Five Came Back (TV series)

Five Came Back is an American documentary based on the 2014 book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris . [1] It was released as a stand-alone documentary in New York and Los Angeles, and as a three-part series on Netflix , on March 31, 2017. [2]


Five Came Back – John Ford , William Wyler , John Huston , Frank Capra , and George Stevens – and their frontline work during the Second World War . [3] It draws on over 100 hours of archival footage and is narrated by Meryl Streep . [4] Directors Steven Spielberg (Wyler), Francis Ford Coppola (Huston), Guillermo del Toro (Capra), Paul Greengrass (Ford), and Lawrence Kasdan (Stevens) each discuss the impact and legacies of the five aforementioned directors.

Netflix is ​​also streaming the 13 documentaries discussed in the film: [5]

  • The Battle of Midway (1942, John Ford)
  • Prelude to War (1942, Frank Capra)
  • The Battle of Russia (1943, Frank Capra)
  • Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines (1943, John Ford)
  • Report from the Aleutians (1943, John Huston)
  • The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944, William Wyler)
  • The Negro Soldier (1944, Stuart Heisler, produced by Frank Capra)
  • Tunisian Victory (1944, John Huston)
  • Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945, Frank Capra)
  • The Battle of San Pietro (1945, John Huston)
  • Nazi Concentration Camps (1945, George Stevens)
  • Let There Be Light (1946, John Huston)
  • Thunderbolt (1947, William Wyler)


The movie was based on the 2014 book of the same name by Mark Harris . [6] The filmmakers studied more than 100 hours of newsreel and archival footage, and more than 40 documentaries and training films created by the five directors during the war. They also reviewed 50 movies by the directors and more than 30 hours of raw footage from their war movies. [7] Director Laurent Bouzereau , who has extensive experience documenting films and directors, introduced the idea of ​​interviewing five current directors for the project. [8]

Meryl Streep recorded the narration for the documentary on January 17, 2017, the same day she received her 20th Oscar nomination (for Florence Foster Jenkins ). [8]


No. title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 “The Mission Begins” Laurent Bouzereau Mark Harris March 31, 2017
The series looks at the backgrounds of the five directors as World War II begins and their motives for helping the war effort. John Ford’s The Battle of Midway was approved directly by President Franklin D. Rooseveltwhile Frank Capra fights to get to Why We Fight Made.
2 “Combat Zones” Laurent Bouzereau Mark Harris March 31, 2017
The directors learn their vision for the films is not always permissible by the US government. Wyler is shocked by the racism he encounters against African American soldiers and refused to make a film recruiting black soldiers. Meanwhile, the films’ racist depiction of the Japanese versus human depiction of the Germans causes trouble for the War Department, which at this time intends to redistribute the Japanese-American population from within the United States.
3 “The Price of Victory” Laurent Bouzereau Mark Harris March 31, 2017
The five directors return to Hollywood after the war but are forever haunted by what they saw. Ford goes on a drinking bender after filming the carnage at D-Day . Stevens is unprepared for the horrors of Dachau . Wyler, who lost his hearing during the war, fears his career is over. Huston chronicles soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder in the film Let There Be Light , only to have it suppressed by the US government.

Critical reaction

Five Came Back has received largely critical acclaim. It has a 97% approval rating based on Rotten Tomatoes . [9] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the series 3.5 stars out of 4, writing, “Arguably the best documentary ever made about Hollywood and wartime, Five Came Back is nirvana for movie lovers and a real eye-opener for anyone new to the subject. ” [10] David Sims of The Atlantic praised the series’ relevance today, and stated that it should have been longer: “Harris’s book recognizes Hollywood’s often shapes our perception of reality more than we know, and that the recruitment of these directors by the US Military intertwined the film industry with sometimes-dangerous assumptions of truth and realism. Five Came Back is , in the end, a compelling examination of its propaganda-its purpose, its effectiveness, and its drawbacks. These are all things that are worth keeping in mind in 2017, just as they were decades ago. ” [11]

And Ford’s, and Wyler’s. [12] [13] 1] 2] [2] [2 2] [2] 2] [2] [ edit] Translations to be translated into English. 14]

John Anderson in The Wall Street Journal writes: “Overall, the series is very much like its story: mythic, adventurous, romantic. [15] Brian Tallerico, writing for , called it a “must-see” and a “cinephile and historian’s dream come true.” [16]

In The New York Times , Ben Kenigsberg writes, “Above all, Five Came Back is an invitation to see more: It’s hard to watch it without wanting to visit (or revisit) Wyler’s Mrs. Miniver gold Ford’s They Were Expendable .It’s further Top Proof , If any were needed, that these men were not simply creating propaganda, but art that would endure. ” [17]

Kristin Hunt of SlashFILM Questioned why the series Did not address Ford’s anti-semitism gold Capra’s admiration of Benito Mussolini , goal Was positive Generally, writing, ” Five Came Back is a testament to the power of cinema, and the moral implications That come with it Was this all propaganda permissible? The documentary is sometimes afraid to truly grapple with that question. [18] Peter Debruge, chief film critic for Variety, was less enthusiastic, criticizing the series for leaving the original research in Harris’ book for the thoughts of the five current Hollywood directors, whose purpose was merely a promotional gag. [19]


  1. Jump up^ Agard, Chancellor (February 23, 2017). “Mark Harris’ ‘Five Came Back’ Is Coming to Netflix as a Docu-Series” . Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved February 28, 2017 .
  2. Jump up^ “Mark Harris’ Five Came Back is coming to Netflix as a docu-series” . Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved February 23, 2017 .
  3. Jump up^ “New Netflix series narrated by Meryl Streep to tell story of how Hollywood faced fascism during World War II” . Radio Times . Retrieved February 28, 2017 .
  4. Jump up^ “Exclusive: See the Trailer for Netflix’s New Documentary About World War II and Hollywood” . Time . Retrieved February 28, 2017 .
  5. Jump up^ Thompson, Anne (April 3, 2017). “How 5 Directors Returned from World War II to Make Their Best Movies” . IndieWire . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  6. Jump up^ Harris, Mark (2014). Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War . Penguin Press. ISBN  9781594204302 . OCLC  964586334 .
  7. Jump up^ “VIDEO: First Look – New Netflix Documentary Series FIVE CAME BACK” . BroadwayWorld . February 28, 2017 . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b Tapley, Kristopher (March 13, 2017). “Author Mark Harris on Turning ‘Five Came Back’ Into a Netflix Documentary” . Variety . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  9. Jump up^ “Five Came Back: Miniseries” . Rotten Tomatoes.
  10. Jump up^ Travers, Peter (March 30, 2017). ” ‘ Five Came Back’ Review: WWII Doc Is a Peerless Hollywood History Lesson” . Rolling Stone . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  11. Jump up^ Sims, David (April 3, 2017). ” ‘ Five Came Back’ and the Frightening Power of Propaganda . The Atlantic . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  12. Jump up^ Shoemaker, Allison (April 1, 2017). “Five Came Back traces the transformation of an artist to an instrument of war” . The AV Club . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  13. Jump up^ Shoemaker, Allison (April 2, 2017). “The directors grapple with bombings and bureaucracy in a gripping Five Came Back” . The AV Club . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  14. Jump up^ Shoemaker, Allison (April 3, 2017). “The stunning conclusion of Five Came Back makes us want to both horror and joy” . The AV Club . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  15. Jump up^ Anderson, John (March 30, 2017). ” ‘ Five Came Back’: When Directors Went to War” . Wall Street Journal . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  16. Jump up^ Tallerico, Brian (April 3, 2017). “Five Came Back Movie Review & Film Summary (2017) | Roger Ebert” . . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  17. Jump up^ Kenigsberg, Ben (March 30, 2017). “Review: ‘Five Came Back,’ and Inspired the Likes of Spielberg . The New York Times . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .
  18. Jump up^ Hunt, Kristin (April 6, 2017). “What to Watch After Five Came Back” . Slashfilm . Retrieved April 8, 2017 .
  19. Jump up^ Debruge, Peter (April 1, 2017). “Film Review: ‘Five Came Back ‘ ” . Variety . Retrieved April 9, 2017 .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *