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Windtalkers

3.6 out of 5 stars 581 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

During WWII, two U.S. Marines are assigned to protect two Navajo Marines code talkers. These men know a secret radio code that is much valuable than their individual lives.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Peter Stormare, Noah Emmerich, Mark Ruffalo
  • Directors: John Woo
  • Writers: Joe Batteer, John Rice
  • Producers: Alison R. Rosenzweig, Arthur Anderson, C.O. Erickson, Caroline Macaulay, John J. Smith
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (581 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JK8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,478 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Windtalkers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Windtalkers is the story of two American soldiers (one played by Christian Slater, the other played by Nic Cage) who are assigned to protect two Navajo soldiers who work as windtalkers, transmitting messages past Japanese codebreakers using their code based on Navajo language.
Yes, there's a lot of violence. Yes, it's grim. The bodyguards, Cage and Slater, are instructed to kill the windtalkers rather than let them fall into enemy hands.
This is a big war movie, not quite on the scale of Saving Private Ryan, but somewhere between something that grand and magnificent and, say, Behind Enemy Lines. Cage and Slater do a good job with their parts, which aren't very fully fleshed out characters.
Woo's direction used to be so over-the-top and artsy... the fight scenes used to be like cartoons, with bad guy and good guy blazing away at each other with two pistols... the most violent scenes were often preceded by or accompanying flocks of birds taking to flight, and bullet-riddled bodies always seem to pirouet in slow motion before they fall down dead. Woo has left a lot of the old personal director's style out of this one, actually. There ARE a lot of bullets, and a lot of the fighting scenes are very unrealistic (true to old Woo there), and there is one scene very reminiscent of old John Woo, where a butterfly floats gracefully above a river then suddenly a bloody body falls into that river, destroying the gorgeous image, juxtaposing a graceful natural image with a gory violent one, etc.
ANYWAY, mostly this is a shoot 'em up war movie, and the old John Woo style is MOSTLY absent.
The story has that one feature going for it, the protection of the Navajo codetalkers, but otherwise it's a very standard war movie, in terms of plot.
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As a nephew of a Navajo Code Talker, I would like to express my thoughts on WINDTALKERS.

First of all, if the focus of a Navajo Code Talker movie is supposed to focus on the Navajo Code Talkers and their involvement in WWII, why is the movie centered around Nicolas Cage's character while Adam Beach and Roger Willie play supporting roles?

Second, since a lot of folks are not informed about this part of WWII history, wouldn't it have been a much better movie if they showed the origin of the Code Talkers before they faced the horrors of war in the Pacific Theatre?

My uncle stood proud among the surviving Code Talkers as they were recently honored for their service in the Pacific. (note: at the beginning of the movie, he is the elder in the hat that talks to Yahzzie before he gets on the bus. He also served as technical consultant.) I'm sure after seeing the movie and having survived WWII, I doubt he enjoyed seeing the Code Talkers' back-burner depiction in the film.

Nice "action" movie, though.
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From mid-1942 to the end of the Pacific war, approximately 400 Navajo Indians served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units as "code talkers". Their job was to transmit military traffic by radio and telephone in their native language. It was a code the Japanese never cracked. This is the inner kernel of the script for WINDTALKERS.
Nicolas Cage plays Sgt. Joe Enders. He's already demonstrated his ability to follow orders. In the Solomon Islands campaign, his unit fought to the last man - Enders himself - to defend some piece of scummy swamp. After recovering from injuries, Joe is assigned as guardian to a newly enlisted Navajo, Pvt. Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach), who's a rookie radioman in a Marine recon outfit that's part of the assault on Saipan. Joe's orders are to protect the Navajo code "at all costs", which means, in effect, that Enders must be ready to kill Yahzee rather than allow the latter to be captured by the enemy.
Director John Woo has buried the nugget of a pretty good story in so many dead bodies and special effects that it's virtually lost to view. Woo must have been trying to outdo WE WERE SOLDIERS and BLACK HAWK DOWN in body count. Even when the beleaguered Marines discover they're almost out of ammo, they still manage to mow down the onrushing Japanese in scores. Joe Enders himself, suffering the guilt and rage from being the only survivor of his former Solomon Islands unit, is a one man killing machine seemingly capable of storming Tokyo single-handed. The hapless Ben finds himself put in harm's way as he's forced to trail along after his minder and watch the carnage. The combat action isn't even always plausible.
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Format: DVD
Synopsis: In the Pacific theatre in World War II, the U.S. armed services developed a secure radio code based on the Navajo language. Navajo servicemen recruited as radio operators, or "codetalkers," were assigned guards to protect them and the vital code they carried - or kill them if they were in imminent danger of capture by the Japanese. Windtalkers tells the story of Marine codetalker (Adam Beach) and the sergeant assigned to guard him (Nicholas Cage) as they participate in the invasion of Saipan. It also follows a similar relationship between another codetalker (Roger Willie) and his protector (Christian Slater).
Joe Enders is a guy with a lot on his mind. First, there is the guilt. As a corporal in the Solomon Islands invasion, Enders abruptly inherited a small unit command when both his superiors were killed - and then just as quickly lost all his men in a Japanese counterattack. The lone survivor of the attack, he is sent to a naval hospital in Hawaii to recuperate, but he conceals a painful injury in order to return to combat. Instead of being allowed to return to the front lines, Joe is assigned to protect a wet-behind-the-ears codetalker named Ben Yahzee. Already traumatized by failing to save his old unit, Joe is in no mood to make friends with Ben, knowing that he might someday be forced to kill him in order to protect the code he carries. You know just where this movie is going.
There's a point somewhere in Windtalkers when the viewer begins to ask questions. And that's not a good thing. Like, with about a bazillion Marines on Saipan, how come there aren't any officers? You've got a gunnery sergeant (Peter Stormare) running what appears to be about a battalion of guys. No knock on sergeants, but I don't think that's the way it's supposed to work, even in the Marine Corps.
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