This is possibly one of my greatest possessions. I bought it 2 years ago, but haven’t watched it until recently. I was waiting for a moment when I had enough time as I knew it was something to be taken seriously and not just put on will I did other things.
Gary Sinise is the narrator for the general film and a number of other actors narrate the stories of the people who are highlighted in the film. The footage is all top class. Having seen a great many WWII documentaries I’ve seen countless hours of film over the years and yet much, if not all, of what is features here is new to me.
The film is an emotional roller coaster. You’ll feel pride in America, and the people who’s stories you hear, and you’ll feel sad and grossed-out at the scenes of death and wounding. There are a number of scenes that made me squirm just a bit. I dislike watching sports injuries because I can almost feel the pain(Joe Theismann), so seeing bandages removed and the burnt, mangled bodies beneath them is unpleasant, but something that should be seen. There is an interesting part in the film when Robert Sherrod, a reporter with the Marines at Tarawa, told FDR that a documentary on the events should be shown uncensored to show people the reality of the far off war. Roosevelt had to approve the documentary, which he did, because the material was to harsh for producers to release.
However don’t get the impression the film is all blood and guts. Most of the footage is nothing of the sort.
One of the more interesting things to see is the early training cuts. When draft reportees are being drilled and can barely march, let alone hold a rifle. They literally are a bunch of klutzes. Added to that many scenes with shirtless GI’s who cut an unimpressive figure and you wonder just how they managed to win on two fronts. It says something about the world when millions and millions of uncoordinated and wimpy looking kids were each given a gun, tank, or airplane without any experience with such things and yet today kids who grow up with their hands on everything imaginable in the form of toys and videogames can’t be trusted with a slingshot. It’s not even just the kids, but all of society that apparently can’t be trusted. My how standards have fallen.