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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

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The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Iris Yamashita (screenplay), Iris Yamashita (story) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,575 ( 142)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 23 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Watanabe ... General Kuribayashi
Kazunari Ninomiya ... Saigo
Tsuyoshi Ihara ... Baron Nishi
Ryo Kase ... Shimizu (as Ryô Kase)
Shidô Nakamura ... Lieutenant Ito (as Shidou Nakamura)
Hiroshi Watanabe ... Lieutenant Fujita
Takumi Bando Takumi Bando ... Captain Tanida
Yuki Matsuzaki ... Nozaki
Takashi Yamaguchi ... Kashiwara
Eijiro Ozaki ... Lieutenant Okubo
Nae ... Hanako
Nobumasa Sakagami Nobumasa Sakagami ... Admiral Ohsugi
Lucas Elliot Eberl ... Sam (as Lucas Elliot)
Sonny Saito ... Medic Endo (as Sonny Seiichi Saito)
Steve Santa Sekiyoshi Steve Santa Sekiyoshi ... Kanda
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Storyline

The island of Iwo Jima stands between the American military force and the home islands of Japan. Therefore the Imperial Japanese Army is desperate to prevent it from falling into American hands and providing a launching point for an invasion of Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi is given command of the forces on the island and sets out to prepare for the imminent attack. General Kuribayashi, however, does not favor the rigid traditional approach recommended by his subordinates, and resentment and resistance fester among his staff. In the lower echelons, a young soldier, Saigo, a poor baker in civilian life, strives with his friends to survive the harsh regime of the Japanese army itself, all the while knowing that a fierce battle looms. When the American invasion begins, both Kuribayashi and Saigo find strength, honor, courage, and horrors beyond imagination. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Clint Eastwood, director of FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, the battle of Iwo Jima seen through the eyes of the Japanese soldiers. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

2 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Red Sun, Black Sand See more »

Filming Locations:

Iceland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$122,548, 24 December 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,756,082

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$68,673,228
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Sound Edting. See more »

Goofs

The bottle of Johnnie Walker appears to have a screw cap made of aluminum. At that time liquor bottles had a cork stopper. See more »

Quotes

General Tadamichi Kuribayashi: [Tadamichi turns up in time to stop Ito from beheading Saigo and Shimizu] I don't want you to kill my soldiers needlessly. Put down your sword. Put it down!
[Ito sheathes his katana and salutes]
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi: What's going on here?
Lieutenant Ito: These men ran from Suribachi.
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi: Lt. Ito, I gave the order that all survivors retreat to the north caves.
Lieutenant Ito: [embarrassed] I am very sorry, General. It's just... Suribachi... has fallen.
[...]
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Best Movies of 2006 (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Deeply Moving
22 January 2007 | by cloudspongeSee all my reviews

At the conclusion of the film a person behind me said, "Incredible," twice. Another person followed with, "A masterpiece." I would concur. Perhaps it isn't a perfect film but it is a movie with great impact. I find that it is a testament to the skill of Clint Eastwood as a director and Iris Yamashita as screenwriter that some of the scenes that had the greatest impact were of minor things—a letter read out loud, the way someone saluted, a tear, a song...

There were no clear cut heroes or villains beyond "war" itself. I'm reminded of that saying, "No one wins a war. One side simply loses more than the other." War diminishes us all. We must learn to turn our backs on such endeavors even if it means that the military/industrial death merchants take a cut in profits or that they truly learn to hammer swords into plow shares.

If the film were to depict the battle in a manner that was realistically experienced by the soldiers the film would be unbearable to any viewer. One must see the battle and history as a kind of allegorical backdrop to a story about the utter inhumanity and futility of war. As a film it had to illustrate the overall societal insanity of war through a human lens, and it did this in a deeply moving way.


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