42 thoughts on “Band of Brothers (2001) is the most historically accurate show I will never watch

  1. Oh for God’s sake.. your flippant attitude to a monumental historical war that saved EVERYONE’s ass including your parents/grandparents/country/continent/world etc is appalling. So you don’t give a shit about “war shit” so don’t comment on it! Band of Brothers is an amazing depiction of an amazing event. WW2 was fought in Europe, which at the time was a “white ” continent with a RELATIVELY small percentage of people of color at that time. The SPECIFIC battles depicted were historically fought by white Americans therefore there will be a lot of “white boys” in the show. You profess to be interested in historical accuracy so cannot complain about the fact that the soldiers are white because THEY WERE in this campaign. With this one article you have diminished my respect for your intellectual curiosity and have shocked me by your flippant disrespect for the huge sacrifices made by the generation that fought the Nazi holocaust regime. You should take more interest in these things. With Trump set to become the next US President he will take America out of NATO, Putin will invade Lithuania or Poland, Europe will be obliged to respond (without the help of the USA) and we will have (a nuclear) World War 3 on our hands. It will put a stop to everything including your preoccupation with frocks.

    1. Yes! This series is a stunning and moving achievement. It was well researched and perfectly cast. You get to know and care for each of the characters. I’m a woman and have never had any problem becoming immersed in movies, series or for that matter books where men are the characters. We are all human – even white men!

    2. This 💯. And if you REALLY need this from a British perspective go watch the Time Team series on it. Also, how can you go around talking about the accuracy of historical films if you glaze over when the relevant history is actually mentioned? Your credibility just went out the window.

    3. @barbarastolarski you are spot on. But at least the author knows how her S.O. feels about frock flicks when he could give a shit about ruffles & fabric…

    4. Wow. I’m not sure how disliking war movies translates into disrespecting the sacrifices of previous generations. I mean, I can’t watch open heart surgery, but I sure appreciate that some people can perform it. If the last decade has taught us anything between the pandemic, climate change fears, and racist intolerance, it should be that we can’t all be functioning at peak anxiety and awareness of every issue and informed engagement all the time. If you can escape to an oasis of ribbons and fun or funny costumes to help survive, that is great and I appreciate the incredible amount of time this blog’s authors spend on creating that for me. It is so weird to read critical comments about the content focusing on French hoods and princess seams when when YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ IT if you don’t want to. Click and close the window! It is optional!

    5. Get a grip.
      The thesis of the article is that a woman is not going to enjoy a film just because her boyfriend really, really, really loves it. Sometimes a genre is just not in your wheelhouse.
      [In my own circle of friends, this article would have been written about either the Nolan Batman movies or about Pink Floyd’s music. Similar articles have been written about Rush.]
      Not being able to appreciate the finer points of a war movie is not the same as disrespecting the troops who fought in the actual war. And by the same token, evangelising for said movie is no indication that the evangelist actually respects the sacrifices of said troops.

    6. Cry more, snowflake.
      Those saintly soldiers were many of the same people happy to attend the Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in 1939.

  2. Band of Brothers is….
    The first time I realised that the only difference between TV & movies is time. & a blinking stunning cast, who are a masterclass in acting.

    ‘Why we fight’ has stayed with me since I watched it for the first time, especially the reactions of Easy Company.

  3. Solidarity.

    My military historian partner will pause a movie/show to look up a firearm in the Internet Firearm Movie Database, which is a thing that exists. It took hour hours to get through an episode of Boardwalk Empire. This is why I don’t watch military movies with him if I can avoid it.

  4. I’m just gonna say, that if Ob, Kelly and all the rest of the Angels were tossed into the 1940s, they’d be Easy Company 506th, 101st Airborne…

  5. As someone who used to do WW2 re-enacting, this was my touchstone to be sure I was in the right era. I still rewatch it at least once a year, simply because I enjoy the character interactions and growth.

    I can absolutely understand why someone may not be able to watch it due to a lack of enjoyment of war shows, but it really is worth taking the time to watch, simply for the way it was done. Its a tribute to the men of that unit.

  6. Wow. [to some of the comments above] I’m not into War stuff either, my son made me watch this years ago, and I found it traumatic but entertaining. Why have folks got so agitated? Yes it’s based on truth, yes it’s well done, but hey, we don’t all have to like everything. And as for the personal comments…button your lip Barbara.

  7. POV – this war thing is so historically accurate, the uniforms are just right, SO much care has gone into recreating things just as they were….sound unfamiliar? Nobody said, oh people these days will find it so HARD to relate to this olde timey war stuff so we’ll modernise it so it’s more RELATABLE. Nopey nope, it HAS to be right because so many war fanboys know exactly what pips were on what lapel and what shade of green things were. The feels and actions are all in context. They don’t rock trendy hair they have proper soldier hair. Well, almost.
    I love this for them, why can’t this attitude be applied to every other frock flick? Could it possibly be MISOGYNY??? Men who fanboy over war think it is super serious shit, but isn’t the life of QE1 or MQOS also serious? I don’t think of war as sacred but as sacrilege and it is not meant as disrespectful to point out the glaring and obvious gap here, in WORKS OF FICTION.
    Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor obsessed like this over LOTR and The Hobbit too, inventing a whole military armour and weaponry system for Middle Earth that is consistent down to details you will never pick up on camera. And got funded for it on a scale that changed my home city forever. For good and not so good to be fair, but that’s still quite an achievement.
    I don’t think the obsession with detail in BoB has anything to do with reverence for the sacrifice or seriousness of real wars, but that people who love to recreate violence can get money from other people who love to watch violence.
    People who would be very happy and capable of seeing stories from the past recreated in a “‘Tis Peak, My lord” way both visually and in the story telling, on the other hand mostly get corsets being uncomfortable (I dunno, cos they aren’t wearing a chemise because corsets are SEXY not functional?) and beachy waves because up dos aren’t sexy? And costumes that are more modern because olde worlde ones aren’t relatable and language …etc etc etc.
    It’s almost as if testosterone fuelled stories must be taken very seriously, but introduce any oestrogen and let the dumbing down commence.
    And, I cannot stress this enough, this has nothing to do with commercial decisions. It’s to do with which stories get taken seriously and which audiences are respected.

    1. SUPER interesting thoughts! I do think there’s some “this is in living memory” to it, but I think you’re right, there’s a lot of misogyny involved.

      1. Excellent points! On the other hand, you want to see ancient era reenactors get salty, mention Gladiator or Ben Hur or Rome. Ironically Life of Brian had better armor in it than Gladiator.

        I think another aspect on why the military get treated with more accuracy is the availability of originals and high quality repros – because the vast majority of WWII reenactors are men. Good quality women’s uniforms are hard to get and often you have to put together pieces from a bunch of different companies. Guys can get whole uniforms and accessories in a package deal from a variety of companies. The same goes for the military of many other time periods.

    2. Very good points, especially about the possible misogyny. “So long as there are pretty, sparkly things, who CARES about the accuracy?” seems to be their motto most of the time. Or that they have to Make acStatement showing our 19th-century heroine is Not Like Other Girls, by having the her hair down and wearing pants and other disrespectful stuff.

  8. I was raised in a peaceful-resistance religious community, but have the dvd’s of Band of Brothers, and rewatch it on a regular basis. I don’t feel that it is a “war movie”. It is not about the battles. It is about the individual men who fought in those battles. You see the actual men and you see the character development of each man in the film. The “costuming” is extremely authentic, which makes it much more humanly relatable, and does not give you the feeling of watching a movie, but a documentary. The camera looks directly into the eyes of the young German soldier with the half-smile, before Dick Winters shoots him. In my opinion, Band of Brothers is about what Man’s inhumanity to Man does to men.

  9. Dress info from my father, who witnessed what those depicted did: towards the end of the war, Patton was doing an ‘inspection.’ They had to have CLEAN and PRESSED uniforms. Which was impossible to obtain.
    Needless to say, he did not have kind words for Patton. But the memories of what he saw and witnessed – and he was fluent in Yiddish – he took to his grave.

    At the historical society where I work we have a collection of service uniforms, from families who could not just ‘throw out’ their loved ones’ uniforms. From the sizes of many, you can see how young these men and women were. I have my own father’s.

  10. My father fought in The Battle of the Bulge, which is depicted in most of the episodes in BoB. What he saw (such as seeing the foxhole next to him take a direct hit and the two men in it blown to bits) and what he had to do in that Battle scarred him for life. He’d just turned 20 and he had PTSD until he died at 89. Those “boys” (most barely out of their teens) fought and died so you could sit around and say it’s “not your thing.” Life is about more than French hoods and princess seams. Get your priorities straight before your and other’s ignorance of the past condemns us all to repeat it!! I’m highly, highly disappointed in you.

  11. My two uncles served in WWII, although I didn’t take offense at Sarah’s flippancy, which just came across as a bit adolescent. However, not liking a movie, or a type of movie, doesn’t mean you are disrespecting the subject.

    (I had some doubts about “Schindler’s List.” Does that make me a Holocaust denier? I adore Buster Keaton, including his greatest film, “The General.” Am I racist? Well, I try hard not to be. Are some John Wayne films masterpieces because they’re so “patriotic”? Fuck, no!)

    My point is that a movie’s being about a significant and heart-wrenching topic does not automatically make it a great film. However, “Band of Brothers” sounds like a very good one, and I shall watch it some day.

    (For more info about the color of U.S. troops: https://www.history.army.mil/documents/wwii/minst.htm)

  12. Okay, like… then why even do an article on it if you aren’t going to do the bare minimum and either watch the series all the way through or at least watch enough and take the effort to do proper review of the costuming and accuracy? I’m a long time follower and get that snark is part of the thing here, but holy shit, this was just flippant and pointless, most of it just you complaining about the fact you were watching your boyfriend’s pick and how much you hate war movies. The 101st was easily one of the hardest fighting American units in WWII, and I grew up getting to meet some of those “white boys” you’re sitting here being asinine about since my dad was a paratrooper too and they were some of the coolest guys I knew. You’re allowed to not like war movies. I don’t give a damn if you do, but if the point of this entire thing is to talk about the accuracy of the costumes and plots of historical films, could you maybe at least try next time? Historical costuming is more than just petticoats, bonnets, and frocks, and the rest needs to get the same attention as the pretty stuff, too.

  13. I am going to take a slightly different tack than some of the people in this thread.

    I’m in the UK. I was born just short of 25 years after the end of WWII. Every man living in my family had served in some way. One of my uncles was on the beaches at D-Day and fought all the way across France. The other, I don’t know what he did, but he had such bad PTSD I can only surmise it was terrible. Another of my uncles was in a reserved occupation but he signed up for the fire service, saving hundreds of lives. My aunts, who were middle class and genteel, left their sewing jobs and made munitions. My maternal grandfather served in the Navy.

    My husband’s grandfather signed up, even though he was a little older, and served in the far east. My husband’s stepfather was the youngest pilot to fly in the Battle of Britain – he lied about his age to sign up.

    Every one of them would be 100% behind you because, and I cannot stress this enough, for them they fought the war so the world would have the luxury of not caring. One of my aunts was furious that we were shown Pathe newsreels in school because she didn’t think we should have to look at the horrors.

    I call this genre ‘Brave American Boys save Europe’ with an eyeroll. Because Europe fought this war for years and too many films are gung-ho in their depiction of this – millions of Europeans died before America joined the war and too many films act like Europe just rolled over and gave up, and that’s despicable.

    WWII films are too much about the battles and not enough about ordinary people and the sacrifices they made and the bravery they showed in living and rebuilding their lives.

    I didn’t watch ‘Band of Brothers’. I grew up in a household where my family would say “Turn it off” if a war film came on, because they lived it. If you just want to watch films with frocks, go right ahead.

  14. I’m not quite sure what was the point of having Sarah write this particular blog entry, since it’s a genre from which she derives neither pleasure nor education. Perhaps it’s an ironic point in which she is actually snarking herself?
    There’s not a lot of “frock” content, but sneaked in around the edges, there is certainly some legitimate information about how real women really lived and survived, or not, in this time frame, such as the Black Belgian nurse, the scene with the women who were seen as collaborators having their heads brutally shaved, the German officer’s wife; a theme which is, to me, more the point of this blog than the costuming snark.

  15. I don’t think Band of Brothers belongs on this website at all. The writers are very upfront that snarking is what they do, and that “costume” films are what they snark about. But BoB is not a costume drama, it’s a look at what a group of combat soldiers faced in WW2. And it was a fact of life back then that women didn’t go into combat, so yeah, a film primarily about WW2 combat (not with war as just a backdrop) is not going to be about women. Certainly women had a part to play in the war, but that belongs to other stories. The men who suffered through combat deserve our respect and thanks, as do the men and women who made other sacrifices so that Hitler would not succeed. In this day of Holocaust deniers and other history-ignorant people, it’s important to understand what happened in WW2. As the man said, war is hell, and a film like BoB may not be fun to watch, but it doesn’t deserve snark.

  16. As someone whose grandfather fought for the British Empire in World War One (leaving him with horrible PTSD), and whose family suffered through colonialism right through World War Two and beyond – these ludicrous “pro-Americans-in-war-at-all-costs” attitudes (Mme Barbara et al) need to stop. If you don’t like someone’s take on a war-related FICTIONAL topic, look away. This is someone else’s blog and it’s not mandatory. Quit ranting about how the world owes deference to white soldiers as portrayed in an endless stream of white actors in accurate costumes because “they saved democracy!!” Remember Jim Crow?

  17. Wow, people do get very touchy when you don’t join in their virtue signalling, don’t they? My grandfathers both fought in WWII as well. Doesn’t mean I have to suffer through films about it out of some sort of patriotic duty or generational gratitude. I have absolutely zero interest in films about 20th century warfare. I can say that and not feel like I’m shitting on my grandfathers’ memories.

    1. I don’t think anyone requires you to enjoy films about WWII. Just don’t snark on them is all is asked. If Sarah hates war films, then just ignore them. We didn’t need a post which said nothing about the costumes but just let us know that she can’t tell one “white boy” from another. (Would she have done the same for a movie about the Red Ball Express?) Yes those of us whose dads were those boys do take it amiss.

  18. Sarah may appreciate Veronika Voss. It is a German film that takes place at the very end of of WWII. It shows how women’s costumes inform the story, it features an African American GI with a name and a story. There are white dudes, sure. It is also only 2 hours and not 8 hours. It shows the hell of war, but includes topics more in line with the Frock Flicks brand.

    Personally, I find the knee-jerk anger when there is a whisper of discomfort around the US military to be interesting in every day people, but suspicious in politicians. And I do have bonafides.

    What is VERY relevant is that the US Department of Defense just outlawed any and all DEI programs. I heard about it the same day as I read this post…and comments. Suddenly, the US military is barred from supporting women in the military, and from supporting POC in the military.

    Honestly, I feel a little salty. It’s not the fault of the cinematographer, the director, the actors or the costumers. Right now, I want content about women’s issues, like French Hoods. I want stories about Dido and Le Chevalier.

    Really, though, the both of you might really appreciate Veronika Voss.

  19. My father was injured and my uncle died as a co-pilot of a B17 bomber in WWII. Your attitude compared to the grief my family suffered is surreal. Why do you have a platform for this stupidity?

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