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HBO Series, Band of Brothers (WWII)

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by InTheLight, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    Just finished watching this 10 part series on Amazon. It follows the missions of Easy Company of the 101st airborne division of WWII (the Screaming Eagles.) Easy Company was part of a new strategic group of Army soldiers--the paratroopers. They were formed specifically for invasion on D-Day. The show follows them as they parachute into Utah beach on D-Day, then follow them into Holland, then Belgium for the Battle of the Bulge, then into Germany, finally ending at Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany.

    This show is rated the #2 TV series of all time, according to IMDB.com. I wouldn't rank it that high although it definitely held my interest. The show is very graphic, in fact gory, and contains plenty of foul language. (These are soldiers under high-stress battle conditions, after all.) Also brief topless female nudity in one episode. The series really didn't find its footing until the Battle of the Bulge episodes, when we experience the terrible battle conditions and hopelessness as seen through the eyes of an overstressed medic. Up to that point, there was little character development as the show was mostly about recreating battles with technical accuracy, and not so much on story telling. If you've seen "Saving Private Ryan" you have an idea of the quality of the battle scenes in Band of Brothers. While these were intense and well produced battles, there was a lack of a personal connection with the combatants because there were so many to keep track of, and because the writers hadn't created much characterization, consequently we didn't care as deeply for these people as we should have.

    The main character, if there is one, is Richard Winters. He is a platoon leader and becomes CO of Easy Company after landing on D-Day. He would later be promoted to captain and then to major. He is a strong, confident leader, a teetotaler, and gains the respect of his fellow soldiers. At one point, near the end of the war, and after a successful, though somewhat useless raid on a German prison in Hagenau, France results in one of his soldiers getting killed he is ordered to perform another prison raid the next night. Instead, he decides not to go on the raid, filing false battle reports as a way to prevent any more of his men getting killed on foolish missions. He gets promoted to major after this incident and the viewer is left to decide for himself whether or not his commanding officer was rewarding him with this promotion for his discernment in not sending troops on the second prison raid or if he got promoted based on the false reports of another successful raid. (At least that's how I took it.)

    His best friend Lewis Nixon was likewise a strong leader until he got the Dear John letter from his wife telling him she wanted a divorce ("she's even taking the dog!"). This was about the same time he realized he hadn't fired his weapon, not even once, the whole time he's been in battle situations. Also, he is with Major Winters when they come across a concentration camp during their invasion of Germany in April 1945. He tries to drown himself in alcohol and generally becomes a useless soldier.

    The series was made in 2001, which surprised me. The production values made it seem like it was newer than that. Tom Hanks, who starred in "Saving Private Ryan" was an executive producer and also directed a couple of episodes. Steven Spielberg also produced. I get the feeling that the producers and directors went to great lengths for authenticity. The production is fabulous and I imagine any WWII veterans that watched the show were probably simultaneously amazed and perhaps repulsed by the accuracy of the portrayal. They did have a short 3-5 minute segment at the beginning of each episode where survivors of Easy Company would comment on their experiences. However, they never identified who they were (until the last episode) and what they talked about at the beginning of the episodes had little or very little connection with the subject matter of the episode.

    So, I've gone on and on here. Anyone else who has seen Band of Brothers want to chime in?
     
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  2. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Part of it was filmed right up the road from my house.
     
  3. carpro

    carpro Well-Known Member
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    I've seen it several times, including it's original run.

    I thought it was outstanding.

    It was followed by The Pacific, a similar show about the 1ST Marine Division in the Pacific war. If you think Band of Brothers was "gory", don't even think about watching The Pacific.
     
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  4. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    Which part? And whereabouts?
     
  5. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    Oh, yeah, it's very, very good. As I said production values are top notch. Acting is excellent. Camera work excellent. As far as I can tell, the historical recreations were top notch. The sound editing with surround sound really grabs you. Bullets zipping by, thunderous explosions, etc.

    Well, it was very graphic when it came to wounds. I don't have too much trouble with that sort of thing, but the wife and my youngest son do.

    I'm on a little WWII movie/book tour. First I read "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" (took me almost two months, including a break while I read a couple other novels), then I read the Harry Turtledove WWII alternate history novels, watched the Tom Cruise movie "Valkyrie" (better than I thought it would be) then I re-watched "Saving Private Ryan", then I watched "Band of Brothers". Watching Band of Brothers I kept thinking about my Dad, who served in the Army Signal Corps in Hawaii as a codebreaker in WWII. All the characters in Band were portraying guys about my Dad's age, who was born in 1920, so I'll probably watch "Pacific".
     
  6. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    Tcocoa Ga. The part where they were in training filmed at Currahee Mountain. That is the real place they were trained in WwII.
     
  7. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    I thought that might be it. I'll have to did into the backstory of the production of this show--obviously some of it was shot on location, but was all of it? (It didn't need to be, just wondering.)
     
  8. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the review. I watched The Pacific, I'll try get the wife interested in this now.
     
  9. carpro

    carpro Well-Known Member
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    The Pacific is a little harder to follow because it's not centered around a company, but a division. The main characters are John Basilone, a CMH recipient, and 2 others who wrote books after the war. Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge

    It's much more brutal than Band of Brothers, which probably had more to do with the character of the enemy than just a desire to be more graphic.
     
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  10. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    I think about half of one episode was shot in Toccoa.
     
  11. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
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    I have both it and The Pacific as box sets. I love both but prefer Band of Brothers. The 'English village' scenes of supposedly Aldbourne, Wilsthire, and Uppottery in Devon were both shot in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire
     
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