Flags of Our Fathers



Harrowing World War II drama isn't for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: February 5, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 132 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive 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.


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).


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


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."


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

Drinking, drugs, & 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).

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.

What's the story?

Structured as a series of flashbacks and interviews, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS focuses on the pain, fear, and calamity of combat, and the difficulties faced by the three surviving flag-raisers captured in Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II photo, whom the government sent on tour across the United States to encourage people to support the war effort. The men include Navy corpsman "Doc" Bradley (Ryan Phillippe), Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford) and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach). Along with the lasting, horrific affects of war felt by the men, the film reveals the irony behind the photo itself, and how the flag-raisers feel exploited by the fundraising process. We also see the hardships of Ira, a Native American who's dogged by racism by fellow Marines and civilians. Ira turns to alcohol to numb his pain and eventually, after retiring from the military, he's found dead at age 33, a victim of "exposure," according to the coroner's report.

Is it any good?


A large, roiling reassessment of the relationships between war, commerce, and mythology, Clint Eastwood's film is at once magnificent and disquieting.

Complex and earnest, Flags of Our Fathers emphasizes that the flag-rasiers most admire their fallen friends, who didn't "think of themselves as heroes." In doing so, the film indicts the war-makers -- then and now -- who have "never been to war" but still send young men to fight, and honors those warriors who saw and committed acts, both horrific and heroic, that they can never forget.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 19, 2006
DVD release date:February 6, 2007
Cast:Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Ryan Phillippe
Director:Clint Eastwood
Run time:132 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for sequences of graphic war violence and carnage, and for language.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byiamJMAN00793 June 3, 2011


I really wanted to like Flags of our Fathers but I just couldn't. The story was dull and a little hard to follow because of all the jumping around from the battlefield to home. There is strong language throughout the movie around 20 f-words and other minor profanities, there was one crude joke and some violence, but actually less than one might expect from a WWII movie. Overall I was really disappointed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008


It was a great look at a WWII battle but very depresing. The violence in this movie was not to bad but there was a scene of some human insides. This movie certainly deserves 5 stars.
Adult Written byquest13 April 9, 2008


great history lesson but 30+ f words is bullcrap I counted 12 or 11. More of a documenory not much violence.


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