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Five Came Back 

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 & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Francis Ford Coppola ...  Himself - Filmmaker 3 episodes, 2017
Guillermo del Toro ...  Himself - Filmmaker 3 episodes, 2017
Paul Greengrass ...  Himself - Filmmaker 3 episodes, 2017
Lawrence Kasdan ...  Himself - Filmmaker / ... 3 episodes, 2017
Steven Spielberg ...  Himself - Filmmaker 3 episodes, 2017
Meryl Streep ...  Narrator 3 episodes, 2017


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) See more »

Also Known As:

Cinco que Voltaram See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The 'Five' refers to John Huston, John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler and George Stevens. See more »

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User Reviews

paying respects to our fallen soldier-filmmakers
24 June 2017 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

What I loved most is that this is the story of what men went through to capture moments of art, whether in the moment or staged (or, in a way, both at times), and the personal and professional tolls this took. My one small piece of trepidation going in to was that it could've been dry or that the talking heads - all major artists in Spielberg, del-Toro, Greengrass, Kasdan and Coppola - would make things sound more important than they were (the director usually does the bonus documentaries, usually not too bad, on DVD's). But this really emphasized the artistic trajectories and struggles and, in the third part, what happened when the war ended and how the men somehow got back on their feet to continue making their art (and 1946 was quite a year - LET THERE BE LIGHT, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE), though never forgetting what had transpired, on the contrary it changed them in such a way that it made them even *more* empathetic and compassionate.

Through the use of the interviews with these filmmakers, each sort of given their own director to talk about - there's some minor overlap here and there, but I think it's by design to keep each director set for their own guy, i.e. Coppola to Huston or Del Toro to Capra, for a purpose as, whether the director thought these guys were a match or each respective filmmaker had a passion for the one they discussed, it works as a framing device and to keep the stories and information moving forward (Spielberg on Wyler especially engrossed me and had the most personal details I thought), and through massive archival footage from these war movies as well as interviews with the old-time directors, we get a full sense of the journeys taken and the growth and tragedies witnessed. Lastly, their own backgrounds inform how they made their way through the wars, and what conflicts those posted. Astonishgly involving.

It's more like a movie than just a regular series or even a Ken Burns thing; if you like seeing documentaries that are about the process of cinema, about storytelling, about how storytellers transform themselves and the world around them (whether it's D-Day or a ship like the Memphis Belle, or, unfortunately for Wyler and Stevens, the holocaust), it's one of those must-sees of the year. And now, as a movie buff, want to see ALL of the movies I haven't seen talked about here, particularly Mrs. Miniver, They Were Expendable, and The Battle of San Pietro.

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