Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)


“You gotta learn right and you gotta learn fast. And any man that doesn’t want to cooperate, I’ll make him wish he had never been born. ” – Sgt. Stryker

Number of Times Seen – Twice (Cable in the 90’s and 6 Jun 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A platoon of marines are led by a gruff Sergeant while they try to fight for freedom in the Pacific during World War Two.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing more than twenty years ago and didn’t remember too much besides the somewhat ridiculous way that the characters are stereotyped throughout.

This film does an amazing job depicting the horrors of war especially at a time when films were much more limited in how graphic they can be when showing battle footage.

The decision to intersperse real battle footage into the action portrayed helps give the film more of a documentary feel to it which makes it feel even more realistic.

The cast is great but the standout is obviously John Wayne as the gruff Platoon sergeant who does all he can to train his men to survive in these hellish battles for small islands in the Pacific during World War II.

This was Wayne’s first Oscar nomination for Best Actor and I can understand why he was nominated, but he is still among the weakest of the nominees that year.

The characters are somewhat stereotypical and that takes away from some of the impact of it all because certain scenes feel more humorous than they really should just because of the way the characters are depicted.

The battle scenes are shot extremely well and given the restrictions at the time, they really give the viewer as realistic of a film as one could expect.

There is no question from the way battle is shown here that War truly IS Hell  especially when the characters were required to try and stay alive while at the same time keep their wits about them due to everything else going on around them.

Bottom Line – Great depiction of war especially for the time it was made. The use of real footage from the battles depicted helps give us more of a documentary feel to the whole thing.  The cast is great with Wayne obviously being the standout among them all. The characters are slightly stereotypical which takes away somewhat from the impact of certain scenes.  The battle scenes are done really well and we get a clear picture of the horrors of war and how difficult it must have been during these battles to both keep your wits and trying to stay alive. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In one scene, combat veteran Sgt. Stryker (John Wayne) instructs bumbling recruit Pvt. Choynski (Hal Baylor) on the correct way to march and hold a rifle. In real life Baylor was a Marine combat veteran who fought in the battles of Saipan and Tinian in WW II. Wayne never spent any time in the military. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

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5 thoughts on “Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

  1. One of only 2 Oscar nominations in Wayne’s career (he won for the 2nd – TRUE GRIT) – also one of only 3 films in his career in which The Duke died on screen (the others were The Cowboys and his final film, The Shootist),

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1949 | MovieRob

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