The wartime contributions of five prominent Hollywood film directors during World War II are profiled.
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
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Five present-day directors discuss five wartime directors who voluntarily joined WW2 in order to film it: William Wyler (presented by Steven Spielberg), Frank Capra (Guillermo del Toro), George Stevens (Laurence Kasdan), John Ford (Paul Greengrass) and John Huston (Francis Ford Coppola). Narrated by Meryl Streep and written by Mark Harris (adapted from his 2015 book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War). Written by kiran gill

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They Showed the War to the World.


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 March 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco que Voltaram  »

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16:9 HD
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Meryl Streep won her third Emmy for her voice work in the series. See more »

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User Reviews

Superb documentary series
9 April 2018 | by See all my reviews

During World War 2 several movie directors joined the US armed forces, making documentary films of the war. These included five of the greatest directors, not just of that era, but of all time: Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler and George Stevens. They had a great impact on the war, and the war had an impact on them, not only during the conflict but in their subsequent cinematic careers.

Superb documentary series. The five directors covered in the series are legends of cinema. By the ends of their careers they would, between them, win 14 Oscars and be nominated 50 times (Capra 2 wins, 6 nominations, Ford 4/6, Huston 2/15, Wyler 3/14, Stevens 3/9). Between then they would ultimately direct six Best Picture Oscar winners (It Happened One Night, You Can't Take It With You, How Green Was My Valley, Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years Of Our Lives, Ben Hur).

However, from 1942 to 1945 most of their time was spent helping the war effort, directing some brilliant, relevant and inspiring documentaries. These were not shot from behind a desk but out in the thick of it - Ford was wounded at the Battle of Midway, a cameraman of Wyler's was killed in aerial combat while filming The Memphis Belle and Wyler himself lost his hearing while filming the film Thunderbolt.

This documentary series shows well how the five of them contributed, often having to fight and manipulate their own War Department to have their films released, or, at least, not tampered with. The personal sacrifices, mentioned previously are also well documented.

Most emotionally, the effects of the war on the five of them are examined. They all came back changed men, including in their movie-making styles and careers.

The interviews with five present-day directors - Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Paul Greengrass, Guillermo Del Toro and Laurence Kasdan - help frame the contributions of the five and translate their work for us to understand.

Good narration by Meryl Streep, adding the right amount of gravitas to proceedings.

Great documentary on five extraordinary film-makers. Makes for emotional watching for any lover of the silver screen.

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