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Flags of Our Fathers Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2019


War can be associated with hell. Tagging one as a hero is not what makes him/her a true hero. Proper heroes have no thoughts of being as such. In addition, heroes do not earn the tag as they are supposed to in accordance with the World War II Marines in the renowned flag hoisting of Iwo Jima, but they are merely publicized. The film Flags of Our Fathers written by Paul Haggis together with William Broyles, Jr. comprises every one of these thoughts.

Commencing from a narration point of view, the film lacks an efficient flow: it clumsily joins different periods, hardly eked out in any way, and builds its themes apparent from the start. The toughest criticisms that are not in favor of the Flags of Our Fathers film regard their thematic exhibition and deficiency of fine flows particularly as regards such intricate concerns as true heroism and nationalism.

Extended incidents in the real attack of Iwo Jima sometimes nearly make the viewer fail to remember what antecedes in the movie. The director, as well the co-maker of the film, Clint Eastwood, generates the fight with cruel immediacy, which evidently brings to mind Saving Private Ryan (1998) film. The Flags of Our Fathers film is evident to the disgusting nature of battle.

It feels stronger than communications regarding ‘dying for the love of my nation’ or ‘we are not the true heroes’. This paper analyzes and interprets the narrative structure of the film. The narrative construction of Flags of Our Fathers is an enigma with the development of the themes of heroism and nationalism.

Explicit meaning

The Flags of Our Fathers is a film regarding war of Japanese soldiers and the US marines to rule an island of Japan, Iwo Jima. During that war, the US occupied part of Iwo Jima. During the battle, death of over 22,000 Japanese soldiers guarding their territory occurred, whereas about 26,000 Americans died while attempting to seize the Island.

The fight was as well a defining moment in the war since being in charge of Iwo Jima permitted allied powers to instigate B-29 bomber attacks with the ultimate use of the atomic bomb, which could conclude the second World War (Bordwell and Kristin 23).

The United States’ conquest is identified with the achievement of the marines in flag hoisting on Mount Suribachi of Iwo Jima. During the flag hoisting, an occurrence cropped up; it turned out to be contentious because there were two flag hoisting in the attack of the US marines in Japanese.

One flag was hoisted by the third platoon militia, Phil Ward, Boots Thomas, Chuck Lindberg, Jim Michael, Hank Hansen, and John Bradley (appears in the photo during flag-hoisting) with the authority from Colonel Johnson. The secretary to the navy, James Forrestal, was taken with the zeal of the instance that he chose to fancy the Suribachi flag like a memento (Bordwell, and Kristin 25-28).

Chandler Johnson, resentfully, required a second Platoon to substitute the first flag with a larger one, marking the second flag hoisting by Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Mike Strank, Ira Heyes, and John Bradley. The second flag hoisting became popular and the men who hoisted the flag as well became illustrious. The treasury minister used these men to render the nation more superb in memory of the heroes that died in battle.

The Flags of Our Fathers film has attracted numerous public reactions, both good and bad. This movie became a household name in the US, for it underlined the pride of America and the soldiers involved in seizing Iwo Jima from Japan. The enthusiasm of the US in backing this movie is revealed by the attainment of numerous awards of different sorts that control film industry in the US. In the market, Flags of Our Fathers, as well was one of the bestselling movies in the United States of America.

Alongside the good reactions, Flags of Our Fathers film got objections from Asians, particularly Japanese. In Japan, this film became a contentious subject as it symbolized the insolence of the US soldiers for killing thousands of Japanese soldiers and seizing Iwo Jima. Certainly, this movie is a case atrocity as human rights are disrespected (Bordwell, and Kristin 29-34).

Implicit meaning

The Flag of Our Fathers has several issues to articulate concerning the themes of heroism and nationalism, and the way commanding icons and myths are produced at the cost of those that pass away during wars. Nevertheless, this film is Eastwood’s use of material that ends up being excessively mismanaged and self-conscious.

On a decorous stage, the Flags of Our Fathers tracks field that numerous other warfare movies have neglected. In some manner, this movie is a much-required assessment of the way typical men are frequently turned into loath nationalists that perhaps do not warrant the praises that their nations have stressed they deserve. The movie demonstrates how the US government fundamentally turned several of its fighters of the World War II into public spokespersons.

Through a period when the United States was tumbling into financial and social depression, and support for the armed forces was warning an American exit from the battle itself, the nation required icons to assist its people reinvest in the war (Bordwell, and Kristin 40-98). The movie is exactly right in the way it reveals the manner in which marginalized men are turned into heroic gods that ultimately happen to be little above salespersons for politicians.

Altogether, a navy corpsman and five marines set the flag. The co-writer of the book, which the movie is founded on, James Bradley, had a father, John (acted by Ryan Phillippe), amid the six men (Bordwell and Kristin 99-104). Unluckily, of all the heroes involved in the flag hoisting, only two received credit.

The most appealing feature concerning this film is the manner that Eastwood nearly makes the homecoming of the three men. The sentimental and physical sufferings that the majority of the men tolerated on Iwo Jima were clearly barbaric, but the continuous outpourings of feasts at home, champagne-corded gatherings, greetings from celebrated politicians, and massive publicity trips have dissimilar psychological results on the heroes.

The lingering scene happens when the trio is unashamedly compelled to restructure their flag hoisting on Mount Suribachi molded using papier-mâché. The position here is straightforward: the government is not concerned with the actual story.

The government neither considers that there was, in reality, two flag hoisting occurrences, nor does it consider that there were other men that passed away in that battle, who are the actual heroes (Bordwell and Kristin 105-112). The government just required physical and breathable placard boys to trade war attachments.

Analysis and interpretation

As for thematic points, Flags of Our Fathers is an arrogant achievement. It has the guts to jump into the heart and deconstruct it exceptionally well. Eastwood is not a guest to demystify variety movies; he masterfully confronted several preconceived prototypes in the Western movie making (Bordwell, and Kristin 423-500).

While many war movies uphold their soldiers as heroes, Eastwood attempts to inform its viewers that the heroes of the World War II were hesitant, eager to tag their departed fellows as the actual unsung nationalists. The film is offensive on this account.

Hitherto, actually endures a deficiency of character advancement and an equivalent deficiency of an even and organized narrative flow. The film makes an enormous blunder by giving too many tales, frequently from both the precedent and current, and intercuts them shabbily. The film does not flow efficiently since it starts at a narrative chronology before clumsily leaping from that point and into a different one.

The outcome is fundamentally negative to the flow of the movie. Accordingly, this aspect also influences the development of characters. The film starts with awakening of an old man by a hellish nightmare of Iwo Jima battle. Then it goes back to the fight itself, before shifting further to the propaganda trip, and afterward shifts to the future with the elderly man, and then to fight, and afterward shifts to the propaganda trip and the shifting continues (Bordwell and Kristin 117).

Like their heroic roles, the portrayal of a number of the characters befits them, while other characters turn out to be mysterious. Ditto develops as a higher officer acted by Barry Pepper. The character Gagnon lacks proper development. At some stages in the movie, during cutbacks to the bereavement views of numerous fighters (the true nationalists), the viewer gets a difficult moment in trying to bear the characters in mind, in addition, to the way they conform to the movie.

The audience is needlessly presented the son of Bradley (in the future) as a character that interrogates the aging warriors currently, which just impedes the narrative further. Fundamentally, Hayes seems to be an exclusive character for having proper development in the movie. The fight scenes are disordered, quick, and blood soaked. For the greater fraction, the battle scenes are unrefined and vicious in flags, which in a way lack the necessity and frenzied energy (Bordwell and Kristin 240-300).


The Flags of Our Fathers is a movie of odd contradictions and is neither anti-war nor pro-war. It intelligently pays tribute to the true heroes and nationalists who passed away in 1945 in the battle at Iwo Jima. Nevertheless, the film as well is critical of the manner that governments make fake heroes mollify the public.

In the current media hysterical world, the idea of hurriedly generated celebrities who are then simply forgotten is common, which makes the film appear remarkably current and significant. The Flags of Our Fathers is loyal for intriguing the themes of heroism and nationalism.

The narrative of the film is an enigma with numerous bits, which are coerced to interconnect, frequently at the cost of narrative construction. The Flags of Our Fathers is excessively haphazard and disorderly to be branded otherwise than an acutely flawed warfront film. The feelings of Clint Eastwood are certainly in Flags of Our Fathers. However, this is not the case for his distinctive subject.

Works Cited

Bordwell, David, and Thompson Kristin. Film Art: an Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.

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