Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Band of Brothers - A Mini-Series Review

Based on the bestseller by Stephen E. Ambrose, the epic 10-part miniseries Band of Brothers tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Drawn from interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, Band of Brothers chronicles the experiences of these men who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear. They were an elete rifle company parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and capturing Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were also a unit that suffered 150 percent casualties, and whose lives became legend.
Over the years I have seen an episode here and there of this show, but this is the first time I have actually sat down and watched all the episodes from beginning to end. I am a bit rusty on writing reviews, but I do know enough to say one simple world about this show: Bravo! They did such a fantastic job with this series. I knew I was going to like it and I am kicking myself that it took me so long to watch it! It shouldn't surprise anyone that it is good, though, because the executive producers are Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The two of them together is like magic. I don't think Spielberg would ever put something out that didn't exceed all expectations. Tom Hanks is good, too, but I am still sitting here thinking about him talking to a volleyball.

The best way to describe this show is that it could be real. The action is so believable and the acting so exceptional you felt like they were really there and you were really watching the events of World War II through their eyes. The research was obvious and the interviews at the beginning of each episode were a wonderful touch. Some of the scenes from this show will stay with me forever, I think. The second to the last episode was about the Holocaust and it was so compelling. I watched it and knew it was actors, but I was still horrified. I also got sad when people died. You got to know them through the episodes and it was sad that they were gone. There is a scene in a church where a narrator speaks and it starts with everyone and the narrator slowly tells all those that died. I think that was a very good memorial to all those men that never made it home.

I do have to say that there was so much going on that I am not always entirely sure of the characters and I know I missed some of what was going on. It's a show that I could probably watch again right now and discover a lot of things that I missed the first time around. I think it is a show that I am happy that I owe, so I have that chance to go back through it. This is television at its best. A documentary in fiction form. I strongly recommend it!


  1. My husband loves this series - I bought the DVD set for him a few years ago and he watches it a couple of time a year! I've probably seen most of it in pieces and it is very powerful - and a little gory at times. He's started watching the new one HBO has called The Pacific. I think it's also done by Tom Hanks so it's very similar in style to Band of Brothers.

  2. I could practically copy Daphne's comment above, so I'll just leave it at that. ;)

  3. I've seen this probably half a dozen times, though never in order--seems that whenever it's on TV, my husband and I end up watching it for hours. The acting is superb, and I love the different angles the story takes in each segment. We love the interviews with the real men of Easy Company at the beginning of each episode--incredible to remember that these men lived these events.

    Because Band of Brothers couldn't follow every man's story, I'd recommend a book called We Who Are Alive and Remain by Marcus Brotherton--it's the first-person accounts of men of Easy Company who weren't included in Ambrose's book or the miniseries.

  4. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this mini-series. It comes on TV quite a bit and I never tire of watching it. I think my favorite episode is the one where they're in Bastogne and take the village of Foi. And the one that focuses on Eugene, the medic. And at the very end when Dick Winters talks about that letter where the little boy asks, "Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?" and he replies, "No, but I served with a company of heroes." Gets me every time! Great storytelling!