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Letters from Iwo Jima [Blu-ray] (2007)

Tsuyoshi Ihara , Kazunari Ninomiya , Clint Eastwood  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 customer reviews)

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Letters from Iwo Jima [Blu-ray] + Flags of Our Fathers [Blu-ray] + The Pacific [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kazunari Ninomiya, Ken Watanabe
  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000O77RLE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,154 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Letters from Iwo Jima [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Red Sun, Black Sand: The Making of Letters from Iwo Jima
The Faces of War: The Cast of Letters from Iwo Jima
Images from the Frontlines: The Photography of Letters from Iwo Jima
World Premiere at Budo-kan in Tokyo
Press Conference at Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Editorial Reviews

Nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima tells the untold story of the Japanese soldiers who defended their homeland against invading American forces during World War II. With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima itself, the unprecedented tactics of General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai) and his men transform what was predicted to be a swift defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat. Their sacrifices, struggles, courage and compassion live on in the taut, gripping film Rolling Stone calls "unique and unforgettable." It is the powerful companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
232 of 250 people found the following review helpful
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Being a big Clint Eastwood fan, I attended "Flags of our Fathers" earlier this year expecting a monumental experience. Nothing could have surprised me more, however, with how disconnected I felt from that picture. It was a fascinating story and a nice tribute, but its awkward narrative framing and (more importantly) lack of genuine character development disappointed me. All I felt left with was a heavy-handed message with no real dramatic weight. I still looked forward to "Letters From Iwo Jima," however, intrigued by Eastwood's ambitions of portraying a Japanese perspective centered on the same event. Such a bold move makes me respect Eastwood even more. The film was rushed into release for the 2006 awards season when "Flags" failed to become a critical front-runner, and that decision seems to have paid off for the studio. Recognized by several major critic's groups, "Letters" also stands as a Best Picture candidate at the Academy awards.

Ironically, the aspect that left me unmoved with "Flags" is the strongest asset of "Letters"--and that is character development. Spending time with a handful of major characters, the film does a nice job fleshing them out in a real three-dimensional way. The film intimately examines their situation on Iwo Jima, the hopelessness, the strategizing. The interactions between the soldiers is well developed and genuine, and the incorporation of writing letters as a narrative device provides even more insight. We get to "hear" their thoughts and to explore their backstory. The moments that we step away from Iwo Jima in flashbacks are well integrated and provide a greater emotional context for their current situation.

As for plot, the film explores the American invasion of Iwo Jima.
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186 of 211 people found the following review helpful
This is a great movie, and a truly original one, although not for the reasons that have been previously offered up by movie critics and fans.

First off, although this movie does portray the Japanese side of the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima, it does not glorify their role in this movie, nor does it ignore the lessons of history served up by this battle. For the few critics of this movie who say that the Japanese soldiers got what they deserved, that the Japanese started WWII, and that this movie only brings in undeserved sympathy for those soldiers, I say, as an American and a reader of military history, perhaps, but look deeper into what this movie is REALLY saying.

Although American film critics have almost universally hailed this movie as an anti-war movie, this movie is in reality only an anti-bushido movie. The movie has been extremely popular in Japan, and I cannot but help think that its underlying messages serve only to work against the cause of the resurgent and revisionist right-wing nationalist elements in Japan today. As the samurai coda of bushido itself is also in resurgence in Japan today, this movie comes none too soon as an antidote.

The movie has two centers - one is on the fictional and very hapless ex-baker Saigo, who has been drafted into the Japanese Army as a common foot soldier; the other is the real-life portrayal of General Kuribayashi, the Japanese commander at Iwo Jima.

The movie makes clear how the rigid military discipline and samurai coda of bushido worked against the Japanese throughout the fight for Iwo Jima.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Comes in Three's March 12, 2007
Letters From Iwo Jima depicts the Japanese side of the battle on Mount Suribachi. The film is an attempt to portray the humanistic qualities of Japanese soldier, and not so much focus on the ravage combat scenes that occurred on the island but rather the activities inside the crevasses of the caves that the soldiers occupied at an attempt to maintain Japanese possession of Mount Suribachi. There are similar battle scenes that were shown during Flags of Our Fathers, but the emphasis is the soldiers.

Eastwood focuses on two of the characters, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) and a baker and young soldier, Saigo (Kaizunari Ninomayi), and parallels their lives and to the war experience. Through short conversations and long silences and interactions between Japanese soldiers and American soldiers, Eastwood is effective in conveying the Japanese perspective. Certain scenes may shock and disturb viewers who are not familiar with the events that coincided with what occurred during the Pacific War - a war heavily fought with psychological warfare and propaganda in mind. For example, as Japanese soldiers talk about American soldiers they too describe them as savage and inhumane. Where have we heard that before? They were depicted in propaganda cartoons, which spread racist and jingoist fervor within the minds of those who believed it. But what is interesting about this film as well as Flags of Our Fathers is that both raises questions about morality, sacrifice, and brutality among enemy combatants as well as concerns of human rights during times of war.

Bottom line, Letters From Iwo Jima is revisionist history, which revises one's perception of Japanese and American soldiers during World War II.
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well, at least he was right on the part "the Japanese at that time was merciless, cruel, inhuman and unremorseful". Just like the Nazi. It is a good thing that we won the war.
Nov 14, 2010 by James C |  See all 2 posts
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