Band of Brothers

  • Review Date: August 27, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 705 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Equal parts heroism and horror in WWII miniseries.
  • Review Date: August 27, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 705 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 
Golden Globe

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Military authority is sometimes shown to be capricious and uncaring. Viewers will draw different messages about war and its purpose, since the series shows heroism, sacrifice, and the grief and psychological damage war does to soldiers.

Positive role models

Lieutenant Winters in particular is a principled and noble character, shown to stay calm under fire and concern himself with the safety of his company above all else. Other characters are less principled but almost every character is sympathetically portrayed and realistic. Makes sense, as this is a (mostly) true story.

Violence

Graphic violence includes multiple battlefield scenes, with bullets whizzing everywhere and soldiers crumpling into bloody piles. Characters we've grown to know and love are dispatched suddenly and mercilessly, and there are point-blank shootings, pistol-whippings, sudden blasts of fire that engulfs screaming soldiers, planes dropping from the sky.

Sex

The focus is on war and its ravages so there is little sex, except for the exception of Episode 9, which features one of the soldiers having consensual sex under a blanket with a German woman, whose breasts are shown while the soldier's naked rear is shown. There are also some glimpses of extremely tame 1940s cheesecake photos in which the female subjects are fully dressed.

Language

Lots of salty talk from the men in uniform, with "f--k" and "s--t" prominent as well as hell and damn. There are colorful military songs with cursing in them, too.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many characters smoke and drink on film, particularly one character, Captain Lewis, who is a functioning alcoholic and drinks quite often onscreen. The negative effects of his alcoholism are made clear in the miniseries.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Band of Brothers is an intense, realistic look at a company of WWII paratroopers and is based on true stories. The miniseries was intended to be a sort of fleshed-out Saving Private Ryan, and the battlefield footage is similar, with merciless death coming suddenly and graphically to characters we've gotten to know and love over the course of the 10-hour series. There are shootings and soldiers set afire; hails of bullets with paratroopers floating through them; planes getting shot, losing their wings, and careening thunderously to the ground. Soldiers are suddenly shot in the head or in the butt, crawl on their bellies through muck and gunfire, collapse into pools of blood in disturbingly realistic scenes, while those left behind grieve and fear for their own safety. Off the battlefield, soldiers train in brutal sequences and blow off steam on weekend passes where they sometimes get up to mischief like consensual sex with European locals in which breasts and buttocks are shown. Soldiers are often shown drinking and smoking, particularly one character, who is a functioning alcoholic shown drinking from a flask almost constantly. Some families may also not appreciate scenes in which leadership is shown to be capricious and cruel, particularly as in the first episode, "Currahee." Young kids would likely be traumatized by the violence, while older ones may be a bit confused unless they know their WWII history.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Band of Brothers, the 10-hour miniseries based on a non-fiction book of the same name written by historian Stephen Ambrose, follows the exploits of Easy Company, a group of United States Army paratroopers who were on the ground during many of the crucial battles of World War II, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy and Operation Market Garden. Starting with jump training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia, the series chronologically follows Easy Company through a number of important WWII battles as well as showing the camp life the soldiers led in between skirmishes. The series ends after the war does, showing how the soldiers who made it through then struggled to reintegrate themselves into civilian and family life. Though Band of Brothers is fictionalized, many of the events shown occurred to real people in precisely the way depicted onscreen, a fact driven home by many talking-head interviews with real-life Easy Company members, now senior citizens, who reflect both bitterly and nostalgically on their tours of duty.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like Saving Private Ryan, which also boasts the marquee exec-producing powerhouses Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, Band of Brothers pulls no punches when it comes to showing the horrors of war. The battlefield scenes are so pulse-poundingly realistic and graphic, chaotic and terrifying, that viewers will be riveted, if not a little sick to their stomachs. Unless they know a bit about WWII history, they may also be confused as to who's fighting whom and why it matters. But unlike Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers has the screen time to flesh out who's inside the soldier's uniform. You get to know each character in the unit as the series unspools, so when one is killed, it's all the more crushing. We see the soldiers rank each other out, train together, fight together, and then, all too often, grieve for each other.

But there is heroism amongst the horror. Since the series follows a large ensemble cast, including many who were almost-unknowns when they appeared, such as Ron Livingston (Office Space), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), and a baby-faced Michael Fassbender, it's tough to identify a central character. But the series' heart lies with Lieutenant Dick Winters (Damian Lewis), the stoic and gentle father figure of Easy Company, who leads his men both on and off the battlefield with courage and conviction. Watching Lewis as the stalwart Winters gives the series its best moments.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Band of Brothers is a realistic depiction of war. Has anyone in your family served in battle? How true-to-life are the characters and action in Band of Brothers?

  • Do you think the creators of Band of Brothers view WWII as horrific and pointless or important and ennobling? Or possibly all of that at the same time? What in the plot, dialogue, or characterizations gives you this idea?

  • What other dramas or documentaries have you seen about this period of world history? How closely does Band of Brothers resemble these programs? Is it more or less stirring? Realistic? Upsetting? Does watching Band of Brothers make you want to fight in a war, or avoid the battlefield?

Movie details

DVD release date:November 5, 2002
Cast:Colin Hanks, Damian Lewis, David Schwimmer, Donnie Wahlberg, James McAvoy, Kirk Acevedo, Ron Livingston, Simon Pegg
Directors:David Frankel, Mikael Salomon
Studio:HBO Home Video
Genre:Drama
Topics:Great boy role models
Run time:705 minutes
MPAA rating:NR
Award:Golden Globe

This review of Band of Brothers was written by

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Parent of a 2 year old Written bygerbowski October 9, 2012
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Excellent HBO series, but very violent

This is by far one of the best mini-series ever made by HBO. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes WWII, action or drama. It is very realistically violent, and that's ok. I think that too often war movies avoid the horrific reality of death during combat. Seeing how these men suffered and died for their country and their brothers in arms is an important part of any historical film. This means of course that parents will have to be careful when allowing their kids to view this series. Teens need to know the reality of what these men went through and what it really means to fight for your country. It is however, a fine line, and depends greatly upon your child's level of maturity.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old October 13, 2012
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a really great show, but it's really violent.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old September 30, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Very Good

Im 10 years old and i p've seen everyone of them. It's very educational if your son or daughter wants a T or M game it's good to show them what real war is like instead or BO2 or BF4. The sex is very limited too. It only happens once. It has strong launuge that I will personally not ever say.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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