With the steady drumbeat of acclaim building over HBO’s Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman’ produced “The Pacific“, it seems like a good time to start looking at some of the key depictions of the Pacific side of World War II from the movies. While they may often be propagandistic, the best of these films had a raw power that is still quite moving, even if even hinting at the true, bloody cost of war in film was impossible when they were made.

We’ll start with probably the most iconic and popular Pacific war film ever made, “The Sands of Iwo Jima” starring none other than John Wayne himself and directed  by Allan Dwan.

And, as a bonus, here’s a lovely moment from the most famous Pacific war film made by the man many consider the greatest American film director of all time, John Ford, and I’m close to being one of them myself. “They Were Expendable” certainly has its share of brilliant moments and below is an example of Ford’s brilliant use of music and images to evoke powerful emotions. Amazing stuff and barely a word is said.