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John Drew

Band of Brothers

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I just posted a new thread for The Pacific, but was surprised to not find a thread devoted to Band of Brothers.

As I stated in the other thread, I didn't fully appreciate this series until I saw it uninterrupted. Now I feel that it may be the greatest piece of work ever made for television, and one of the best documents on WWII - be it in literature, film or theatre.

Any thoughts?

I hope to have more later, but am rushed at the moment.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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As I stated in the other thread, I didn't fully appreciate this series until I saw it uninterrupeted. Now I feel that it may be the greatest piece of work ever made for television, and one of the best documents on WWII - be it in literature, film or theatre.

Any thoughts?

I agree with you. I know a lot of guys that watched Band of Brothers yearly, treating it like a guy bonding tool or a war-movie fix of some sort. But it think it's much better than that. By the end, the characters were so well-developed that I felt like I knew them. And sure, while there's lots of battles, the quiet moments

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SPOILERS

I think what I come away with most from Band of Brothers is an overwhelming feeling of sadness that I don't think I've felt from other movies or series that concern themselves with the day to day dealings of warfare. Perhaps it's because it doesn't work in the typical cliches - the soldier with a girl back home who usually dies after passing around her picture, or receives the "Dear John" letter - the two strangers who become best buddies, of which only one will make it to the end of the film - the outsider who will eventually become the leader men will want to follow - a blossoming romance amid the falling bombs - the "are our reasons for fighting just?" dialogue. A great film like Platoon ultimately gives in to satisfy the audiences need to see revenge take place upon Sergeant Barnes. Full Metal Jacket bogs down at the end with debate among soldiers over whether or not they should let a sniper die in agony or kill her. Saving Private Ryan, while offering the most realistic combat footage achieved at the time, sets up nearly every characters death in the moments preceding their demise. SPR also suffers from the prologue/epilogue at the Normandy American Cemetery. For me, it never made sense that the old soldier was revealed to be Ryan, especially since the film seems to set up the opening Omaha Beach sequence as a flashback. At the very least, the identity of the old soldier should have been revealed to be Ed Burns' character Reiben, who was at Omaha Beach.

From the beginning, Band of Brothers never seemed to preface what is going to happen to any of its characters (in this respect it is much like Mark Helprin's magnificent novel A Soldier of the Great War). At any moment, a major character might catch a bullet, break an ankle, or fall apart from battle fatigue - characters I was sure would be around until the conclusion might have their story end midway through any given episode. In this respect, my shock at seeing a character die without warning, gave me better insight into how the soldiers in the platoon may have felt when their companions are suddenly gone.

What really set this series apart, though, were the memories of the actual veterans that served in Easy Company which bookended each episode. Even though fifty years had passed since the time that these men served and fought, their emotions were no less felt by the passage of time. Watching these men praise their comrades - those who had fallen, and those who survived - really put a lump in my throat.

One thing that worries me about the new series The Pacific, is that it is not based on a historical account like Band of Brothers, which was based on Stephen Ambrose's book. The preview for The Pacific, which looks epic in scope, does look like it could be From Here to Eternity on steroids, with a little of James Jones' The Thin Red Line dialogue thrown in... which I guess is better than Pearl Harbor on steroids.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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Great comments. I love this series - it stands in my mind as the best World War II film/series ever put on film. I can't really add to anything that has already been said so I won't try.

By the way, I am one of those guys that watches this series every year. I do that because I love the men in Easy Company. The last interview with Captain Winters gets me everytime I see it.

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Now I feel that it may be the greatest piece of work ever made for television, and one of the best documents on WWII - be it in literature, film or theatre.

Any thoughts?

OK, I'm a fanboy here not a serious critic, but I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for starting the thread.

regards,

-Lance

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I think that BoB is so surpassing what has gone before because it is so extended. 12 hours. In story form of probably eight stories or so. Also, the source material. Ambrose died tainted by plagiarism. That is sad because he was unique as an historian. He wrote as if he was writing a pulp novel, yet faithful to his sources and with respect to all of those he wrote about, even heavies and enemies. Also, that he wrote sush a short book that became such an extended series. Great war films don't always have the time and opportunity to delve into almost everything. BoB took its time and made the whole experience worth every penny and minute, I think.

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This news brought a tear to my eye. Dick Winters passed away at age 92 on January 2nd.

Story here.

Steven Spielberg, the Hollywood mogul who produced the "Band of Brothers" mini-series, issued a release Monday saying in part, "Dick Winters was at the vanguard of representing 'The Greatest Generation' in bringing honor to all his Band of Brothers." Spielberg said Winters "would not have wanted this credit. He would have simply asked all of us to never forget how his generation served this nation and the world in WWII."

Reaction also came from Tom Hanks, who co-produced the series, and from the actor who played Winters in "Band of Brothers."

"When our days run their course and a man like Dick Winters leaves us, time and providence remind us that human beings can do giant things," Hanks said in a statement. "Dick Winters volunteered to go to war, leading paratroopers into unknown, yet certain, dangers. He led by both command and example; his wartime philosophy was simple -- 'Follow me.'"

Actor Damian Lewis, who portrayed Winters in the series, told CNN that Winters' support for him during the production was "generous and unstinting. I'll never forget his rallying cry to me to 'hang tough!'

"He has died quietly, in private, without fanfare and with the same modesty that he lived his life as one of the true heroes of his generation," Lewis added.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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Yes, please!

From Variety

HBO considers a third World War II miniseries

Might HBO be returning to World War II?

Pay cabler, which had incredible success with "Band of Brothers" and then followed that up "The Pacific," is considering doing a third miniseries, this time about the fight in the skies over the Pacific region of the war.

President of programming Michael Lombardo told a group of French journalists earlier this week that the net is in discussions with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg -- the exec producers of the first two minis and both of whom have long been passionate about paying homage to the Allied soldiers who fought on both fronts.

"Band of Brothers," about the U.S.-led Easy Company that slogged through a ground war in Europe, was packaged as a 10-part, 11-hour mini that aired in 2001. It was nominated for 19 Emmys, and winning six.

The project was not only a huge hit with critics and American auds, but it also fared very well overseas. The DVD set was a goldmine for the net, earning more than $250 million.

"The Pacific" premiered in 2010 and focused on the Marines who toiled against the Japanese in such locales as Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal and Peleliu.

There is no timetable as to when HBO might make a decision on a third installment.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

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