Film Review: Letters from Iwo Jima Essay

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It would be near insanity to say Letters from Iwo Jima constitutes an everyday war movie. Clint Eastwood not only created a film that sympathizes with the Japanese, but also acknowledges the fact that both the Japanese and Americans were wrong. The Japanese assumed Americans were cowardly fools and the Americans had been taught the Japanese were mindless imperial machines. These stereotypes are quickly cast aside as viewers of this movie acquaint themselves with Saigo and his friends. However, although this movie effectively accomplishes its goals, it still contains many inaccuracies. These errors eventually culminate to the point that the movie may seem sensationalized or even overly dramatized at points. More importantly, the…show more content…
In reality, Japan had been, “deprived of essential supplies,” due to blockades by the United States navy (Kennedy 840). This lead to malnutrition and poverty in much of Japan although Saigo and Hanako were able to have a veritable feast. Errors such as these make it difficult to believe the messages the movie is trying to send. Letters from Iwo Jima further errs when the movie tries to reenact the Battle of Iwo Jima. The motives for the Japanese defending Iwo Jima are misattributed. The Japanese guarded islands like Iwo Jima to prevent the Americans from, “setting up airfields on them, and then neutralizing the enemy bases through heavy bombing” (Kennedy 840). They did not fight to the death for honor or because they thought Iwo Jima was sacred, but because losing the island would mean increased fire bombing by American forces. Furthermore, the geography of Iwo Jima is imprecise in the movie. During the battle, the American landing zones were on the east side of the island (“The Battle for Iwo Jima”). Therefore, when the Japanese prisoner is taken to the landing zone near the end of the movie, he watches the sun set in the East and not the West. No where are the toils of living in the caves of Mount Suribachi mentioned. Since, “Iwo Jima is one of the volcano islands,” the temperature in the caves would have been scotching even without the high temperatures outside (“The Battle for Iwo Jima”).
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