Band of Brothers

Produced by DreamWorks SKG and 20th Century Fox on a budget of $125 million for TV broadcast starting Sept. 9, 2001, by HBO in 10 episodes, 600 minutes.

HBO's Band of Brothers
Ambrose's Band of Brothers

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This TV miniseries is based on the true story of Easy Company in the 506th regiment of the Army's 101st Airborne Division from 1942 to 1945. It was filmed on the 1100 acre lot at the Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, England, where Spielberg made the 1998 Saving Private Ryan. A 12-acre village was built to represent the 11 European villages of World War II. Tanks and vehicles or the period were constructed and blown up. Uniforms and weapons were made for the 500 speaking roles and 10,000 extras. HBO spent $12 million per episode when normal TV episodes cost $1-2 million per hour. The final budget of $125 million exceeded the $60 million that HBO spent on Hanks' 12 From the Earth to the Moon episodes in 1998, or the $70 million that Dreamworks spent on Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan in 1998. The first episode was televised Sept. 9, and was watched by 10 million viewers, but after Sept. 11, viewers dropped to 6-7 million per episode. It is the 2nd most-watched HBO series, behind The Sopranos. HBO plans to re-broadcast the series in March 2002 and release VHS and DVD version in the summer of 2002.

The film begins with Easy Company training for 13 weeks at the paratrooper camp at Toccoa, GA, from August to November1942. The strict Lt. Sobel makes the men run "three miles up, three miles down" on Mount Currahee, and"Currahee" becomes the company's battle cry. After training in Toccoa, the company marched 110 miles to Atlanta, then to jump school at Fort Benning, then more training in Alabama before heading to England. On June 6, 1944, under acting company commander Dick Winters, the men parachute behind German lines in France on D-Day. Winters leads an assault on a German artillery position. Two days later, they attack the town of Carentan, return to England, then sent back to France. New replacements join the unit for the parachute jump into Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. Winters is promoted to batallion exec officer and paratroopers are sent to the Ardennes to hold Allied lines in the Battle of the Bulge. The men suffer cold and casualties from German artillery in the forest outside Bastogne, and medic Eugene Roe makes friends with a Belgian nurse. After the Bulge, an incompetent commander Lt. Dike causes more casualties in the attack on the town of Foy. In Alsace, West Pointer Lt. Jones joins a patrol to take prisoners across a river. The Americans enter Germany, liberate a concentration camp, learn Hitler is dead. Their last mission is the the Eagle's Nest in Berchesgarten, Austria. When the European war ends, some men have enough points to go home but others will be deployed to the Pacific.

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revised 5/9/07 by Steven Schoenherr | WWII Timeline | Filmnotes