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.