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This is without a doubt one of the best WW2 series ever made and to be honest with the collective force of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg it is easy to see why.
This series, based on the book Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose, follows the men of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army as they are trained for war, parachuted into Northern France on D-Day, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest.
Right from the beginning, the series is just incredible. From the early days of the soldiers being trained with a gruelling regime, to the tense moments on D-Day when they have to jump out of the aeroplanes, to the frozen landscape of Bastogne, the series is able to encapsulate so much in such a short space of time. This includes the love and bond between the men and the sense of loss and desperation when they are stranded.
The series is able to cause so many different emotions for the viewer, with moments of comedy early on in the series to moments of deep sadness and upset.
I thought that it was a nice touch to have some of the original members of the real Easy Company talk at the beginning of the episodes as this helped to add to the drama and the sense of realism and remind the viewer that these men experienced what you are about to see in the episode.
The cinematography is breath taking, and the fight scenes are compelling, full of action and tense and in a way it makes you feel as though you are actually there.
There are no disappointing things at all about this series, except maybe it could have been longer!
I would recommend this series to anyone, whether you are interested in World War 2 or not.
This will probably always be the best drama ever made about World War 2
Only Steven Spielberg with all his studio ties could pull off a miniseries of this scale and grandeur as one of the single episodes in the series out budgeted the entire Saving Private Ryan movie which Spielberg directed.
The episodes are fantastic with great feel/pacing and exciting "shaky cam" style sequences add realism and edge. The images that appear in the series are often on a pretty impressive scale. for instance European cities look convincingly war torn in wide camera shots as tanks roll past in the foreground.
It seems important to Spielberg for the experience of band of brothers to feel as real as possible and obviously goes far to achieve that goal. He succeeds in doing so even down to minor details like finding actors that resemble the real life characters the portray- a nice tribute to these war heroes. The acting in band of brother is incredible at times as you begin to see the characters tested, particularly blown apart and bond together. This creates a strong connection with the audience and by the finish, as you would expect with a series, become thoroughly involved with them. Before every episode the real life war veterans give their accounts and experiences which I think is a nice touch and makes what you're watching more potent.
during the course of the episodes- when the soldiers are ordered to engage the enemy and sent into very dangerous situations (to which they do not question) I found myself imagining the same scenario If the same were asked of me. The soldiers themselves in the story are closely bound together and respect and rely on their superior officers to guide them well in battle.
The story follows a company of men training as paratroopers at an army base in America (this is only covered in the first episode). Two years later they are called on a campaign in Europe as America enters WWII as are plunged into war with Nazi Germany. Captain Richard Winters played by superbly by Damien Lewis lead Easy Company (made up of mostly British actors like him) through France on their offensive to Germany. Along the way they encounter harsh weather conditions, incapable commanding officers and constant death and loss. Despite this them persevere and lead legendary and text-book assaults on the enemy. There are a couple of cameo appearances to look out for as well such as Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer among others.
What makes this remarkable is that the script itself was double checked for its authenticity to the real life events by the actual band of brothers themselves. Band of Brothers is indeed an intense and emotional experience and I recommend it greatly.
Review also on Ciao.co.uk under username- Pippylong
I was a big fan of Saving Private Ryan. The intensity, immersiveness and the quality of the filming. Tom Hanks apparently makes a rather smashing director. So Band of Brothers instantly appealed when I heard he was going to be involved again. Produced by Steven Speilberg too. It had to be good. I admit, I first watched this series when it was on TV a good few years ago. I guess it was 2001/2. Since that time I bought the DVD box set and it is quite possibly the most watched of all my DVD's (of which there are a few). At that time I wasn't aware that the series was based on the Stephen.E.Ambrose books which were in turn based on the factual exploits of so called "Citizen Soldiers". I have since read all of his books and I would highly recommend them to anyone that has an interesting in WW2. The Band of Brothers book in particular is a smashing read, moving and involving from cover to cover and clearly more in depth than even a mini-series could be.
This small series follows the "Band of Brothers", that is E company, of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division all the way from their training, parachute jumps and mountain runs right through to the D-Day landings, battle of the bulge and their arrival at the Hitlers Berchesgaden at the end of the war. It is deeply involving and each episode focuses not on the company as a whole but on individual soldiers. Heroes who risked their lives for the freedom of generations to come. Each episode is neatly introduced by the reminicising of elderly men who remain unnamed but are clearly moved by the events they speak of. The featurette dvd will make it clear who each person is, but within the episodes it is made a mystery, to good effect. Because of this, it's clear from the off that this is not a work of fiction. These broken down old men were once America's elite paratroopers. Killing the enemy where-ever they might meet, fighting for their very lives and the man next to them in order to complete the mission, win the war and get back home to their sweet hearts, jobs or college. The series is well filmed and with each episode you learn more about each person, their traits and skills and a certain attachment and respect is formed. These men don't think of themselves as heroes, yet they would say that of those they left behind or the men who had stood side-by-side with them. In much the same way that Saving Private Ryan did, this series reminds you that these men are not professional soldiers, but average joes, thrust into a war they didn't want but one in which they volunteered to be the best and fight with the best.
The short series gives you only a glimpse of the action, but much more than any film could have done. Snippets from Normandy, Holland, Belgium and Germany. All woven together into a wonderful homage to great men. My favourite episode is probably one of the middle ones. "Cross roads", an episode of praise and respect for E company's comanding officer Richard Winters. Winters is shown as a fearless leader, always leading from the front as any good leader should. Never sending his men to do something he wouldn't be willing to do himself.
The special effects in the film are clearly not low budget and neither are the quality of the sets, the locations or the actors. You might recognise the actors from other films or tv outings. One of the chaps was even in "press gang" a few years ago (if you remember that) and more recently Lock stock and two smoking barrels. Sadly Tom Hanks has not stepped in to act this time, but perhaps that's for the best for us Saving Private Ryan fans. The sound and picture quality is first rate and the series still looks amazing on an upscaled DVD player onto an HDTV. They have recently released it on blu ray and it speaks volumes to say that I am seriously tempted.
Once you've finished watching the series, I can highly recommend the features disc, which is jam-packed with extras; behind the scenes, featurrettes, interviews with the cast and the real people. Its very intimate and moving and a very strong box set indeed. Once you've done that, go and pick up the book and read that too. Their sacrifice demands it. Its just a shame this was the only series. If Hanks or Speilberg ever felt like turning any other of Stephen.E.Ambroses books into films or mini-series, they would be onto a winner. I'd love to see the British soliders taking pegasus bridge filmed with modern HD cameras and special effects.
BAND OF BROTHERS
The makers of the series have produced this incredibly well constructed box-set which contains over 10-hours of footage on 6 DVD disks, including some previously unseen material. The box is nicely decorated with stills from the series including the classic shot of Easy-company (the stars of the show) peering over the horizon. Some introductory information has been printed on the back of the box-set to set the scene for whats to come.
The first disk breaks you straight into the action with the first two parts of this 10-episode long series. The programs are effectively a spin off from the award-winning film, 'Saving Private Ryan', which was set around the same time, just after D-Day, 1944.
Part One - Currahee is directed by Phil Robinson with Teleplay by Erik Jendresen and actor Tom Hanks. It introduces you to Easy-company, a group of paratroopers which the series focuses on. Their Leader Richard D. Winters is also introduced - a quiet man with a good heart and some great ideas regarding combat and strategy. Both he and the men are at first quite unforgiving, but as time goes by they begin to bond and eventuallly become great companions.
Part Two - Day of Days sees the beginnings of some action-based drama with Easy-companies first assignment to take out a German artillery installation after dropping into Normandy. With many of the company scattered in locations away from their drop zones, it takes just a handful of the men to successfully destroy their target.
Part Three - Carentan begins two days after D-Day with easy company sent off to take the French town of Carentan from German hands. One soldier, Albert Blithe finds it difficult to adjust to close combat conditions and the stress and fear it brings. straight after being sent home to England Easy-company is brought back into the action of Normandy.
Part Four - Replacements expresses a soldiers joint admiration and discust towards replacements coming in from over-seas. The men are both grateful for the help and annoyed about the burden a replacement brings - as well as the added level of danger they may entice by being under-trained and under-experienced. The episode sees a fair slice of action with some deaths and several acts of bravery.
Part Five - Crossroads sees Easy Company's commanding officer, Richard Winters, become haunted by his memory of shooting a German soldier at close range on a risky--but successful--mission over a Dutch dike. A weekend's leave in Paris gives a good sense of the importance of leave for
G.I.'s. Currently stationed in Mourmelon, France, Easy-company are instructed to head into the Ardennes Forest to aid in the Battle of the Bulge through the harsh winters cold.
Part Six - Bastogne documents the ice-cold fight in the forest. Easy-company is instructed to simply hold the line and prevent any German's from passing through their side of the forest. Here soldiers must learn to dodge morter fire and trust their medics advice on issues involving the weather. Casualties do occur, but with a quickly deflating aid station and ammo running low, will the men hold out long enough?
Part Seven - The Breaking Point. After defeating the German's in Ardenne, Easy-company was then shipped off to the French town of Foy to help with the Allies recapturing of French soil. Leadership is temporarily lost during this battle and friendshipd tested.
Part Eight - The Last Patrol highlights the tension between the weary, haggard veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and other soldiers who haven't suffered what they have. The episode is narrated by Pvt.
David Webster, an Easy Company veteran who missed the battle at Bastogne because he had been hospitalized with a relatively minor wound. Webster finds that other members of the company have some difficulty embracing him because he has not gone through their trials. Other soldiers with heavier injuries had insisted on returning to the front line whereas Webster had remained in hospital for the required time. This brought tention to the group who expected more from him.
Part Nine - Why We Fight. These final episodes lacked the tention of the previous eight and focused on telling the story of what happened once the German's had begun their retreat.
Part Ten - Points sees Easy-company reach the pinicle of their journey. They are streched way up the mountain-side to Hitler's very own private palace, 'The Eagle's nest' in Autria. Don't worry its not a cheesy ending where Easy-company get to gun down the man himself, instead they are rewarded with the chance to explore the nest for themselves, a rare sight.
Bonus features include an 80 minute documentary "We stand alone together; the men of easy-company" and a 30 minute featurette"Behind the scenes; the making of band of brothers". Also included is "Ron Livingstone's video diaries" and "experiancing the war".
They really have managed to cram a hell of alot of stuff onto this fantastic DVD, highlighting the need to remmember World War Two through what ever medium necessary - to ensure history fails to repeat its self!
Certificate = 15
Cost = £16.98 (AMAZON.CO.UK) down from £59.99 now!
Treat yourself to an absolute bargin.
Thanks for reading.
Whilst I am not normally big on war dramas, after playing the Call of Duty:World at War game on the PS3, I saw Band of Brothers at my local DVD rental shop and decided to give it a go.
I have to say I was not dissapointed with the DVD's at all, and I think that the way the series followed Easy Company throughout the war was breathtaking. Watching the episodes, especially a select few was very thought provoking, and I think that the actors and direction team did a great job in making the show. The fact that it was based on true events made the DVD's even better for me, and the acting was superb all around. The savegery of war was really evident from all of the episodes, and I loved how some of the episodes delved deep into the psych of some characters which at the start of the show had seemed like bit part players in the show.
My favourite episode was without a doubt the episode that focused on the medic of easy company, and that episode more than any other really showed the viewers the horrors of war that these young men were forced to face.
This is a DVD boxset that I would recommend to anyone, no matter if they are into war dramas or not. I also found the DVD extras to be intresting, but the part that really stood out for me was the performance of Damian Lewis in what I considered as the main role (even thought different episodes focused on different characters).
Band of Brothers is a spectacular 10 part action packed world war II series following a group of normal men form easy company parachuting into the heart of France on D-day.
The series has been directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks so is an extreamly realistic and epic story full of action, emotion and suspense.
The series is filmed brilliantly and is very realistic with no detail spared on the blood guts and gore so not one for the screamish. It has an incredible story line following the soldiers as they prepare and are sent to war together you see the pain and suffering as though it was actually true as there commrades are killed and wounded and you see them carry on in there fight for servival.
The special effects used in Band of Brothers are truely amazing you see every explosion and gunshot as the characters run for cover.
What completes the whole experience of watching this series is to watch it in surround sound you become thougherly emersed in the whole experience and it makes it that much more complete.
I would definetly recommend this series to any action loving person and especially those interested in history and world war II as it gives you a truely realistic experience of it all.
Band of Brothers is an award winning World War II mini-series following the lives of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Regiment, who were later assigned to the 101st Airborne.
Produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks after their sucessfull partnership on Saving Private Ryan, the series follows the Easy Company men from their basic training all the way to the end of the war and the downfall of the Nazi regime.
The series was based on the book of the same name, by historian Steven Ambrose, who recorded interviews with some of the Easy Company veterans still alive. With other references and journals from the soldiers at the time, he created one of the best books ever written about a company in the second world war. Each of the episodes in the series starts with the real Easy Company veterans telling you a bit about their time in the war. The series has become the best selling TV DVD series ever made, making over $200million worldwide.
I shall warn you that my reviews of each episode are quite detailed so if you havn't seen the show then stop reading, otherwise, enjoy my review.
The series consists of 10 episodes, each of which runs for about an hour. Every episode follows the Easy Company men as they fight for freedom in Nazi occupied territory, with one character being the primary focus for each episode.
Episode One : Curahee.
The first episode in the series introduces you to the men of Easy Company as they start their basic training in Taccoa, Georgia. The company's war cry of Curahee is the name of the mountain the company had to run up several times in their physical training exercises.
The main character in this episode is that of Captain Sobel (played by David Schwimmer), who is in charge of Easy Company. He is a strict leader and puts the men through hard and unfair training, which causes conflict amongst the men including Lt. Richard 'Dick' Winters who all of the men respect and look up to.
After the men complete their basic training they are shipped off to England to prepare for D-Day. On a field exercise Sobel shows his lack of leadership skills and gets most of the men in the company killed. Thankfully this was a training exercise but the men of Easy Company all come to agreement that they don't want Sobel leading them into war, with him in charge their certain to all be killed. Several of Easy Company's men threaten to leave, even if that means they are shot for treason, they would rather have that, than go to war under Captain Sobel's command. Colonel Sink has no choice but to reassign Sobel to another unit as he can't afford to lose good soldiers. He warns the men "If we weren't preparing for the biggest invasion in history I'd have you boys shot". 1st Lt. Meehan takes over as commander of Easy Company, and they set off for Normandy.
Episode Two : Day of Days.
The second episode see's the men of Easy Company heading towards Normandy just hours before the D-Day landings. Their first drop is their most unsucessful of the war, and see's the whole regiment scattered all over the place, miles from their drop zone. Commander of Easy Company before the jump was Lt. Meehan who was unfortunately killed when his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. It's up to Lt. Winters to round up all the men he can find and lead them into their first battle of the war. That being at Brecourt Manor where there are several artilery guns firing onto the marines landing on the beaches. Winters picks his best men for the mission and secures the guns at the loss of a young soldier named Hall who was on the basketball team with Winters back in basic training. This episode also introduces us to 1st Lt. Spears, who is a courageous and somewhat daring soldier.
Episode Three : Carentan.
By episode three, most of the surviving Easy Company men are back together after being scattered over northern France. The episode focuses on Pvt. Albert Blithe who is suffering from severe anxiety. When his plane crash landed over northern France Blithe didn't try to find any of his fellow soldiers he simply stayed where he was, and hoped the enemy wouldn't find him. Lt. Winters is firmly in charge of Easy Company now, and leads them into Carentan, but not without suffering casualties. The german resistence in Carentan is tough, with machine gunners and snipers held up in houses around the village. German soldiers 'Zero' in on members of Easy Company and bombard them with artilery. Eventually Easy Company take control of Carentan and set up an aid station where Lt. Winters finds Pvt. Blithe who is suffering from hysterical blindness brought on by the stress and anxiety he so badly suffered from. After Winters calms him down and talks things through with him, Blithe's sight suddenly returns and he returns to the company as they move on to set up defensive positions surrounding Carentan. As they do so they come up against tough german resistence in a field surrounded by hedgerows, during the fight Winters spurs Blithe on to fire his weapon, and he finally does so expelling all his anxiety and anger. Unfortunately however, on a later patrol Blithe volunteers to scout ahead and is shot in the neck by a sniper, thus being returned to the aid station and doesn't fight again in the war.
Episode Four : Replacements.
After heavy casualties in the liberation of Carentan and the surrounding areas, replacement troups are brought into Easy Company, to the dislike of the Normandy veterans. Not because the older troups didn't like the replacements themselves, but because they didn't like to see them get killed. They felt that the original Toccoa men were stronger willed as they lived and trained together for so long, and the new replacements were young and inexperienced.
This episode see's Easy Company embark on their second drop, this time as a part of Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. They are sent to liberate Eindhoven and do so with little resistence. The troops then head onto Nuenen and come up against heavy enemy resistence including many tanks and battle hardened soldiers, not at all what they were expecting, as a result of which Easy Company is forced to retreat for the first and only time in the war. This episode focuses on the character of Sgt. Denver 'Bull' Randleman who gets left behind in Neunen and has to escape being captured by the enemy.
Episode Five : Crossroads.
This episode see's the focus of the story back on Lt. Richard 'Dick' Winters as he writes a report about an attack on a German Crossroads. What happened at the crossroads came as a huge surprise to Winters and the rest of the squad. They were expecting to defeat a small amount of enemy troups who were at the crossroads with an MG nest firing upon the company HQ a few miles down the road. When Winters and his squad head up the crossroads on the other side of the field, are hundreds of enemy troups waiting to be transported to other parts of the war via a ferry port on the other side of the Crossroads.
Winters is haunted throughout the episode and later in the series for killing a teenage german soldier on the crossroads attack. There are few casualties on the attack, but Winters feels that even those few could have been prevented.
Episode Six : Bastogne.
The lowest point of the war for the men of Easy Company, as they are transported to Bastogne in the Battle of The Bulge. With sub zero temperatures, little ammunition and no winter clothing or supplies, Easy Company are forced to hold the line where the men before them had been forced to flee. In the woods overlooking the town of Foy the men settle into unfinished foxholes with the little weapons and ammunition they've got. If the enemy were to come over to them with all they had the men wouldn't survive, and they know this. This episode focuses on one of Easy Company's doctors, Eugene 'Doc' Roe. He's scrounging together as much medical supplies as he can which are few and far between. When one of Easy's men is severely injured he is able to travel back with him to the aid station in the town of Bastogne, where he gets supplies and forms a friendship with a french nurse.
Episode Seven : The Breaking Point.
After spending what felt like eternity on the front line overlooking the town of Foy, Easy Company are finally called upon to attack the town itself. After losing quite a few men to the artillery that bombarded them everyday whilst in the woods, the men are drasticaly outnumbered as they forge the attack on Foy. Easy Company's commander 1st Lt. Norman Dyke was to lead them into Foy, but his actions are questioned as he wishes to take the company on a 'suicide mission' to flank the town of Foy from the rear. Held up behind a giant haystack he calls on Easy Company to follow his comands, however. Winters is waiting in the rear observing the attack on Foy and see's Dyke hesitating and holding the men up behind the haystack on which if artilery hit all of them would be killed. He calls upon Lt. Spears of Fox Company to releave Dyke of his command and take control of Easy Company, he does so and they defeat the enemy resistence in Foy, but with heavy losses. The episode focuses on the character of 1st Sgt. Carwood Lipton, who tries to keep the spirits and morale of the company up even when they're being shelled from every which way. Something with Dyke failed so miserably at doing. After the attack on Foy 1st Sgt. Lipton is promoted to 2nd. Lieutenant for his excellent leadership skills shown throughout Bastogne and Foy.
Episode Eight : The Last Patrol.
This episode follows the story of Pvt. David Webster who returns to Easy Company after being wounded back in Holland. After Bastogne the men of Easy Company are very closed off and mentally wounded by what happened, so don't welcome him back with open arms, as they believe Webster could have easily gone AWOL from the hospital to rejoin the company when they needed him the most.
Easy company embark on a mission in Haguenau to cross the river to an enemy outpost in which to retreave enemy prisoners for questioning. The mission goes without a problem until a young inexperienced solder Pvt. Jackson throws a grenade into the enemy outpost but walks in on it just as it explodes, causing him to be mortally wounded by the shrapnel. Colonel Sink orders another patrol across the river, but Winters tells the men to get a good nights sleep and report that they had a sucessful patrol across the river but were unable to retreave any prisoners. Thus lying to Colonel Sink, but for good reason. He didn't want to lose anymore men on these kinds of missions, not when they're so close to going home.
Episode Nine : Why We Fight.
This episode is one of the most gut wrenching of the series, as Easy Company enter Germany and find a concentration camp near Landsberg whilst on a patrol. The men are shocked and disgusted by what they are seeing, hundreds of emaciated poor souls locked inside this camp, like they're animals. The grounds are littered with dead and burning corpses, as the German soldiers who fled the camp just before the Americans arrived, wanted to dispose of as many of the camps inhabitants as possible. Unfortunately for the Germans but lucky for the remaining survivers in the camp they ran out of ammunition, but this didn't stop them from burning down the huts in which the people were housed. At first the men of Easy Company aren't sure if they are here as actual prisoners for real crimes, until one of the prisoners speaks out to the soldiers. One word ; 'Jeuden'. The prisoners are Jews. Easy Company's Jewish speaking Joseph Leibgott steps in to translate to the rest of the company. This episode makes me cry everytime I watch it, to think that this actually happened all those years ago and its the first time I've seen it depicted on screen since Schindlers List. The main character in this episode is that of Lewis Nixon who has been best friends with Winters since they met in basic training. He has struggled throughout the series to stop his heavy drinking, and has been hiding bottles of whiskey inside Winters footlocker through the whole of the war. The war is winding down now as they make their way towards Hitlers Nest in the Alps.
Episode Ten : Points.
The final episode in the series, see's the men of Easy Company racing to be the first to capture the 'Eagles Nest', Hitlers own palace high up in the Alps at Berchtesgaden. The end of the war is near, and the men know this. As they capture the Eagle's Nest the end of the war is announced. Winters has a present for his best friend Nixon. After the capture of the Eagle's Nest they found Hitlers and Goering's personal liquer cellar. Winters has always known of Nixon's love of alcohol and gives him the first pick at anything he wants in the cellar, as the rest is going to be used to celebrate the end of the war.
The troops move onto Austria for down time after the war in Europe has ended where they are told about the 'points' scheme. If the men had accrued enough points throughout the war, they were eligable to go home. If not then they would be shipped of to help the war in the pacific. Winters was told he has enough points, but refused to leave his men, and went onto train men that fought in the pacific.
The end of the episode see's Winters narrating something about all the men who survived the war and what they had done since the war. It's a great way to end the series, which in whole is absolutely superb.
The DVD boxset consists of 5 discs with all of the episodes, and a 6th Bonus disc with all of the special features which are ;
1. We Stand Alone Together : The Men of Easy Company (80 Minute Documentary)
2. Ron Livingston's (Lewis Nixon) Video Diary of filming the series.
3. Behind The Scenes : The Making of Band of Brothers.
4. Who's Who : The Men of Easy Company.
5. Premiere in Normandy.
6. Jeep Spot.
7. Experience The War (DVD ROM Feature).
- Overall -
The series is an absolute must, whether you catch it on TV or purchase the whole boxset. I've watched it several times since it was aired on TV back in 2001 thanks to my late Grandpa who absolutely loved the series.
Each episode is shot perfectly, and the storys all tie in perfectly, there couldn't have been a better way to tell the story of these courageous men.
The music was composed by Michael Kamen and is beautiful, I've got the soundtrack to the series which was handed down to me by my Grandpa. Every track features at some point in the series, most of which you can tell what episode it was from, well I can anyway.
I'd recommend it to anyone who's a big war buff, but then you've probably already seen it. The box set is being sold quite cheaply now, mine cost me £45, whatever the price it's absolutely worth it.
I love the way that every episode grabs you from the start, and pulls you in. Once your a couple of episodes in your emotionally attatched to some of the characters and when they are injured or killed your gutted. The actors they cast for all the various characters have been done perfectly, even to the point where the actor looks similar in features to the actual veteran they are portraying. There is nothing I don't like about the series, I like everything. It's true raw look at how these men fought against the germans. Their friendships, their brotherhood, their bond with eachother. So strong that when one of them falls, the whole lot of them feel the effect, some differently than others.
The series is very emotional, there are some funny parts when the men try and see the brighter sides of things, but the series is overall a rollercoaster ride of emotion, for the men and the viewer, seeing how men change from the start of the war right up to the end, and what those men saw after the war its something I'd never want to live with.
Their courage and bravery is why we live in such a free world today.
I'd apologise for such a long review but I believe that writing a 200 word review about it wouldn't have done the series justice. It's an epic series that everyone needs to see.
This show is one of the finest and most accurate portrayals of WWII that you will find; and what is more, it is a phenominal series in it's own right.
The 10 episode mini-series (like the book it is based on) follows the fate of the 101st Airbornes, Easy Company, from their formation, through Normandy and the European campaign, to the end of the war. Along the way you get to know and care for the men - you celebrate with them, mourn with them, love with them, hate with them and grow to feel as though you are one of them.
The show's creators, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, have done an amazing job creating a show that is both historically and aesthetically authentic. The camera work and cinematography allow you to feel like you are actually there, fighting alongside the men.
What is most noticable about this series is the effect it has on the viewer; I myself found that when the show ended I felt lost...and so watched the entire series through again, straight away.
You will find when watching this series that you grow to admire these men so much, and take an interest in where they are today - such is the show's power.
As well as the series itself, the bonus disc holds numerous behind the scenes interviews and video diaries, as well as a documentary on the real men of Easy Company.
This is a MUST SEE piece of television.
Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks. Take a bloody big bow!
Never before has World War Two been so accurately recreated for television. The book written by Steven Ambrose was so powerful, a cinematic adaptation just had to follow. This blow by blow account drops you directly into action with the US 101st Airborne, Easy company-1944. A vivid ten part series that follows the Allies spearhead assualt on main land France and ultimately into Germany, designed to break the Axis' powers back and finally regain a humane grasp on the world.
From Camp Toccoa to Berchesgarden, with D-Day, Market Garden, and the Ardennes in between. Spielberg and Hanks tell the remarkable story of a unit that spent more time on the front line than any other among the allied expeditionary force during the Second World War.
Every episode begins with first hand accounts from the men themselves. From harrowing and heartbreaking to downright funny, they set the tone exeptionally well. A very clever play by the producers but at the same time deeply respectful, your hearts really do go out to these men as tales of epic bravery (although never about themselves) visibly expose deep sorrow for their fallen comrades. For if it had not been for them, many of these survivors, simply put, would not be telling you their story. Although age has taken it's understandable toll, you can see the strength and dignity in every one of these heroes eyes. Watching this you get the feeling that you are truly in the company of some of the finest men alive today.
Starting gently in the excrutiatingly hilly terrain of Georgia then moving to Uppottery in England via a sombre passing of the statue of liberty. Band of Brothers takes on an almost light hearted feel. Introducing all main charactures as they progress through training. Partly what makes this series such a success is the fact that all of the players are truly likeable (even the hard ass leuitenant that provokes all his Ncos into handing in their commissions).
Subtle reminders of the imminent horrors ahead are weaved in well, and bring your focus back to the stark truth that whilst we are watching this on TV, real men actually went through these events, and they were the guys talking to you before the opening credits. It serves as an excellent tension builder.
The moment when hundreds of troop transport planes begin their cross channel journey is when it really hits you that thousands of these men would never return home.
D-Day was famously one of the bloodiest battle grounds during the entire war. These guys were stuck right in the thick of things.
Many won medals, most notebly at Brecourt manor. Where Major Richard Winters (though at the time Leuitenant and acting CO of easy) led what was revered as a textbook assault on a fixed position and I quote "is still used in training manules today". All but one of the men in his charge survived and these actions surely acted as a springboard in achieving elite status within the allied high command.
Band of Brothers
Following the critical and commercial success of Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks believed that there were more stories from WWII that needed retelling. Inspired by the book by Stephen Ambrose of the same name they chose to tell the story of Easy Company; one of the US Army's first paratrooper regiments and one of the most decorated.
Utilising all the clout at their disposal they decided that rather than making a film they would spread the story over ten episodes on TV but use movie standard production values and an accompanying blockbuster-movie sized budget. The result is that they have the space to tell the story in great detail. Easy Company had a short life, but it was filled with action and drama and we have time to follow the key engagements and form a close affinity with the large cast.
War films have come a long way since the one-eyed releases of thirty plus years ago. The biggest shift came with the Vietnam War films of the late eighties that dared to look at the moral questions that combat asks of soldiers and the effect on the individual of those choices. Cinematically the recent jump forward has been largely technical with improved visual and audio effects and the use of handheld cameras. 'Saving Private Ryan' was the instigator of this new wave of war films and whatever criticism has been levelled at it in recent years I would invite you to remember when you saw it at the cinema. The opening scene on the beach was so brutal and visceral that most audiences would have been reeling for much of the rest of the film. This style of dramatising combat is now the norm and Band of Brothers is no different, where handheld cameras and fizzing sound effects bring you to the heart of the action.
While 'Saving Private Ryan' opened with this brutal scene, here the opening episode takes us to the Toccoa training camp, a far gentler introduction that allows us the time to get to know the men and witness the growing camaraderie between them as they get their paratrooper's wings and the date for entering combat approaches. Indeed, the opening episode is so gentle that it is rumoured that it was broadcast as a double episode with the D-Day jump into Normandy because the network thought that an hour of watching men running up and down a big hill might not grab the audience enough.
It is easy to see where the money has been spent in this series. What has been produced is effectively a ten hour blockbuster, which special effects to match. Being a war movie there are plenty of explosions and gun battles, but there are many examples where a more subtle touch proves effective in bringing the action to life. In one scene a soldier climbs a tree to gain access to a target, coming under fire from the ground we see the bullets ripping through the branches. The use of a washed out palette is effective in lending the series a period feel and enhances the soulless feel of war. There is no warmth to be found in any of the scenes. Another trend in recent cinema is to recreate familiar images using modern technology. Ron Howard did it in Apollo 13 with the launch sequence looking so familiar, in all except quality, that it was easy to think you were watching stock footage of the original Apollo launch. Likewise here, the image of hundreds of paratroopers falling to earth with their instantly recognisable round parachutes is one so familiar that it is easy to forget the amount of CGI involved.
They say that a soldier's life is made up of extended periods of boredom interspersed with bursts of frenzied, underpant threatening activity and the pace of the series allows this to be captured. As a frontline force Easy Company didn't have much downtime but the breaks between engagements are still used here to allow other stories to be developed, such as the impact of replacements on the platoon dynamic and the changing attitude to the individual German soldiers they encounter.
The contrast of calm and mayhem is best captured in episode 7 "The Breaking Point". Set in Bastogne as the battle of the bulge reaches its climax, it shows Easy Company surrounded by German artillery seeking refuge in a forest while they attempt to hold off the enemy advance. The gloomy, snow laden air and forest setting give it a claustrophobic feel and a misleading sense of calm for when the artillery barrage strikes it is brutal in the extreme. This is the grisliest of episodes and the carnage and loss of life is startling and immediate.
One of the key elements of this series is the prominent role taken by the original men of Easy Company. Each episode is preceded by the veterans relating memories appropriate to that episode, so in the early episodes they talk about the training and the effects of fear upon entering combat. These act to bridge the gap between dramatic re-creation and documentary and give each episode a gripping reality. It is always a strange experience watching veterans from the world wars as they are obviously now old men and it can be hard to see the young soldiers they once were. This isn't always the case, Carwood Lipton looks every inch the firm jawed senior NCO, Bill Gaurnere the abrasive street fighter from South Philly and Dick Winters still possesses the air of calm and authority that made him such a respected leader. Of the rest, many would look more comfortable handing out the Werthers Originals than charging a machine gun nest.
Despite being touted as the most expensive TV series ever made the producers made the conscious decision to field a cast of virtual unknowns. All the big hitters are behind the cameras (and with executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks they don't come much bigger) and these are the names that created the initial publicity. Filmed in the UK many of the cast are British, with the notable exception of David Schwimmer; the only actor likely to be familiar to American audiences. The choice of Schwimmer was a controversial one and arguably a weak link in an otherwise strong line up. After starring for so long in the series 'Friends' he brings an awful lot of baggage and doesn't have the range to make you think this is anything other than Ross conscripted into the army. The character itself is a strange one as well; the antithesis of the usual army movie drill sergeant, exemplified by R Lee Ermey's stunning turn in 'Full Metal Jacket', he rules through spite and mean-spiritedness rather than fear. Former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg is good value as Lipton and there are a host of British actors involved. Largely unknown to US audiences there are several familiar faces for us Brits. Leading the charge is Damian Lewis playing Winters and Dexter Fletcher, all displaying passable accents to my uncritical ear. There is even an unlikely role for Simon Pegg in the early episodes.
While it is hard to fault any of the casting one element is overlooked. The majority of the soldiers involved were very young men, most of them were barely twenty when they first joined the paratrooper regiment and even the college educated officers rarely reach 25, but with a cast looking decidedly thirty something this aspect is lost. One of the key messages from the series is the high cost in human life that war provokes and while the series shows this effectively the use of a more realistically young cast would have made the message more boldly.
The extras are short on quantity but long on impact. There is the standard, but well made, 'Making of ' piece looking at the technical aspects of the film as well as interviews with the main players, a notable absentee being Spielberg who doesn't seem to go much for DVD extras. There is also a video diary series by Ron Livingstone (Capt Nixon) following the cast as they go through a two week 'boot camp' to prepare for the film.
The value of the extras comes with the two pieces: 'We Stand Alone Together' and 'Who's Who: The Men of Easy Company'. It is here that we meet the veterans as they talk us through their memories of serving in Easy Company. What comes through is the raw emotion, barely concealed, that remains regardless of the passing years. You can clearly see that in their minds they are reliving the events they are describing as if they had happened yesterday.
Hollywood doesn't have a great reputation for historical accuracy in war films; 'U-571' being a particular stinker, but this series is an exception. With a wealth of first hand accounts to draw on the producers have taken every step to ensure that they stay true to the original events as far as possible. Another complaint is that they are very one-eyed in ignoring the efforts of the other allied forces but again this is unfair here as this is clearly the story of a single US regiment.
In collaboration Hanks and Spielberg slipped towards over-sentimentality in 'Saving Private Ryan' but this is not the case here. Although the message of camaraderie comes through it is not over-egged and the only grand-standing speech about the comradeship of brothers in arms is given to a German general addressing his surrendering troops. Delivered in German and translated by Liebgott, a Jewish soldier in Easy Company, this could grate but it doesn't. It is a moving speech and provides a satisfying coda to the story.
I have now watched this several times and remain very impressed. Each viewing reveals more detail and I look forward to watching it again. This won't be to everyone's taste and the bloodshed and gore may be off-putting but for an honest depiction of war there hasn't been much better.
I write this review on the 'complete series commemorative gift set' which is housed in a tin with a card coverlet. My dad bought this for me for Christmas along with a few other DVDs (I think he got a special deal at the DVD shop!!). This is a 6 disc set - a lot of running time, but if you have the time well worth sitting down to watch.
Region - 2
Audio - 5.1 Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1 Widescreen/Colour
Run Time - 782 minutes
Languages - English/French
Hearing Impaired - English
Subtitles - English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Turkish, Dutch, Bulgarian, Romanian, Arabic
Rating - 15
RRP - £59.99 (shop around - prices on the net range from £29.99 right up to the RRP)
On opening the tin you see the contents on the inside of the lid. The discs are set in a concertina style insert, when fully extended this shows scenes from the series in black and white - very visual imagery.
Kirk Acevedo, Eion Bailey, Michael Cudlitz, Dale Dye, Rick Gomez, Scott Grimes, Colin Hanks, Frank John Hughes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, James Madio, Neal McDonough(Medical Investigation), David Schwimmer (Friends), Matthew Settle, Douglas Spain, Richard Spright Jr, Donnie Wahlberg (New Kids on the Block).
Producers - Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg
As I stated earlier this is a 6 disc box set and it is a long series to watch. As you may or may not know, this was aired on BBC2 not too long ago in the distant past as a weekly series and when you sit down to watch it in one go, you can see why. The run time is over 13 hours. I did sit down and watch the whole thing in one go - I was tired for days afterwards - but it was worth it.
This series is based on the bestselling book by Stephen E Ambrose. It follows the lives of the men of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the American Forces during World War 2. It is also based on interviews with the surviving members of easy company, and their letters and diaries.
The lives of the men are detailed from bootcamp in the US, to being stationed in Britain, the D-Day landings, the Battle of the Bulge, right up to invading Germany and capturing Hitler's hideout at the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgarten.
Also shown on this series is when the men of Easy Company discovered a concentration camp. The scenes here are quite distressing, as they show the state of the camp and the poor health of the inmates. It shows the men of Easy company making the German occupants of the local village burying the dead from the concentration camp. This is a harrowing part of the film to watch but its true to what happened to these men while they were fighting.
The series does not just show the down side of war - it also shows the bonds of friendship that are formed - these friendships have lasted throughout the years. It shows the good times they had as well as the bad.
The set shows the series in 10 parts (with extra features). I will not bore you with explanations of each of the episodes as they are pretty much explained above in general. These discs are:
Part 1 - Currahee
Part 2 - Day of Days
Part 3 - Carentan
Part 4 - Replacements
Part 5 - Crossroads
Part 6 - Bastogne
Part 7 - The Breaking Point
Part 8 - The Last Patrol
Part 9 - Why We Fight
Part 10 - Points
Disc 6 - Bonus Features
* We stand Alone - The Men of Easy Company - this is a 1 hour 20 minute documentary on the men of easy company.
* Ron Livingston' Video Diaries - self explanatory
* The Making of Band of Brothers - this is a 30 minute feature showing the making of the series
* Web Links - this shows the web links to associated pages.
This is a fantastic box set to have - I absolutely loved it. Yes I was movd to tears in more than one place throughout the series but you would have to be completely void of emotion to sit through the whole thing dry-eyed. I found it to be completely enthralling - once i put on the first disc I had to watch the other 5 straight after. This has to be one of the best things i have watched on DVD in such a long time.
For this reason I am giving this DVD box set the five star recommendation - to me this is a must-see. It is quite pricey at £59.99 but if you shop around I have seen it advertised on line for £29.99. LIke I said earlier I ws given this as a gift, but I would have happily paid £29.99 to buy it as I think its great value for money at that price.
If you are in two minds whether to watch this or not - then I recommend that you do watch it. Its inspiring, thought provoking and emotional but well worth it.
Thank you for reading and happy watching! xx
I was unfortunate enough to miss the majority of this series when it was aired on BBC2 so i decided to buy it on dvd having heard good things about it from my friends and colleagues. I wasn't disappointed and my decision proved to be money well spent watching Hanks and Spielberg at their very best.
Band of Brothers is a wonderful, yet gritty and harrowing series, following the 101st Airborne (Easy company) from training camp through their tour in Europe. This begins on D-Day and follows the war right through.
I found the acting to be of a very high standard, especially as the majority of the actors involved were not what you would recognise as household names. I actually feel that by not casting many 'Stars', the characters are more believable and you feel more empathy for their predicament.
The effects in this series are superb, and in some parts breathtaking. The realism of the effects goes a long way to illustrate the horrors of war and makes the watcher grateful that they naver had to experience anything of that nature.
At the beginning of each episode, there are interviews with surviving members of the 101st who appear in the story - this proves to be somewhat haunting, seeing the emotion in their faces as they recall what they had been through all those years ago.
I cannot recommend this dvd set highly enough to anyone who enjoys WW2 films, especially those similar to "Saving Private Ryan". It is gritty, realistic and with 6 disks (18 episodes) to watch (plus the special features bonus disk) i feel that it is well worth the money spent on it
Band of Brothers is a immense achievement. This great DVD collection tells the story of Easy Company of the 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne. Through the hours of thrilling action, you become one of the brothers and witness there actions in one of the greatest conflicts of history.
You follow the journey of these men from their days of training in the United States, to the end of the War in Austria. Witness the achievements of Easy Company and the price that they paid for them. Follow them as they jump into Normandy on June 6th, Holland, in Operation Market Garden and capture the Eagles Nest, Hitlers own privat residence.
This is a DVD collection that offers the viewer hours of excitement as the adrenalin rushes through their body, just as it did to the men of Easy Company. Experience the tragedy of losing friends, and the relief when it is all over.
A wonderful and fitting tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Band of Brothers... a massive massive project, how do you review something so huge?
To begin with, i suppose it's important to state that Band of Brothers (BoB) is based as accurately as possible on the REAL MEN AND EVENTS of Easy Company, 101st Airborne in WW2. The production team was helped by constant phone calls and interviews with the men themselves and Stephen Ambrose, who wrote the book which the mini series is based on, also named Band of Brothers.
Also, to appreciate what kind of an undertaking this really was, you need to understand basic American military units of the time.
Regiment - Three Battalions and a HQ usually run by a Colonel.
Battalion - Three Companies and a HQ usually run by a Major.
Company - Three Platoons and sometimes a HQ usually run by a Captain. 120 men
Platoon - Three Squads usually run by a Lieutenant. 40 men
Squad - Usually run by a Sergeant or Corporal (usually as 2nd in command). 10 -15 men
We don't need to go any higher in rank than that for the purposes of this review, also, the numbers do differ slightly according to circumstances, but more or less, that's what you've got.
There are ten parts to the series, each an hour long, taking us from the units creation at Camp Toccoa, all the way through the jump on Normandy on D-Day, the jump on Holland and Operation Market Garden, Bastogne, Haganau, Berchestgarden, the concentration camps, and finally Hitlers Eagle's Nest. Each episode begins with short snippets of interviews from the real men of Easy Company concerning the issues raised in that particular episode.
All the way through we get to know the men who formed Easy Company and those who replaced them when they fell.
The series seems to be more a collection of events put into a timeline than a written story, which is understandable seeing as the writers could take no liberties with the script, but a bi-product of that is that you don't have a 'lead' character with a clear objective as you do in a conventional film script.
They try to make it Richard Winters, the Lieutenant (then Captain) of Easy Company who laters ends up helping to run the whole battalion.
As well as this they employ another scriptwriting device, which is to give each inidividual episode a more central character who's story we follow through the hour, running into the other soldiers we are getting to know from the Company along the way. Usually this is one of the officers.
Then we have the 1st supporting roles (Guarnere, Luz, Toye, Skip Muck, Malarky etc) which appear frequently and who's characters are strong and well defined throughout the series and as a result, we feel we know them well by the end. These are collectively the Company's non commissioned officers, the Sergeants.
And then we have the 2nd supporting roles which are men we recognise, and who's names we have heard mentioned, but wish we had found out more about or wonder what happened to at the end (Penkala, Sisk, Hashey, More, Christensen etc).
PLUS all the one liner or small roles found in any piece of film making. There were over 500 speaking parts in this series!
With that in mind, my next comment may seem ridiculous, but never the less as with any film or television programme all the characters should be clearly identifiable if we are to care about them.
Now, BoB had as much need for minor roles as any film, but because it was fully authentic those minor roles had to be real men from Easy Company, and because we, as an audience know that the man we can't put a name to being shot in the chest was indeed a real person and was actually shot in the chest in much the same way as we are watching, we want to know him better.
Added to this confusion, if you stick 40 men in army uniforms and cut their hair they are all going to look pretty similar, so you've got to work hard to differentiate them all clearly enough.
So in that respect the production team couldn't win, they couldn't possibly introduce us to 120 men plus replacements as the war went on, it would take years of television. But it's still something that niggles at the mind a little. But as i said, it is catch 22.
However, some things, like the confusion between two characters (Hoobler and Malarky) who both talk about wanting to find a German Luger (Pistol) as a souvenir, could have been avoided. It is easy to confuse these men as one and the same because they were given the same stand out personality characteristic, they both wanted a Luger. It would seem pretty obvious just to focus on ONE of the mens obsession with this war prize, thus avoid the confusion.
Guarnere's personality was impossible to confuse with anyone else's. Luz did the impressions, Muck was the funny man, 'Bull' Randleman's heavy Southern accent and cigar chomping are un-forgettable. They did all this with SO many characters, plus having to deal with nick-names for character relations, but now and again confusion crept in. On the whole, they did a great job though.
Character wise it was very diverse, and well handled. They stuck to mostly the original members of Easy and a few of the first set of replacements. As the war went on more and more men went home killed or unable to fight and needed to be replaced. This is addressed and is ever present but we don't really get to know any other the replacements after the first bunch, and even then there's only 'Babe' Heffron, Leo Hashey, Tony Garcia, James Miller and Lietenant Peacock who are introduced, and all are fairly minor characters except possibly Heffron.
We meet the occasional replacement further on down the line, but they are usually just in a handfull of scenes before being killed or forgotten about (Julian KIA, Webb KIA, Suerth WIA, O'Keefe)
I have mixed feelings about the graphics. Computer wise, not great, but the hands on stuff (squibbs, explosions etc) wow! Up-close shots of all kinds of injuries (including a man being squashed by a tank) looked very realistic indeed and really made me realise the horror and almost feel pain in some cases. The computer generated back drops etc didn't look so great. The planes on D-Day flying towards France looked quite bad really, and the backdrop in Bastogne wasn't that brilliant either, but it wasn't so bad that it detracted from the experience.
My only real problem with this series is that it made a few slip ups fact wise.
In one episode a character named Albert Blithe is shot in the throat and we are told that he died a few years later in 1948. Throughout the episode he is in, he is portrayed having problems operating under fire. Whether or not this is true i don't know, but i suspect they needed a character to show the audience another point of view of the war, the guy who couldn't handle it as well as other men. My guess is they picked Blithe because not only was he KIA (supposedly) but he experienced 'hysterical blindness' during the attack on Carentan and lost his sight.
In actual fact Blithe recovered from his wounds and went on to serve in Korea, make over 400 combat jumps and earn many medals, and died in 1967! That's a pretty big gaff, and is unforgivable when dealing with a real person and their life. Many millions of people will believe what they were told in the mini series, and that is unfair to the real man, who actually turned out to be a bit of a hero.
One of the veterans told them he attended Blithe's funeral, and that is why they made the mistake, but they should have double checked. For a man with such an illustrious record, it wouldn't have been too difficult to find out otheriwse.
However this was by far the biggest mistake and the others are few and quite minor, even if they were done with artisitc lisence, which is questionable at all with a series so heavily publicised as being 100% authentic.
If you buy the DVD Box Set, you get a LOT of extras which are well worth paying for, such as diaries, behind the scenes footage and interviews, bio's and a lot more, a whole discs worth, PLUS a documentary with the real men of Easy Company, the veterans who did it for real.
Anyways, this series is the closest any film has got so far to a fair, realistic AND moving portrayal of soldiers during WW2. There's no flag waving, the Germans are portrayed as real people, there are no Arnold Schwarzenegger like heroic charges, just damn good film making!
I recently borrowed the entire Band of Brothers collection from a friend at school. There was a big party at his house and I stumbled across the DVD set whilst nosing around. I instantly exclaimed: Band of Bruvvas! I had remembered seeing bits and pieces of it on the television a few years back and immediately asked if I could borrow it. So borrow it I did and I have sat and watched through the whole thing in the past few days.
The Second World War is something that has always interested me in many ways, although I have had rather limited exposure to the events that took place. I have never really come across an enjoyable, if you can out it that way, form of learning about what happened some 60 years ago. This series has really allowed me to learn of the events that took place, who shaped them and also how the soldiers and others were feeling at the time. It is a very realistic impression of how things really were and to view the images is very special.
~Band of Brothers~
The film or series, is based on the efforts of Easy Company in World War Two. They were part of the 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division that parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. The men were an elite rifle company of paratroopers, trained for tough frontline warfare. They played a vital part in securing the beaches for the allied landings by sea. They would begin an epic journey across Europe in an attempt to turn the tide of the war. They would lose many of their friends along the way and gain many victories over the enemy. They would experience terror and pain along with jubilance and joy. It would be a campaign of ups and downs, with doubt as to when the end of the war would come. The complete series is based on the book by Stephen E. Ambrose, who has sadly passed away since.
Easy Company is followed from the very start of the war right to where they end up when it eventually finishes. The start of the film shows their training camp, first in America and then when they fly to England in preparation for the big D-Day assault on Northern France. They train for eight tough months and wait for the call for the mission that they are working towards.
The Day of Days arrives. The entire battalion is given the go ahead to drop into France and support the seaborne landings of the allied troops. They suffer heavy casualties on the landing attempt and they are scattered around, far from their designated landing spots. They have to regroup quickly and scavenge for fighting equipment. The hard work then really begins as Easy Company are thrust onto the frontline and push back the might of the German army.
The company works tirelessly through the following months repelling Germans and suffering heavy casualties. They enter vital battles, with responsibility firmly on their shoulders as to the success of certain missions. The job of Easy, was to lead the attacks and secure certain areas for supporting troops to move in. They would fight many battles and encounter many unexpected situations. This film is the story of Easy Company and their struggle through the war.
The opening titles to each episode have some still and some moving images of scenes from within the series that are very poignant in their own way. They give a reflection of what to expect when you watch it and it does get your brain working a bit trying to imagine things. The names of the cast also appear on the screen, followed by those who played a major role in the production. The music plays over the top, which I will mention in the next section. The closing titles are simply the credits of those who worked on production and again the classical music plays over the top.
The music throughout the series is, in my opinion, very moving and sombre in its way. The opening and closing titles have some very thoughtful tones and you do feel very sad when you are listening to it. I think that it reflects the mood of the soldiers and the people at the time. It is classical music that I would normally tend not to enjoy, but in this case it is very fitting and many people will probably like it.
There is an official soundtrack that accompanies the series, with all of the music collated on it. The music is composed by Michael Kamen and is available on the Sony record label for £10.99 over at amazon.co.uk.
~The Soldiers Today~
The final part of the final episode, tells you about the lives of the soldiers that survived to the end of the war. It is a very moving part of the whole thing, as you discover what happened to them in later life. The majority of them live a very peaceful life, away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. Towards the end of the film, a German general addresses German troops that have surrendered. The sort of things that he said were very true and thoughtful, he spoke of the togetherness and bonds that soldiers serving together form and that they are all entitled to long and peaceful lives after the terror of the past few years.
The films are an absolute thrill to watch in many ways. It is the sort of thing that you will really never tire of watching over and over again. There never seems to be a part of the film that is insignificant or lacking any real meaning in the context of the events. The events are catalogued perfectly and re-lived as accurately as possible.
The special effects used in the making of the film are quite remarkable. The explosions of shells, grenades and missiles are superbly re-enacted and it looks very real. The buildings, land and other objects that are hit spectacularly explode and look very dramatic. The injuries that soldiers receive are made to look as realistic as possible using a number of different techniques. Although some of the images may be a little hard to view, they seem pretty accurate. The dead, dying or those who had just been hit acted superbly well and the special effects made everything seem incredibly realistic. The scenes that were shot in the Austrian Alps were particularly spectacular, with some quite stunning back drops.
The directorship, if thats what you call it, of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks really did show through. The sheer quality of the screenplay was just sensational and you can see why Band of Brothers is so highly regarded. The whole series is such a pleasure from beginning to end, it is thoroughly gripping and slightly addictive too. The majority of what goes on looks and seems very real, not much appears put on by the actors so do get that feeling that everything is realistic.
The best part overall is of course the story line and trying to understand all of the different emotions that the soldiers of Easy Company experienced. The film really involves you and after a time you think that you can feel what they once felt. It is an emotional rollercoaster, the number of high and lows that they felt and the quick succession of which the general mood changed.
I am really struggling to find fault with any part of this series and there is nothing that immediately springs to mind. The only thing that may be a drawback is some of the fighting where people get badly injured or killed. The images can be very shocking and it may be difficult for some people to view. The thing that you always have to bear in mind, is that the images that you are viewing are largely what actually happened so it does make you think a little. The sacrifice that each man made for his country, the danger that they put themselves in is all there to see.
The final DVD in the case, is an extras DVD that is actually worth watching. The majority of bonus discs that you get in DVD packages, tend to be a load of rubbish with just a few behind the scenes bits and pieces. This has that, but it also includes a documentary featuring the war veterans who describe the war as they experienced it. There is also a feature about the 57th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy where the series was premiered.
The whole of the series is subtitled for those who require them when watching programmes. I only have a very slight hearing problem, but I do like to put the subtitles on from time to time so that I dont miss vital parts of information. The speech in English is subtitled, but the foreign language isnt. The subtitles can be in a variety of European languages if for any reason you wish to change it from English. The actual subtitles themselves are very good, they dont miss out many words and they do very little rephrasing of the characters speech.
I would strongly recommend that you try and view this at some point in the next few years, even if you have done before try watching it again. If nothing else, it will make you realise how lucky we are to live in the world that we do today. The work that some of those men did all those years ago, means that we live in the relatively safe and secure society that we do.
The series itself is superbly produced and directed, there seems to be nothing lacking. There is drama, lots of action and an element of surprise. These are accompanied by the problems that soldiers suffer whilst serving, including the mental damage, physical injuries and the loss of friends. There is a good blend of emotions that did in many ways have an effect on me. I now have much more respect for those who served in the war and appreciate the immense hardship that they went through and that some still have to cope with.
A genuinely epic achievement, the 10-part World War II drama Band of Brothers is a television series that makes big-screen Hollywood war movies look small in comparison. Based on the book by historian Stephen Ambrose, the series follows the US 101st Airborne Division's "Easy" E-Company from initial training through D-Day and across Holland, Belgium, Germany and Austria until the end of the war. Coproduced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the series take its initial inspiration from Saving Private Ryan and borrows that film's visceral visual approach to combat scenes using hand-held camerawork and de-saturated photography. But where Band of Brothers excels is in its scrupulous attention to the realities of military life (retired US Marine Captain Dale Dye, who also co-stars, is the man to credit). After the high drama of the parachute drop on D-Day, Easy's greatest trial comes during the Battle of the Bulge, when they are besieged at Bastogne in the depths of winter. In one of the most harrowing and credible depictions of war ever committed to film we see the men enduring the repeated artillery attacks of the German forces and experience, if only vicariously, some of the sheer terror of the assault, while being humbled by the soldiers' courage and determination. Such feelings are enhanced by the series' masterstroke--bookend interviews with the surviving members of Easy Company, who talk with barely suppressed emotion of the experiences we see recreated. The endorsement of these veterans elevates Band of Brothers beyond any mere "war film"--its extraordinary achievement is that it shows the horror and savagery of war without gloss or jingoism, and yet celebrates the fraternal bonds and dogged heroism of the men who fought. On the DVD: Band of Brothers arrives handsomely packaged in a six-disc box set with two episodes on each of the first five discs. Sound (Dolby 5.1) and picture (1.78:1 widescreen) only enhance the series' epic credentials. Disc 6 contains all the extras, the meatiest of which is the marvellous 80-minute documentary "We Stand Alone Together" about the real men of Easy Company. There's also a first-rate, genuinely interesting 30-minute "making of" feature about actor boot camp, visual effects and blowing up fake trees among many other things. This is complemented by actor Ron Livingston's revealing Video Diaries of boot camp. Additionally there's a "Who's Who" section and footage of the HBO premiere at Utah Beach, plus a TV spot for car company Jeep. --Mark Walker