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Iwo Jima Pose

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"There is something deeply reassuring about this photograph in its display of strength and teamwork—even the last man who no longer can touch the flagpole 'has the back' of his comrades—and its communication to push forward to victory."

A Stock Pose paying Homage to the famous photograph of US Marines raising the second American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II (also turned into a statue in Arlington Cemetery near Washington, D.C.).

It usually makes appearances in works with political overtones, usually relaying a message about military action or calling attention to one political cause or another.

More rarely, it may be invoked as a visual metaphor for someone/something actually laying claim to being Number One in or making great strides in their media field or genre.

Other times, it may not be symbolic at all but rather just a way for making something look cool and badass.

This is one of history's most famous and most recognized images and it's unlikely that it will stop being referenced any time soon. Examples may - in fact, probably will - include instances in which the image is referenced in ways that seem disrespectful, inappropriate, or distasteful.

See also Claiming Via Flag, which involves raising a flag to declare ownership.


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  • The Adult Video Association replaced the US soldiers with scantily clad women for a poster promoting an anti-censorship campaign they were sponsoring.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Animatrix two-part story "Second Renaissance" has a scene where the UN soldiers pull this off. The catch is that by that point, they were losing badly to the Machines.
  • Nichijou; Mio has an image spot of a bunch of Mios raising a flag like this when her crush talks to her.

  • Has appeared in not one but two of the works from guerrilla artist Banksy.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD had some of its most popular characters raising a flag bearing the magazine's title on top of a pile of comics for its Prog 2000 issue cover.
  • Young Justice's tie-in to the Our Worlds at War event featured on its cover a few members of the team (and infamous criminal The Persuader) raising The Persuader's atomic axe in victory.
  • Marvel Comics' G.I. Joe comic did this on the very first page of the very first issue.
  • This promotion image for Block 109.
  • The cover of Justice League of America #1 (2012). Also comes with 52 variant covers featuring the fifty state flags plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
  • In an anniversary book for Doonesbury it's mentioned there's a beach in Malibu named after Zonker. Cue the artwork of Zonker, Mike, and Mark planting the sign for the beach in the Iwo Jima Pose.
  • The cover to Invasion! #2 shows the Justice League International in the Iwo Jima Pose with the UN flag.
  • The cover of issue #184 of the Dark Avengers run (a.k.a. the retooled Thunderbolts book).
  • The cover of Infinity #6.
  • The cover of a 2006 issue of 91:an Karlsson parodied this trope by having the main characters engage this pose while raising a maypole. A 1992 issue did something similar, but with guest characters from various other strips featured in the magazine with the title character clinging onto the top of the pole.

    Fan Works 
  • In Gate fanfic Here We Go Again!, Itami and the US Marine tank crews raise both the American and Japanese flags over the titular tank in the aftermath of the Ginza Incident.
  • The cover of an X-rated Strike Witches doujin had Gertrude, Yoshika, and Lynette raising a pair of panties on a pole like this.
  • This cover to a Transformers fancomic.
  • In Contact at Kobol, a similar image (that of Tau'ri soldiers raising the flag over a just-nuked Valhalla) is commonly referenced in-Universe, and is implied to be on its way to equally iconic status.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Featured on the movie poster for Flags of Our Fathers; the film's plot revolves around the lives of the Marines who planted the flag and how they handled being turned into a propaganda symbol by the American media.
  • Used in the opening of Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation. And then subverted with a Match Cut to a flag, similarly positioned, with a small group of ragged troopers rallying around it trying to hold off a bug swarm.
  • In Independence Day, the Iwo Jima Memorial is briefly seen in Washington.
  • A Few Good Men also features Washington's Iwo Jima Memorial.
  • The Iwo Jima Memorial is likewise visible at the start of the film Armageddon (1998).
  • Parodied in The High Crusade with a brief shot of Muslim forces raising their own flag when conquering Jerusalem.
  • A group of National Guardsmen are seen reenacting this pose briefly in First Blood.
  • A shot of Iwo Jima with the Confederate flag can be seen during the opening credits of C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America.
  • Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! has characters recreating the pose as a way to kill a shark by impaling it with the flag pole.
  • Sands of Iwo Jima naturally features the iconic flag raising both on its poster and reenacted at the end of the film. Perhaps out of deference to the real life Marines involved (some of whom appear briefly in the film) the film's protagonists do not take part in the flag raising, but merely witness it from nearby.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Victory of the Daleks", the British soldiers raise a flag this way after they defeat the Daleks.
  • In an episode of Chuck the employees of the Buy More stage a recreation of the photograph on top of a "mountain" made from the store's merchandise as a protest when an operation by The Ring makes them believe the store is being sold.
  • Lampshaded in The Red Green Show when the guys are putting up a flagpole. Played for Laughs when they end up hanging the flag upside-down.
  • Played with in Mystery Science Theater 3000, on "The Day The Earth Froze", in a scene where the witch's servants are standing near some rocks:
    Joel: Hey, that looks just like the statue of Iwo Jima, if you cross your eyes and get the poles next to those guys...


    Print Media 
  • There was an article in Newsweek that had a photo of the cast of Jersey Shore in this pose.
  • One TIME Magazine cover for an article on "How To Win The War On Global Warming" replaced the flagpole in the original photograph with a tree.
  • A cartoon by Wayne Stayskal, printed after the Apollo 11 landing in July 1969, shows Neil Armstrong planting an American flag on the moon's surface while being aided by the spirits of Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Gus Grissom, the three astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 disaster.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In WCW, Shane Douglas' Revolution stable would plant their flag into a defeated opponent in a send-up of this pose.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Games Workshop "Golden Demon" contest entry featured a group of Warhammer orcs doing this.
  • One Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG book has a piece of art featuring Rebel Alliance soldiers raising their flag over Coruscant in this manner.
  • An issue of Strategy & Tactics replaces the flagpole with an oil well.

    Video Games 
  • American players in Rising Storm are treated to an animated visual of the Trope Maker upon winning a full match of the Territory game mode.
  • The Good Ending of Wing Commander features an Iwo Jima-style flag raising.
  • Players in Modern Warfare 2 can be rewarded an emblem resembling the flag-planting at Iwo Jima for killing a bomb-carrier in Sabotage or Demolition multiplayer game modes.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla includes an Iwo Jima-like monument that can be found in Oasis.
  • The American ending for EndWar has one of these.
  • The main menu for Army Men 2 features the little plastic Greens raising a flag over a mountain of rubble, coupled with Tan bodies and limbs. In fact, quite a few of the Army Men games did this.
  • Battlefield 3 has this pose on its "Capture the Flag" achievement icon.
  • In the climactic level for Freddie in Valiant Hearts: The Great War, the Canadians can be seen doing this, to signify their actions at Vimy Ridge.
  • The promotional picture for PAYDAY 2's Historical Pack DLC shows the PAYDAY crew stealing the Iwo Jima flag with a similar pose.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • A send-up of the pose appeared in the episode "New Kids On The Blecch" in which Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph form a Boy Band that's being used as a recruitment tool by the US Navy.
    • In "Selma's Choice", among Aunt Gladys's collection of potato chips resembling famous people is one that looks like the flag-planting at Iwo Jima. Homer eats them as quickly as they're shown on screen.
    • In "Large Marge", a group of veterans from Iwo Jima are guest speakers at Springfield Elementary. As one can guess, Bart just happened to accidentally knock down the school's flag pole while they were walking by, but the veterans know exactly what to do...
    • In "Rosebud" when Smithers presented a slideshow of Mr Burns's life on his birthday, one of the shots was of the Iwo Jima Pose with Mr Burns's face superimposed onto all of the Marines.
  • On The Critic, Marty manages to make an animated version with his stomach as part of his talent show routine.
  • One of the photos in the "Heist" portion from Over the Hedge.
  • Shown when Robot Chicken discussed G.I. Joe's battle for the Weather Dominator; the narrator states "G.I. Joe had emphatically placed an American flag in Cobra's ass, both metaphorically and, in one unfortunate case, quite literally."
  • Done twice on King of the Hill. First, when Peggy makes a float for the Veterans' Day parade with skeletons raising the flag and the caption "The Futility of War." The pose appears again when Hank and the gang put up a flagpole in Bill's yard.
  • Parodied in SuperMansion when Captain America expy American Ranger recounts him and his sidekick Kid Victory performing the pose while doing an Ass Shove on a Nazi soldier with the flagpole, complete with a photograph. He's then shamed for it by his teammates who inform him that this was a war crime, with the adult Kid Victory (now the Secretary of Defense) agreeing.

  • The old NetBSD logo featured a group of BSD Daemons re-enacting that scene with a NetBSD flag on a pile of old, discarded computers.

    Real Life 
  • While it was not an intentional homage, the photographer who took the picture of the firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero following the September 11 attacks immediately recognized the similarity. Everyone else did, too.
  • The Reds with Rockets version is the famous picture taken by Soviet photographer Evgenij Chaldey after the fall of Berlin. It was an reenactment of the raising of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag - the original raising had been made in the dark and wasn't caught on camera - after the battle had ended.
  • After the Sri Lankan Government's victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, President Mahinda Rajapaksa released a LKR1000 note that had him waving to the crowd on the obverse, and armed forces personnel in this pose on the reverse.
  • This article by the US Naval Institute argues that, out of all the Stock Poses in recent times, this is probably the most parodied photo out there.
  • Following the retaking of most of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021, an elite Taliban unit known as the Badri 313 struck the pose in mockery with captured American gear that was left behind. This was subsequently used with pro-jihadist propaganda.

Alternative Title(s): Iwo Jima Flag Planting