• R, 2 hr. 22 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Clint Eastwood
    In Theaters:
    Dec 20, 2006 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 22, 2007
  • Warner Bros. Pictures

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Letters from Iwo Jima Reviews

Wally Hammond
Time Out
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An even more sombre affair, as beautifully restrained as the earlier film but also, despite its scenes of battle, death, suicide and suffering, shockingly intimate.

Full Review Source: Time Out

February 22, 2007
Stephen Garrett
Time Out New York
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The movie's sense of doom is powerfully conveyed; one graphic scene has weeping soldiers blowing themselves up with grenades.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/6

February 3, 2007
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
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Indirectly but cogently comment on our experiences of other movies. Having Japanese soldiers as heroes allows us to reconsider the didacticism we've been handed in the past.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Original Score: 4/4

January 27, 2007
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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The proper way to appreciate Letters and Flags is to treat them as complimentary halves of the same epic movie, a Godfather war epic. One half is plainly more ambitious than the other, but both have virtues that distinguish them.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 4/5

January 19, 2007
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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By placing us on the opposite side of the battlefield, the movie forces us to approach it from a fresh perspective. The technique also lends Letters an uncommon timelessness.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 19, 2007
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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Where Flags heaved its characters through war and psychic trauma without first allowing us all to get acquainted, Letters takes such care with its protagonists that they awaken and descend from the screen.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

January 19, 2007
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Eastwood is now 76, and Letters has the feel of a movie made by a man of experience. Almost stately in its tone, Letters reflects the wisdom of living; it's interested in observing how men behave when they know they can't win.

| Original Score: A

January 19, 2007
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Letters is a work of whetted craft and judgment, tempered by Eastwood's years of life, moviemaking and the potent tango of the two. It is the work of a mature filmmaker willing to entertain the true power of the cinema.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 19, 2007
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Humanizing our old adversaries doesn't erase their war crimes, and Eastwood doesn't whitewash the brutality of Japanese militarism. His point is that the Emperor's infantrymen were as much the victims of the Japanese war machine as the GIs they fought.

| Original Score: 4/4

January 13, 2007
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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Eloquent, bloody, and daringly simple, the movie examines notions of wartime glory as closely as Flags of Our Fathers dissected heroism.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Roger Ebert
RogerEbert.com
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In both his films, Eastwood empathizes with the 'expendable' soldier on the ground, the 'poor bastard' who is only a pawn in a war conceived by generals and politicians, some of whom have never come anywhere near a battlefield or a combat zone.

Full Review Source: RogerEbert.com | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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If Flags of Our Fathers is about heroism -- why we need it, how we create it -- then Letters From Iwo Jima is about honor, its importance, and its folly.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A

January 12, 2007
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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It skillfully avoids the usual war movie clichés while providing multiple points of entry.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Watanabe is appropriately noble and regal, if a bit stiff at times; but it is Ninomiya's grunt soldier who gives the film its soul. Alternately philosophical, humorous, terrified and crafty, he is everyman trying to survive hell.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B

January 12, 2007
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Though it could have gone in that direction, Eastwood's film isn't an existential endgame drama. He's still more rooted in Howard Hawks than Samuel Beckett and in many ways this is a conventional war drama.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

January 12, 2007
Gary Thompson
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Side by side, though, Eastwood's movies are a sobering marvel: the massive military effort, suffering and sacrifice, the extremes of human behavior that war produces.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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In washed-out tones of brown and khaki, mimicking the colors of the troops' uniforms (blood, used sparingly, is startlingly crimson, seeming to sear a hole in the screen), the film plays out in a mood of resignation and control.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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The unspoken message of the film is that war is a battle of competing symbols and ideologies that have no meaning. We create artificial divisions to hide the fact that we are all the same under the skin, with the same hopes, desires and fears.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 4/4

January 12, 2007
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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In the last half-hour, the story, like the Japanese, loses its way; lacking any clear-cut goals except survival, the film becomes repetitive. Letters From Iwo Jima is a necessary movie; too bad it's not a great movie.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

January 11, 2007
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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[This] absorbing and thoughtful take on the plight of the trapped, desperate and suicidal Japanese troops, outstrips its companion piece. That's not a statement on patriotism; it addresses the nature of Eastwood's approach and basic human nature.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

January 11, 2007
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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The subject, the technique and the maturity blend as one.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 4/4

January 11, 2007
David Denby
New Yorker
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The project lacks the variety of sensuous pleasures that a great movie has to provide.

January 8, 2007
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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This movie manages with great economy to show that soldiers on both sides had far more in common than they thought.

| Original Score: 3.5/4

December 22, 2006
Noel Murray
AV Club
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[Director] Eastwood [shows] how people make impossible choices with dreadful repercussions.

Full Review Source: AV Club | Original Score: B+

December 22, 2006
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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In its emotional simplicity and straightforward narrative punch, Letters also harks back to what was best about those war movies.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: A-

December 21, 2006
Scott Foundas
Village Voice
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Eastwood seems less concerned with provocation than with contemplation, of a popular military campaign and its supposed days of glory. The second film completes and deepens the first.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

December 20, 2006
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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It takes a filmmaker possessed of a rare, almost alchemic, blend of maturity, wisdom and artistic finesse to create such an intimate, moving and spare war film as Clint Eastwood has done.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 4/4

December 20, 2006
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Far superior to its companion piece, Letters is a grim and humane film that has to be counted among the director's better efforts.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

December 20, 2006
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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It is the second, and artistically superior, half of a single epic film that springs from a single, stunning act of compassionate imagination.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

December 20, 2006
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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Eastwood's second Iwo Jima film is far better than the first. Apart from some flashbacks to the commanding officer's cadet days, its unity of time and place gives it a powerful drive, and a tragic feeling of predestination.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

December 20, 2006
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Letters From Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwood's spare, poetic and remarkable companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers, is an engrossing and revealing look at that same World War II battle from the Japanese side.

| Original Score: 4/4

December 20, 2006
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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One of the better movies of this maddeningly overcrowded holiday season.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

December 20, 2006
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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Letters isn't about numbers or the battle or even the morality of war. It's about the sanctity of life and how we value our own.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/4

December 20, 2006
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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Eastwood is so busy humanizing Japanese soldiers that he ends up rewriting history.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

December 19, 2006
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
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This second picture is so different from the first, and such a rare, remarkable achievement in itself, it could have stood squarely on its own.

Full Review Source: Associated Press

December 19, 2006
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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Although Eastwood does an adequate job of developing the characters into more than paper-thin soldiers, this isn't a character-based piece, and that limits its effectiveness.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

December 19, 2006
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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Another masterwork from Clint Eastwood's astonishing late period, and one of the best war movies ever.

| Original Score: 5/5

December 19, 2006
John Anderson
Newsday
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Eastwood may not be a primarily political filmmaker, but his celebration of men fighting a lost war is timeless, as well as urgently topical.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 19, 2006
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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The laconic, pitiless way Eastwood shot the violence of battle underscores what a waste it all is, underlines the futility that so many have to die because of the misguided ideology of a few in leadership positions.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 5/5

December 19, 2006
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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It's fantastic. It's really worth seeing.

December 18, 2006
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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Too old for another Dirty Harry movie, Eastwood embraced the role of brooding, fatalistic American Master -- and, I'm bound to say, is finally beginning to wear it more convincingly.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

December 18, 2006
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Letters is quality from first frame to last, a war film that is almost a tone poem.

| Original Score: 4/4

December 15, 2006
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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It takes a filmmaker of uncommon control and mature grace to say so much with so little superfluous movement, and Eastwood triumphs in the challenge.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

December 13, 2006

TIME Magazine
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...A unique, bifocal view of ground war -- the men who fight it, the propaganda attending it, the awful way it ends.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

December 11, 2006
David Ansen
Newsweek
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Superbly acted, unblinking and unhysterical, it looks beyond politics into the hearts and minds of the men we needed to call 'the enemy,' and lets us see ourselves.

Full Review Source: Newsweek

December 11, 2006
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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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.

Full Review Source: Variety

December 7, 2006
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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While Flags is the broader, more entertaining film, if you will, Letters is, for want of a better expression, more art house.

December 7, 2006
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