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Flags of Our Fathers Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

… like kicking a puppy. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    79

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It is one of the year's best films and perhaps the finest modern film about World War II.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Eastwood’s two-film project is one of the most visionary of all efforts to depict the reality and meaning of battle.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers does a most difficult and brave thing and does it brilliantly. It is a movie about a concept. Not just any concept but the shop-worn and often wrong-headed idea of "heroism."

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The trouble is, he's preaching to the choir -- or, at least, to a culture, profoundly influenced by Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation" and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," that has already absorbed the lesson that ''the Good War,'' while it may have been noble, was never less than hell.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    The cheap perfume of sentimentality wafts through the closing moments of Flags of Our Fathers. It's all the more noticeable for having been avoided so well and so long. Mr. Eastwood knows that sort of thing doesn't mix with the stench of war.

  • See all Flags of Our Fathers reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Harrowing World War II drama isn't for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this harrowing World War II drama isn't for kids. The battlefield violence is graphic, with weapons ranging from tanks and grenades (explosions, flying bodies) to bayonets and knives (close-up assaults, with bloody, ravaged effects visible). The film opens with a battlefield-set nightmare, then cuts frequently between the present and flashbacks to the brutal fighting and the tour, so it's not always clear when the violence will be cropping up. Characters use frequent profanity (mostly "f--k"), smoke cigarettes in nearly every scene (except in the heat of battle), and drink plenty of alcohol, with one man in particular becoming drunk as he grieves his dead comrades and feels guilty for surviving. There's a brief reference to masturbation.

  • Families can talk about the legacy of World War II, often thought of as the "good war." What gets left out of the equation (pain, violence, other devastating experiences) when people look back and focus on the heroism of war? Is there such a thing as the "true" version of history? Also, how do the men who go on the fund-raising tour realize that they're being treated as commercial products? How do they suffer as a consequence? How does the movie question the notion of "heroism" as it's used to promote war?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The administration exploits the young flag-raisers to sell war bonds; there's racism directed toward a Native American Marine; heroes argue, drink, and fight; criticism of the artifice of the fund-raising tour; lying to mothers of dead Marines.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Repeated, harrowing violence (mostly related to war): explosions, gunfire, bayoneting, stabbing; weapons include flamethrowers, cannons, automatic weapons, tanks, swords, grenades, missiles; are bodies thrown and exploded; grisly images include a head dropping on one soldier, heroes stabbing enemies, Japanese suicides by grenades, burning bodies, a tank rolling over a body, and Marines killed by "friendly fire" from a Navy ship; a body is discovered in a corral by kids (the body is viewed from above, at a distance).

  • sex false0

    Sex: A joke about "masturbation papers" is played on a young Marine.

  • language false5

    Language: Repeated use of "f--k" (30+), as well as frequent other profanity ("s--t," "jackass," "a--hole," "hell," "damn"); thematic and repeated pejorative references to Ira's Native American idenity ("redskin," "squaw," "wigwam"); derogatory reference to "A-rabs."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Flag-raisers are treated as commercial "product," so the issue is thematic.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Frequent cigarette smoking (soldiers smoke incessantly, except when in battle); hard, sad drinking (Ira drinks to get drunk, then stumbles, cries, and acts out his frustrations).

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