This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 11th Airborne Division’s daring raid that freed more than 2000 prisoners of war from a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. Bestselling author Bruce Henderson chronicles the mission in Rescue at Los Baños, a new book that reads like an adventure thriller and sheds new light on one of the most compelling stories of World War II.
General Douglas MacArthur personally authorized the rescue as Americans realized that desperate Japanese soldiers were becoming increasingly sadistic towards their civilian captives as they realized that Japan was losing the war. Henderson paints vivid portraits of the men and women involved in the story: prisoners, captors and rescuers. Check out the full cast of characters at Henderson’s website.
Henderson has written some excellent titles before: Hero Found is the best book about Vietnam-era U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler. He also cowrote the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell and Time Traveler, the inspirational memoir from noted physicist (and friend of UTR) Dr. Ronald L. Mallett. Rescue at Los Baños should be one of Henderson’s most successful books yet. It’s a compelling story well-told, generously illustrated and well-sourced. Anyone who enjoyed Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken or Mitchell Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La should check this one out.
Fury, director David Ayer’s movie about a WWII Sherman tank crew, arrives on Blu-ray this week and the home video release adds a wealth of new material that makes it a must-own for fans of the film and anyone who’s interested in the history of tanks. The movie follows the crew in Germany on a mission behind enemy lines in the waning days of the war.
We’ve got a nine-minute excerpt from the film, featuring the scenes where Private Norman Ellison (played by Logan Lerman) meets his tank commander Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt). Trained as a typist, Ellison gets assigned to a tank. Whether that’s by clerical error or because there’s a shortage of men isn’t really made clear, but that lack of clarity plays to one of the film’s strengths: the film is told from the point of view of the men as they’re actually serving. No one has the big picture or the historical perspective that’s usually such a big part of WWII films. +Continue Reading
During the halcyon days of broadcast television – before streaming media and DVRs existed – there were a host of military-themed shows on the airwaves. As much as the quality of the episodes (in some cases even more so) these programs were known for their openings and the associated theme songs. Here are 10 of the most classic:+Continue Reading
Unbroken is one of those movies that arrives with the weight of enormous expectations. Louis Zamperini’s story was most recently told in Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, a biography that touched millions of lives. At least 50 people over the last year or so have told me that it’s their favorite book ever.
Making a film out of a such a beloved book is always a risk and crafting a film out of what could be five different movies (the story of a young delinquent, the experiences of an athlete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the bravery of a man who survived 47 days at sea after a plane crash, the even more striking bravery of a man who survived a Japanese POW camp and the story of a WWII veteran who battled PTSD and put his life back together. +Continue Reading
Unbroken, director Angelina Jolie’s movie about World War II hero Louis Zamperini, opens on Christmas Day and the studio has released a short documentary clip to introduce his incredible story to moviegoers who don’t know Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestselling book about Zamperini’s life and his success as an Olympic athlete at the 1936 Berlin games and his brave WWII service.
Of course, Military.com readers already know at least the outline of that story, but this clip has some great footage of Jolie interacting with Zamperini during the preparation for the film. Louis died at 94 earlier this year and didn’t have a chance to see the finished film, but his message about perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds will finally make it to theaters this month. Check out the clip below. +Continue Reading
During World War II (and for several years after), Bing Crosby was just about the biggest popular entertainer the USA has ever known: he was the #1 actor at the movie box office, the #1 recording artist in the world and the hosted the top-rated radio show in America. It’s like he was peak Tom Cruise, peak Michael Jackson and peak Johnny Carson all at the same time.
A big reason for that success was the song “White Christmas,” a throwaway tune from the 1942 movie Holiday Inn that became the biggest record of all time and a poignant reminder of home for millions of troops stationed overseas during World War II. People remember Bing’s movie partner Bob Hope for his tours to entertain the troops, but no one did more than Crosby to promote the war effort in the Forties.
Each year, the American Legion Magazine publishes a list of America’s Most Beloved Veterans. The name most likely to be added to that list in 2015 is Louis Zamperini, the former Olympic athlete who survived incarceration in a Japanese POW camp after enlisting in the Army Air Corps. His inspirational story was chronicled in Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestseller Unbroken and that book is now the basis for a new movie directed by Angelina Jolie. +Continue Reading
Fury director David Ayer and cast members Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Michael Peña paid a visit to Fort Benning on October 16th to show the film to soldiers stationed there. It was a beautiful day in Columbus, GA and the Army laid out an impressive tank display. +Continue Reading
Fury, the long-awaited World War II tank movie starring Brad Pitt, opens on Friday October 17. Our set visit last fall suggests that the filmmakers are aiming for a level of accurate detail that we haven’t seen before in a WWII movie.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running a series of infographics about the real tanks used by Allied and Axis powers during the war and today we’ve got all eight tanks in a full-size slideshow with images large enough to use as wallpaper on most laptops.
Set in the final days of the European conflict in April 1945, the film follows a Sherman tank and her crew on a mission behind enemy lines and stars Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal as the tank’s crew. Director David Ayer wrote and directed the acclaimed LAPD movie End of Watch, directed Sabotage and wrote the screenplay for Training Day.