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DVD Review: Letters from Iwo Jima

Posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2007 12:28 AM

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Front Cover ArtworkLetters from Iwo Jima (Two Disc Special Edition)
DVD - Two Discs
Warner Home Video 111292 - Region 1
140 minutes

List Price: $34.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

Available on DVD 5/22/2007


 TheatricalThis DVD
Aspect Ratio:2.35:1 2.35:1

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital 5.1

Disc 1 Contents

  • Intro Ads
    • Soundtracks for "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima"
    • Trailer for "American Pastime" on DVD
  • Movie

Disc 2 Contents

  • Extras
    • Red Sun Black Sand: The Making of Letters from Iwo Jima
      An inside look at the creation of the film with all key players
    • The Faces of Combat: The Cast of Letters from Iwo Jima
      Cast members introduce the characters they portray in the film
    • Images from the Frontlines: The Photography of Letters from Iwo Jima
      A still photo montage
    • November 2006 World Premiere at Budo-kan in Tokyo
    • November 2006 Press Conference
    • Theatrical Trailer

About the Movie

After director Clint Eastwood finished "Flags of Our Fathers," his movie about how the publicity surrounding the photograph of the flag raising at Iwo Jima immortalized in the popular photograph, he decided to look at the Iwo Jima battle from the Japanese perspective. The result is "Letters from Iwo Jima," a movie done in Japanese with English subtitles, where the Americans are viewed as the invaders of the homeland of outnumbered defenders.

How Does it Look?

General Kuribayashi

The video quality was very impressive. The muted tones fit the movie perfectly, and I saw no artifacts.

Since quite a bit of the movie takes place in caves and at night, I recommend viewing it in a darkened environment with a calibrated display, so that you can enjoy the detail that went into the cinematography and how the shadows and light play a part in the look and feel of this movie.

How Does it Sound?

The audio served the movie well. Since the movie is in Japanese, I couldn't tell if the dialogue was clear or not, but it sounded right to me. The sounds of the American invasion were loud and clear!


Fortunately, we are graced with several features which enhance the enjoyment of the movie. Red Sun Black Sand and The Faces of Combat are the most interesting, although watching Clint Eastwood address everyone at the press conference was amusing as he accepted the applause of a welcoming audience. As always, I appreciate seeing the theatrical trailer included.


Even though this movie was an afterthought, it's a better movie than Flags of Our Fathers, in my opinion. The Academy had the same opinion, as they bestowed more Oscar nominations on it, including Best Picture and Best Director. You don't need to see the other movie to enjoy this one, and in fact, I watched "Letters from Iwo Jima" before seeing "Flags of Our Fathers."

Warner Home Video put together a nice two-disc package here. If you rent it, make sure that you get the second disc, so that you can enjoy the extras contained there.

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the DVD.


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