The Outsider
Australian film poster
Directed byDelbert Mann
Screenplay byStewart Stern
Based onThe Hero of Iwo Jima
by William Bradford Huie
Produced bySy Bartlett
StarringTony Curtis
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle, A.S.C.
Edited byMarjorie Fowler, A.C.E.
Music byLeonard Rosenman
(composed and conducted)
Distributed byUniversal-International
Release date
  • December 1961 (1961-12)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States

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.

Jim Sorenson, a Marine depicted as Hayes's best friend, is a fictional composite of other men who raised the flag. The movie was adapted from an article by William Bradford Huie about Hayes.


17-year-old Ira Hamilton Hayes has never been off the Pima reservation in Arizona until he enlists in the United States Marine Corps.

Hayes is shunned by fellow Marines and mocked as "Chief". All except for one, Jim Sorenson. By chance they are two of the six U.S. servicemen who hoist the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the battle at Iwo Jima. A photograph of them becomes an iconic image of the war, serving as the basis for a memorial that was installed in Arlington, Virginia. After this action, 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.

Marine Corps War Memorial

Hayes' alcoholism after he leaves the Marine Corps becomes a public scandal. Hayes 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 attends the dedication of the Marine Corps War Memorial (also called the Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington, Virginia on November 10, 1954, 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 was 32.

End inscription

"Ira Hayes was buried with
full military honors at
Arlington National Cemetery
on February 2, 1955."



The movie was filmed on location at the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Camp Calvin B. Matthews in California, Soldier Field in Chicago, San Diego, the Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington, Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery, and at Universal Studios in California.

See also