Follows the story of six soldiers, who became famous via an ultimately iconic photograph. It was taken on Mount Suribachi, at the battle of Iwo Jima 1945 where American fought Japanese forces. It's the first part of Eastwood's duology, the second (Letters From Iwo Jima
) tells the story of Iwo Jima from the perspective of Japanese soldiers.
To capitalize on the wave of sentiment the photo inspires, the surviving 3 'Flag Raisers' are pulled out of combat and sent back to the States to continue to serve their country – not on the battlefield but among crowds of adoring throngs, and as pawns in a government war bonds drive.
John (Phillippe), a Navy Corpsman; Ira (Beach), a publicity-shy Native American; and Rene (Bradford), a wartime messenger who avoided firing his weapon.
They tirelessly tour America as the very power of their image rescues the flagging war effort. But inwardly, they find that along with their friends and brothers felled in combat, a part of their souls will never leave the black soils of Iwo Jima.