Sands of Iwo Jima (1950)

109-110 mins | Drama | 1 March 1950

Director:

Allan Dwan

Cinematographer:

Reggie Lanning

Production Designer:

James Sullivan

Production Company:

Republic Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The onscreen credits include a dedication to the U.S. Marine Corps and a historical note which states that "The first American flag was raised on Mount Suribachi by the late Sgt. Ernest I. Thomas, Jr., U.S.M.C. on the morning of February 23, 1945." According to a NYT news item, the United States Marine Corps approved the film's scenario. Appearing in the picture as themselves are Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith (Ret.), wartime commander of the Fifth Amphibious Corps; Capt. Harold Schrier, who led the platoon of Marines up the slopes of Suribachi; Lt. Col. H. P. Crowe, a battalion commander on Tarawa; and Col. David M. Shoup, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A LADN news item noted that nearly 2,000 Marines were used as extras in the making of the picture. According to a LAT news item, for the shots depicting the flag raising, Maj. Andrew Greer permitted Republic to use the actual Iwo Jima flag, which was housed at the Marine Museum at Quantico, VA. The sequence is based on newsreel footage taken of the flag raising, as well as Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, which appeared in the 26 Mar 1945 edition of Life . To take the photograph, Rosenthal asked that the participants re-enact the actual flag raising, which had occurred some hours previous. The flag raising is also depicted at the Marine Corps Memorial statue in Arlington, VA.
       The Var review noted that many of the film's battle sequences were made up of "footage taken at the actual fighting at Tarawa and Iwo Jima." NYT items indicated that ... More Less

The onscreen credits include a dedication to the U.S. Marine Corps and a historical note which states that "The first American flag was raised on Mount Suribachi by the late Sgt. Ernest I. Thomas, Jr., U.S.M.C. on the morning of February 23, 1945." According to a NYT news item, the United States Marine Corps approved the film's scenario. Appearing in the picture as themselves are Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith (Ret.), wartime commander of the Fifth Amphibious Corps; Capt. Harold Schrier, who led the platoon of Marines up the slopes of Suribachi; Lt. Col. H. P. Crowe, a battalion commander on Tarawa; and Col. David M. Shoup, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A LADN news item noted that nearly 2,000 Marines were used as extras in the making of the picture. According to a LAT news item, for the shots depicting the flag raising, Maj. Andrew Greer permitted Republic to use the actual Iwo Jima flag, which was housed at the Marine Museum at Quantico, VA. The sequence is based on newsreel footage taken of the flag raising, as well as Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, which appeared in the 26 Mar 1945 edition of Life . To take the photograph, Rosenthal asked that the participants re-enact the actual flag raising, which had occurred some hours previous. The flag raising is also depicted at the Marine Corps Memorial statue in Arlington, VA.
       The Var review noted that many of the film's battle sequences were made up of "footage taken at the actual fighting at Tarawa and Iwo Jima." NYT items indicated that filming took place at Camp Pendleton, Camp Del Mar and El Toro Marine Air Station in Southern California. A modern source notes that Wayne's footprints and handprints were placed at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in conjunction with the opening of the film there. Wayne received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for Sands of Iwo Jima . Other nominations included Richard L. Van Enger for Best Film Editing, Harry Brown for Best Writing (Motion Picture Story) and Republic Studios' Sound Department for Best Sound Recording. According to a 5 Feb 1950 NYT news item, Republic planned a sequel to the film, called Devil Birds , which was to star Wayne, but that picture was never made. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Dec 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 49
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 49
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 49
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
3 Aug 1949.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
28 Dec 1949.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
29 Dec 1949.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Dec 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Dec 49
p. 121.
New York Times
7 Aug 49
p. 1.
New York Times
31 Dec 49
p. 9.
New York Times
5 Feb 1950.
---
Variety
14 Dec 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Marine's Hymn," words anonymous, music based on a theme from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 March 1950
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco, CA: 14 December 1949
Los Angeles opening: 28 December 1949
Production Date:
early July--late August 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
16 December 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2757
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
109-110
Length(in feet):
9,845
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14111
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

At a New Zealand Marine base in 1943, Corporal Robert Dunne recounts his first tour of duty: Before Dunne and his friends, Italian-American Benny Regazzi, Greek-American George Hellenopolis, Polish-American "Ski" Choynski, Jewish-American Sid Stein, two Irish-American brothers named Flynn, and Dan Shipley and Charlie Bass, meet their battle-hardened commander, Sgt. Stryker, they learn of his infamous toughness and mysterious demotion. One morning early in the training period, Stryker discovers that Peter Conway, the son of his deceased former commanding officer, Col. Sam Conway, has joined his unit. Although Stryker attempts to bond with Pete over Sam's memory, Pete reveals that he hated his demanding father and also despises Stryker for his resemblance to the man. When the mail arrives later, Stryker is saddened to find no letter from his own son, of whom his wife took sole custody when she left him five years earlier. After finally receiving some leave time, Stryker's men decide to visit a dance hall. There Pete meets and falls in love with Allison Bromley and Stryker drinks to excess. A few days later, Stryker urges Pete not to become too attached to Allison and then sympathetically overhears him discussing his desire to procreate in the face of all the death around him. Only a day after Pete and Allison marry, the unit is sent to the Tarawa atoll, which is occupied by Japanese forces. After Stryker's unit lands, he orders two of his men to cross a dangerous minefield and place a charge inside a bunker where the Japanese have hidden some explosives. Stryker watches as both men are shot down, then rushes forward to grab the charge and complete the mission single-handedly. ... +


At a New Zealand Marine base in 1943, Corporal Robert Dunne recounts his first tour of duty: Before Dunne and his friends, Italian-American Benny Regazzi, Greek-American George Hellenopolis, Polish-American "Ski" Choynski, Jewish-American Sid Stein, two Irish-American brothers named Flynn, and Dan Shipley and Charlie Bass, meet their battle-hardened commander, Sgt. Stryker, they learn of his infamous toughness and mysterious demotion. One morning early in the training period, Stryker discovers that Peter Conway, the son of his deceased former commanding officer, Col. Sam Conway, has joined his unit. Although Stryker attempts to bond with Pete over Sam's memory, Pete reveals that he hated his demanding father and also despises Stryker for his resemblance to the man. When the mail arrives later, Stryker is saddened to find no letter from his own son, of whom his wife took sole custody when she left him five years earlier. After finally receiving some leave time, Stryker's men decide to visit a dance hall. There Pete meets and falls in love with Allison Bromley and Stryker drinks to excess. A few days later, Stryker urges Pete not to become too attached to Allison and then sympathetically overhears him discussing his desire to procreate in the face of all the death around him. Only a day after Pete and Allison marry, the unit is sent to the Tarawa atoll, which is occupied by Japanese forces. After Stryker's unit lands, he orders two of his men to cross a dangerous minefield and place a charge inside a bunker where the Japanese have hidden some explosives. Stryker watches as both men are shot down, then rushes forward to grab the charge and complete the mission single-handedly. Later, Corp. Al Thomas decides to take a coffee break in the mortar men's foxhole, while leaving his subordinates, Bass and Hellenopolis, alone in theirs. This move inadvertently causes Hellenopolis' death and Bass's wounding. The unit is then ordered to entrench, without movement, in an unsafe zone, and despite the pleas of his men to rescue the nearby Bass, Stryker refuses to violate his orders, and they are forced to listen to Bass's plaintive cries for help until the next morning, when Bass is rescued. Later, the unit arrives in Hawaii, where Bass tells Stryker that Thomas was absent from his post during the attack. Stryker immediately starts a fight with Thomas, and when a major demands to know who started it, Thomas, realizing that another demotion could end Stryker's career, protects his sergeant. He then tells Stryker of his deep guilt and remorse, after which Stryker forgives him. Soon after, Pete learns that Allison has given birth to a son, news which secretly pleases Stryker. While on leave in Honolulu, Stryker goes home with a woman forced into prostitution to care for her baby son and realizes that he has been wallowing in self-pity over the loss of his family for too long. Later, during grenade training, Stryker saves Pete's life. Soon after, the unit ships out and is ordered to complete a difficult landing on the rocky, island cliffs of Japan's Iwo Jima. The fighting is intense, with many of the unit's men dying, and although Pete is afraid he will die, he saves Stryker's life and reveals to him that he plans to name his son Sam after his father. When the unit finally gains the top of the island's Mount Suribachi, Stryker instructs his men to hoist the American flag, but is killed by a random bullet. Pete drops to his knees to embrace Stryker's corpse and finds an unfinished letter that he had been writing to explain himself to his son. With fond remembrance of his brave commander, Pete completes the letter. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.