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Paramount Studios

Flags of Our Fathers

Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood, taking a few pointers from producer Steven Spielberg, director of the critically-acclaimed film Saving Private Ryan, depicts the brutality of war and the cost of freedom in Flags of Our Fathers.

Starring Ryan Phillippe (John Bradley), Adam Beach (Ira Hayes) and Jesse Bradford (Rene Gagnon), the Warner Brothers and Dreamworks SKG picture, adapted from the best-selling James Bradley and Ron Powers novel, portrays a country on the brink of misery and despair as the Battle of Iwo Jima persevered in the Pacific February 1945.

Gory, gruesome and with no end in sight, Americans lost their sense of hope until Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.

Fueling and invigorating American patriotism, the photograph made the soldiers instant heroes. The three surviving members, who had no intention of redeeming their overnight celebrity, were shipped back home to become part of the administration’s public relations campaign to raise funds for government bonds. All the while, they had to hide a deep, dark secret that could potentially crush the American psyche: the original flag was taken down and a replacement was raised so that a news photograph could capture the image.

With their growing conscious and their sense of duty on the line, the soldiers learned that indeed the land was not exactly free and that home did not necessarily belong to the brave.

Thought-provoking and eye-opening, Flags of Our Fathers is a must-see for any history or war buff. For the Japanese perspective on the war, check out Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima, which is scheduled for release in 2007.

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