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The Winds of War (TV Mini-Series 1983– ) Poster

(1983– )

Trivia

Jan-Michael Vincent's alcoholism was a major problem during filming, and may be why he was not cast in War and Remembrance (1988). The official explanation was that he was unavailable for the second series due to prior commitments to Airwolf (1984).
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Robert Mitchum was ill during filming and spoke of retiring from acting.
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Edward Asner was originally intended for the role of Pug Henry.
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Robert Mitchum was accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial over an interview he gave to promote this series. Mitchum later claimed he had been going into character as the bigoted football coach he had recently played in That Championship Season (1982), and the interviewer had not realized this.
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Robert Mitchum admitted he only accepted this series because he was no longer being offered good film roles.
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Robert Mitchum and Ali MacGraw were considered too old for their respective parts by many fans of the books and production executives, but director and producer Dan Curtis insisted on their being cast.
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A federal jury in Los Angeles decided on 3 June 1991 that the "Winds of War" theme had actually been plagiarized from John Woodbridge, a professor of history at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, who had filed suit in 1986 claiming the theme was actually a song called "Sans Vous" ("Without You"), which he had composed in 1965.
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Herman Wouk's script ran 962 pages and contained 1785 scenes. It was shot in 267 locations, in six countries and on two continents, and took 34 months to film and 12 more to edit. There were about 50,000 costumes, and Robert Mitchum alone had 112 changes. When the cameras stopped, producer/director Dan Curtis had one million feet (185 hours) of film, which he cut down to 81000 feet. That was about 15 hours of air time (minus commercials).
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Logan Ramsey who played isolationist Congessman Ike Lacouture, Warren Henry's father-in-law, is actually Logan Ramsey Jr., son of Logan Ramsey Sr. who sent out one of the more famous war messages in history: "Air raid Pearl Harbor. This is no drill".
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The bombing of Pearl Harbor was shot at a naval base in Port Hueneme, California, and the navy only allowed four days of filming.
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At the time it was made, this was the most expensive television production ever mounted at a cost of US$40 million.
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There was some controversy over the casting, as Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent, Ben Murphy, and Ralph Bellamy were all much older than their characters.
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The attack on Pearl Harbor sequence began filming on December 7, 1981 - the 40th anniversary of the actual historical attack.
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Barry Morse, Michael McGuire, Sky du Mont, actress/producer Barbara Steele, Heinz Weiss, Leo Gordon, and Karl-Otto Alberty would all return for the sequel mini-series, War and Remembrance (1988), but in different roles.
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Television acting debut for Ali MacGraw, who received second star billing, and not "introducing." Not television or film acting debut for Victoria Tennant, who already had multiple television and film roles before appearing as Pamela Tudsbury in this mini-series, but Tennant did receive an "and Introducing" credit.
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Ralph Bellamy plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in this production. Bellamy had played a younger FDR twenty-two years prior to this mini-series in the film Sunrise at Campobello (1960) and in the stage version winning Broadway's 1958 Tony Award as Best Actor (Dramatic). Later, Bellamy would reprise his role as FDR in this mini-series' sequel, War and Remembrance (1988).
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The casting of Robert Mitchum as Pug Henry was considered a surprise choice by many people. Aside from being about 15 years older than the character, Mitchum had usually played rebels and anti-authority roles.
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Robert Mitchum was accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial after an interview he gave to Barry Rehfeld of "Esquire" magazine promoting this series at his home in February 1983. Mitchum wrote an apologetic letter on 9 March 1983 to Herbert Luft, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Hollywood columnist. Mitchum claimed he had recited views expressed by the bigoted football coach he had played in That Championship Season (1982), which Rehfeld "mistakenly believed to be my own. From that point on, he approached me as the character in the script and in playing the devil's advocate in a prankish attempt to string him along we compounded a tragedy of errors." Mitchum added he was "truly sorry that this misunderstanding has upset so many people, especially since it is so foreign to my principle. The attendant misfortune is that it has brought me a spate of mail from people and organizations who are encouraged to believe that I share their bigotry and discrimination.".
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Aaron Jastrow (John Houseman) mentions that the correct Polish pronunciation of his family name would be "Yastrov." This means Natalie's name would be Natalia Yastrov, which sounds quite similar to Natalia Rostova, the heroine of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. The second half of her story also has the quite similar title, War and Remembrance (1988).
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According to the book 'Movies Made For Television' by Alvin H. Marill, this production was filmed in over 400 filming locations over thirteen months. The book also states that this mini-series was originally intended to run for twelve hours instead of sixteen.
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This was the television acting debut for Robert Mitchum. His second TV performance in One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982) was broadcast prior to this miniseries.
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The series incorrectly shows the Germans bombing London, and the British then bombing Germany in retaliation. In reality the British began bombing German cities on 10 May 1940, four months before the London Blitz began in response. Adolf Hitler specifically forbade aerial attacks on either the UK itself or on the Royal Navy on 25 January 1940 unless the British bombed Germany first.
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Ian McKellen and Christopher Cazenove were both considered for the role of Air Commodore Burne-Wilke, ultimately portrayed by Edmund Pegge.
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