Accounts of the harrowing aftereffects of Vietnam and the two Gulf Wars are somewhat commonplace in the movies and on TV, but it's a markedly less popular subject when the war is World War II. Flags of our Fathers , which recounts the remarkable story behind the famous flag-planting photo taken during the battle for Iwo Jima, may change that.

The adopted symbol of victory was, in fact, a trivial moment that in turn trivialized the war by turning the soldiers involved (Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach) into pitchmen, puppets and performance artists before discarding them in favor of new heroes. Fathers is the first of director Clint Eastwood's two-film opus about Iwo Jima, and generally is considered the lesser of the two films.

But that's more an ode to Eastwood's second piece ( Letters From Iwo Jima ) than a criticism of his first, which stands as a horrifying, infuriating but wonderfully humane thank you card to all who risked and/or lost their lives on that mountain. Barry Pepper, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Jamie Bell and Neal McDonough, among others, also star.

No extras. (Translation: Look for a special edition when LFIJ arrives on DVD.)

Grade: A