Flags of Our Fathers

Critics Consensus

Flags of Our Fathers is both a fascinating look at heroism, both earned and manufactured, and a well-filmed salute to the men who fought at the battle of Iwo Jima.



Total Count: 196


Audience Score

User Ratings: 267,920
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Movie Info

Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the non-fiction book Flags of Our Fathers concerns the lives of the men in the famous picture of soldiers raising the American flag over Iwo Jima during that historic WWII battle. Battle scenes are intercut with footage of three of the soldiers - played by Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, and Adam Beach -- who survived the battle going on a goodwill tour of the United States in order to sell war bonds. Many evening they are forced to reenact their famous pose, something each of them finds more and more difficult to do as they suffer from survivor's guilt. Eastwood frames the story by having one of the men's grown son (Tom McCarthy) interview his father's old comrades in order to find out more about what happened to his father. Eastwood followed this film with Letters from Iwo Jima, a second film about the battle of Iwo Jima, but told from the Japanese perspective. Flags of Our Fathers was produced by Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi


Ryan Phillippe
as John Bradley
Jesse Bradford
as Rene Gagnon
Adam Beach
as Ira Hayes
John Slattery
as Bud Gerber
Barry Pepper
as Mike Strank
Jamie Bell
as Ralph Ignatowski
Paul Walker
as Hank Hansen
Robert Patrick
as Col. Chandler Johnson
Judith Ivey
as Belle Block
Neal McDonough
as Capt. Severance
Melanie Lynskey
as Pauline Harnois
Tom McCarthy
as James Bradley
Chris Bauer
as Commandant Vandergrift
Myra Turley
as Madeline Evelley
Joseph Cross
as Franklin Sousley
Benjamin Walker
as Harlon Block
Scott Eastwood
as Lundsford
George Grizzard
as John Bradley
Harve Presnell
as Dave Severance
George Hearn
as Walter Gust
Len Cariou
as Mr. Beech
Bubba Lewis
as Belle's Young Son
Beth Grant
as Mother Gagnon
Connie Ray
as Mrs. Sousley
Ann Dowd
as Mrs. Strank
Mary Beth Peil
as Mrs. Bradley
David Patrick Kelly
as President Harry S.Truman
Jon Polito
as Borough President
Ned Eisenberg
as Joe Rosenthal
Gordon Clapp
as General `Howlin' Mad' Smith
V.J. Foster
as Major on Plane
Michael Cumpsty
as Secretary Forrestal
Kirk B.R. Woller
as Bill Genaust
Tom Verica
as Lieutenant Pennel
Jason Gray-Stanford
as Lieutenant Schrier
Matt Huffman
as Lieutenant Wells
David Hornsby
as Louis Lowery
Brian Kimmet
as Sergeant `Boots' Thomas
David Rasche
as Senator
Tom Mason
as John Tennack
Patrick Dollaghan
as Businessman
Lennie Loftin
as Justice of the Peace
James Newman
as Local Politician
Mark Thomason
as Military Censor
Oliver Davis
as Young James Bradley
Lisa Dodson
as Iggy's Mother
John Nielsen
as Senator Boyd
Jon Kellam
as Senator Haddigan
Ron Fassler
as Senator Robson
Nevin Millan
as American Indian Congress Member
Denise Bella
as Luncheon Singer
as Luncheon Singer
Jenifer Menedis
as Luncheon Singer
Joie Shettler
as Luncheon Singer
Vivien Lesiak
as Luncheon Singer
Donn Emerson
as Navy Lieutenant on Plane
Jayma Mays
as Nurse in Hawaii
Yukari Black
as Tokyo Rose
John Hoogenakker
as Funeral Home Employee
Barry Sigismonde
as Police Sergeant
Beth Tapper
as Bar Car Beauty
Shannon Gayle
as Bar Car Beauty
Jim Cantafio
as Reporter in L.A.
Mark Colson
as Reporter in L.A.
Danny McCarthy
as Reporter in Chicago
Patrick New
as Reporter in Chicago
James Horan
as Reporter in NYC
Michael Canavan
as Reporter at Hansen's
Erica Grant
as Secretary
George Cambio
as Lab Tech
David S. Brooks
as Sergeant A. Company
Johann Johannson
as Sergeant on Beach
Martin Delaney
as Marine at Cave
Daniel Forcey
as Marine on Beach
Darrin Ingolfsson
as Wounded Marine
Hilmar Gudjonsson
as Wounded Marine 4
Jeremy Merrill
as Marine in Shellhole
Jeremiah Bitsui
as Young Indian
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Critic Reviews for Flags of Our Fathers

All Critics (196) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (143) | Rotten (53)

Audience Reviews for Flags of Our Fathers

  • Nov 20, 2016
    Less focused on battle and more on the psychological trauma that war has on the average person. This is a war movie that makes you question what a hero really is. Filmed incredibly well, Clint Eastwood's portrayal of Iwo Jima is saturated and depressing, much like the mindset's of the people who partook in the battle. The stand-out character is Ira Hayes, one of the men hailed as a hero simply for raising an American flag on the top of the island's mountain. It's a tragic story, but it's done so well. Clint Eastwood never disappoints.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2012
    The men who raised the flag over Mount Suribachi become part of the War Department's propaganda machine and are labeled heroes, much to their chagrin. I have mixed feelings about this film. On the one hand, the concentration on using these soldiers' fame for the war effort is a unique and insightful way of telling this story. And Clint Eastwood's direction is superb, able to film battle sequences with a realism similar to <i>Saving Private Ryan</i> and to linger on disturbing images just long enough. On the other hand, the film attempts to problematize the concept of heroism in war. The film's thesis is that the American public thought these men were symbols of American excellence - a reason to be proud of their country - but the men were too tortured by what they saw and did to find the label fitting. They claim that the true heroes were those who didn't survive and that they were just doing their jobs, fighting not for the country but for the man next to them. What bothers me is that this definition of heroism isn't new, and where the film seeks to problematize heroism, it inevitably retraces ground already covered by other films. Even <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i> offers a similar thesis. What is even more to the point is that Eastwood includes several scenes of intense battle sequences that display these men in the roles of traditional heroes. Thus, I think, the film ends up reproducing the stereotypes it attempts to complicate. Overall, I think there are many good elements to <i>Flags of Our Fathers</I>, and I learned something about WWII, but I don't think the film accomplishes all it set out to do.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    A true masterpiece this was. Flags of Our Fathers was nothing more than terrific. There were moments when we smiled, teared up, and were in shock. The war scenes were detailed and realistic. And the story was a true work of genius, I loved it. True, the movie was confusing at times but in the need it pulls through. A truly genius film.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2011
    5 years ago, Clint Eastwood was 76 years old and he was still making awesome movies. Of course, this isn't all action. This is a genuinely touching, beautiful work of art, but but its flaws remain quite notable. The film suffers from some lack of development, some abrupt scene changes and inconsistent narrative usage. I also had a problem with how the performances faulted on occasion. The performances are otherwise excellent, - as we'll discuss later - but there are offputting moments in the acting. Of course, that's not the only faulty element in the film. Most of the visual effects are rock solid. However, there are major points - particularly during the battle sequences - where the visual effects are offputting and actually take you out of the film. Perhaps the visual effects were unconvincing because they didn't fit into the cinematography, which is so vivid and distinctive. Still, that's just one flaw in the cinematography. Outside of that, this is a truly stunningly handsome film, but lord knows that that's not the film's only strength. The film is supported by good dialogue, excellent production designs, mostly good effects, good action sequences, mostly solid acting and a fine ending. Still, it all falls back to the absolutely stunning cinematography. The most outstanding thing in this has to be the cinematography, which is boderline groundbreaking. I say "borderline" because it's not that much different from the cinematography in "Saving Private Ryan". However, the lighting in here is moderately, but still notably brighter. This allows the film to still retain the dark, grittiness of war, but still keep the film more hopeful. This sharply simulates the mood of the battlefield in a very impacting, but still respectful way. Still, whether you're focusing on the story the cinematography tells or not, there's no denying that that this a truly beautiful film. Man, what a forced deep review, but at least it's not redundnat. But that's beside the point. Overall, "Flags of Our Fathers" certainly has its flaws, but through it all, it is ultimately a fascinating, handsome and generally touching portrait on what it means to be a hero.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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