Band of Brothers is 10 part miniseries that was produced by HBO in 2001. It is one of the most expensive series to have ever been produced and it has also been one of the most successful. It is now the benchmark when it comes to series that are about war and combat.
The series is about the experiences of Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that belonged to the 101st Airborne Division in World War Two. The series was based on a book written by Stephen Ambrose with the same title where he chronicled the experiences of the company. It was claimed that Easy Company had one of the highest casualty rates of the war but what is definite is that because of the book and show, Easy Company is now the most famous Company of soldiers in the history of the United States.
Spielberg and Hanks
It was the result of a teaming up between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks who worked on Saving Private Ryan. Hanks and Spielberg were so fascinated by the stories of the World War Two veterans that they met while making the series that they decided that it had to be retold for a new generation of audiences. A film was not going to be enough so they decided to make it into a miniseries. That was how Band of Brothers got its start.
Each episode focuses on a certain character’s point of view, from which the story would be told. Sometimes there would be narration, sometimes there isn’t. There were eight directors for the series including Hanks, who directed one episode. Spielberg did not direct any episode though his influence could be seen on all of the episodes and he acted as an executive producer together with Hanks. The series tried to stick to the authenticity of the real life stories of the soldiers though in some cases it did deviate from it in order to help improve the flow of the series.
In order to aid the authenticity of the film, the producers had the actors who will be playing parts in the film to undergo a “boot camp” where they had to undergo military training. The training was conducted by Dale Dye who was a retired Marine officer, who was the military consultant of the series. Dye also acted in the series as Colonel Sink, the commander of the 506th PIR.
The series showed to a whole new generation of viewers what it was like to fight in the Second World War. Critics of the show have pointed out that its main flaw was that it did not bridge the gap between the generation of the veterans and those of the viewers today. Members of Easy were proud of how they have volunteered for the paratroops. That’s something that present generations could hardly understand, with a war that is far from popular. What is clear however is how the show has shown the heroism of the members of Easy.