This post has been updated to include additional images.
Photographer Joe Rosenthal admitted that when he took a shot of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, he had no idea that he had captured something extraordinary. He was setting up for a different shot when he spotted the group of men planting the flag and quickly took a snap without even looking through the viewfinder. The chance photo would become iconic overnight and go on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is often cited as being the most reproduced photograph in history. It is also probably the most parodied image in the world. The “Iwo Jima pose” has become a popular symbol for organizations or movements wishing to convey victory, teamwork, or patriotism. The use of the image has ranged from respectful homage to what some consider offensive misappropriation.
Art and Sculpture
Mask of New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro
Marine Christmas Card from Lebanon in 1982
Title Screen for 1986 Iwo Jima video game
Sculpted out of butter in the Camp Fallujah chow hall, Iraq
Tattoo inspired by the photograph
Ol’ Glory beer successfully appealed to federal regulator to allow the “Pledge of Allegiance” to be printed on every can
Portable War Museum by artist Edward Kienholz
Stained glass from the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Several Foreign militaries have adopted the pose for a variety of uses.
Royal Norwegian Guards via Reddit
Turkish soldiers put a wire fence around area after Turkish flag is raised on Feb. 22, 2015 in Syria.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2013
Stamps and Currency
United States 1945
United States 1995
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank initially denied that the 1000 Rupee note circulated in 2009 was modeled after the Rosenthal photograph, but later confessed that the image was indeed the inspiration.
Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar – 2005
Bands striking the Iwo Jima pose has become cliché.
Anti-Flag – A New Kind of Army, 1999
Funkadelic -One Nation UNder a Groove, 1978
Uriah Heep – Conquest, 1980
Savatage – Fight for the Rock, 1986
Rev Theory – Justice, 2011
Canned Heat – Future Blues, 1970
Magazines, Comics and Book Covers
The 2008 Time magazine issue on global warming caused a furor when Iwo Jima veterans objected to the alteration of the original photo, calling it “an absolute disgrace”
1969 Chicago Today American editorial cartoon showing the ghosts of Apollo 1 Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chafee helping Neil Armstrong raise a flag on the moon.
2000 AD comic, 1999
The short-lived Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, 1953
America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney, 2002
Speed Comics, 1945
Jock magazine, 1969
Blackhawk comic, 1983
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, 2003
Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, 2007
11 Freunde magazine from Germany, 2006
British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association
Washington, D.C. Anarchists
Published in 1971, The New Soldier by John Kerry documented the efforts of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Greenpeace activists raise a model wind turbine at the Dept of the Interior in 2010.
Protest against Japan’s toxic waste trade policies in the Philippines
Cover for Frontiers magazine by Ed Freeman
Among other commentary, the Iwo Jima pose is regularly used in satirical cartoons.
Mad magazine illustration after the terrorist attacks on the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015.
1970s Panavision advertisement
Grace Elder Care
The Official British Army Fitness Program
A scene from the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Newsweek promotional photo for The Jersey Shore
Indicative of its relevance as a cultural touchstone, the Iwo Jima pose has been referenced on The Simpsons at least six times – “New Kid on the Blecch,” “Selma’s Choice,” “LargeMarge,” “Rosebud,” “Half Decent Proposal,” and “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington.”
Dr. Who – “Victory of the Daleks” 2010
Pitch Perfect 2
Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Beard” 2010
Hard Rock Café pin
Work of the graffiti artist Banksy