Band of Brothers TV Series Review: Story
Band of Brothers is ten-part HBO TV series about World War II, based on the Band of Brothers book written by historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose. Band of Brothers received considerable attention because it was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks who both worked together on “Saving Private Ryan,” another realistic World War II movie.
The series follows Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion who is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. It follows their experiences from before landing in Normandy to the end of the war. The events are based on real life accounts from the soldiers of easy company. Before every episode the surviving members describe their experiences, often in tears thinking about their fallen friends and the experiences that will forever haunt them the rest of their lives.
The series mainly focuses on Major Richard Winters (1918-2011), played by Damian Lewis, as he grows into a leader and strives to keep his band of brothers together and alive. However different episodes often highlights different soldiers of E Company, and their various experiences. Through out the series you get to know each of the character from the first time they step onto soil, to hard veterans, battle tested, growing into leadership roles… for those who survive through the battles. As a viewer, you get to experience both the forming and loss of relationships as well as the hardship of war life especially mentally and emotionally.
Band of Brothers TV Series. Is it Clean? Safe?
Band of Brothers by no means should be shown to children. It’s a war movie, and a realistic one at that. Just like Saving Private Ryan, there are plenty of realistic violence. There is also plenty of cursing, which of course is expected as it is a war movie.
There is also a sex scene in the beginning of episode 9. Avoid it. It is explicit and completely unexpected as all the episodes up to this point was clean in this area. Why the directors chose to add this scene is beyond me as it seems completely out of place.
Band of Brothers TV Series: Morals? Opinions?
Personally, I loved Band of Brothers. Though it may be hard to follow all the characters as the cast is large, you can easily sympathize with the various characters as they struggle mentally and emotionally through the war. The loss of key people are disheartening but there is also a sense of triumph as the various characters grow up, and step up as is needed. As the title says, you can definitely come to appreciate how these men draw together, put their differences aside and become like brothers. Every battle is tense as you don’t want anyone to die or get hurt. The struggle of dealing with death is a big theme as well.
Major Winters – Lessons on Leadership
Major Winters is a person to be admired, someone who deeply cares for his men and does everything in his power to protect them and train them properly. Watching him grow from a fellow soldier into highly respected leader has many lessons packed in itself. He leads by example, he is always in the front lines, he seeks to understand his men, he is decisive, he follows the rules, he cares deeply about his men, he thinks through how his interactions with his unit affects their morale, their behavior and the level of respect he needs to command the unit. An example is when Major Winters reprimands his his Lieutenant for gambling with his soldiers because he says he should never put himself in a position from taking from his own men. A leader must always give in every way to the people you lead. From the beginning, he slowly earns everyone’s respect and you can see how it plays out with each of the characters. There are many other men you can compare leadership qualities with such as E Company’s first commander, Herbert Sobel (great trainer, but horrible leader), the mysterious Captain Ron Speirs (everyone feared but respected him), and Lieutenant Norman Dike (who no one had confidence in).
Major Winters Quotes about Leadership
“The qualities you are looking for in a leader include: Does the individual have the respect of the men? How do you get the respect of the men? By living with them, being a part of it, being able to understand what they are going through and not to separate yourself from them. You have to know your men. You have to gain their confidence. And the way to gain the confidence of anybody, whether it’s in war or civilian life or whatever, you must be honest. Be honest, be fair and be consistent. You can’t be honest and fair one day, and the next give your people the short end of the stick. Once you can achieve that, you will be a leader.”
“You maintain close relationships with your men, but not friendship. You have mutual respect for one another, but yet you have to hold yourself aloof, to a degree. If you are too friendly, it works in a negative way when you need to discipline your men. You can have your men’s respect and friendship, but there is a point where you have to rise above this relationship and make sure they are following the orders that are in effect for everybody. In leading groups effectively, you have to rise above camaraderie. You have to be fair to everyone. Everyone must know that they are treated equally.”
The Pacific – Band of Brothers Followup – Quick Note
NOTE: “The Pacific,” the followup mini-series covering WWII battle in the pacific is NOT A CLEAN MOVIE. It is unlike Band of Brothers which was relatively clean throughout. Also “The Pacific” less centered around brotherhood and leadership but more centered around the degrading psychology of men – Highlighting how innocent people’s mind becomes jaded and ruthless in war. Thus the series is much darker.
- How did you like Band of Brothers?
- Any addition lessons to note?
- What was your favorite episode?