A dramatisation of the WWII battle of Iwo Jima, John Stryker (Wayne) is a hard-nut sergeant training young marines for combat in the Pacific war. Embittered after his wife takes off with his son, the green recruits bare the brunt of his tough drills and thick skin as he wanders close to the edge.
This was the film which fixed Wayne's image forever as a tough-as-leather patriot with a well-hidden heart. As Sgt. John M. Stryker, he works his platoon into the ground during training, but their hatred turns to respect when they hit the beach for some of the toughest battles of WW2.
Lots of noisy tin-hat action, the full range of platoon stereotypes and that famous flag-raising finale, this is the movie that every Vietnam Vet loves to hate - though it is noticeable that a lot of the good guys do get killed.
Tough and involving, best watched as a double bill with Full Metal Jacket.