Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO, Band of Brothers is a ten-part miniseries based on the book Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose. The series dramatically re-creates the path of Easy Company, an elite paratrooper unit, from their basic training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia in 1942, to D-Day, to their critical involvement in the Battle of the Bulge, through their triumph at the close of the war. The unit was one of the best trained and most productive in American military history, but it also suffered immense casualties. The series is an ensemble piece, involving dozens of characters, and cast with relative unknowns. To the extent that there is a central character, it is Dick Winters (Damian Lewis), who went to Toccoa as a lieutenant and was promoted, over the course of the war, to battalion commander. Each episode includes brief excerpts from present-day interviews with some of the surviving members of the company. While the series is not a hagiography, Winters is depicted as a brave, resourceful, and humane leader. It's clear that the men revered him, and that he genuinely respected and cared about them. There are a few other members of the unit that make a strong impression. Sobel (David Schwimmer of Friends), their C.O. at Toccoa, is depicted as a petty tyrant whose men bond together in their hatred of him. Nixon (Ron Livingston of Office Space) is Winters' fellow officer and best friend, and an alcoholic. Carwood Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) is a decent, hard-working man, and a tremendous soldier who earns a battlefield commission for his exemplary leadership. Bill Guarnere (Frank John Hughes) fears nothing, and is known for his wise-guy attitude and hot temper. The series dramatizes the courage and fortitude of many others, but it's clear that Winters sets the tone for his men, and plays a pivotal role in the unit's success. The project involved several screenwriters, including Graham Yost (Speed) and E. Max Frye (Something Wild). Eight different directors were called upon for the ten installments, including Hanks, David Frankel (Miami Rhapsody), Mikael Salomon (Hard Rain), and Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams). Still, the tone and style of the series remains fairly consistent. While the story of Easy Company has been condensed and altered in some minor ways for dramatic purposes, and much of the dialogue was, by necessity, invented, the producers placed a strong emphasis on accurately depicting the conditions under which these men lived, fought, and died. Several survivors from the company consulted on the project, and an enormous amount of money was spent on sets, costumes, and special effects in order to re-create their experience.
commander, courage, D-Day, military, squadron, war