Tag: Flags of Our Fathers

April 23, 2007 / / Film Notes

By Stuart Kurtz

We’ve come to have certain expectations of World War II films over the years. We expect to see bloodshed, of course. We know there will be sacrifices, as well as displays bravery and heroism. We know we will see men put to the reaches of endurance and conquer their fears. These are givens. World War II films, as opposed to those about Vietnam, have usually conveyed these principles. There are exceptions: George C. Scott barking and slapping his way to immortality in Patton, and the problem of what’s worth sacrificing oneself for in Saving Private Ryan. Clint Eastwood has one of the handful of alternate views of what they call “The Good War.” The film’s tagline, “a single shot can save the war,” signals Eastwood’s intention, as it points up the difference between publicity, one photo, and reality, the actuality of fighting on that island.