Letters from Iwo Jima

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 298 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 23 out of 298

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User Reviews

  1. KarenL
    Mar 8, 2009
    5
    I was loving this movie. It was truly refreshing to see a crucial WWII battle from the Japanese point of view. In this film we see Japanese soldiers behaving both honorably and horribly. We see Japanese soldiers with a love for both honor and life. We also understand that so many suicides happened out of fear of their peers and officers. But then we see two American soldiers murder a pair I was loving this movie. It was truly refreshing to see a crucial WWII battle from the Japanese point of view. In this film we see Japanese soldiers behaving both honorably and horribly. We see Japanese soldiers with a love for both honor and life. We also understand that so many suicides happened out of fear of their peers and officers. But then we see two American soldiers murder a pair of the few Japanese soldiers who actually surrendered on Iwo Jima. This is a such a complete lie that it instantly ruined the film's and Eastwood's credibility for me. Read any accurate history about this conflict and you'll discover that Japanese soldiers who actually did surrender were astounded by the compassion of the Americans. They had been taught to expect the worse. Yes that was the Japanese propaganda given to their soldiers. But our very own filmmakers feel compelled to propagandize the brutality of America. It's sadly ironic that a country that provides a director the freedom to combat propaganda chooses his medium to propagandize himself. This was and should have been a great film. It dies, like so many of those who committed suicide on that island, in a lie. Expand
  2. TheSpoiler
    Mar 29, 2008
    4
    I
  3. Max
    Feb 12, 2007
    4
    As a piece of fiction this movie is just ok, but to try and interpret the enemy 60 years later is a stretch. I am a veteran and no matter what side you are on you are only thinking two things. 1) what are my orders and how do I achieve them? There is no time for contemplation because there is only time for action. If you take time you die. On December 7th the Japanese made a decision to As a piece of fiction this movie is just ok, but to try and interpret the enemy 60 years later is a stretch. I am a veteran and no matter what side you are on you are only thinking two things. 1) what are my orders and how do I achieve them? There is no time for contemplation because there is only time for action. If you take time you die. On December 7th the Japanese made a decision to attack us, it was not the other way around. I am sure thousands of innocent fathers, husbands and lovers died because of the bad decision of a few but that was not our fault. We were attacked and 60 years ago this country was not scared to do what it takes to win. The mindset has changed over the decades and now 3,000 people in five years is cause for failure. How many people died at Iwo Jima? Guess . . . . of the 22,000 Japanese troops entrenched on the island, only 1,083 survived. The United States lost a total of 6,825 personnel in the battle for the island. Expand
  4. ToddW.
    Feb 20, 2007
    5
    I must admit to being more than a little apprehensive about seeing this movie as my family has emotional ties to that piece of volcanic rock in the Pacific Ocean. My uncle, a United States Marine, died in March of 1945 at the tender age of 22 of wounds sustained on that island. Although not expecting the intensity that is the first 15 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan," I must admit to I must admit to being more than a little apprehensive about seeing this movie as my family has emotional ties to that piece of volcanic rock in the Pacific Ocean. My uncle, a United States Marine, died in March of 1945 at the tender age of 22 of wounds sustained on that island. Although not expecting the intensity that is the first 15 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan," I must admit to being more than a little taken aback at the lack of horror and pathos that that invasion engendered in the DVD I saw last weekend. Instead, the entire movie seemed to focus around Native American Marine Ira Hayes and his experience on and after Iwo as a flag raiser in that historic second photograph, which ultimately led to his alcoholism and untimely demise. While that flag raising was important, and its politcal ramifications are undeniable, entire movies have been structured around the premise of our invasions of foreign soil. Witness "The Longest Day." Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Guam, Guadalcanal, etc. set the stages for some of the most vicious fighting of World War II, and news photography of those battles horrified our nation, yet they seem to have been relegated to being historical footnotes to the political ramifications of jingoistic symbolism of which some of these battles gave rise to. My uncle died far before his time for much more than that, I trust. If you really want to spare the easy political statement of "Flags..." in this time of true heroism, and make a stirring war movie in the process, Clint, how about a take on William Manchester's "Goodbye Darkness?" Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Feb 4, 2007
    6
    this movie was all right, but the first 15-30 mins. were really boring.
  6. JurgenM.
    Jan 19, 2007
    6
    It's OK, I guess, but so much of the characters and dialogue are stilted that were the film in English I doubt it would be getting so much praise. And do we really need another film about WWII even if it is from the point of view to humanize the "enemy"? Why in the midst of a very questionable invasion/occupation of Iraq are we still seeing so many films about the only "just" war of It's OK, I guess, but so much of the characters and dialogue are stilted that were the film in English I doubt it would be getting so much praise. And do we really need another film about WWII even if it is from the point of view to humanize the "enemy"? Why in the midst of a very questionable invasion/occupation of Iraq are we still seeing so many films about the only "just" war of the 20th Century? Expand
  7. DaleM
    Jan 22, 2007
    4
    This movie is not gripping unless you are some kind of history buff. It is actually rather boring. The dialogue is stiff. The characters are caricatures and I found it difficult to feel emotionally for them, even though I knew that the idea of the film was too feel for these people. The Japanese cultural trait of suicide and killing your own brothers in arms is played up in the film inThis movie is not gripping unless you are some kind of history buff. It is actually rather boring. The dialogue is stiff. The characters are caricatures and I found it difficult to feel emotionally for them, even though I knew that the idea of the film was too feel for these people. The Japanese cultural trait of suicide and killing your own brothers in arms is played up in the film in a way that you come away thinking how different of culture Japan must have had than us in WW II. From the way it is presented, you wonder how the battle lasted any time at all since after about 5 minutes of battle in the film, the Japanese seem pretty intent on just killing themselves. This leads me to believe that some re-writing of history must have gone on here. The whole metaphor about letters seems added on rather than really organic to the film. At some level of ideas, perhaps this films works, but, on an emotional level, it just doesn't work very well. Expand
  8. JimJ.
    Feb 3, 2007
    4
    "Letters" is a C or C+ movie...at best. It is also critically flawed. No doubt, .U.S. troops on rare occasion murdered prisoners. Most often, however, U.S. troops treated their prisoners humanely. No doubt, Japanese troops were humane towards their prisoners. Most often, however, Japanese troops were barbarous in their treatment of prisoners. " Letters" shows one instance of humane "Letters" is a C or C+ movie...at best. It is also critically flawed. No doubt, .U.S. troops on rare occasion murdered prisoners. Most often, however, U.S. troops treated their prisoners humanely. No doubt, Japanese troops were humane towards their prisoners. Most often, however, Japanese troops were barbarous in their treatment of prisoners. " Letters" shows one instance of humane treatment of a prisoner by Japanese troops and one instance of barbarous prisoner treatment by U.S. troops. "Letter" ignores historical fact and is nothing more than an anti-USA, anti-U.S. military piece of propaganda. "Flags of Our Fathers" was 10 times the movie, but couldn't receive its just due because the USA won. What tripe! Expand
  9. BillyS.
    Feb 5, 2007
    6
    When I saw Flags of our Fathers back in October I rated it a generous 7 points and said it was simply a good war movie but because it was a Clint Eastwood film the critics would hail it as a classic. Well, the critics instead reserved their praise for Letters From Iwo Jima and the Academy, as I expected, nominated it for Best Picture and Director, which persuaded me take a chance and see When I saw Flags of our Fathers back in October I rated it a generous 7 points and said it was simply a good war movie but because it was a Clint Eastwood film the critics would hail it as a classic. Well, the critics instead reserved their praise for Letters From Iwo Jima and the Academy, as I expected, nominated it for Best Picture and Director, which persuaded me take a chance and see it. It turns out I was right the first time but it applies even more to Letters. Just because it's in Japanese and it's told from their point of view, it's still just a typical war movie filled with American war-movie cliches and melodramatic set pieces that we've seen in every war movie ever made. BUT, it is a film by Clint Eastwood and therfore it's a masterpiece. An anti-war film that is universal about soldiers stuck in a hopeless battle in a war they started with no way out. Sound familiar. Expand
  10. PatC.
    Jun 26, 2007
    6
    A commendable intelligent movie on many levels. Unfortunately it so fastidiously portrays the Japanese perspective at the expense of continuity that it makes being Japanese seem boring.
  11. EmilyM.
    Feb 23, 2007
    6
    There can be no doubt that Clint Eastwood is a master of genre. Or, more specifically, that he has the ability to masterfully investigate and overturn the formula of a specific genre and end up with something that is compelling, intelligent, and original. Anyone who has seen "Unforgiven" knows this. It was this talent that I was looking for in both "Flags" and "Iwo Jima," but this talent There can be no doubt that Clint Eastwood is a master of genre. Or, more specifically, that he has the ability to masterfully investigate and overturn the formula of a specific genre and end up with something that is compelling, intelligent, and original. Anyone who has seen "Unforgiven" knows this. It was this talent that I was looking for in both "Flags" and "Iwo Jima," but this talent was, unfortunately, nowhere to be found. While "Iwo Jima" was not nearly the muddled mess that is "Flags," it is still ultimately a fairly regular, mundane, ok sort of war movie (albeit beautifully shot), where the characters are either hapless soldiers or vicious officers, who happen to be lead by a humane (and, not coincidentally, Americanized) general and a rebel officer who we audience members are meant to identify with. (This is not to say that Ken Watanabe isn Expand
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Now Eastwood turns on a dime and tackles not just his first war movie but two war movies of considerable scope and complexity. If he doesn't nail everything perfectly, he nevertheless has created a vivid memorial to the courage on both sides of this battle and created an awareness in the public consciousness at a most opportune moment about how war feels to those lost in its fog.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Taken together, "Flags" and "Letters" represent a genuinely imposing achievement, one that looks at war unflinchingly -- that does not deny its necessity but above all laments the human loss it entails.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    It's unprecedented, a sorrowful and savagely beautiful elegy that can stand in the company of the greatest antiwar movies.