Clint Eastwood

“I still think it’s one of the better films I’ve done”: Clint Eastwood Considers His 1 Movie to Be His Greatest Work That Started a Feud With Spike Lee

The director made the film entirely in Japanese and it acted as a companion piece for his other war film, 'Flags of Our Fathers'.


  • Legendary director Clint Eastwood has made many acclaimed films and is still working without a break.
  • The two-time Oscar winner revealed that his favorite film of his was the Japanese war film ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’.
  • The film was also nominated for the Oscars and told the battle between the USA and Japan from the latter’s perspective.

The legendary Clint Eastwood is one of the few veterans in the industry who has still managed to keep working even at the age of 93. The actor-director has helmed multiple acclaimed films such as Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, American Sniper, Mystic River, and more. He currently working on the thriller, Juror No.2.

Eastwood’s films have been critical darlings and once ruled Awards seasons. Despite the long list of brilliant films in his filmography, the Gran Torino star named Letters from Iwo Jima as his best film. The Japanese-language war film spoke about the battle between the USA and Japan during WWII and reportedly irked Do The Right Thing director Spike Lee.

Clint Eastwood Considers Letters from Iwo Jima To Be His Best Film

From his first film as director for Play Misty for Me to his latest Juror No.2, Clint Eastwood has made critical darlings that have tackled various genres. Eastwood has explored war films, Westerns, sports dramas, courtroom dramas, procedurals, and more. The man is 93 and is still going strong with artistically challenging films.

Eastwood has been nominated for the Oscar four times as Best Director and has won twice. He received his first Oscar for the Western Unforgiven. He was also nominated for Best Actor for the film but lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman. Eastwood won the Oscar again for Million Dollar Baby, which also won Best Picture the same year.

However, Clint Eastwood preferred his other Oscar-nominated film as his best work. Talking to NHK, Eastwood named his war film Letters from Iwo Jima as his best work to date. The war film was a companion piece for his other WWII film Flags of Our Fathers, which focused on the battle between the USA and Japan. He said,

“I tell you one that really was a long shot and it was in making a film Flags of Our Fathers some years ago. I got the idea to do The Letters from Iwo Jima, and I thought, ‘That’s so hard to do because it’s hard to find out much information on it’…I was fortunate to find a writer here in America…So that had a great satisfaction because I still think it’s one of the better films I’ve done.”

Letters from Iwo Jima was filmed entirely in Japanese and told the war from the Japanese perspective. The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. The film ultimately won in the Best Sound Editing category.

Why Does Spike Lee Hate Letters From Iwo Jima?

While Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece Letters from Iwo Jima is the favorite of the hard-to-please filmmaker himself, the epic war drama irked another legendary filmmaker Spike Lee. Lee, the director of classic films such as Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X, took issue with Eastwood’s Japanese film due to the lack of Black soldiers in the film.

Lee spoke to The Guardian while promoting his film Miracle at St. Anna, a war film set during the Italian Civil War during WWII, which had Black representation. He said,

“[Clint Eastwood] did two films about Iwo Jima back to back and there was not one Black soldier in both of those films. Many veterans, African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version.”

However, Clint Eastwood did not take this accusation silently. He argued back that the film was based on the soldiers who raised the infamous Iwo Jima flag and that none of them were Black. He said to The Guardian,

“They didn’t raise the flag. The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people’d go, ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate.”

Clint Eastwood also went on to disregard Spike Lee’s criticism as he had faced a similar reaction from the BlacKKKlansman director when Eastwood made the film Bird, which was based on the life of the saxophonist Charlie Parker.

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