With Memorial Day upon us, I’d like to encourage everybody to take the time to watch Five Came Back. I wrote about it a while ago, but I mention it again because it is really, really moving. I watch a lot of movies, but few make such an impression on me.
The trailer is up top. (Go to Netflix to view the series.)
In Five Came Back, five modern-day directors discuss the five film directors who spent World War II making films about the war as it happened.
What a list:
- Francis Ford Coppola on John Huston
- Lawrence Kasdan on George Stevens
- Spielberg (the co-producer of the documentary) on William Wyler
- Paul Greengrass on John Ford
- Guillermo del Toro on Frank Capra
This is all so fascinating—these directors were already famous when they went off to war. During their tenure on the battlefield, they created documentary films, recruitment films—and even evidence, in the case of George Stevens, who had the stunning poise, presence of mind, and ability to document the liberation of Dachau. He filmed evidence that would later be used to prosecute war crimes.
Memorial Day is about remembering Americans who died while in military service. Five Came Back honors those soldiers, and it reminds us that even a Hollywood movie director can serve his country.