Wrapping up the 4th of July weekend at my house, we’re watching BAND of BROTHERS a tradition for the last several years. And why aren’t we outside enjoying a summery California day? Because it’s 61 degrees and overcast with drizzle and a foggy marine layer. NOT beach weather without a hoodie—or in may case, a parka and Ugg boots.
The 2001 HBO miniseries MASTERPIECE, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks (who also wrote and directed parts of it), is the true story of the men who fought in a company of the U.S. Army during WWII. If you have to be inside, it’s the perfect show to watch as America celebrates her birthday.
It’s about the American ideals that stood toe-to-toe with evil ideals—and KICKED ASS. It’s about THE BEST OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT. It shows Americans in the worst of situations—WAR—and triumphing.
The American soldiers who fought in WWII SAVED THE WORLD. What list of superlative praises can you assign to that feat? Band of Brothers shows just how bloody hard—physically demanding, strategically difficult, tragically sad, mentally exhausting, ball-busting courageous, woefully brutal, and God-awful terrifying—that effort was.
How ironic that the group of soldiers depicted in Band of Brothers (E Company of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment assigned to the 101st Airborne Division] were nicknamed “Easy” Company.
IMHO, this miniseries surpasses other war movies because of the story—the real life people and events on which it’s based. The characters (soldiers) are unforgettable, especially Major Richard Winters, an incredible military leader and man of honor—brilliantly played by Damian Lewis (a Brit!). (I can’t believe Hollywood hasn’t latched onto this actor and given him decent movies/roles to star in. He’s as talented as he is hunky handsome. Check him out in the BBC miniseries The Fosyte Saga. Another amazing performance. OR check out this clip from BofB: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV0owL3bbPk&NR=1 .)
But back to BofB. The themes are “do your duty” and “one for all, all for one” esprit de corps necessary to survive a hellish existence and accomplish something greater than yourself.
The HBO tagline is: They depended on each other. And the world depended on them.
I had heard that in warfare, it is the soldiers fighting along side their comrades that keeps them going, as opposed to fighting for political reasons or because someone gave them an order.
This show exemplifies the power of brotherhood. Everybody wants to belong somewhere. Everybody wants to be part of a caring group. (It is amazing what you’ll put up with to be in that!)
When I was writing my blog (posted on 7/02/10) about the 4th of July, I was going to include some of my favorite quotes about America—like the one by Thomas Jefferson where he says something like: The more voices that are heard, the stronger a democracy is. But I couldn’t find the exact quote.
But I did find quotes about war from General/President Eisenhower very interesting. He said:
“War settles nothing.”
“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”
“You can’t hide this kind of war. There just aren’t enough bulldozers to scrape the bodies off the streets.”
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity.”
“Preventative war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.”
I guess he ought to know. BofB graphically shows what Ike was talking about.
The scope of BofB is enormous. It follows the soldiers of Easy Company from their parachute training in 1942 through the European theatre (D-Day in France, the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, Austria, and Germany), to the liberation of a Nazi death camp, to the taking of Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest” Alpine estate in 1945.
The historical documentation, the amazing scenery/locations, the grit/grime/stench/horrendous conditions (like the frozen forest of Bastogne) with the gruesomely realistic combat scenes, the outstanding acting and writing all add up to a great miniseries. But what make BofB the best miniseries ever is that it’s the story of average Americans in extraordinary circumstances who rise to the occasion—who BAND TOGETHER with courage and loyalty and in the process become HEROES.
But you don’t have to take my word about BofB being the best ever. It was nominated for twenty-two Emmys and won several, including best miniseries. It has a 9.6 (out of 10) rating on imdb.com. (I have never seen a rating that high for any TV show or movie.) It has a five out five-star ranking on Amazon.com with over 1,748 reviews.
Thanks to the producers, writers, directors, and actors who made Band of Brothers the masterpiece that it is. Every time I watch it, it makes me all weepy and sooo proud to be an American.
A special debt of gratitude to Easy Company. Your bravery and sacrifice have allowed Americans to be able to continue celebrating Independence Day. Thank you for risking your life and for preserving freedom for the world.
The official website of the men of Easy Company: