The Outsider (1961 film)

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The Outsider
Directed by Delbert Mann
Produced by Sy Bartlett
Written by William Bradford Huie
Stewart Stern
Starring Tony Curtis
James Franciscus
Gregory Walcott
Bruce Bennett
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Cinematography Joseph LaShelle
Edited by Marjorie Fowler
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • December 1961 (1961-12)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Outsider is a 1961 biopic film about Ira Hayes, a Native American who fought in World War II in the United States Marine Corps and was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. The film stars Tony Curtis as Hayes. It was directed by Delbert Mann.

Sorenson, another marine depicted, is a fictional composite of others who raised the flag.


The 17-year-old Ira Hamilton Hayes has never been off the Pima reservation in Arizona when he enlists in the United States Marine Corps to serve his country in World War II.

Hayes is shunned by fellow soldiers or mocked as "Chief" by them except for one, Jim Sorenson. By chance they are two of the six U.S. servicemen who memorably hoist the American flag on Mt. Suribachi during the violent battle at Iwo Jima, after which Sorenson is killed by enemy fire.

A morose and traumatized Hayes returns home, where he is proclaimed a hero and recruited to help sell war bonds to the public. As his depression mounts, Hayes, feeling unworthy of the attention and publicity, takes refuge in whiskey.

His continued drunkenness becomes a public scandal. Hayes simply wishes to be left alone, but a tribal chief implores him to go to Washington, D.C., on his people's behalf to seek political support for an irrigation bill. Not until he visits an Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington, Virginia does he sober up and pull himself together.

Hayes returns to the reservation, but is deeply disappointed when the tribal council no longer seems to want anything to do with him. He begins drinking again and goes off into the hills, where he dies of exposure to the elements ten years after the Iwo Jima battle. He is 32.



The movie was filmed on location at Camp Pendleton in California, Iwo Jima Memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery, the Pima-Maricopa Reservation in Arizona, Soldier Field in Chicago, in San Diego and at the Universal Studios in California.

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