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Sands of Iwo Jima (Color Version) [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara, Forrest Tucker, Wally Cassell
  • Directors: Allan Dwan
  • Writers: Harry Brown, James Edward Grant
  • Producers: Edmund Grainger
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: June 22, 1995
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300988473
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,948 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

John Wayne's old studio home, Republic, made this 1949 drama about the heroic capture of an important island in the Pacific by marines in World War II. Director Allan Dwan (Brewster's Millions), a pioneering filmmaker from the silent days of cinema who easily crossed over into sound, handles the action sequences like a consummate pro, while Wayne works hard as the tough sergeant molding new recruits into fighters. John Agar plays a contentious surrogate son to Wayne, though the relationship is hardly the stuff of Red River. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

The legendary gung-ho WWII combat film, stars John Wayne as the battle-hardened Sgt. Stryker, a role that would, perhaps more than any other, come to define the actor's iconography. As he begins to hammer an ethnically diverse group of recruits into combat-ready shape, they learn of his notorious toughness, and of the mystery surrounding his demotion. Stryker finds that Pete Conway (John Agar) the son of his late commanding officer, hated his father and hates Stryker for his likeness to the man. After Stryker and his unit have been fighting on Tarawa Atoll, Cpl. Al Thomas (Forrest Tucker) neglects his post, resulting in the death of one man and the wounding of another. While the squad listens to the moans of Bass (James Brown) the wounded man, Stryker, following orders to entrench, refuses to let anyone help him. Bass is rescued, and when he sees Stryker in Hawaii, tells him about Thomas' screw-up. Stryker and Thomas get into a fight which is stopped by a major, but Thomas accepts the blame, knowing Stryker's career could be destroyed, and begs his forgiveness for his dereliction of duty. The unit is ready to move on to its toughest challenge: Iwo Jima. Like nearly all films made during the period, it's hardly a paradigm of realism, but within its limits it remains a very well-made film, certainly one of Dwan's best. Wayne is perfect in the role which earned him his first Academy Award nomination and took his career to a new level.

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Customer Reviews

"War is trading lives for real estate."
Acute Observer
He is about the only great actor that could've done this great of a job with this movie.
Brian Hamm
Oh well you all know what this film is.
J. Carey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"The Sands of Iwo Jima" is arguably one of the greatest recruiting tools the US Marine Corps has ever had, and the image of John Wayne as tough as nails Sergeant John M. Stryker can still be seen throughout the fleet. Yet Sergeant Stryker is a flawed man: a lousy husband, a negligent father, and a near alcoholic who has already been busted in rank. His men hate him, and he doesn't care. His fate is nothing heroic. Sergeant Stryker is certainly a brave man, an able squad leader, and fine Marine, but he is not portrayed as John Rambo. John Wayne turns what could have been a cartoon character into something human and understandable.
The movie has its flaws: weak supporting characters and a pointless romance. Yet, in its day, its battle scenes were praised for their realism. Despite the bashing John Wayne received recently for his WWII films glorifying war, "The Sands of Iwo Jima is still one of the finest war movies ever made. Yes, there is blatant flag-waving, but how can you have a movie about Iwo Jima without the raising of the flag on Suribachi? Not only does this movie recreate that epic moment, but actually got the three surviving men, who did the real flag rising, to recreate it for the movie.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 10, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"Sands of Iwo Jima" was the first movie I ever saw in which John Wayne played a character who actually died, which was certainly one of the more shocking deaths I can remember ever seeing in a film. Wayne plays Sgt. John Marion Stryker and since Wayne's real name was Marion Michael Morrison there seems to be an additional level of identification between actor and character here, while the power of the name "Stryker" is obvious. Stryker seems a bully to the green recruits he is training to be U.S. Marines in 1943. When the men of the rifle squad learn that Stryker's wife had taken their son and left him they think they know the reason why the man who was once the epitome of the tough Marine has become such a martinet.

Of course when Stryker and his men hit the beach at Tarawa and are fighting for their lives against the Japanese troops defending the island, they understand that his hard lessons are the difference being life and death in combat. Then comes the last hard nut to crack of the islands occupied by the Japanese, the volcanic island of Iwo Jima. As the officer briefing the troops says, "nobody knows exactly what they've got on this island, but they've had forty years to put it there." Director Allan Dwan takes advantage of actual combat footage from the documentaries "With the Marines at Tarawa" and "To the Shores of Iwo Jima" to provide an added dimension of realism to the battle sequences. The reenactment of the flag raising on Iwo Jima involved Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and John Bradley, the only three Marines in the celebrated photograph who survived the battle.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John A. Kuczma on January 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It is difficult to decide if the Duke is at his best in westerns or war pictures, but the Sands of Iwo Jima is Wayne at his hard-hitting, flag waving best.
The story follows U.S. Marine Corps sergeant John Stryker from a stint as a boot-pusher through the brutal battle on the slopes of Mount Suribachi. The troops include everything you'd expect in a World War II movie; the smart-mouthed, know-it-all rich kid; a street-wise hispanic kid from a tough neighborhood; a pleasure-loving goof off and just about every other stereotype of the American fighting man you can dream up. Of course, the Duke is there to guide them with just the right combination of verbal wisdom and right-crosses. There's even a healthy serving of sentimentality to round out the tour of cliches.
Nonetheless, the Sands of Iwo Jima rises above its predictability to be a solidly entertaining action film and a rousing tribute to the tenacity, sense of self-sacrifice and fighting spirit of the Marine Corps. Despite its rampant and obvious emotionalism, you can't help but feel a lump in your throat as The Shores of Tripoli is played to segue from the final scenes into the closing credits.
Like most Wayne pictures, the emphasis here is on the action, and the movie provides plenty of it, mixing actual combat footage, stock film and original cinematography into a tightly knit, effective product.
This may not be the best picture John Wayne ever made, but it's way up the list. Highly recommended for anyone who loves action films, Mom, the Flag and Apple Pie, or the Duke himself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on May 29, 2007
Format: DVD
Sergeant Stryker (John Wayne) must prepare his men for combat. He does! He subjects his men to rough bayonet drills and other forms of combat.

Many modern war movies are sanitized of the realities of war. Not this one! There are numerous scenes of soldiers suffering and dying. There is a scene where a Jewish soldier says his last prayers in Hebrew. There is no happy ending for Sergeant Stryker himself.

The viewer sees the progression of the US island-hopping campaign. The islands of Tarawa and Iwo Jima are seized from the Japanese. In each case, there first is the "softening" of Japanese positions by massive bombing by airplanes and shelling from battleships. Then comes the invasion by amphibious craft. The US soldiers are under constant fire. They must crawl from one hiding place to another in their advance against Japanese positions. The Japanese have a habit of jumping out of their hiding places in caves and attacking unsuspecting Americans from behind. The entrenched Japanese have to be driven out by bazookas and flame throwers. Some of the latter are hand-held, whereas others are tank-mounted. Old-fashioned field phones are used for communication.

This old movie includes actual combat footage!
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