Windtalkers (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Windtalkers (2002)



Critic Consensus: The action sequences are expertly staged. Windtalkers, however, sinks under too many clichés and only superficially touches upon the story of the code talkers.

Movie Info

Loosely based on a real-life operation during World War II, this action-adventure from director John Woo stars Nicolas Cage as Joe Enders, a Marine traumatized by the loss of his entire platoon in the Solomon Islands during an ambush he believes was deadlier than necessary due to his indecision. Suffering from eardrum damage in Hawaii, Joe manages to be declared fit for duty once again thanks to a sympathetic nurse (Frances O'Connor), but his new assignment isn't what he expects. Joe is ordered to safeguard a Navajo soldier named Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach) because the military has developed a new secret code based on the near-dead Navajo language that is proving unbreakable to the Japanese. Any soldier that speaks Navajo is an immediate asset, including Ben and his pal, Charlie Whitehorse (Roger Willie). Joe's orders are to "baby sit" Ben during the invasion of Saipan, protecting him if possible, but -- if the code-talker's capture becomes imminent -- to kill him before he falls into enemy hands. Meanwhile, Charlie is to be guarded by affable harmonica player Ox Henderson (Christian Slater). Joe reluctantly accepts this new duty as a way to get back into the war, and in the ensuing carnage, his nearly suicidal acts of bravery make him a hero while Ben becomes paralyzed by fear. Determined to live up to Joe's example, Ben musters up his courage, even in the face of racism from a fellow soldier (Noah Emmerich), and ends up rescuing his own protector behind enemy lines by briefly posing as a Japanese soldier. Despite their growing mutual respect, Joe is eventually forced to take an action that threatens to shatter his bond with Ben, as the war's tragic losses strike closer to home for both men. Windtalkers co-stars Peter Stormare, Jason Isaacs, and Mark Ruffalo.more
Rating: R (for pervasive graphic war violence, and for language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Joe Batteer, John Rice
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 15, 2002
Box Office: $40.5M
MGM/UA - Official Site


Nicolas Cage
as Joe Enders
Adam Beach
as Ben Yahzee
Peter Stormare
as Hjelmstad
Christian Slater
as Ox Henderson
Roger Willie
as Charlie Whitehorse
Jason Isaacs
as Maj. Mellitz
Billy Morts
as Fortino
Cameron Thor
as Mertens
Kevin Cooney
as Ear Doctor
Holmes Osborne
as Col. Hollings
Scott Atkinson
as Camp Tarawa Staff Se...
Albert Smith
as Navajo Man
James Dever
as Field Hospital Colon...
Vincent Whipple
as Navajo Instructor
Jim Morse
as Marine Recruit
Chris Devlin
as Sgt. Code Instructor
Jeff Davis
as Tech Sgt.
Glen Begay
as Radio Codetalker
Ross Lasi Tanoai
as Eddie the Bartender
Brian Kasai
as Japanese Intelligenc...
Hiroshi 'Rosh' Mori
as Japanese Radio Opera...
John Takeshi Ichikaw...
as Japanese Bunker Comm...
Christopher T. Yamam...
as Japanese Bunker Gunn...
Marc McClellan
as Marine Artillery Com...
Steve Tanizaki
as Japanese Artillery C...
Malcolm Dohl
as Battleship Codetalke...
Darrel Guilbeau
as Battleship Petty Off...
Aaron Yamagata
as Tanapag Boy
Victoria Chen
as Tanapag Mother
Jon Michael Souza
as N.C.O. Officer
Carissa Jung
as Tanapag Girl
Wataru Yoshida
as Japanese Artillery
Junya Oishi
as Japanese Artillery S...
Jiro Koga
as Japanese Artillery G...
Tina Leialoha Gube
as Hula Dancer
Alewa T. Olotoa
as Hula Dancer
Llima Pumphrey
as Hula Dancer
Lena Savaiinaea
as Hula Dancer
Kaliko Scott
as Hula Dancer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Windtalkers

Critic Reviews for Windtalkers

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (41)

The energy and conviction of the action sequences don't quite compensate for Windtalkers' emotional cliches and historical heedlessness.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A powerful premise turned into a stubbornly flat, derivative war movie.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008
Top Critic

The screenwriters struggle to integrate the coded transmissions with the action, and the flamboyant set piece battles feel like so much empty rhetoric.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The history is fascinating; the action is dazzling. They just don't work in concert.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

From the fluttering flags to James Horner's shamelessly manipulative music, this is more like a patriotic "Heritage Moment" than a film about actual people.

Full Review… | June 5, 2014

War film relies too much on relentless violence.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Windtalkers

An insult to Native Americans. In this film, you may find yourself rooting for the Imperial forces of Japan to kill Nicholas Cage and put an end to our suffering.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


worst WWII movie ever. Plus, the setting of WWII was already broken once Nicolas Cage came onscreen.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Windtalkers is by far one of the most innacurrate war films, I've seen in a long time. Nick Cage is very hit and miss, and Windtalkers is another miss for him. The plot is very bad, the actors, some good are wasted on this sorry excuse of a film. This is a terrible war film to avoid. This is a typical hollywood war film with really no research done, and it shows. A very bad film, with no elements in the story to make this a winner. This is a war film that will be remembered as a dud. Theres nothing interesting or good here. It's however a bad waste of time. Watch Letters From Iwo Jima instead.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Windtalkers Quotes

– Submitted by christopher y (3 years ago)

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