Five Came Back (2017)


“These five men all chose to go, knowing that it could be the end of them.  It wasn’t just that their movie careers would be put on hold. And so, they were saying goodbye to their families, in many cases, who never knew if they would return.” – Lawrence Kasden

Number of Times Seen – 1 (28 Mar 2019)

Brief Synopsis – Documentary about how the lives of 5 iconic Hollywood directors were forever changed once they were sent to the front-lines as filmmakers during World War II.

My Take on it – This is a film that I came across by accident and was immediately drawn to it since it tells the story of 5 of the most iconic directors of the 1940’s and 1950’s and tells how their wartime experiences helped shape their lives, their films and Hollywood in general during such troubling times.

This is such an amazing documentary since in just 3 hours, it is able to tell so many poignant tales of 5 of the most prolific directors of days past.

Their experiences helped give Hollywood a innovative and realistic look at war and post war in ways that no one ever could have dreamed of beforehand.

The choice to use 5 modern directors and attached each of them to one of the 5 men being profiled was a great idea because it allows us to see an anchor among each of the stories.

This is quite helpful since the stories are all being told simultaneously and pretty much in chronological order which helps us keep track of which story is connected to the others.

The use of Meryl Streep as the narrator was also a great choice since her voice is a stark contrast to the 10 men telling the stories to us.

Her role is to help glue together various points of the stories and also make connections between the various stories as was often the case.

This film is able to utilize great footage that these men filmed during the war while also giving us an opportunity to see and hear their own thoughts on these events that were recorded by these icons years after the war itself.

This is a film that was able to give me so much insight into the the lives of these great men while also allowing me to see and hear important information about their lives and careers.

We get to learn so much about how some of their greatest film making achievements came to be due to their various experiences during World War II.

They were each traumatized in different ways yet each found their own voice afterwards in order to tell the world of their own ordeals and the ordeals of thousands upon thousands of other veterans during this deadly conflict.

Bottom Line – Amazing documentary that in just 3 hours is able to tell 5 stories that helped shape the careers of 5 iconic directors while also changing the way Hollywood looked at the effects of war. The choice to choose 5 modern directors to each spearhead the story of one of the five iconic men is a great idea because it helps give an anchor to each of the stories especially since they are all being told in a semi-chronological order yet simultaneously.  The use of Streep as a narrator in order to glue the pieces of the various stories together works quite well because her voice is a contrast to the 10 voices of the male directors discussing these stories.  They use some amazing footage shot by these directors during wartime while also allowing us to hear their own thoughts on the events caught on film or tape years after the events. This film gave me so much more insight into some of Hollywood’s greatest directors while also allowing me to see and hear important information about how some of their best films came to be especially following all the trauma that these men faces during wartime. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Meryl Streep won her third Emmy for her voice work in the series.  (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10)

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One thought on “Five Came Back (2017)

  1. Pingback: MovieRob Monthly Roundup – March 2019 | MovieRob

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