Band of Brothers is a war drama miniseries based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book. The executive producers of the 2001 American miniseries are the guys behind the production of the 1998 World War II film called Saving Private Ryan. Producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks creatively dramatize the history of “Easy Company” from jump training in the United States and participation actions in Europe. Since it first aired on HBO in 2001, the series has won Emmy and Golden Awards in the category of best miniseries.
Ambrose quotes a passage from the St Crispin’s Day Speech on his book’s first page. In the series’ finale, Carwood Lipton speaks about the passage.
The plot is simply about dramatizing the Easy Company (part of the 2nd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment) that was assigned the US army’s 101st Airborne Division during WWII. Major Richard Winters is featured as the central character who struggles hard during the hassles of the war front in keeping his men safe as they struggle to execute their missions together.
The fates of the characters in the miniseries conform to the historical facts behind the persons which they are drawn. First Lieutenant Norman Dike leading the Easy Company teamed up with the 2nd Battalion, 506TH Infantry in attacking the Belgian town of Foy in the Battle of the Bulge and lost several of his men. The 2nd Battalion’s Executive Officer Captain Richard Winters tried to radio Norman and the company to evacuate in vain because Lieutenant Norman is believed to have been in bad shape. When Easy Company’s original commander Captain Winters realized that Norman was hesitant and probably endangering his men, he ordered Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Charles Speirs to relieve him.
Speirs canceled Norman’s order for attacking the town from the rear, and as a result, some confusion ensued leading to two United States companies to fire at each other. Since they didn’t have a radio to communicate with each other Speirs was compelled to run through the town amidst a hail of German fire, so as to go and explain the situation to Item Company’s soldiers. Speirs courageously achieved stopping the firing between two the US companies without sustaining any bullet wounds. They took some German POWs and Speirs went on to be Easy Company’s commander until the end of the war.
Simon Atherton, the weapons master, worked well with costume designer Joe Hobbs in using photos and details from veterans’ accounts in matching weapons to various scenes. The amazing thing about the accuracy of this production is that war veterans were welcomed to the production site where filming was taking place.
Moreover, veterans were granted the prerogative of previewing the episodes before they went on air. In fact, most actors had a chance to contact with the characters they were supposed to portray before the filming of the miniseries. Creativity at its best is displayed in such a manner that several characters have been folded down to about 15 people in various episodes. In some of the scenes of the certain episodes, some soldiers take off their helmets to be identified something that doesn’t happen in real combat.