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Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

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“Iōjima Kara no Tegami”

Action, Adventure, Drama |

Letters from Iwo Jima is a Japanese-language American war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers and is a companion piece to Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, which depicts the same battle from the American viewpoint; the two films were shot back to back. Letters from Iwo Jima is almost entirely in Japanese, although it was produced by American companies DreamWorks, Malpaso Productions, and Amblin Entertainment. After Flags of Our Fathers flopped at the box office, Paramount Pictures swapped the distribution rights in the United States to Warner Bros. for the international rights (excluding Japan).

The film was released in Japan on December 9, 2006 and received a limited release in the United States on December 20, 2006 in order to be eligible for consideration for the 79th Academy Awards. It was subsequently released in more areas of the U.S. on January 12, 2007, and was released in most states on January 19. An English-dubbed version of the film premiered on April 7, 2008. Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and did slightly better at the box office than its companion.

In 2005, Japanese archaeologists explore tunnels on Iwo Jima, where they find something in the dirt.

The scene changes to Iwo Jima in 1944. Private First Class Saigo and his platoon are digging beach trenches on the island. Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi arrives to take command of the garrison and immediately begins an inspection of the island defenses. He saves Saigo and his friend Kashiwara from a beating by Captain Tanida for ‘unpatriotic speeches’, and orders the men to begin tunneling underground defenses into Mount Suribachi. Kuribayashi and Lieutenant Colonel Baron Takeichi Nishi, a famous Olympic gold medalist show jumper, clash with some of the other officers, who do not agree with Kuribayashi’s defense in depth strategy: Kuribayashi believes the US will take the beaches quickly, and that the mountain defenses will have a better chance for holding out.

Director: Clint Eastwood

Writers: Iris Yamashita (screenplay & story), Paul Haggis (story), Tadamichi Kuribayashi (book), Tsuyoko Yoshido (book)

Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase, Shidô Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando

Cast:

Ken WatanabeGeneral Kuribayashi
Kazunari NinomiyaSaigo
Tsuyoshi IharaBaron Nishi
Ryô KaseShimizu
Shidô NakamuraLieutenant Ito (as Shidou Nakamura)
Hiroshi WatanabeLieutenant Fujita
Takumi BandoCaptain Tanida
Yuki MatsuzakiNozaki
Takashi YamaguchiKashiwara
Eijiro OzakiLieutenant Okubo
NaeHanako
Nobumasa SakagamiAdmiral Ohsugi
Lucas Elliot EberlSam (as Lucas Elliot)
Sonny SaitoMedic Endo (as Sonny Seiichi Saito)
Steve Santa SekiyoshiKanda
Hiro AbeLt. Colonel Oiso
Toshiya AgataCaptain Iwasaki
Yoshi IshiiPrivate Yamazaki
Toshi TodaColonel Adachi
Ken KenseiMaj. General Hayashi
Ikuma AndoOzawa
Akiko ShimaLead Woman
Masashi NagadoiAdmiral Ichimaru
Mark MosesAmerican Officer
Roxanne HartOfficer’s Wife
Yoshio IizukaTired Soldier
MitsuSuicide Soldier (as Mitsu Kurokawa)
Takuji KuramotoOno
Avery WadaHashimoto (as Koji Wada)
Yoshi Tomo KanedaJapanese Soldier #1 (as Akira Kaneda)
Shoji HattoriJapanese Soldier #2
Mark Tadashi TakahashiJapanese Soldier #3
Mitsuyuki OishiJapanese Soldier #4
Evan EllingsonKid Marine
Kazuyuki MorosawaIto’s Guard
Masayuki YonezawaIto’s Soldier
Hiroshi Tom TanakaHopeless Soldier
Mathew BotuchisAmerican Marine
Yukari BlackMother
Daisuke NagashimaPrisoner
Kirk EnochsMarine Officer
Ryan KelleyMarine #2
Jonathan Oliver SesslerMarine #3
Michael LawsonMarine #4
Taishi MizunoCave Soldier #1
Daisuke TsujiCave Soldier #2
Yoshi AndoExcavator #1
Yutaka TakeuchiExcavator #2
Tsuguo MizunoLead Excavator
Mark OfujiKuribayashi’s Guard
Hallock BealsMarine at Clearing
Ryan CarnesMarine at Clearing
Jeremy GlazerMarine Lieutenant
Ryoya KatsuyamaBoy
Masashi OdateCook
London KimOkubo’s Soldier
Dick ‘Skip’ EvansPilot (as Skip Evans)
Wanliss E. ArmstrongPilot
Rio AhnWounded Japanese Soldier (uncredited)
Jean-Luc JulienAmerican Officer (voice) (uncredited)
Satch WatanabePrisoner (voice) (uncredited)

Sources: imdb & wikipedia

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