Flags of Our Fathers

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 183

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User Reviews

  1. JoshR.
    Oct 18, 2006
    4
    What could have been a great movie becomes mediocre thanks to a disjointed narrative and lack of real connection to the characters--this movie feels like it is twice as long as its 2:12 running time would suggest.
  2. TomA.
    Oct 21, 2006
    4
    Superficial, characters we never get to know, leaving viewers with an empty feeling.
  3. Drew
    Feb 17, 2007
    4
    The direction, acting and painfully boring political spectrum involving the war leads to a war movie that has each character mearly one politicians handshake away from becoming a cliched and forgettable film experience. There is absolutely no connection between the characters and with such long pauses between past, present, future and politics you almost forget that Eastwood set out to do The direction, acting and painfully boring political spectrum involving the war leads to a war movie that has each character mearly one politicians handshake away from becoming a cliched and forgettable film experience. There is absolutely no connection between the characters and with such long pauses between past, present, future and politics you almost forget that Eastwood set out to do a film about war. This movie is definietly not worth the time and suggest seeing Letters from Iwo Jima where Eastwood gets it right Expand
  4. NickA.
    Aug 20, 2007
    5
    'Flags of Our Fathers,' Clint Eastwood
  5. MarkBayer
    Dec 8, 2006
    6
    Director and American icon Clint Eastwood follows up Million Dollar Baby, which was controversial but shouldn't have been, with a surprisingly subversive critique of America's participation in the Last Good War that even managed to hoodwink ultrapatriotic right-wing movie reviewer Michael Medved (Baby's prime and most notorious detractor) into uncritically awarding it three Director and American icon Clint Eastwood follows up Million Dollar Baby, which was controversial but shouldn't have been, with a surprisingly subversive critique of America's participation in the Last Good War that even managed to hoodwink ultrapatriotic right-wing movie reviewer Michael Medved (Baby's prime and most notorious detractor) into uncritically awarding it three and a half stars. (Maybe it's the title.) While Eastwood and writers Paul Haggis and William Broyles Jr. never mention Iraq, the parallels are certainly there for all to see: their movie's vision of World War II is one where funding and public support are controlled and manipulated by (largely fraudulent) PR gimmicks, and both Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman are shown to have historical predecessors. Ultimately, this is all a lot more interesting to discuss than to actually watch: Eastwood's storytelling approach derails itself with a tortuous, serpentine flashback-within-flashback structure of the kind that occasionally works in romantic dramas and spy thrillers but virtually NEVER in war movies, as the poor reception given to the similarly-structured 1944 Humphrey Bogart French Resistance drama Passage to Marseille (made by the people behind Casablanca) will bear out. (Saving Private Ryan wisely limited itself to making the entire movie a simple journey through only one character's past; perhaps Steven Spielberg, doing co-producer duty here, was trying to top himself. If so, quit while you're ahead!) Eastwood's use of decolorized cinematography in his depiction of the struggle for Iwo Jima is visually effective but nowhere near as gripping or as frightening as Ryan's opening battle sequence, and the use of highly unconvincing special effects and props to depict battlefield gore doesn't work at all. Actors as frequently bland as Jesse Bradford, Ryan Phillippe and Paul Walker, playing servicemen, do nothing to intensify our identification with them, and the only time Flags of Our Fathers really hits the mark is in its fascinating portrayal of Pima Indian Ira Hayes (movingly played by Adam Beach) who generally accepted racist jokes about squaws and wigwams from his fellow Marines as good-natured male bonding but couldn't handle the official and unofficial racism of the folks back home, and because of that AND the knowledge that he was ordered to promulgate a fraud for the sake of building support for the war and selling war bonds, became one of World War II's most poignant psychological casualties. In the last couple of months, we moviegoers have been treated to two inspirational football dramas, two period pieces involving magicians, and THREE films in which a real-life character is so fascinating and beautifully played that he just dwarfs all the other stuff surrounding him. Put together a three-part movie consisting of just the George Reeves material from Hollywoodland, the Idi Amin footage in The Last King of Scotland and everything involving Hayes in this picture, and the resulting anthology would be a prime contender for one of the 10 best films of 2006! Expand
  6. Thewiseking
    Oct 23, 2006
    6
    Overrated. A film drained of light, life and energy. The battle sequences especially disappoint and the cutting back and forth in time is really a problem and removes momentum. The film critic community appreciated its anti-heroic stance with an overlying stench of corruption; but the audiences will not.
  7. ChadShiira
    Oct 23, 2006
    6
    If the filmmaker's intent is to honor our dead, there probably shouldn't be scenes that would emit ooohs and aaahs from the Fangoria jetset. Like Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan", the level of gore is once again, envelope-pushing; and it's my assertion that nobody needs to see the human flesh mangled in such horrifying detail. Watching the combat scenes in If the filmmaker's intent is to honor our dead, there probably shouldn't be scenes that would emit ooohs and aaahs from the Fangoria jetset. Like Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan", the level of gore is once again, envelope-pushing; and it's my assertion that nobody needs to see the human flesh mangled in such horrifying detail. Watching the combat scenes in "Flags of our Fathers" is a lot like the truth about auto racing; some spectators are waiting for the carnage. Blood and guts aren't going to upstage Tom Hanks, but it does give a slightly lesser actor like Jesse Bradford (actually, he's pretty good here) a run for his money. But what the decapitated head and movable stomach doesn't upstage in this otherwise noble film is the highlighting of a less-enlightened and hopefully bygone era, in which minorities gave up their lives for a country that championed their institutionalized subjugation. Adam Beach, as the Indian stooge, is the heart and soul of this not wholly organized movie. Expand
  8. JoeM.
    Oct 24, 2006
    6
    The movie makes a unique point about heroism and has realistic war scenes. But, the movie looses its way in the middle with too many flashbacks. Better editing would have made a more concise and moving story.
  9. DW
    Nov 17, 2009
    4
    This is a decent war movie struggling to become a morality tale. However, the sole premise of the morality tale is that of the relatively minor consideration that WW2 was oversimplified, commercialised and somewhat romanticised for US civilians. How is this news? Who cares if two flags were put up instead of one? The whole point of symbolism is that it cuts away the extraneous. Flags of This is a decent war movie struggling to become a morality tale. However, the sole premise of the morality tale is that of the relatively minor consideration that WW2 was oversimplified, commercialised and somewhat romanticised for US civilians. How is this news? Who cares if two flags were put up instead of one? The whole point of symbolism is that it cuts away the extraneous. Flags of Our Fathers wallows in the extraneous (which it itself attempts to symbolise). Moreover, by this bizarre focus on the flag hoisting the movie degrades the actual battle for Iwo Jima, relegating it secondary to this non-event. Look at Letters From Iwo Jima instead. Oh - and if I hear one more 'hero' ranting because he can't stand all the praise he receives then I might just shoot him to relieve his agony. Expand
  10. NancyH.
    Oct 29, 2006
    6
    The movie was slow--and not enough character development. It took a while to figure out who was who--you'd think with all this time, it would be established earlier on. Ok, war is hell, and it's a business--but the movie kept making the point over and over again and neglected other aspects. I don't think there was enough material for a story hear. It was beautifully shot, though.
  11. MarkE.
    Oct 29, 2006
    4
    This is a great Movie that could have been. The editing was so bad that at one point I thought the projectionest had skipped a reel. What a shame. I wish it could be recut to better tell the story and get us involved with the characters before the die off.
  12. RobertX.
    Oct 30, 2006
    6
    I'm sorry, this film may pick up wonderously in the second half, but the opening 45 minutes was such a rehash of the all too familiar young men going into battle that I couldn't sit through any more....in other words, the setup was anything but.
  13. MichaelL.
    Nov 4, 2006
    5
    Not a great film. It suffers from "Eastwood-ism", it meanders and doesn't know where to end. Solid perfromances, a decent script, but nothing new or earth-shattering. And, uncomfortably, not as strong an anti-war message as it should have been. I felt Clint was silently cheering as the Japanese were obliterated. And the nuclear family cheerleading is getting a bit tiresome... no Not a great film. It suffers from "Eastwood-ism", it meanders and doesn't know where to end. Solid perfromances, a decent script, but nothing new or earth-shattering. And, uncomfortably, not as strong an anti-war message as it should have been. I felt Clint was silently cheering as the Japanese were obliterated. And the nuclear family cheerleading is getting a bit tiresome... no wonder: Spielberg was a producer. Expand
  14. JasonJ.
    Nov 29, 2006
    6
    The obvious benchmark in the genre is Saving Private Ryan and this movie fails in the most fundamental way in comparison. You do not care about the characters at all. I've never seen so much forced crying on screen. At the end of SPR, the characters were all developed so well that you cared about everyone... a great deal. Someone needs to make a good war epic about the war in the The obvious benchmark in the genre is Saving Private Ryan and this movie fails in the most fundamental way in comparison. You do not care about the characters at all. I've never seen so much forced crying on screen. At the end of SPR, the characters were all developed so well that you cared about everyone... a great deal. Someone needs to make a good war epic about the war in the pacific. Pearl Harbor was bad. Thin Red Line was mediocre. It's an open canvas. Expand
  15. Felix
    Jan 15, 2007
    5
    It may be a little disappointing, the war part is quite scarce and quick, and the political/social impact part is too long.
  16. Jan
    Feb 9, 2007
    4
    This Movie simply disppointed everyone I know who watched it. The Script maybe was good enough for 90 or maybe 100 Minutes. But they sadly decided to make a 130 Minute long sleeping pill out of it. Sad to waste so much potential in such a way. 4/10 from me.
  17. ClintD.
    Feb 18, 2007
    5
    Eastwood should stick to his tried & true formula of stories about flawed heroes. He's confused the viewer with a muddled picture of real, historic, heroes that suffered greatly subsequent to their sacrifice. In FOOF he presents a story, I believe, that criticizes & impugnes a generation that fought many economic, social and physical threats and looked to elevate men to hero status Eastwood should stick to his tried & true formula of stories about flawed heroes. He's confused the viewer with a muddled picture of real, historic, heroes that suffered greatly subsequent to their sacrifice. In FOOF he presents a story, I believe, that criticizes & impugnes a generation that fought many economic, social and physical threats and looked to elevate men to hero status because it was a time when we needed heroes. Certainly the nature of heroism has always been a subject of art; Eastwood has not presented anything new in FOOF. The story was presented in a very confusing manner with flashback/forwards, characters in multiple manifestations, underveloped characters, voiceovers, etc. Characters were shown in heroic conditions yet their heroic credentials, as presented in the plot, seemed to be questioned?...because they were promoted by government handlers?...they were the "2nd flag" raisers? I don't believe in contemporary history of the time there was any widespread question of the 2nd flag raising being an act staged. It's only contempory culture that would acuse our military of staged photo opps as in Iraq. We've become a culture that to an extent elevates the "anti-hero" and shuns the adoration or even comtemplation for our present day military heroes who sacrifice all for us....how many contemporary celebrations of heroic stories from the war on terror are there on CNN or other art forms? Maybe one day we'll return to a time when we respect heroic action and, if by chance, we apply some amount of myth to their accomplishments, then they are nevertheless appreciated. Expand
  18. uzie
    Jul 22, 2007
    5
    Long, boring, poorly acted. the war scenes were pretty but incredibly fake looking.
  19. Nov 5, 2012
    4
    Booring and soiling the American battle against their enemies during WW2. So what if there was a bit of propaganda going on. It was war for Christ sake. Thsi was a completely unnecessary movie.
  20. Apr 2, 2013
    6
    It was a very interesting movie to watch. It's not a style I generally enjoy but I appreciate the movie as it is. I think it's important to watch movies like this to get a better understanding of the world wars. It shows the brutality of war along with all the other elements that go along with the time period. Clint Eastwood did a good job and this movie is worth watching.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers does a most difficult and brave thing and does it brilliantly. It is a movie about a concept. Not just any concept but the shop-worn and often wrong-headed idea of "heroism."
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Ambitiously tackling his biggest canvas to date, Clint Eastwood continues to defy and triumph over the customary expectations for a film career in Flags of Our Fathers.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    An epic both raw and contemplative, is neither a flag-waving war movie nor a debunking.