Band Of Brothers

Band of Brothers is an acclaimed 10-part television World War II miniseries based on the book of the same title written by historian and biographer Stephen Ambrose. It was co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks after their successful collaboration on the Academy Award winning WWII film, Saving Private Ryan. The miniseries first aired in 2001 on HBO and still runs frequently on different TV networks around the world.

The miniseries centers on the experiences of Company E ("Easy Company") of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division and one of its officers, Richard Winters (played by Damian Lewis), from Easy's basic training at Toccoa, Georgia, through the American airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of Bastogne and on to the end of the war.

The events portrayed in the miniseries are based on Ambrose's research and recorded interviews with Easy Company veterans. Some literary license has been taken with the episodes, and other reference books will highlight the differences between recorded history and the film version.1 All of the characters portrayed in the miniseries are based on actual members of Easy Company; some of them can be seen in prerecorded interviews as a prelude to each episode (their identities, however, are not revealed until the close of the finale).

A new 10-part miniseries from the creators of Band of Brothers (Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman), called The Pacific, is in development. The new miniseries will focus on the Pacific Theater. The project is due out in 2009, although this is subject to change.2


The series was nominated for nineteen Emmy Awards, and won six, including "Outstanding miniseries," "Outstanding Casting for a miniseries, Movie, or a Special," and "Outstanding Directing for a miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special." It also won a Golden Globe for "Best miniseries, or Motion Picture Made for Television," an American Film Institute award, and was selected for a Peabody Award for "…relying on both history and memory to create a new tribute to those who fought to preserve liberty." It also won a 2003 Writers Guild Award (Television, Adapted Long Form) for episode six (Bastogne). It is also the highest-rated mini-series on the Internet Movie Database3, scoring higher than even the #1 rated film, "The Godfather" in the IMDB Top 2504.


Episode title: Currahee
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Main character: Herbert Sobel
Original airdate: September 9, 2001
Summary: Easy Company undergoes training and are introduced to Captain Sobel. The company is shipped to England.

Episode title: Day of Days
Director: Richard Loncraine
Main character: Richard Winters
Original airdate: September 9, 2001
Summary: The Company lands in Normandy and Lieutenant Winters completes their mission by assuming command.

Episode title: Carentan
Director: Mikael Salomon
Main character: Albert Blithe
Original airdate: September 16, 2001
Summary: The Company battles in Carentan. Private Albert Blithe struggles with fear.

Episode title: Replacements
Director: David Nutter
Main character: Denver Randleman
Original airdate: September 23, 2001
Summary: Easy Company, along with replacements, parachute into and fight in the Netherlands as part of Operation Market Garden.

Episode title: Crossroads
Director: Tom Hanks
Main character: Richard Winters
Original airdate: September 30, 2001
Summary: Winters writes a report on the challenge of an unexpected resistance to a German attack, and is haunted by his conscience after shooting a teenage German soldier.

Episode title: Bastogne
Director: David Leland
Main character: Eugene Roe
Original airdate: October 7, 2001
Summary: Easy Company experiences the Battle of the Bulge and have to hold ground near Bastogne.

Episode title: The Breaking Point
Director: David Frankel
Main character: Carwood Lipton
Original airdate: October 14, 2001
Summary: The Company battles near Foy, Belgium, and the actions of Lieutenant Norman Dike are examined and questioned.

Episode title: The Last Patrol
Director: Tony To
Main character: David Webster
Original airdate: October 21, 2001
Summary: Easy Company carries out a dangerous mission in Haguenau, and Captain Winters is promoted to Major.

Episode title: Why We Fight
Director: David Frankel
Main character: Lewis Nixon
Original airdate: October 28, 2001
Summary: A concentration camp, near Landsberg, is discovered by the Company.

Episode title: Points
Director: Mikael Salomon
Main character: Richard Winters
Original airdate: November 4, 2001
Summary: The company captures Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, and the end of the war is announced.

Historical inaccuracies

Both Ambrose's book and the resulting series are marked with numerous minor and some major inaccuracies, many noted by 101st veterans on Web sites such as "Trigger Time," which features an episode-by-episode critique of strengths and weaknesses. Among the errors in the television series:

  • The end of episode three states that Albert Blithe never recovered from the wounds he received in Normandy, and that he died in 1948. Fellow Easy Company Currahee veterans interviewed while writing the mini-series Band of Brothers had thought that Blithe did not recover from his wounds, which they mistakenly recalled as a neck wound (in actuality he was shot in the right shoulder), and had died in Philadelphia in 1948. Albert Blithe remained on active duty, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in combat, served in the Korean War and achieved the rank of Master Sergeant, married with two children. He died in December 1967 of complications of surgery for a perforated ulcer after attending a memorial ceremony in Bastogne and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.5
  • Easy company is said to have been returned to England later than D+25 (July 1), but at the end of the episode, this is said to have happened on June 29. The last date is correct, since Albert Blithe got hit on D+25 (in the series), but got his Purple Heart (earned by being shot while investigating a farmhouse on D+25) on June 25.
  • According to Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich, Richard Winters was promoted to Major before David Webster returned to Easy Company from the hospital after getting injured in Holland. However, in "The Last Patrol", Winters was still Captain until he received his promotion at the end of the episode.
  • At the beginning of the ninth episode, "Why We Fight", the date says April 11, 1945 as the episode opens with the paratroopers overlooking German civilians cleaning up their streets. At the end of the episode, the show returns to this scene, at which point Captain Nixon tells the others that Hitler had killed himself. However Hitler did not kill himself until April 30, 1945.
  • At the end of the final episode, "Points," it is stated that Technician Fifth Class Joseph Liebgott became a San Francisco taxi driver after the war, but most accounts, including that of his son, state that Joseph Liebgott in fact became a barber after returning home from the war.6
  • The series states that Easy Company was the first unit into Berchtesgaden and the Eagle's Nest, capturing the town and surrounding area without incident. Historians usually identify the first Allied troops to arrive as the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division who secured Berchtesgaden and the Berghof, followed four days later by the French 2nd Armored Division who secured the Eagle's Nest, then 1st Battalion of the 506th, led by Company "C." This, however, may be incorrect. The 2nd Battalion of the 506th came into Berchtesgaden by a different route and lost men in a skirmish with the crews of two German 88 mm guns.7 Controversy has come up in recent years as to precisely which unit captured Berchtesgaden, but in the book Beyond Band of Brothers, Major Dick Winters states "Major General John W. 'Iron Mike' O'Daniel's 3rd Infantry Division certainly seized neighboring Salzburg without opposition and may have had their lead elements enter Berchtesgaden before we (2nd Battalion, 506 PIR) arrived in force, but let the facts speak for themselves. If the 3rd Division was first into Berchtesgaden, where did they go? Berchtesgaden is a relatively small community. When I walked into the Berchtesgaden Hof with Lieutenant Welsh, neither of us saw anyone except the hotel staff. Goering's officers' club and wine cellar certainly would have drawn the attention of a Frenchman from LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division or a rifleman from the 3rd Division. I find it inconceivable to imagine that if the 3rd Division were there first, they left those beautiful Mercedes staff cars untouched for our men."
  • In the final episode, "Points," Major Winters accepts the surrender of a German Colonel, who offers him an ornate Luger pistol. In the scene, Winters tells him to keep his sidearm, but in the Bonus Features DVD, the real Winters recalls the incident and shows the pistol (a Walther PP) he accepted. In Ambrose's book of the same title, he describes how when Winters examined the firearm, he found it had never been fired, and he hasn't fired it since. He shows this firearm in the HBO documentary We Stand Alone Together. Also in book Beyond Band of Brothers : The war memoirs of Major Dick Winters written by Cole. C. Kingseed with Major Dick Winters it is said that the pistol was accepted but the rank of the German soldier was a Major not Colonel.
  • In episode "Carentan" at the counter-attack, we can clearly see a Jagdpanther with the counter-attacking German forces, however the only Jagdpanthers in the area were in the German 654th Heavy Antitank Battalion and only saw combat in the late Battle of Normandy against British units.

Main cast

For most of the main characters, actors who resembled their real-life counterparts were cast if possible. Due to the miniseries only casting a limited portion of the Easy Company roster, certain roles had to be changed from their historical counterparts.

Ranks displayed are the ranks that the soldiers had at the end of the war (August 15, 1945), which is also the end of the series.

DVD Release

All ten parts of the miniseries were released in a DVD boxset on November 5, 2002. The set includes five discs containing all the episodes, and a bonus disc with the behind-the-scenes documentary We Stand Alone Together and the video diary of actor Ron Livingston, who played the character Lewis Nixon. A collector's edition of the box set was also released, containing the same discs but held in an tin case.

External links

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