Sands of Iwo Jima [1949]

Genre: Action, Drama, War
Flying Tigers John Wayne plays the tough commander of Flying Tigers, the famous fighter squadron that fought to save China from the Japanese. Wayne finds he is fighting a war on two fronts: he's taking on the enemy with only a handful of inexperienced men and patched-up planes while keeping a cocky new pilot from stealing his girl. The story has little in common with real history, and lots of classic post-Pearl Harbor propaganda fills the script. Regardless, the movie is all Wayne's, and Wayne fans will enjoy seeing the prototype for what would become the Duke's trademark portrayal of the military fighting man. Although the pressure of making life-and-death decisions in wartime may be more maturely explored in Twelve O'Clock High, Flying Tigers still has enough characterization and action to keep the viewer's attention (not to mention special effects by the pioneering Howard Lydecker). --Mark Savary Sands of Iwo Jima John Wayne's old studio home, Republic, made this 1949 drama about the heroic capture of an important island in the Pacific by marines in World War II. Director Allan Dwan (Brewster's Millions), a pioneering filmmaker from the silent days of cinema who easily crossed over into sound, handles the action sequences like a consummate pro, while Wayne works hard as the tough sergeant molding new recruits into fighters. John Agar plays a contentious surrogate son to Wayne, though the relationship is hardly the stuff of Red River. --Tom Keogh

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