "Who the f*ck is Hank?" "Flat f*cking broke," "F*ck that," "Holy sh*t," "Horse-sh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "People will sh*t money," "Sure as sh*t," "This is bullsh*t," "Masturbation papers," "Little pr*cks" (people), "Jackass," "Keister," "You lazy son of a bitch," "Jap," "Jeez-Louise," "Chief," "You sorry bunch of leathernecks," "Get your ass..." "What the hell happened to you?" "You look like a G*ddamn corpse," "Kick in the ass," "Squaw," "Smart ass," "You dumb redskin," "Damn shame," "Stop screwing with me," "Get your red ass over here," "You make me look like a complete asshole," "A hell of a ball game," "A-rabs," "Crappy," "Hell of a fight," "Rich sons of bitches," "Get the hell out of there," "Screw it up for all of us," "I think you're full of crap," "Get off your ass," "He's out of his G*ddman mind," "One hell of a view," "What the hell is that?" "Poor son of a bitch," "G*ddamn Indians" and "All hell was busting loose."
  • Some of the violence might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Various soldiers have various styles of tattoos (seen in several scenes).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Various sudden gunshots and bomb explosions (as well as victims suddenly being hit by either) might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 12 "f" words, 18 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*cks"), 16 hells, 13 damns, 9 asses (1 used with "hole"), 7 S.O.B.s, 2 variations of crap, 15 uses of "G-damn," 4 each of "Christ," "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ," 2 of "For Christ's sakes" and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh Christ," "Oh God" and "Oh my Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Mike comes in and addresses his men, jokingly telling them to make sure their masturbation papers are in order. All get it except for Frank who seems genuinely concerned he doesn't have his, resulting in more such talk occurring.
  • A Tokyo Rose type announcer (heard but not seen) tries to undermine the Americans' spirits by asking who their girls are with that night back home.
  • Some miscellaneous singers show a little cleavage, as does a woman later in a reception line.
  • Some soldiers strip down to just their boxers to run out into the ocean for some relief from the war.
  • SMOKING
  • Doc smokes a number of times, Gerber (cigar) and Beach each smoke at least once, and a number of other characters (mostly soldiers) smoke in numerous scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Doc, now an older man, collapses on the stairs, asking, "Where is he?" as his son comes to his aid and then rushes off to call for an ambulance.
  • A mother tries to confirm that her dead son is in the famous photo. She later receives a call that he wasn't, thus devastating her.
  • The men meet the mothers of their dead flag raising comrades, with Ira breaking down, crying, and hugging one of them.
  • Doc's son goes through his war stuff.
  • On his deathbed, an old man tells his adult son that he's sorry he wasn't a better father, but his son says he was the best father anybody could want. The father then dies and we see the son hug his mother in grief.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • WWII and the Battle of Iwo Jima.
  • The comment that the right picture can win or lose a war, including talk of the Iwo Jima pic (and that two flags were actually raised), and that of the famous Vietnam picture of a man shooting another in the head at point blank range (not seen).
  • Doc turning down a promotion (and thus possible avoidance of the worst of the invasion) since he told his men he promised he'd be there for them.
  • The comment that the famous Iwo Jima photo proved that the sacrifice of soldiers' lives was not a waste.
  • What constitutes a hero, and how those designated as such feel about that.
  • On the radio, Rene and others hear that President Roosevelt has died.
  • The men being convinced to go on the heroes tour to raise war bonds, being told that the government is out of money and thus needs the funds.
  • Doc tells a white lie to one dead soldier's mother about him being in the famous photo (to make her feel better).
  • We see a veteran who's missing his arms (in present day while being interviewed by Doc's son).
  • The comment that Iwo Jima saved a lot of lives (meaning help move a step closer to ending the war sooner than later).
  • The comments that heroes are something we need and thus create.
  • The racism that Ira faced as a Native American.
  • Alcoholism.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We hear random gunfire at night on Iwo Jima, and then see a soldier with an extremely bad belly wound (very gross looking and graphic, but not completely lit). We later see blood on the victim's face as well.
  • A soldier stabs a Japanese attacker at night, pushing the blade in, but we don't see blood.
  • All watch as many battleships fire artillery onto the island, causing many explosions (we don't see any resultant deaths or injuries).
  • The Americans land on the shores of Iwo Jima, but initially don't meet any resistance as some slowly make their way across the barren landscape. However, we then see the point of view of various, hidden gun locations opening, peering out toward the men, with guns slowly being put into position. The Japanese then open fire on them with machine guns and artillery, hitting, wounding and killing many Americans. During this, we see various shots that kill with hard impact, a transport boat is hit and explodes, we see severed limbs, one soldier is blown up, another vehicle is hit and explodes, a soldier is shot in the head, and a plane is hit and more. Grenades are then thrown down into a gun bunker (we see the explosion but not any human impact), while a flamethrower is blasted into a bunker, with one Japanese soldier coming out on fire and being repeatedly shot by the Americans.
  • As the battle continues, artillery hits a man and we see his head land on another soldier who then sees the severed head (with a bloody neck stump). A tank is hit and explodes, as does a battleship, while an armored vehicle drives over a dead body in the surf.
  • Ira says he wasn't in the famous photo and pushes another guy back, holding a knife on him to prove his point.
  • Ira has a flashback of a Japanese soldier jumping down at him, but landing on his bayonet by accident (at night, and there's no blood, but Ira sees the man die above him).
  • After a drunken Ira mocks Rene by saying at least he fired his weapon on Iwo Jima, Rene mockingly asks if he hit anything, adding, "Or were you drunk then too?" Ira then goes at him and the two have to be separated.
  • There's more artillery and gunfire blasted at the Americans, with various ones being hit and wounded or killed (with varying degrees of bloody results).
  • We see a flashback to a nighttime incident during the taking of Iwo Jima where Japanese soldiers rush a foxhole of sorts and stab some men there, with Americans rushing up and shooting them, and one then repeatedly stabbing the Japanese men.
  • While up near the top of the mountain, Americans are fired upon by a few Japanese fighters (hiding in the rocky terrain), who are all shot dead, one by one.
  • Some American soldiers hear low thuds and discover a cave that they slowly enter with flashlights. They then find many dead Japanese soldiers who are incredibly gory (chests and bellies ripped open, faces bloody, etc.) and comment that they've killed themselves with grenades.
  • A Japanese soldier opens fire on the men with a machine gun in a small canyon, hitting some of them. An explosion also mortally wounds one of the leaders.
  • A soldier is hit and has blood from his mouth. Machine gun fire mows down another soldier who has bloody holes in his clothing (he dies), while a third has a bloody neck and dies.
  • An explosion knocks a man aside and we then see shrapnel sticking out of his pants leg (that's wet, but we can't tell if that's from blood or rain, although we're guessing both).



  • Reviewed October 17, 2006 / Posted October 20, 2006

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