Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that this harrowing World War II drama isn't for kids. The battlefield violence is graphic, with weapons ranging from tanks and grenades (explosions, flying bodies) to bayonets and knives (close-up assaults, with bloody, ravaged effects visible). The film opens with a battlefield-set nightmare, then cuts frequently between the present and flashbacks to the brutal fighting and the tour, so it's not always clear when the violence will be cropping up. Characters use frequent profanity (mostly "f--k"), smoke cigarettes in nearly every scene (except in the heat of battle), and drink plenty of alcohol, with one man in particular becoming drunk as he grieves his dead comrades and feels guilty for surviving. There's a brief reference to masturbation.
A joke about "masturbation papers" is played on a young Marine.
Repeated, harrowing violence (mostly related to war): explosions, gunfire, bayoneting, stabbing; weapons include flamethrowers, cannons, automatic weapons, tanks, swords, grenades, missiles; are bodies thrown and exploded; grisly images include a head dropping on one soldier, heroes stabbing enemies, Japanese suicides by grenades, burning bodies, a tank rolling over a body, and Marines killed by "friendly fire" from a Navy ship; a body is discovered in a corral by kids (the body is viewed from above, at a distance).
Repeated use of "f--k" (30+), as well as frequent other profanity ("s--t," "jackass," "a--hole," "hell," "damn"); thematic and repeated pejorative references to Ira's Native American idenity ("redskin," "squaw," "wigwam"); derogatory reference to "A-rabs."
The administration exploits the young flag-raisers to sell war bonds; there's racism directed toward a Native American Marine; heroes argue, drink, and fight; criticism of the artifice of the fund-raising tour; lying to mothers of dead Marines.
Flag-raisers are treated as commercial "product," so the issue is thematic.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Frequent cigarette smoking (soldiers smoke incessantly, except when in battle); hard, sad drinking (Ira drinks to get drunk, then stumbles, cries, and acts out his frustrations).