Letters From Iwo Jima (Blu-ray)

Directed By: Clint Eastwood Starring: Ken Watanabe

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Product Overview

From Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood comes the untold story of the Japanese soldiers who defended their homeland against invading American forces during World War II. With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima itself, the unprecedented tactics of General Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai) and his men transform what was predicted to be a swift defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat. Their sacrifices, struggles, courage and compassion live on in the taut, gripping film Rolling Stone calls "unique and unforgettable."


Studio Warner
SKU 204385795
UPC 085391112884
UPC 14 00085391112884
Format Blu-Ray DVD
Release Date 1/31/2012
Rating Rating
Theatrical Release
True Story
World War II
Editors Note
Note Clint Eastwood's companion piece to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS is again set during World War II. But in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, he looks at the war from the Japanese perspective, using Japanese dialogue. With American forces on their way, General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe, THE LAST SAMURAI) arrives on the island to find his troops woefully under-trained and hopelessly outmatched. Japanese pop and television star Kazunari Ninomiya plays Saigo, a young soldier who asks, "Am I digging my own grave?" as he creates trenches. With no hope of reinforcements, these men have little hope of leaving the island alive.^Eastwood and director of photography Tom Stern paint their picture in a palette of taupes and grays. The landscape of the volcanic island is desolate, providing a hellish experience for the stationed soldiers but a stark beauty for the audience. With this bleak setting, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA is a powerful ode to duty in dire circumstances. General Kuribayashi and Saigo provide the emotional center of the film, giving a glimpse into the minds of both seasoned officers and drafted novices. Eastwood doesn't deal in simple heroes and villains; these characters are sympathetic and real, whether their motives are pride, fear, or loyalty to their country. Though only the Academy-Award-nominated Watanabe is a familiar face to American audiences, each of the actors involved displays his experience working in Japanese film, television, and theater. The battle scenes are breathtaking and brutal, but it's the actors who are the core of the film. The picture has the standard tropes found in any modern war film, like verbal abuse by a superior and battle scenes filled with severed limbs. But Eastwood goes beyond the war-movie boilerplate with this impressive film that deserves every accolade it earns.
Entertainment Weekly "[P]rofound, magisterial, and gripping....LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA enthralls in the audacity of its simplicity." -- Grade: A 12/22/2006 p.57,Included in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Films Of The Year" -- "[A] war picture that honors every soldier everywhere..." 12/29/2006 102
Rolling Stone Ranked #3 in Rolling Stone's "The 10 Best Movies Of 2006" -- "[A] single, stinging portrait of war..." 12/28/2006 p.118,4 stars out of 4 -- "Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable." 12/28/2006 p.121
Film Comment Ranked #16 in Film Comment's "20 Best Films Of 2006." 01/01/2007 p.36
Uncut 5 stars out of 5 -- "Directed with fluency and grace, LETTERS...illuminates a desperately dark episode with rare insight and conviction." 03/01/2007 p.118
Sight and Sound "[A]s a seasoned film-maker, he can render action -- especially sudden death or suicide -- as disorientating as it's startling." 03/01/2007 p.64
Total Film 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he performances ensure an emotional connection....LETTERS seeks to humanise the other side in a way FLAGS never did..." 04/01/2007 p.37
Ultimate DVD 4 stars out of 5 -- "Eastwood treads a respectful and even-handed path." 08/01/2007 p.104
Wall Street Journal "In a larger sense, it's the second, and artistically superior, half of a single epic film that springs from a single act of compassionate imagination..." 02/05/2010
Clint Eastwood
Ken Watanabe
Cast & Crew
Clint Eastwood - Director
Gary Roach - Editor
Henry Bumstead - Production Designer
Hiroshi Watanabe - Actor
Iris Yamashita - Screenplay
James J. Murakami - Production Designer
Joel Cox - Editor
Kazunari Ninomiya - Actor
Ken Watanabe - Actor
Kyle Eastwood - Original Music By
Michael Stevens - Original Music By
Paul Haggis - Executive Producer
Paul Haggis - Based On Story By
Steven Spielberg - Producer
Tadamichi Kuribayashi - Based On Book By
Tom Stern - Cinematographer
Tsuyoko Yoshido - Based On Book By
Tsuyoshi Ihara - Actor
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2006
Catalog ID 111288
UPC 00085391112884
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 140 minutes
Color Color
Original Language Japanese
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks Japanese
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.40:1
Winner (2007) Golden Globe, Letters from Iwo Jima, Best Foreign Language Film,Oscar, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominee (2007) Golden Globe, Clint Eastwood, Best Director - Motion Picture,Oscar, Clint Eastwood, Best Achievement in Directing,Oscar, Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis, Best Writing, Original Screenplay,Oscar, Clint Eastwood, et. al., Best Motion Picture of the Year
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review Letters from Iwo Jima is a unique American-made war movie for at least two reasons: it depicts the battle from the perspective of the losers and it represents the United States as the "enemy." Coupled with Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima provides director Clint Eastwood's complete statement about the 1945 Battle of Iwo Jima. Although Flags of Our Fathers deals as much with how a photograph from the battle was used as propaganda on the home front as it does with the actual combat, Letters from Iwo Jima remains entrenched upon the island from start to finish (except for a few character-building flashbacks). In terms of its structure, this is more what we expect from a war movie than what Flags of Our Fathers offers. The only character common to both films is the island's rough terrain.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Rolling Stone
Review ...Letters is quality from first frame to last, a war film that is almost a tone poem in how it reveals the minds and secret hearts of the Japanese soldiers defending the volcanic island of Iwo Jima against American forces over forty days of battle in 1945...Eastwood's direction here is a thing of beauty, blending the ferocity of the classic films of Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) with the delicacy and unblinking gaze of Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Story)...The scenes of combat, shot in desaturated color on the beaches of Iceland by the gifted Tom Stern and edited with grit and grace by Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, gain in terror and complexity from what we learn of these men. We watch in horror as soldiers bang their helmets with live grenades, preferring suicide to surrender. Eastwood's film burns into the memory by striving for authentic detail. The result is unique and unforgettable.
Reviewer Peter Travers
ReviewRating 10
Widescreen, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format Blu-Ray
David Ansen, NewsWeek ...a sorrowful and savagely beautiful elegy that can stand in the company of the greatest antiwar movies.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Daring and significant...
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly ...profound, magisterial, and gripping...
Lou Lumenick, New York Post Taken together, Eastwood's masterworks - two of the best films of 2006 - may be Hollywood's last word on World War II.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune ...the peak achievement in Eastwood's hallowed career.
Richard Corliss, Time Another masterpiece from Clint Eastwood.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe Eloquent, bloody, and daringly simple.

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