Band of Brothers was an incredible series. While Saving Private Ryan is remembered as one of the best war movies ever, Band of Brothers has much more staying power. Today’s society doesn’t always see the heroes in the real world, but Band of Brothers had heroes that even kids will recognize are above the level of Luke Skywalker.
Not only did it pull you into the story, Band of Brothers accurately portrayed a time and location in the world’s history that most people today can hardly imagine. You can read about concentration camps for years, but it only takes a few minutes of seeing a small glimpse of what they looked like in front of you in color––a feature that makes it more haunting than Schindler’s List––to see how incredibly emotional the situation was.
Perhaps the most difficult thing that Band of Brothers accomplished is that it taught its audience in the process. There are fewer kids every day that will sit down and read a book, but it is no less important that they learn about these topics. I’m not suggesting that Band of Brothers and The Pacific should be shown to minors, but for those old enough to understand, it couldn’t hurt. It may even allow them to become interested to the point that they will sit down and read that book.
We can’t forget the men behind these series either. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are two of the biggest names in Hollywood. They could do any project that they want, but they choose to spend over three years of their lives to create The Pacific.
Why would they spend so much time? Couldn’t they have as much impact with another movie? No.
It is vital that these series are as long as they are to create the impact that they do. “The things that you remember, that make an impact in your life are the things that take a long time,” says Ken Burns who documented World War II in his 14-hour, 2007 documentary The War.
As someone who has watched the entire series, the same rings true for Burns’s 19-hour Baseball series, which he will be adding to in the upcoming years.
It wouldn’t be necessary to make these films so long if they weren’t on topics of great importance… and because these topics are of great importance, it is vital that these films be long.
The Pacific premieres Sunday at 9pm on HBO.
—Further background on The Pacific from The Washington Post.
Originally published on March 12, 2010.