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Does 'Flags' = 'Best Years'? Or 'Jarhead'?

October 8, 2006 |  9:51 pm

The basic story line of "Flags of Our Fathers" is a proven favorite at past Academy Awards. A tale of U.S. soldiers struggling to adjust to civilian society after returning from war, "The Best Years of Our Lives" won seven Oscars, including best picture of 1946. The drama helmed by William Wyler (Oscar winner as best director for "Mrs. Miniver") about three dispirited veterans dared to have a downer message immediately after World War II, but it became the biggest box office hit since "Gone with the Wind" seven years earlier.

"Flags" is also about WWII, but its political message about disillusionment in war reflects views commonly held today about U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Will Oscar voters respond as appreciatively as they did 60 years ago? Or will this war movie bomb like a pic last year about Yankee soldiers returning from Iraq — "Jarhead" — directed by Oscar champ Sam Mendes ("American Beauty")? Sure, "Jarhead" focused far less on the soldiers' return stateside, but its basic anti-war message was the same. Also, like "Flags," it had sky-high Oscar hopes at this point last year, too, and appeared to be bullet-proof. Ditto for "Flags"?

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Photos: Paramount/ Samuel Goldwyn/ Universal


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