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  • Tenko Boxed Set [DVD] Tenko Boxed Set | DVD | (03/10/2011) from £24.15  |  Saving you £5.84 (19.50%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Hard hitting and controversial classic BBC drama series, based on real life experiences. Tenko is the powerful story of a disparate group of women whose lives are changed forever when they are taken by the Japanese as prisoners of war after the fall of Singapore in 1941.This twelve disc set contains all thirty episodes from Series One to Three plus the feature length Reunion Special.

  • Soldier Soldier; The Complete Series Soldier Soldier; The Complete Series | DVD | (27/02/2006) from £29.39  |  Saving you £30.60 (51.00%)  |  RRP £59.99

    This amazing box set features all seven series of the classic ITV military drama Soldier Soldier spread over 23 discs. For individual episode listings please see the individual series.

  • Colditz [DVD] Colditz | DVD | (15/11/2010) from £21.99  |  Saving you £28.00 (56.00%)  |  RRP £49.99

    This classic series deals with Allied prisoners of war imprisoned at the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle during World War II and their many attempts to escape captivity as well as the relationships formed between the various nationalities and their German captors. One memorable episode portrays the attempts of a prisoner Wing Commander Marsh (Michael Bryant) to get out of Colditz by feigning insanity. He succeeds but is pushed to the limits of his sanity in the process...

  • Please Sir! - Complete Series Box Set [Repackaged] [10dvd] Please Sir! - Complete Series Box Set | DVD | (26/05/2008) from £22.99  |  Saving you £27.00 (54.00%)  |  RRP £49.99

    British comedy at its best Please Sir is fondly remembered by an entire generation of TV viewers. Starring John Alderton as the idealistic teacher Bernard Hedges who is put in charge of the worst class ever come back to school and relive the hilarity with Please Sir!.

  • The Complete War Collection (12 Discs) The Complete War Collection (12 Discs) | DVD | (06/11/2006) from £24.64  |  Saving you £55.35 (69.20%)  |  RRP £79.99

    A complete collection of the best of British war movies! Films comprise: 1. The Colditz Story (Dir. Guy Hamilton 1955) 2. The Cruel Sea (Dir. Charles Frend 1953) 3. The Dam Busters (Dir. Michael Anderson 1954) 4. I Was Monty's Double (Dir. John Guillermin 1958) 5. Ice Cold In Alex (Dir. J. Lee Thompson 1958) 6. Went The Day Well? (Dir. Alberto Cavalcanti 1942) 7. The Wooden Horse (Dir. Jack Lee 1950) 8. They Who Dare (Dir. Lewis Milestone 1954) 9. Cross Of Iron (Dir. Sam Peckinpah 1977) 10. The Way Ahead (Dir. Carol Reed 1944) 11. In Which We Serve (Dir. Noel Coward/David Lean 1942) 12. The Battle Of The River Plate (Dir. Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger 1956)

  • Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked - Nighthawks 2 [Blu-ray] [1978] Nighthawks/Strip Jack Naked - Nighthawks 2 | Blu Ray | (30/03/2009) from £21.39  |  Saving you £3.60 (14.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Nighthawks: After the end of his workday staid schoolteacher Jim explores the disco's and secret meeting places of London's gay underground unable to reconcile his sexual identity with the rest of his life - until the strain of living a lie threatens to take its toll at last. Nighthawks 2: British director Ron Peck's look back at at the production of his groundbreaking Nighthawks which candidly explored a closeted gay schoolteacher's inner conflicts. The director tells very poignantly his own story of self-discovery and coming out. Most striking is the story of how much effort and determination it took to get Nighthawks made and why there are hundreds of names in the closing credits that the producers would like to give thanks to - they are people who sent in small amounts of money after reading in a London gay paper that the filmmakers needed funds to continue the project.

  • Harrison Ford Collection Harrison Ford Collection | DVD | (06/10/2008) from £20.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (30.00%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Titles Comprise: Witness: When a young Amish woman (McGillis) and her son (Haas) are caught up in the murder of an undercover narcotics agent their unlikely savior proves to be the worldly and cynical Philadelphia detective John Book. Harrison Ford is sensational as Book the cop who runs head-on into the non-violent world of a Pennsylvania Amish community. The end result is an action-packed struggle of life and death interwoven with a sensitive undercurrent of caring and forbidden love. K-19: The Widowmaker Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson star in a thrilling action-drama inspired by the true story of a Soviet submarine crew trying to save its vessel from a nuclear meltdown - and avert global war. Clear And Present Danger: When his mentor Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) becomes gravely ill Ryan is appointed acting CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence. His first assignment: investigate the murder of one of the President's friends a prominent US businessman with secret ties to Colombian drug cartels. Unbeknownst to Ryan the CIA has already dispatched a deadly field operative (Willem Dafoe) to lead a paramilitary force against the Colombian drug lords. Caught in the crossfire Ryan takes matters into his own hands risking his career and life for the only cause he still believes in - the truth. Patriot Games: His days as an intelligence agent behind him former CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) has traveled to London on vacation with his wife and daughter. Meeting his family outside of Buckingham Palace Ryan is caught in the middle of a terrorist attack on a member of the Royal Family. Ryan helps to thwart the assailants and becomes a local hero but his courageous act marks him as a target in the sights of the terrorist whose brother he killed. Now he must return to action for the most vital assignment of his life: to save his family. Sabrina: Directed by Sydney Pollack Sabrina shimmers like a fairy tale come true. Ford plays Linus Larrabee a busy tycoon who has no room for love in his appointment book. But when a romance between his playboy brother (Kinnear) and Sabrina (Ormond) daughter of the family chauffeur threatens one of Linus' business deals the CEO clears his schedule for some ruthlessness. He courts Sabrina intending to drop her when the deal closes. Will the world's only living heart donor discover his heart? Regarding Henry: Ruthless lawyer Henry Turner is left an amnesiac after being shot when caught up in a store robbery. Trying to rebuild his life Henry must learn to walk again tie his shoelaces and become a better husband...

  • Apocalypse Now [Blu-ray] [1979] Apocalypse Now | Blu Ray | (13/06/2011) from £18.50  |  Saving you £8.90 (29.70%)  |  RRP £29.99

    In the tradition of such obsessively driven directors as Erich von Stroheim and Werner Herzog, Francis Ford Coppola approached the production of Apocalypse Now as if it was his own epic mission into the heart of darkness. On location in the storm-ravaged Philippines, he quite literally went mad as the project threatened to devour him in a vortex of creative despair but from this insanity came one of the greatest films ever made. It began as a John Milius screenplay, transposing Joseph Conrad's classic story "Heart of Darkness" into the horrors of the Vietnam War, following a battle-weary Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) on a secret upriver mission to find and execute the renegade Colonel Kurtz(Marlon Brando), who has reverted to a state of murderous and mystical insanity. The journey is fraught with danger involving war-time action on epic and intimate scales. One measure of the film's awesome visceral impact is the number of sequences, images and lines of dialogue that have literally burned themselves into our cinematic consciousness, from the Wagnerian strike of helicopter gunships on a Vietnamese village to the brutal murder of stowaways and the unflinching fearlessness of the surfing warrior Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall), who speaks lovingly of "the smell of napalm in the morning." Like Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God, this film is the product of genius cast into a pit of hell and emerging, phoenix-like, in triumph. Coppola's obsession (effectively detailed in the riveting documentary Hearts of Darkness, directed by Coppola's wife, Eleanor) informs every scene and every frame, and the result is a film for the ages. --Jeff Shannon

  • The Longest Day/Patton/Tora! Tora! Tora! The Longest Day/Patton/Tora! Tora! Tora! | DVD | (16/10/2006) from £6.99  |  Saving you £-4.98 (-24.90%)  |  RRP £19.99

    The Longest Day On June 6 1944 the Allied Invasion of France marked the beginning of the end of Nazi domination over Europe. The attack involved 3 000 000 men 11 000 planes and 4 000 ships comprising the largest armada the world has ever seen. Presented in its original black & white version 'The Longest Day' is a vivid hour-by-hour re-creation of this historic event. Featuring a stellar international cast and told from the perspectives of both sides it is a fascinatin

  • Classic War Collection [DVD] Classic War Collection | DVD | (28/09/2009) from £14.99  |  Saving you £1.60 (6.40%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Titles Comprise: 12 O'clock High: This gritty World War II action drama starring Gregory Peck Oscar'' winner Dean Jagger Hugh Marlow Gary Merrill and Millard Mitchell is seen as one of the most realistic portrayals of the heroics and perils of war. Convinced an Air Force commander is at the breaking point Brigadier General Savage (Peck) takes over his struggling bomber group. At first resentful and rebellious the flyers gradually change as Savage guides them to amazing feats. But the stress of command soon takes its toll and the weary general reaches his own breaking point. The Longest Day: On June 6 1944 the Allied Invasion of France marked the beginning of the end of Nazi domination over Europe. The attack involved 3 000 000 men 11 000 planes and 4 000 ships comprising the largest armada the world has ever seen. Presented in its original black & white version The Longest Day is a vivid hour-by-hour re-creation of this historic event. The Great Escape: In 1943 the Germans opened Stalag Luft North a maximum-security prisoner-of-war camp designed to hold even the craftiest escape artist. In doing so however the Nazis unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in military history - brilliantly portrayed here by Steve McQueen James Garner Charles Bronson and James Coburn - who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted. Von Ryans Express: As the Allies begin to push the Nazis back toward Germany U.S. combat pilot Col. Joseph Ryan (Sinatra) is shot down and placed in a prison camp. Initially he's more concerned with surviving than escaping earning him the insulting nickname Von Ryan. But in time Ryan takes over from the commanding British officer (Trevor Howard) and masterminds a daredevil race for freedom that involves commandeering a train and getting it across Italy to Switzerland with the Nazis in hot pursuit. Sand Pebbles: the story of China a slumbering giant that rouses itself to the cries of its people - and of the Americans who are caught in its bloody awakening the story of Frenchy (Richard Attenborough) a crewman on the USS San Pablo who kidnaps his Chinese bride from the auction block. Most of all it's the story of Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) a sailor who had given up trying to make peace with anything: including himself. Battle of Britain: This is a spectacular retelling of a true story that shows courage at its inspiring best. Few defining moments can change the outcome of war . But when the outnumbered Royal Air Force defied unsurmountable odds in engaging the German Luftwaffe they may well have altered the course of history! Patton: A critically acclaimed film that won a total of eight 1970 Academy Awards (including Best Picture) Patton is a riveting portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest military geniuses. One of its Oscars went to George C. Scott for this triumphant portrayal of George Patton the only Allied general truly feared by the Nazis. Tora!Tora!Tora!: Tora! Tora! Tora! is the Japanese signal to attack - and this movie meticulously recreates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to it. Ultimately the Day of Infamy arrives - in the most spectacular gut-wrenching cavalcade of action. A Bridge Too Far:In September 1944 flush with success after the Normandy Invasion the Allies confidently launched Operation Market Garden a wild scheme intended to put an early end to the fighting by invading Germany and smashing the Reich's war plants.

  • Ocean's Eleven [HD DVD] Ocean's Eleven | HD DVD | (05/11/2007) from £9.00  |  Saving you £0.00 (0.00%)  |  RRP £25.99

    Ocean's Eleven improves on the 1960's Rat Pack original with supernova casting, a slickly updated plot and Steven Soderbergh's graceful touch behind the camera. Soderbergh reportedly relished the opportunity "to make a movie that has no desire except to give pleasure from beginning to end", and he succeeds on those terms, blessed by the casting of George Clooney as Danny Ocean, the title role originally played by Frank Sinatra. Fresh out of jail, Ocean masterminds a plot to steal $163 million from the seemingly impervious vault of Las Vegas's Bellagio casino, not just for the money but to win his ex-wife (Julia Roberts) back from the casino's ruthless owner (Andy Garcia). Soderbergh doesn't scrimp on the caper's comically intricate strategy, but he finds greater joy in assembling a stellar team (including Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Carl Reiner) and indulging their strengths as actors and thieves. The result is a film that's as smooth as a silk suit and just as stylish. --Jeff Shannon On the DVD: Ocean's Eleven on disc is hardly swarming with special features, but just like all good heists it's quality not quantity that counts. The cast commentary is lively and it's nice to hear intelligent comments coming from Hollywood's big league for a change. However, it's the director and writer's commentary that is the real gem; it's funny, enlightening and most of all it allows Ted Griffin to put the case forward for all screenwriters across the world as to the importance of their craft. The main feature has an impressive transfer of sound and visuals, making the suits sharper and David Holmes' soundtrack even funkier. --Nikki Disney

  • John Mills - Centenary Collection Vol.2 [1935] John Mills - Centenary Collection Vol.2 | DVD | (02/06/2008) from £21.39  |  Saving you £28.60 (57.20%)  |  RRP £49.99

    This box set features the following films: Car Of Dreams (Dir. Graham Cutts and Austin Melford) (1935): John mills stars as playboy Robert Miller the son and heir of a wealthy tycoon who owns a musical instrument factory. Robert is in love with Vera Hart (Grete Mosheim) a poor girl who works at his father's factory--but neither is aware of the other's true identity. When Robert anonymously buys Vera a Rolls-Royce he discovers her low social class and must further conceal his identity to avoid a family scandal. This Happy Breed (Dir. David Lean) (1944): A dramatisation of Noel Coward's play which details the lives of ordinary people between WWI and WWII. The Way To The Stars (Dir. Anthony Asquith) (1945): In 1940 a deserted airfield somewhere in the heart of England becomes a bustling bomber command station. In 1942 advance units of the American Air Force arrive to join The Royal Air Force and help turn the tide of World War II. So unfolds the story of a group of flyers and their 'missions'. Peter Penrose (John Mills) a young RAF pilot is sent to Halfpenny Field close to the small town of Shepley. His Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant David Archdale (Michael Redgrave) gives him inspiration and encouragement and they fast become friends. They are joined by a young American pilot Johnny (Douglas Montgomery) which complicates the friendship. This is the story of the group's private lives - particularly their loves during war-time. The Long Memory (Dir. Robert Hamer) (1952): After a long jail term for a crime he did not commit a man is torn between revenge or making a new life for himself. The Vicious Circle (Dir. Gerald Thomas) (1957): When Dr Howard Latimer finds the German Actress that he has just met at London Airport murdered in his flat it leads him into the world of murder blackmail and a fake passport scam. Above Us The Waves (Dir. Ralph Thomas) (1955): The dramatic World War II story of Britain's heroic attempts to sink the monster German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian Fjord using midget submarines. In this adventure of unsurpassed courage the crews of the Navy become human torpedos. Tiger Bay (Dir. J. Lee Thompson) (1959): Polish sailor Korchinsky (Buchholz) is furious to discover his lover has left him for another man and in a confrontation murders her. The crime is witnessed by 10 year old Gillie (Hayley Mills) who steals the gun used and as officer Graham (John Mills) closes in Korchinsky abducts Gillie... Forever England (Dir. Walter Forde) (1935): A war drama based on the story by C.S. Forrester in which the illegitimate son of a British naval officer singlehandedly brings about the downfall of a German battleship during World War I.

  • Taxi Driver/Casino/Mean Streets Taxi Driver/Casino/Mean Streets | DVD | (22/09/2008) from £5.49  |  Saving you £-5.00 (-25.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Taxi Driver: 'Taxi Driver' provoked fierce controversy when it was released running into censorship problems in America as some of the scenes of violence were described to be 'as gory as Clockwork Orange and Straw Dogs' (Evening News '76). In addition there was outcry at a 13-year-old schoolgirl actress (Jodie Foster) co-starring as a prostitute. It won Best Picture at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival and received Academy Award nominations for Best Film Best Actor (Robert De Niro) and Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster). Considered to be one of the most powerful films in motion picture history 'Taxi Driver' is a film which is '...a savage piece of work - and hellishly brilliant' (Evening News '76). Casino: Robert De Niro Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci star in Director Martin Scorsese's riveting look at how blind ambition white-hot passion and 24-carat greed toppled an empire. Las Vegas in 1973 is the setting for this fact-based story about the Mob's multi-million dollar casino operation - where fortunes and lives were made and lost with a roll of the dice... Mean Streets: 'Mean Streets' heralded Martin Scorsese's arrival as a new filmmaking force - and marked his first historic teaming with Robert De Niro. It's a story Scorsese lived a semi-autobiographical tale of first-generation sons and daughters in New York's Little Italy. Harvey Keitel plays Charlie working his way up the ranks of a local mob. Amy Robinson is Teresa the girlfriend his family deems unsuitable because of her epilepsy. And in the starmaking role that won Best Supporting Actor Awards from the New York and National Society of Film Critics De Niro is Johnny Boy a small-time gambler in big-time debt to the loan sharks...

  • The Thin Red Line - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] The Thin Red Line - Limited Edition Steelbook | Blu Ray | (12/05/2014) from £15.02  |  Saving you £-0.46 (-2.10%)  |  RRP £21.99

    A powerful front-line cast - including Sean Penn Nick Nolte Woody Harrelson and George Clooney - explodes into action in this hauntingly realistic view of military and moral chaos in the Pacific during World War II. Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Terrence Malick) The Thin Red Line is an unparalleled cinematic masterpiece.

  • Valkyrie [Blu-ray] [2008] Valkyrie | Blu Ray | (08/06/2009) from £11.59  |  Saving you £1.01 (4.40%)  |  RRP £22.99

    From Bryan Singer director of X-Men and The Usual Suspects comes Valkyrie. Tom Cruise stars as Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg the aristocratic German officer who led the heroic attempt to bring down the Nazi regime and end the war by planting a bomb in Hitler's bunker.

  • The Essential War Collection [DVD] The Essential War Collection | DVD | (08/06/2009) from £16.00  |  Saving you £2.90 (11.60%)  |  RRP £24.99

    Set Comprises: Battle of the Bulge (1965): For this epic recreation of one of World War II's most crucial confrontations director Ken Annakin (The Longest Day) captures the explosive action of massive forces squaring off as well as the brave individual ingenuity of weary GIs trying to survive a cruel European winter. The cast is a juggernaut of stars: Henry Fonda Robert Shaw Robert Ryan Charles Bronson Telly Savalas and more. Full Metal Jacket (1987): Full Metal Jacket begins by following the trials and tribulations of a platoon of fresh Marine Corps recruits focusing on the relationship between Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and Privates Pyle and Joker. We see Pyle grow into an instrument of death as Hartman has foreseen of all of his recruits. Through Pyle's torment and Joker's unwillingness to stand up against it the climax of part one is achieved with all three main characters deciding their fates by their action or inaction. The second chapter of Full Metal Jacket delves into Joker's psyche and the repeated referral to the fact that he joined the Corps to become a killer. When his mostly behind the scenes job as a combat correspondent is interfered with by the Tet offensive he is thrust into real combat and ultimately must choose if he really is a killer. Memphis Belle (1990): Matthew Modine and Eric Stoltz head the dynamic cast of Memphis Belle an adventure inspired by true World War II heroics. During spring 1943 they took to the war-torn skies for the most dangerous mission in defence of freedom. If the ten-man crew of the bomber Memphis Belle returned they would receive a hero's welcome and renew flagging public morale. But the odds were stacked heavily against them in the true courageous story of the brave fly-boys who each fought mortal fear while fighting the enemy together. Where Eagles Dare (1968): Commandos posing as German soldiers parachute into a small mountainside town to rescue a supposed allied general from a Nazi hideaway fortress that can only be reached by cable car. Escape to Victory (1981) This is no ordinary soccer match: this is war! The battlefield: a stadium in occupied Paris. The armies: German all-stars vs. ragtag Allied POWs. The objective: demonstrate another proof of Aryan superiority. Guess who wins? Better yet guess who cleverly uses the match as a means of escape? Sylvester Stallone Michael Caine and Max von Sydow star in this rouser directed by the legendary John Huston. The climatic match is a heart-in-the-throat hat-in-the-air exhibition of brute force and balletic grace featuring soccer legends Pele Bobby Moore Osvaldo Ardiles Co Prins Mike Summerbee and more. Score a splendid entertainment goal for 'Victory'! Kelly's Heroes (1970): In this less-than-serious look at World War II Lieutenant Kelly (Clint Eastwood) learns about a German gold shipment destined for France. With his ragtag fellow soldiers he is determined to slip behind enemy lines and retrieve it. The Dirty Dozen (1967): Atten-hut! Twelve jailbirds will earn their freedom... if they survive a suicide mission against the Nazi brass. Tough-as-nails Lee Marvin leads a nothing-to-lose convict squad in this all-time action trendsetter.

  • Band of Brothers [Tin Box Set] Band of Brothers | DVD | (20/11/2002) from £24.95  |  Saving you £35.04 (58.40%)  |  RRP £59.99

    Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elite rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. Recreated With Stunning Special Effects And The Second Collaboration Between Tom Hanks And Steven Spielberg, The SeriesIs Both A Profound And Captivating Look At The Reality Of War.

  • John Wayne - Wayne At War John Wayne - Wayne At War | DVD | (06/11/2006) from £27.95  |  Saving you £2.04 (6.80%)  |  RRP £29.99

    Flying Tigers (1942): A Tribute To The Intrepid Flying Tigers Those Youthful And Courageous American Pilots For Hire Who Harassed The Japanese Air Force Over The Burma Road Prior To Their Attack On Pearl Harbour. Wayne Stars As The Squadron Leader. The Fighting Seabees (1944): Wedge (John Wayne) Tries To Get His Civilian Construction Workers Protection During World War Ii When Some Of His Men Are Killed During A Japanese Attack. Against Regulations He Arms His Men To Fight Back... Back To Bataan (1945): January 30 1945: The Japanese Prison Camp At Cabanatuan Is Liberated By The Allies. This Moving War Film Shows The Courage And Personal Sacrifice Which Led To This Historic Occasion. Sands Of Iwo Jima (1949): The Relationship Between Sergeant Stryker (Wane) And A Group Of Rebellious Recruits Is Made Difficult By The Sergeant's Tough Training Tactics. At Tarawa The Leathernecks Have A Chance To See Stryker In Action And Begin To Appreciate Him. The Flying Leathernecks (1951): The South Pacific 1942. Major Dan Kirby (Wayne) Heads Up A Marine Fighter Squadron Against The Wishes Of The Men Who Were Expecting The Promotion Of The More Popular Captain Griffin (Robert Ryan). Jet Pilot (1957): In The Dangerous Days Of The Cold War An Ace American Air Force Pilot (Wayne) Has An Encounter With A Very Attractive Lady From The Wrong Side Of The Iron Curtain. Will The Sparks Of Romance Help Thaw Frosty International Relations?

  • Hart's War - Limited Edition Steelbook [Blu-ray] Hart's War - Limited Edition Steelbook | Blu Ray | (02/06/2014) from £22.45  |  Saving you £0.54 (2.30%)  |  RRP £22.99

    When Colonel William McNamara (Bruce Willis) is stripped of his freedom in a German POW camp he's determined to keep on fighting - even from behind enemy lines. Enlisting the help of a young lieutenant (Colin Farrell) McNamara risks everything on a mission to free his men... and change the outcome of the war.

  • Flags of our Fathers & Letters from Iwo Jima (4 Disc Special Edition) Flags of our Fathers & Letters from Iwo Jima (4 Disc Special Edition) | DVD | (09/07/2007) from £7.99  |  Saving you £19.21 (46.90%)  |  RRP £40.99

    Thematically ambitious and emotionally complex, Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers is an intimate epic with much to say about war and the nature of heroism in America. Based on the non-fiction bestseller by James Bradley (with Ron Powers), and adapted by Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis (Jarhead screenwriter William Broyles Jr. wrote an earlier draft that was abandoned when Eastwood signed on to direct), this isn't so much a conventional war movie as it is a thought-provoking meditation on our collective need for heroes, even at the expense of those we deem heroic. In telling the story of the six men (five Marines, one Navy medic) who raised the American flag of victory on the battle-ravaged Japanese island of Iwo Jima on February 23rd, 1945, Eastwood takes us deep into the horror of war (in painstakingly authentic Iwo Jima battle scenes) while emphasizing how three of the surviving flag-raisers (played by Adam Beach, Ryan Phillippe, and Jesse Bradford) became reluctant celebrities - and resentful pawns in a wartime publicity campaign - after their flag-raising was immortalized by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in the most famous photograph in military history. As the surviving flag-raisers reluctantly play their public roles as "the heroes of Iwo Jima" during an exhausting (but clearly necessary) wartime bond rally tour, Flags of Our Fathers evolves into a pointed study of battlefield valor and misplaced idolatry, incorporating subtle comment on the bogus nature of celebrity, the trauma of battle, and the true meaning of heroism in wartime. Wisely avoiding any direct parallels to contemporary history, Eastwood allows us to draw our own conclusions about the Iwo Jima flag-raisers and how their postwar histories (both noble and tragic) simultaneously illustrate the hazards of exploited celebrity and society's genuine need for admirable role models during times of national crisis. Flags of Our Fathers defies the expectations of those seeking a more straightforward war-action drama, but it's richly satisfying, impeccably crafted film that manages to be genuinely patriotic (in celebrating the camaraderie of soldiers in battle) while dramatising the ultimate futility of war. Eastwood's follow-up film, Letters from Iwo Jima, examines the Iwo Jima conflict from the Japanese perspective. Critically hailed as an instant classic, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima is a masterwork of uncommon humanity and a harrowing, unforgettable indictment of the horrors of war. In an unprecedented demonstration of worldly citizenship, Eastwood (from a spare, tightly focused screenplay by first-time screenwriter Iris Yamashita) has crafted a truly Japanese film, with Japanese dialogue (with subtitles) and filmed in a contemplative Japanese style, serving as both complement and counterpoint to Eastwood's previously released companion film Flags of Our Fathers. Where the earlier film employed a complex non-linear structure and epic-scale production values to dramatise one of the bloodiest battles of World War II and its traumatic impact on American soldiers, Letters reveals the battle of Iwo Jima from the tunnel- and cave-dwelling perspective of the Japanese, hopelessly outnumbered, deprived of reinforcements, and doomed to die in inevitable defeat. While maintaining many of the traditions of the conventional war drama, Eastwood extends his sympathetic touch to humanise "the enemy," revealing the internal and external conflicts of soldiers and officers alike, forced by circumstance to sacrifice themselves or defend their honour against insurmountable odds. From the weary reluctance of a young recruit named Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya) to the dignified yet desperately anguished strategy of Japanese commander Tadamichi Kuribayashi (played by Oscar-nominated The Last Samurai costar Ken Watanabe), whose letters home inspired the film's title and present-day framing device, Letters from Iwo Jima (which conveys the bleakness of battle through a near-total absence of colour) steadfastly avoids the glorification of war while paying honorable tribute to ill-fated men who can only dream of the comforts of home. --Jeff Shannon

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