http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/255921

Lee & Eastwood Clash on Iwo Jima, History Reveals They're Both Right

Posted Jun 9, 2008 by Can Tran
Recently Hollywood directors Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee have clashed on the history of African-Americans fighting at Iwo Jima.
Spike Lee speaks with OSU students
Spike Lee, Hollywood's most important and influential filmmakers in the past decade.
Photo by Kevin Fitzsimons / The Ohio State University
Ever since becoming a director, Clint Eastwood has directed films that went on to win awards. Eastwood had directed two films talking about the battle on Iwo Jima in which the United States forces had placed their flag on top of Mount Suribachi. Eastwood had directed “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Flags of Our Fathers.”
Acclaimed director Spike Lee has clashed with acclaimed director Clint Eastwood about the historical accuracy. Lee accused Eastwood of misrepresenting and distorting history by downplaying the African-American influence and perspective on Iwo Jima.
Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen,” Lee argued at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. He added: “In his version of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist.”
Eastwood fired back asking Lee if he has even studied history. In his own words, Eastwood told Lee to “shut up.” He also added that African-American soldiers did not raise the flag on Mount Suribachi.
The sheer irony of it all is that both Lee and Eastwood are right. History has taken the side of both directors. It is revealed that the African-American soldiers played a vital role in World War II, such as the battle of Iwo Jima. Many African-American Marines were part of the battle.
However, they were assigned to vital non-combat roles. But, it does not mean that they did not have their fair share of combat.
In that respect, history is on Lee’s side.
History is also on Eastwood’s side. However, critics call Eastwood’s portrayal of the battle as a narrow one. But, it is still considered very accurate. The two movies tell the story of Iwo Jima from both the American and Japanese perspective of things.
While history is on both directors’ sides, Eastwood is still criticized for not portraying African-Americans in his movies. In a sense, Eastwood was in the right and the wrong in regards to African-Americans in Iwo Jima.
In a nutshell, Spike Lee was right and Clint Eastwood was right. They were both “right.”