This classic World War II actioner has Wayne as a tough but compassionate Marine Corps sergeant, John M. Stryker. Tough name, too. Stryker's job is to turn a bunch of raw recruits into a fighting machine. His no-holds-barred approach causes a great amount of friction, not to mention a running subplot concerning his personal life that makes him something of an enigma to his men. The mystery of his past is not fully resolved until the very ending, by which point Stryker is decidedly a war hero. The supporting roles of those who hate Stryker's guts, and who are inevitably won over, are played handsomely by John Agar and Forrest Tucker. Veteran film director Allan Dwan helmed this one, and used real war footage and three of the surviving soldiers who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi to reenact that momentous event. An engrossing and entertaining war flick all around, Sands of Iwo Jima
boasts one of the Duke's finest, most measured and layered performances. --Jim Gay
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