Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas

    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    After his wife takes their son and leaves him, Sgt. John Stryker is an embittered man
    who takes his misery out on the men under his command.
    They're a bunch of green recruits who have a hard time dealing
    with Stryker's tough drills and thicker skin.
    Even his old friends start to wonder if he's gone from being the epitome
    of the tough Marine drill instructor to a man over the edge.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne ... Sgt. John M. Stryker
    John Agar ... Pfc. Peter Conway
    Adele Mara ... Allison Bromley
    Forrest Tucker ... Pfc. Al Thomas
    Wally Cassell ... Pfc. Benny Regazzi
    James Brown ... Pfc. Charlie Bass
    Richard Webb ... Pfc. 'Handsome' Dan Shipley
    Arthur Franz ... Cpl. Robert Dunne / Narrator
    Julie Bishop ... Mary
    James Holden ... Pfc. Soames
    Peter Coe ... Pfc. George Hellenpolis
    Richard Jaeckel ... Pfc. Frank Flynn
    William Murphy ... Pfc. Eddie Flynn (as Bill Murphy)
    George Tyne ... Pfc. Harris
    Hal Baylor ... Pvt. 'Sky' Choynski (as Hal Fieberling)
    John McGuire ... Capt. Joyce
    Martin Milner ... Pvt. Mike McHugh
    Leonard Gumley ... Pvt. Sid Stein
    William Self ... Pvt. L.D. Fowler Jr.
    David M. Shoup ... Himself (as Col. D.M. Shoup U.S.M.C.)
    H.P. Crowe ... Himself (as Lt. Col. H.P. Crowe U.S.M.C.)
    Harold G. Schrier ... Himself (as Capt. Harold G. Schrier U.S.M.C.)
    Rene A. Gagnon ... Himself (as Pfc. Rene A. Gagnon)
    Ira H. Hayes ... Himself (as Pfc. Ira H. Hayes)
    John H. Bradley ... Himself (as PM 3/c John H. Bradley)
    Conrad Binyon ... Marine (uncredited)
    David Clarke ... Wounded Marine (uncredited)
    Fred Datig Jr. ... Marine (uncredited)
    Bruce Edwards ... Marine (uncredited)
    Dorothy Ford ... Tall Girl (uncredited)
    Carole Gallagher ... USO Woman (uncredited)
    Fred Graham ... Officer (uncredited)
    Don Haggerty ... Colonel in Staff Car (uncredited)
    Gil Herman ... Lt. Baker (uncredited)
    William Hudson ... Marine (uncredited)
    I. Stanford Jolley ... Forrestal (uncredited)
    Dickie Jones ... Scared Marine (uncredited)
    Billy Lechner ... Marine (uncredited)
    Mickey McCardle ... Marine (uncredited)
    Roger McGee ... Sailor (uncredited)
    Al Murphy ... Bartender (uncredited)
    Frank O'Connor ... Waiter in Bar (uncredited)
    Judy Sochor ... USO Woman (uncredited)
    Glen Vernon ... Marine (uncredited)
    Steve Wayne ... Marine (uncredited)
    Dick Wessel ... Grenade Instructor (uncredited)
    John Whitney ... Lt. Thompson (uncredited)
    Joy Windsor ... USO Woman (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    James Edward Grant (screenplay) and
    Harry Brown (screenplay)

    Original Music
    Victor Young

    Reggie Lanning (director of photography)

    Fred Graham .... stunt double (uncredited)
    Don Nagel .... stunts (uncredited)
    Terry Wilson .... stunt double (uncredited)

    In one scene, combat veteran Sgt. Stryker (John Wayne) instructs bumbling recruit Pvt. Choynski (Hal Baylor) on the correct way to march and hold a rifle. In real life Baylor was an ex-Marine who fought in the battles of Saipan and Tinian in WW II; Wayne had never served in the military.

    This film recreates the famous Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima scene as known famously from an historic photograph which was taken on the 23rd February, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. The three surviving flag raisers make a cameo appearance during this scene in the film. These three men who were part of the flag raising (made famous by the photograph Joe Rosenthal had taken) and survived the battle for Iwo Jima, appear in this scene only. Rene A. Gagnon, Ira H. Hayes and John H. Bradley are seen with with John Wayne as he instructs them to hoist the flag (Wayne gives the folded flag to Gagnon). The flag used to recreate the incident is the actual flag that was raised on Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945. It was loaned to the movie by the US Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia. (Other films which would later depict the flag-raising on Iwo Jima include The Outsider (1961) and Flags of Our Fathers (2006).)

    Following the success of the movie, John Wayne was invited to place his footprints in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theater. As part of the event, actual black sand from Iwo Jima was flown to Hollywood and mixed into the cement in which The Duke left his footprints and "fist print".

    Kirk Douglas was originally cast as Sergeant Stryker.

    John Wayne almost turned the film down at first, since at 42 he was rather old for the part and because he felt the American public had had enough of war films.

    According to the book New Zealand Film by Helen Martin and Sam Edwards, "During the early sections of the film, the R&R camp at Paekakariki in the lower half of the North Island [of New Zealand] was the setting for the meeting and bonding sequences prior to departing for battle. The same camp is the focus of the reminiscences of one of the women who contributed to Gaylene Preston's documentary War Stories [See: War Stories (1995)].

    Apparently, this movie has the first ever recorded use of the phrase "lock and load", said by John Wayne. "Lock and load" is a military command meaning to apply a weapon's safety catch, and then load it with ammunition. The expression was used once in this film for this meaning and once as a metaphor to get drunk, as in get loaded.

    This movie's credits state the following historical note: "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."

    Two thousand United States Marines appeared as extras in this movie according to an article in The Los Angeles Daily News.

    The New York Times reported that location filming for this movie was shot at Camp Del March; El Toro Marine Air Station, Southern California and at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Southern California.

    Many of the battle scenes in this movie were taken from actual combat "footage taken at the actual fighting at Tarawa and Iwo Jima" according to a review in Variety.

    Apparently, according to The New York Times, script approval was made by the US Marine Corps.

    A number of actual military personnel portrayed themselves in this movie. These included Retired Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith who was the 5th Amphibious Corps Wartime Commander and also acted as a technical advisor to the film; Colonel David M. Shoup USMC who received the Congressional Medal of Honor; Captain Harold G. Schrier USMC who commanded the Marines at the Suribachi slopes; Lieutenant Colonel H.P. Crowe USMC who was a Battalion Commander at Tarawa; Pfc Rene A. Gagnon; Pfc Ira H. Hayes and PM 3/c John H. Bradley.

    The New York Times reported on 5 February 1950 that the Republic Pictures Studio once developed a sequel to this movie entitled Devil Birds also to again star John Wayne but alas the sequel did not eventuate.

    A made-for-television documentary about the making of this movie was made forty-four years after this movie was made, entitled The Making of 'Sands of Iwo Jima' (1993) (V). It featured interviews with still living cast members.

    The title "Sands of Iwo Jima" was once seen by this movie's producer Edmund Grainger in a newspaper story. Alas, Grainger thought of the famous American flag raising at Mount Suribachi. He then went off and wrote a treatment with this title and an ending being the famous flag raising scene. Grainger wished the movie would be successful at the box-office as well as accurate representation of the US Marine Corps' valour on celluloid. He also wanted the movie to have an influence on the public's attitude towards the US Marines as at the time the Marines were in fight for survival and needed more financing.

    Special effects work on this movie included lampblack and oil covered sand to look like the volcanic ash of a Pacific island as well as gun emplacements, palm trees, and pillboxes all made of plaster.

    Due to the assistance of the US Marines, producer Edmund Grainger and director Allan Dwan were able to keep the production budget for this movie to around the US $1 million mark.

    This movie utilized actual original black-and-white newsreel footage. This material is edited into this movie's combat scenes.

    John Wayne received his first ever Academy Award nomination for this movie. He wouldn't be nominated for an Acting Oscar again until twenty years later for True Grit (1969) where he would win the Best Actor Oscar. Wayne did receive a producer's Best Picture nomination for The Alamo (1960) in between these two films.

    Thousands of feet of barbed wire were used in the making of this movie.

    A colorized version of this movie has been made.

    Mostly unnoticed is the homage this film pays to a real Marine, "Manila" John Basilone. Basilone was a Sergeant and hero on Guadacanal, winning the Medal of Honor. He was sent home for war bond drives but requested to be returned to combat. He did so and died on Iwo Jima. There is a famous (to history buffs, anyway)photo of his body on Iwo Jima, face down and with his name visible, that is almost exactly the same pose that Wayne is in at his death on film. Also, "Jonathan M" Stryker has more than a passing resemblance to "Manila (or M) John".

    * Continuity: After Sgt. Stryker dances with Choynski, he stands a little way from Choynski. The next shot shows them both side by side.

    * Factual errors: The first battle the movie's unit participates in is Tarawa. Tarawa was assaulted by the 2nd Marine Division. The same unit is then engaged in the Iwo Jima campaign. Iwo Jima was invaded by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions. It's very unlikely that Stryker's whole squad would have been transferred to another division. Furthermore, earlier in the film Stryker refers to his involvement in the Guadalcanal assault. That was a 1st Marine Division show. Though not impossible, it's highly unlikely for a junior NCO to have served with three different divisions in the Pacific.

    * Factual errors: When Pfc. Thomas (Forrest Tucker) goes for more ammo and stops for coffee, the coffee is being brewed in a helmet over an open fire. He hands over his metal cup, and the fellow by the fire holds it in his bare hand as he fills it from the helmet. Ouch. Anyone who has been camping will see the error here.

    * Revealing mistakes: When the Marines are moving up the mountain along a path, a Japanese soldier pops out of hiding and appears to shoot one of the Marines in the stomach at point blank range. One can see that the enemy soldier actor shot just beyond the Marine actor because a puff of smoke from the gun barrel emits out past the Marine actor's back. This was probably a safety requirement in the making of the movie, since blanks fired out of a weapon can seriously injure or kill.

    * Continuity: The way Stryker holds the rifle when he tells Conway that he checked the records.

    * Continuity: Conway's hands change position while with Allison at the end of their first meeting.

    * Continuity: Mary's hands change position when Stryker buys her the drink.

    * Continuity: The way Mary holds the whiskey bottle changes.

    * Continuity: The way Stryker holds the sawbuck changes.

    * Revealing mistakes: Two errors are visible when Stryker is attacked by the Jap: Stryker's positioning and arm movement is not consistent, and the Jap is hit by the handle of the entrenching tool before Conway throws it.

    * Errors in geography: In the training scenes, set in New Zealand, a row of Eucalyptus trees is seen. These are native to Australia and are not found in New Zealand. (There have been groves of them planted in California though.)

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: SPOILER: Sgt. Stryker is shot dead, and is lying on his back in the master. Then they cut to a reverse angle, revealing the corpse face down.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    CBS Studio Center - 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, Oceanside, California, USA
    Janss Conejo Ranch, Thousand Oaks, California, USA
    Leo Carrillo State Beach - 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California, USA
    Santa Catalina Island, Channel Islands, California, USA

    Watch the Trailer:-

    Sands of Iwo Jima

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 23 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 war film starring John Wayne
    that follows a group of United States Marines
    from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
    The movie also features John Agar, Adele Mara, and Forrest Tucker,
    was written by Harry Brown and James Edward Grant, and directed by Allan Dwan.
    The picture was a Republic Pictures production.

    Sands of Iwo Jima was nominated for Academy Awards
    for Best Actor in a Leading Role (John Wayne),
    Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Recording (Daniel J. Bloomberg)
    and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story.

    Truly one of Duke's finest, and his role as Sergeant John M. Stryker,
    one of his greatest acting roles.
    So good, that he was nominated for an Academy Award,
    narrowly missing out to Broderick Crawford.
    The Director said, that no one else could have played Sryker,
    better than Duke.
    The film score was by Victor Young

    The famous flag raising, was recreated with the Marines who had
    actually lifted the colours on Iwo Jima.
    The film however, did win Academy Awards for,
    Motion Picture Story, Editing and Sound.

    Duke had his footprints placed at Grauman's Chinese Theatre,
    for the films opening,the sand used for the event, was literally from Iwo Jima!!

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • I love this Movie. :jump: Iwo and The Alamo are my two favs. When ever I'm feeling depressed or the like, I can pop this into the VCR and I it will help to pick me up.
    Plus as an Orthodox Jew I always get a kick out of Duke saying Amen to the dying solider saying Shema. (That is actually not the right response, but his heart was in the right place.)

    John Bernard Books (The Shootist):
    "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."

  • Hi Keith,
    Thank you so much for starting this thread. I've got The Sands of Iwo Jima not far ago, but it became one of my favorites. The film itself is very good but Dukes work in it is exellent. He deserved the Academy Award and it is a pity that he didn't receive it.
    I don't know much about operations of USA troops in that part of the world and can't say: is the movie historic accurate or not, but belive that it is so.
    It is really great how war is shown in the movie. I had the impression that some documentary was used in the movie. Is it so? I never forget the scene were squard first came to action at the shore. It was real impression of the whole mess, many soldiers, that are not used to that situation died. And Stryker liting his cigarette with such impression in his eyes.
    What I like in black and white movies is close ups, when you see the impression in the eyes. For example when he promises to shot Agar if he will go to find the wounded soldgie.
    And one of my favorite scenes with the baby and the woman.
    It is a pity that Stryker dies in the film. It was not fear.

  • By sheer coincidence, my grandson ws asking about Iwo Jima this morning (inspired by the poster over the computer). I did a quick Google search, and one of the links led me HERE. I learned a little piece of trivia - when John Wayne did his prints at Graumann's Chinese Theatre, the cement had black sand from Iwo Jima (scroll down a little on the page to see the picture).

    Anyway, just wanted to share that.

    The original web site, BTW, is Iwo Jima.

    Have a great day!

    Mrs. C :angel1:

  • Hi Mrs C.,
    thank you very much for the link. My son also was asked me about that battle inspired by computer game.

  • Hi Keith, here's my little bit on SoIJ.

    Before I ever got to see this movie, in my earlier years I had always heard my parents talking about this movie. I do not recall why they always talked about it from time to time but I do recall that it was one of their most favorite John Wayne movies. These discussions took place at least 10 or more years before we got cable TV and unfortunately, this movies was never played on any of the local TV channels. What we always got on the local channels were mostly John Wayne movies from about 1960 on up to the last movies he made.

    When I was 15, we got cable TV when it finally came to the city where we lived. I think it was an early Saturday afternoon and was on WTBS (then cable TV channel 7) and I saw it for the first time. I was VERY impressed and was rivited to the screen during the entire movie. I hated the fact that The Duke's character was killed at the end.

    From the first time I saw this movie to today, it is one of my all-time favorite war movies. The cast was nothing less than a brilliant choice for their characters and were all believable. IMO, The Duke did a great acting job in this movie and I always thought it was one of his best.

    After watching this movie, I went to Guidrey's Hobbies and bought a 1/72 scale model that made a diorama of the Iwo Jima flag-raising as well as I made a small Iwo Jima beach - landing diorama. This is back in the day when I used to build models and paint toy soldiers.

    To make this as a short answer: I love this movie.

    Take care mate--C.

    Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..

  • This is from my starting post,


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • I loved this movie, superb acting by the Duke and, John Agar. Another role where the Duke should have been picked for best actor,although that coming 20years later. All around perfect movie, with the hero, Stryker dieing a hero in the end.

    an easy 10/10 from me, it reminds me to watch this again soon.


  • Hi all,
    Stryker is a great hero of this movie and it is really hard to belive that his wife had left him and his son didn't write him. I guess what was the reason of that?
    May be you will think - the question is silly. But I take this movie not only as a story of historic deeds, but personally too.

  • Hi Vera,
    I can't remember Stryker saying why his wife left him,
    maybe another member may have spotted something.
    Hi did have an unfinished letter to his son, when he got shot.
    We can only assume therefore, that she did not support
    his single minded, militiary career, and the son followed his mother,
    Well, I guess that's what happens in real life????,
    or is it ??


    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • Hi

    I think the reason Stryker's wife left him was explained in the conversation Wayne had with John Agar when he attempts to tell him how great a man Agars father a high ranking Marine officer) was. Agar if i recall cuts him short, saying how much he hated his father and implies that his father and Stryker were alike, the Corps first last and foremost and nothing, not even family would be allowed to get in the way.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • Hi

    I forgot I also meant to mention the book Flags of Our Fathers by John Barclay's son. It covers the flag raising on Mount Suribachi very well.

    I bought it when we were last in Orlando.



    Walk Tall - Talk Low

  • I've read the book Flags Of Our Fathers by James Bradley, son of one of the flag raisers, John Bradley. If you haven't read it, do so, very good , very moving and, will affect you in many ways. It's being made into a movie and is currently being filmed. Stephen Speilberg is producing and Clint Eastwood is directing and last I heard, it'll be out late next summer. You can check more on it at or

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Senta@Dec 7 2005, 03:02 AM

    I don't know much about operations of USA troops in that part of the world and can't say: is the movie historic accurate or not, but belive that it is so.
    It is really great how war is shown in the movie. I had the impression that some documentary was used in the movie. Is it so?


    The combate footage in Sand of Iwo Jima is from a USMC documentary TO THE SHORES OF IWO JIMA. This includes to Actuell footage of the Famus Flag rasing of Mt. Surabachi. It is well worth seeking out.

    Semper Fi

    John Bernard Books (The Shootist):
    "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."

  • Hi Keith, Arthur and Zack,
    Thank you for your comments and information, expecially about books it is very interesting.

    I well remember Stryker's letter to his son, it was very moving, and he blames himself for many faults. Agar changed his mind at last about his father, Stryker and Marine in the whole (he even says Saddle Up, how used Stryker said). But Stryker son was only 10 years old! Or he was at that age when mother take him away. It is explained in the film that she left him, because he wasn't family man and was devoted to the army. But I always thought that wifes had to share their husbands interests and thoughts and go to the same distanation were their husbands serve.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Senta@Dec 8 2005, 08:52 PM
    ...... It is explained in the film that she left him, because he wasn't family man and was devoted to the army. But I always thought that wifes had to share their husbands interests and thoughts and go to the same distanation were their husbands serve.


    Hi Vera,
    Yours is a noble and admirable explanation,
    Hopefully in your country this may be the case.
    However, I am sure all over the World, many men and women,
    persue their chosen careers, with scant regard for their partners, needs and wishes,


    Best Wishes
    London- England