The year was 2001. At the helm, steering the ship was Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The title of this production: ‘Band of Brothers’.
Every show that has played to the big, wide world can boast a fanbase, a community if you will. The Band of Brothers community is no different.
The Band of Brothers community is worldwide. It’s a large and varied community from Australia to the UK to the USA and everywhere in between. The Band of Brothers community recognise the great acting in the series but the underlying veterans and history, that are the subject of the show, are the reason they are there. Respect the men and honour the history.
I invited a few members to answer some questions about their appreciation of Band of Brothers. Here are the answers I received.
Why do you like the show?
The series has compelling characters. We get to see those characters and their own individual stories. Every one of those stories works to bring them together to be the cohesive unit that they were.
Its also a very well-acted piece of television. It was clear to see the dedication in the actors going above and beyond to bring these men’s stories to life. They did this in the most respectful way.
Another community member explained to me that it is the most cinematic television she has seen.
Others that I liaised with said, “its a story of ordinary men in extraordinary times. Strangers who developed bonds that latest through their lives. They all had families but once they went overseas, once they were there for each other. They were all they had. There is something incredibly powerful about the bonds they shared and of course, how they honoured the heroes who did not come home”.
I emailed a community member who could relate her personal family history to Easy Company and their campaigns. She could relate to Doc Roe as she was going to be a student at medical school. She could relate to episode 9 as her boss was a Holocaust Survivor. It helped her through very severe illness in her own life as well as learning to respect her parents life in WW2.
I also learned how another community member watched it with her cousin who was a retired Marine. It was something that they did together. Another commented on how there is such a passionate and diverse community of fans, historians and re-enactors. She explained to me “it is a community like I have never seen before”
What drew you to it?
There were so many responses to this. One lady explained to me “it was childish curiosity. I remember a section from ‘Day of Days’ when my Dad was watching and I was about 6 years old. Some things got too scary so I would lean into my Dad. Years later I watched it again and was sold
On a message from another member of the Band of Brothers community, I learned why she began to watch. She said ” Its real people going up against something greater than themselves. No superhero costumes, no alter egos, just ordinary, everyday people who showed remarkable strength and resilience”
When did you first watch it?
This provoked a variety of answers. From 6 years old and sitting with her Dad to watching with a friend during a high school sleepover. Another Band of Brothers community member watched it when it premiered in 2001. She was 30 years old. She said “I watched it with my husband. I don’t think I really appreciated it for what it was at the time. I watched it again the year after and it sunk in . Who Easy were. What they did during the war. Why they did what they did. Now I watch it every year….without fail”
One answer from a community member was “That is a difficult question, because the casting was brilliant all around in Band of Brothers. I can in all honesty say that the Band of Brothers actors are the actors I have loved and followed in their respective careers for a long time. Each of the actors brought some charm and something amazing to their portrayals of the men of Easy Company, so it is hard to single anyone out.”
I chatted with a friend who loves Band of Brothers. Her answer to this question was Shane Taylor. She said “I find him to be one of the most talented actors I have ever come across. He brings so much depth and life to his characters. His performance as Doc Roe, it really is my favourite. It is one of his most interesting performances and he shows off his skills so well. He is a guardian angel to Easy Company. He is a preserver of life in the theatre of war. “
Whats your favourite episode?
Tough questions! was my response from a community member of Band of Brothers. She went on to say “Every episode is amazing in its own way. However ‘The Breaking Point’ and ‘The Last Patrol’ are something else. They are harrowing. The battle fatigue is coming through with Easy Company and that is shown so well, testament to some amazing acting. The Death of Private Eugene Jackson puts that fatigue and the meaninglessness in perspective. I will say one other thing though. Episode 9 – ‘Why we Fight’ portrayed the Holocaust with such dignity, a harrowing event portrayed with such depth by the actors concerned”
When I asked my friend this question, her answer was ‘Bastogne’. So I asked why? She said “Visually, its one of the most stunning episodes. The scenes almost look like watercolour paintings.” She continued “That and that Shane Taylor gets his chance to shine as Doc Roe. Bastogne to me is about finding hope in unlikely places, even though it may not seem like it, giving the circumstances Easy find themselves in. The hope is from Doc Roe”
Favourite quotes from the series
Favourite quotes vary throughout the series. They could be as simple as ‘Currahee’ or ‘Hi-Ho Silver’ If you have seen Band of Brothers, what were yours?
Those who enjoy Band of Brothers have chosen a variety. Some have gone for “Hang Tough”. Another has chosen the Peace Prayer of St Francis that Doc recites to himself.
Another chose “Men, it’s been a long war, it’s been a tough war. You’ve fought bravely, proudly for your country. You’re a special group. You’ve found in one another a bond, that exists only in combat, among brothers. You’ve shared foxholes, held each other in dire moments. You’ve seen death and suffered together. I’m proud to have served with each and every one of you. You all deserve long and happy lives in peace.” – Joe Liebgott (Ross McCall), episode 10: Points, translation of the German General’s speech he gives to his men after the German army surrenders.
I think however the last chosen quote should be this one “I wondered if people back home would ever know what it cost the soldiers to win this war.” – David Webster (Eion Bailey), episode 8: The Last Patrol.
I wonder if they ever did?