The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

Outside of Hollywood, the South Korean film industry is one of the most successful. It’s affectionately known as “Hallyu-wood” and is responsible for some great movies, like Oldboy, Train to Busan, and 3-Iron, which have all reached a level of commercial and critical success.


The same, however, cannot be said for North Korea, whose only not-entirely-propaganda (but totally is) film is so campy that it makes The Room look like a masterpiece. We’re talking, of course, about Pulgasari.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Don’t worry. The communist propaganda film was, unironically, also a merchandising opportunity. (Photo by Claw Mark Toys)

The film’s origins lie in the 1970s when Kim Jong-il was still just the head of the state propaganda department. Jong-il was a huge movie buff and wanted to create his own. One obvious downfall of living in an authoritarian dictatorship that shuns artistic expression, however, is that it’s hard to find artists who haven’t already been executed. So, he set his sights on the man known as the “prince of South Korean cinema,” Shin Sang-ok, and his actress ex-wife, Choi Eun-hee. In their prime, the power couple was compared to Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. While the two South Korean film magnates were visiting Hong Kong, North Korean agents abducted them.

Shin Sang-ok was forced to create six propaganda films for Kim Jong-il between 1978 and 1983 — all of which were terrible because Shin sabotaged his own art in protest. Then, Kim Jong-il pitched Pulgasari, a pro-communist knock-off of Godzilla. In order to get the special effects right, Jong-il also got staff from Toho Studios (the studio behind the Godzilla films) to North Korea. He did this by saying there was a very lucrative film being shot in China. They only realized something was up when they instead landed in North Korea.

The budget was so high that it almost bankrupted the nation, but Kim Jong-il was still happy. Author Paul Fischer wrote about the filming in his book, A Kim Jong-il ProductionIn it, he describes how Kim Jong-il was as giddy as schoolkid throughout production even though everyone half-assed everything.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Everyone worked as hard as you’d expect from a bunch of kidnapped artists. (Photo by KCNA)

The film is about a Feudal Korean blacksmith who turns into a giant metal-eating monster called Pulgasari. An evil, corrupt king tries to stomp out all of the rebellions and it’s up to the blacksmith and his daughter to overthrow the evil, capitalist monarchy. Shin was very heavy-handed about how this metaphor also applied to the Kim dynasty.

After production wrapped, the world watched the kidnapping in horror. To prove that Shin Sang-ok, Choi Eun-hee, and the crew weren’t kidnapped, Kim Jong-il sent them (with the film) on a world tour. They were also sent to talk to investors for Kim’s next great masterpiece about Genghis Khan. The first chance they got — at the Vienna Film Festival — they all bolted and went into hiding.

If you haven’t seen it, know that it’s painful to watch — seriously, it takes a lot of beer to get through it.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you:

 

MIGHTY MOVIES

6 awesome movie moments troops wish they could pull off

Spoiler alert! Movies aren’t real.


Although some of our favorite films are pretty “out there” when it comes to pulling off some amazing feats, there are quite a few movie moments that Marines would love to train their asses off for and totally pull off.

For instance:

Related: 6 of the worst times to salute officers

1. Curving a freakin’ bullet (Wanted)

In a hostage situation, shooting around the victim and nailing the assailant would come in quite handy — if we could master it. But we doubt we ever could.

How awesome would this be?

2. Shooting out the floor (Underworld)

In many cases, service members have to find clever ways to evacuate from a desperate situation. In 2003’s Underworld, Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale) shoots the floor out in order to escape from vicious werewolves.

This is a great idea; you know, if the physics were possible and humans could handle 20-foot drops.

If it worked for her, it should work in real life.

3. Inverting you fighter jet (Top Gun)

When flying in an aerial dogfight, there’s no better way to send the enemy an FU message like Maverick’s in 1986’s Top Gun. He managed to fly inverted and flip the bird to his rival flying ace.

This feat is near impossible, but “Mav” makes it look easy as hell.

They went ballistic! 

4. Putting on a parachute in mid-air (Eraser)

In 1996, director Chick Russell took on a stunt that had audience asking, “How did they do that?” when U.S. Marshal John “The Eraser” Kruger threw a parachute outside of a speeding plane at high-attitude then retrieves the “chute” in mid-air.

We think that’s pretty badass.

Who wants to go skydiving? 

5. The backbend bullet dodge (The Matrix)

At times, Marines fight in close quarters combat when charging in enemy territory, and, unfortunately, sometimes they get shot. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they could just dodge incoming rounds like Nero? We think so.

There is no spoon. 

Also Read: 6 epic movie moments that always make Marines pump their fist

6. Shooting someone through their scope (Saving Private Ryan)

Steven Spielberg knows how to tell an effective story, and he did just that directing 1998’s critically-acclaimed Saving Private Ryan.

After showing the world how American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, he brilliantly captured the moment when Pvt. Jackson (played by Barry Pepper) takes out a German sniper with a perfectly aimed round right through his scope.

Although it’s reported Marine legend Carlos Hathcock made this historic shot, the myth has been both deemed both “busted” and “plausible” by the same people — the Myth Busters. Regardless, we want to be able to pull it off again, and again. Mostly for bragging rights.

Bam! 

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Joker’ is definitely not going to be a ‘Batman’ movie

Joker was always going to be a different kind of Batman movie. It might not even to be fair to call it a Batman movie, centered as it is on Gotham’s most infamous criminal and not its most famous orphan. But besides a narrative focus beyond good vs. evil, what sets this movie apart is its relationship with its source material.

“We didn’t follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about,” writer-director Todd Phillips said in an upcoming interview with Empire. You read that right: instead of basing the script on a graphic novel or cobbling it together from different comic books, Phillips wrote an original story.


“We just wrote our own version of where a guy like Joker might come from. That’s what was interesting to me. We’re not even doing Joker, but the story of becoming Joker. It’s about this man,” Phillips added.

JOKER – Teaser Trailer

www.youtube.com

Instead of pitting the character, be it zoot suited Jack Nicholson in a zoot suit or a shirtless Jared Leto, against Batman, the Joker script is about Arthur Blank’s descent into Travis Bickle-like madness. If it sounds like a role designed for Phoenix, a notoriously intense actor, that’s because it is.

“We had a photo of him above our computer while we were writing,” he told the magazine. We constantly thought, ‘God, imagine if Joaquin actually does this.'”

Well, he actually did it, but you’ll have to wait until Oct. 4, 2019, to see exactly where on the “inspired by” to “based on” spectrum Phillips’s film falls.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

Articles

4 military blunders made by the Mother of Dragons so far in Season 7

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM “DRAGONSTONE,””STORMBORN,” AND “THE QUEEN’S JUSTICE.”


Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) has had a bad couple of weeks in this penultimate run of “Game of Thrones.” As of the first three episodes in season seven, her forces are well on their way to being defeated in detail.

For the audience, this makes for satisfying conflict and suspense. Most everyone is rooting for fall of Cersei at the hands of Khaleesi, and this will make their final showdown exceptional.

But we can’t help but note that if the Mother of Dragons had studied a little U.S. military history, she might not have suffered such losses. Instead, Daenerys has managed to blunder away large parts of her forces — and her advantage over the Lannisters — and she did it with a number elementary mistakes that cadets at West Point or Annapolis could have pointed out in an instant.

This is not exactly a resume-enhancer for the Commander-in-Chief of the Seven Kingdoms.

Check out her four biggest mistakes since returning to Westeros:

1. Dispersion of Forces

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Looking at the map, it’s obvious that Daenerys Targaryen’s plan to hit multiple targets was bound to fail.

She made the decision to split her naval forces, trying to do too much at once. She sent part of her fleet to pick up the Dornish Army and to bring them back to Dragonstone, while sending the rest to deliver the Unsullied to take Casterly Rock.

Japan made similar mistakes in the weeks leading up to the Battle of Midway, costing them a light carrier sunk, two fleet carriers rendered combat ineffective due to battle damage or losses, and two other carriers with substantial combat power diverted to a secondary task.

2. Failure to Secure Control of the Sea

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Map of the Battle of the North Cape…which Daenerys could have accomplished. (Wikimedia Commons)

Knowing that Yara and Theon Greyjoy were fleeing from the person who had usurped the throne of the Iron Islands, Daenerys should have sought to replicate the Battle of the North Cape, in which a pair of convoys was used to draw out the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst to where it could be destroyed by a superior force (or in this case, by the dragons). After that she could transport armies at leisure.

Instead, she didn’t deal with the enemy fleet, and look what happened.

3. Acting with Inadequate Intelligence

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Joe Rochefort. (U.S. Navy photo)

Daenerys also failed to establish a means to determine enemy intentions, which, as Joe Rochefort proved, can be vital to defeating a foe. As a result, the Tyrells, not to mention their fortune and bannermen, fell to the combined Lannister/Tarly army.

4. Observing Restrictive Rules of Engagement

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
We don’t blame Daenerys, but this ruined city looks better than the Sept of Baelor right about now.

Daenerys did have the option of going straight at Cersei Lannister, but declined due to concerns about civilian casualties.

This has been a subject of controversy during conflicts throughout history. Every military leader is faced with measuring out the cost of “collateral damage” and so, too, must Daenerys — especially when her opponent has no sense of moral restraint. How many more losses will she suffer before she resorts to fighting at Cersei’s level?

Hopefully by now she must know not to underestimate her enemy…especially considering Cersei’s hiding a surface-to-air missile under King’s Landing…

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Brace yourselves — the death of at least one dragon is coming. (Game of Thrones screenshot | HBO)

Articles

This is what happens when a Navy SEAL becomes an actor

Bravery is a thing you see every day in the military. In all branches, in moments great and small, it’s an expression of the fundamental courage it takes to put your life on the line for love of country and to serve those you swore to protect.

Former Navy SEAL David Meadows proved exemplary in this capacity, serving 11 years in some of the harshest theaters of war throughout the Middle East.


But unlike many of his fellow Oscar Mike alumni, Meadows chose, upon reentry, to translate his habituated bravery into a civilian arena that would, honestly, make most servicemen and women want to crawl out of their natural born skins…

Yeah, he became an actor.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
On the set of Banshee (2016) (Photo from IMDB)

And we can tell you from experience that there are few professions that require a more constant personal brokerage with public shame, mortal embarrassment, insecurity, and rejection — in short, all of the types of feelings that normal people avoid like their lives depend on it.

Being the Special Ops-trained bad ass that he is, though, Meadows surveyed this new theater of war and then dove in head first. Acting for a living takes guts.

“I think that if there is a magic left in the world…it’s really for a person to be affected, to be changed — by one human being actually affecting somebody else on a really human, natural, soulful level. Does that make sense? And performing artists have that power. And I thought…that’s absolutely amazing. And I want to be a part of that.”

To get a taste of the kind of courage an actor has to muster every day, Oscar Mike host Ryan Curtis visited Meadows at his acting studio in Los Angeles and submitted himself to a battery of drills that actors employ to help them behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances.

Each exercise is designed to increase physical sensitivity, dial up emotional availability, and to inure actors to the fear of ridicule that can shut them down at crucial moments. Like all high-stakes training, it’s effective — but it ain’t pretty.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

Today’s lesson is clear: in a successful civilian life, emotional bravery matters. But you don’t have to take our word for it, you can just watch as Curtis cracks under the pressure and and begs to postpone the big payoff in the video embedded at the top.

Watch more Oscar Mike:

This Green Beret will make you a mental commando

The Marine Rapper will make you shake your Citizen Rump

This is why the future of motocross is female

This Iraq vet kayaker will make you rethink PTSD

This is what happens when a SEAL helps you with your lady problems

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 episodes of ‘JAG’ that actually, really happened

Americans love them some Navy crime drama. Nothing shows more evidence of that than the success of the Emmy-winning, long-running show, JAG. If the show’s 227 episodes weren’t enough proof, consider that this show also spun off an even more popular show, NCIS, and its own spin-offs.

That’s right, JAG has grandchildren.

But the show wasn’t going to survive on mundane drama — no one cares if Petty Officer Valle was late coming back from LIBO — it needed some real juicy crime drama. The show was among the first to use “ripped from the headlines” plots — and no one can garner headlines like the U.S. military.

The show ran from 1995-2005 and, along the way, it covered some very interesting moments in U.S. Navy history. Now, JAG has finally found a home on cable television on WGN America, so you can experience these classic episodes and many, many more.


The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“Valor” – Season 6, Episode 17 

This episode from 2001 features a character who was found aboard a boat laden with explosives. Terrorists captured a U.S. Marine and coerced her into helping them use the boat to hit an American destroyer. The Marine in question is held as the JAG officers try to determine if she was forced to assist the terrorists or if she had been turned by them.

The terrorist plot depicted in “Valor” is based on the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole while it was refueling in Yemen’s port city of Aden. Unlike the boat in the episode, the boat that attacked the Cole was completely destroyed and had no potentially traitorous Americans aboard.

The real bombing killed both boat drivers, along with 17 sailors. The blast wounded 39 more U.S. troops.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“Defensive Action” – Season 1, Episode 13 

In the 1990s, the U.S. was heavily invested in the Balkan Conflict of the former Yugoslavia, especially the areas around Bosnia. So it makes good sense that conflict found its way onto the show. On a mission to return a Hind helicopter to Serbia, a Navy F-14 Tomcat malfunctions and explodes and the Serbian Hind begins strafing the ejected pilots. The Tomcat’s wingman lights up the Hind, earning a court-martial in the process. One of those ejected Tomcat pilots survives and evades Serbian patrols on the ground until he’s eventually rescued.

This is in reference to the rescue of U.S. Air Force pilot Scott O’Grady, who was shot down in an F-16C by Bosnian Serb SAM batteries. O’Grady evaded Serbian patrols for a solid week until he was rescued behind enemy lines by a force of United States Marines.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“Clipped Wings” – Season 3, Episode 22

During an exercise in the Mediterranean, an F-14 Tomcat collides with an Italian civilian helicopter, killing six people. The Italians demand to prosecute the pilot, and the Italian people are outraged. The pilot swears there was another aircraft he was avoiding when he ran into the helicopter.

In the real world, a Marine Corps aircraft did kill a number of Italian tourists as an EA-6B Prowler cut the cable of a cable car while flying lower than it should have been near Cavalese, Italy. The falling gondola killed all 20 people aboard, and the crew of the Prowler was put on trial for involuntary manslaughter, of which they were acquitted.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“Into the Breach” – Season 5, Episode 12

On April 19, 1989, a 16-inch gun turret aboard the USS Iowa exploded, killing 47 sailors and damaging the turret. The Navy concluded that one of the crewmen purposely caused the explosion. Congress, however, hated the Navy’s explanation and sent the GAO in to do an independent review. The GAO’s scientists found that an overram of powder bags was the likely explanation for the explosion.

In this episode, Harm and Mac are working an old case for law students in a mock trial — a case in which 29 sailors were killed when a disgruntled gun captain exploded his own turret. In the process of reviewing the old case, however, the two JAG officers find new evidence and new witnesses – enough to retry it.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“The Court-Martial of Sandra Gilbert” – Season 3, Episode 2

In this episode, Sandra Gilbert is a top-rated Cobra pilot who was suddenly grounded and charged with conduct unbecoming and disobeying orders when she begins an illegal relationship with an enlisted man, a Gunnery Sergeant. As it turns out, however, the Gunny is a married man. So, Harm has to defend Gilbert as the Corps tries to railroad charges against him.

A similar incident happened to U.S. Air Force Lt. Kelly Flinn, the first female B-52 pilot in Air Force history. In 1997, Flinn was discharged from the Air Force as a result of her adulterous affair with an enlisted subordinate’s husband, lying to Minot AFB officials about the affair, and then disobeying her superior’s order to break off the relationship.

As you can imagine, the media had a field day with the news.

So, if you’re in the market for heart-pounding drama and high-stakes operations, look no further than JAG.

MIGHTY MOVIES

How Hollywood got ‘Hunt For Red October’ Wrong

As a lieutenant in the Navy, I was around when Paramount Studio was working on “Hunt for Red October”. They needed some crash footage to run with, so we helped out. That’s where Hollywood started one of their biggest technical errors to date.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

F-9 Cougar hitting the ramp of the USS Midway (CV 41) during the Korean War. For some reason that only Paramount Pictures might be able to explain, the film of this mishap was used to represent an F-14 Tomcat crashing in the movie “The Hunt for Red October.”


In the fall of 1989 I was a lieutenant in the Navy on a shore tour serving as the editor of Approach magazine, which is the Naval Safety Center’s aviation safety publication. Among my duties was to produce the “Crash n’ Bash” video — a collection of aircraft carrier mishap footage set to music — for use at the command’s booth during the annual Tailhook Convention in Las Vegas.

In the days before YouTube and Facebook this sort of video was very unique, and the Naval Safety Center’s booth was very popular as a result. Most people hadn’t seen this footage and setting the crashes to music was a brand new idea at the time.

Among those who saw the video was Paramount Studio’s production team working on the film “Hunt for Red October,” based on Tom Clancy’s wildly popular debut novel. A few weeks after I got back from the convention one of the producers called me and explained that he was working with the Navy’s public affairs reps and they had instructed him to call me to obtain the footage they’d seen at Tailhook. I asked him what sort of airplane they needed to show crashing. The producer said an F-14.

After verifying it was cool with my immediate superior, I FEDEX’d Paramount the master copy of the full video, which contained a bunch of crash footage of various airplanes, including some F-14s.

Fast forward a few months to me watching the movie in a theater in Virginia Beach and being very surprised with the following scene:

You can see they show an F-14 on the screen behind actor Fred Thompson (playing the fleet commander who figures out what to do with a determined Jack Ryan played by Alec Baldwin). But as the airplane gets closer it magically switches into a Korean War-era F-9 Panther that plows into the carrier’s ramp and then rolls down the deck. What was Hollywood thinking? (The pilot in that mishap survived with nothing more than minor burns to his wrists, by the way. I met him at Tailhook.)  For some reason the Paramount filmmakers also reversed the image, so not only is it the wrong airplane, it’s the wrong airplane backwards.

If you go to the 1:42 mark of this video you can see more of the F-9’s approach, ramp strike, and aftermath;

I still don’t know why they picked that footage of all the stuff they had at their disposal. Gotta love Hollywood, I guess . . .

MIGHTY MOVIES

Kevin Nash says ‘Magic Mike XXL’ cast reminds him of his Army squad


Kevin Nash went to the University of Tennessee for one reason: to play basketball, and for three years that’s pretty much what he did. Nash played center, and as a junior he helped the team advance to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. But one physical altercation with legendary coach Don Devoe later, he was gone. Who knew he would end up in Magic Mike?

Nash made his way to Europe to play professionally, but during a game in Germany he injured his anterior cruciate ligament, which immediately ended his basketball career. Out of any better ideas, he decided to try something he’d always wanted to do: He joined the Army.

After going through basic at Fort McClellan, Nash wound up assigned to the 202nd Military Police Company in Giessen, Germany and served in a secure NATO facility for two years.

“I enjoyed the life,” Nash said. “I was forced to be disciplined, and that was something I’d lacked to that point to a certain degree.”

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Nash hanging with Army buds in Germany circa ’82.

During his three years of military service, Kevin Nash rose to the rank of specialist.

“I liked it so much I thought about going to be a drill instructor,” he said. But ultimately he decided not to reenlist. Family matters – including his father’s failing health – took him back to his hometown of Detroit. After working on the assembly line at Ford Motor Company for a while, he decided to enter the world of professional wrestling.

Nash debuted in WCW as the orange-mohawked “Steel”, one half of the tag team known as the “Master Blasters.” His success right out of the gate was followed by more, adopting different personas and adjusting to changes in the organizations around him. He went from “Steel” to “Oz” to “Vinne Vegas” to “Diesel” before going back to his real name.

“The secret to being a pro wrestler, besides having physical abilities, is to pick a good personality,” Nash said. “The closer it is to you the better.”

And as he changed names he went from WCW to WWF and back again a few times before joining the WWE and, finally, signing on with Global Force Wrestling as a “legend” to help promote events and tours.  In the process he became one of the industry’s most popular wrestlers. His career culminated with him being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015.

Nash also has a host of acting credits on his resume. Beside appearing in movies and on TV, his voice has been used in video games and cartoons. Last year he appeared in “John Wick” with Keanu Reeves, and this year he reprises his role as Tarzan in “Magic Mike XXL.”

“Of all the things I’ve done, the ‘Magic Mike’ series most resembles the comradery of Army life,” Nash said. “Working with the other guys reminds me of being in a squad.” The producers even had the cast do weapons training together as a team-building exercise.

“Magic Mike XXL” was filmed in Savannah, Georgia, which worked out well for Nash as he now makes his home in Daytona, Florida. “Besides, I like to spend as little time as possible in L.A.,” he added.

Nash is happy with the results in the sequel. “It’s better than the first one,” Kevin Nash said. “There’s a lot more going on. It’s more of a road trip and not just hanging in the club.”

“Magic Mike XXL”  is available to rent here: 

Now: This 1970 training video shows how the Army used to be like ‘Mad Men’

MIGHTY MOVIES

Our 9 favorite war movies from the 70s

In a decade full of big mustaches and goucho pants, bell bottoms ruled the earth; something about extra ankle space was all the rage. Meanwhile, military surplus clothing was a must-have hit, and when it came to hair styles, bigger was better. These are only a few attributes that describe the 1970s. It’s also a decade that loved a good macho war flick — gruff soldiers with heartfelt stories fit right in with the counterculture and everything it stood for. 

From these titles which are still modern favorites, to the films that changed the face of cinema as we know it today, take a look at these blockbusters and campy faves. 

  1. Catch-22, 1970

Released in 1970, Catch-22 is the film adaptation of the classic war novel of the same name. It’s considered a black comedy, “anti-war” movie where the main character tries to get himself declared insane so he no longer has to participate in the war — therefore a catch-22. It’s known for starring big names such as Art Garfunkel, Bob Newhart, Martin Sheen, Jon Voight, and Orson Welles. 

2. M*A*S*H, 1970

Yes, MASH made a movie! In fact, the movie came before the show. An acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, MASH was first based on a book, then made into a film starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, and Robert Duvall. The Korean War film won an Academy Award for best film adaptation, as well as taking home the title for Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the Cannes Film Festival. 

3. Johnny Got His Gun, 1971

Another anti-war flick — a common theme in the 70s — comes with Johnny Got His Gun. Donald Sutherland also plays in this film, however, it was a box office bomb and not well received. Years later, in 1988, the band Metallica used clips from the movie in their music video. They even purchased the rights to avoid paying ongoing royalties, and in the process, brough the film to prominence and turned it into a cult classic. 

Screenshot from the original Johnny Get Your Gun movie trailer.

4. The Last Valley, 1971

Michael Caine stars in this movie covering the thirty-years war in Central Europe. Set in the 1600s, the flick follows Caine as a mercenary soldier, during a religious war. Despite being one of the most popular movies at the box office, it still became a financial failure, only gaining popularity in decades since.

5. The Hiding Place, 1975

Another WW2 classic, The Hiding Place follows a Jewish family who’s taken into captivity and their hardships within a concentration camp. The film is based off of Corrie ten Boom and her family’s struggles and her famous book of the same name. 

6. Midway, 1976

The Battle of Midway is arguably one of the more famous battles from WW2, partly thanks to this film. Midway covers the invasion of Midway Island when the U.S. attacked the Japanese Navy in April of 1942. The movie comes with a star-studded cast, including: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, and Hal Holbrook. 

7. The Eagle Has Landed, 1976

This flick takes place in a world where the Germans plotted to kidnap Winston Churchill at the end of WW2. It was directed by John Sturgess in his last film as a director. Donald Sutherland, Michael Caine, and Robert Duvall star in yet another war film, this time playing Germans in their attempt to find and take down the British Prime Minister. 

8. Coming Home, 1978

Set in the timeframe of Vietnam, Coming Home brings a fresh twist to war films; it’s set back in the states and covers a love triangle between a military spouse, her husband, and another injured soldier. Jane Fonda stars as the film’s temptress, with Jon Voight playing another leading role. 

9. The Inglorious Bastards, 1978

The original title to this film is actually an Italian film. The translation means, “That damned armored train.” A Euro War movie, the film was pitched to American filmmakers, but moved to Italy when it was not picked up. The film gained most of its success decades later when director Quentin Tarantino made his own war flick reusing the name Inglorious Basterds. 

Screenshot from the original Inglorious Bastards movie trailer.

The 1970s was certainly a power decade for WW2 films, among others. Whether you’ve seen them or simply have these titles on your “must watch” list, don’t overlook the power they can bring to modern day viewers in cultural and historical importance.

MIGHTY CULTURE

New Netflix documentary pulls back the curtain on military life

When the cheers of the viral military homecomings have dissipated and the videos stop playing, real life begins. Netflix’s new documentary, Father Soldier Son, pulls back the curtain and brings the viewer into the reality of the military family and the devastating cost of a 20-year war.

The public perception of a military service member leans toward words like heroic and exceptional. But they are human beings with real struggles as they live with the aftereffects of their commitment to this country. Father Soldier Son reveals that to the public. To create the documentary, two journalists from The New York Times spent 10 years (yes, 10 years) following American soldier Brian Eisch and his family.


What initially began as a film to document a battalion’s year-long deployment in 2010 during a troop surge evolved into an unexpected new project for directors Leslye Davis and Catrin Einhorn.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

“We really wanted to tell the stories of American soldiers and Brian was just one of many [in that deployment]. But his kids were just so captivating and they spoke with such honesty, openness and emotion about what they were going through. They really stuck with us,” Einhorn explained.

The documentary begins with Eisch’s sons, Issac and Joey. They share their feelings about their dad being deployed overseas and their deep fears for his safety. This is another unique perspective of this film; the public is given a glimpse of how deployment impacts military children.

The viewer then witnesses the joyful reunion for the boys when their dad comes home for a break in his deployment. It’s not unlike the homecomings that go viral on social media. But then, the directors bring you in deeper with the emotional, compelling moments when the boys have to say goodbye; something not many members of the public ever witness.

When Eisch returned to combat in Afghanistan, he was shot.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

Viewers are then brought on Eisch’s journey of being a wounded warrior. “We were able to show the before and what the boys were going through while he was away and the anxiety and fear that they have. Then we showed what happened after,” Einhorn explained. She continued, “There’s this sort of iconic idea of a hero, but what does that really mean? What is the sacrifice? Brian had a truck drive into a field and then jumped out of it to try and rescue this wounded ally of his. That is a very heroic thing by all accounts and he received an award for that. But what did that mean for him and his life afterward?”

Every time the directors thought the film was done, things kept happening in Eisch’s life that brought them back. “We got to take this personal and deep dive into this family to show how it [war] impacted them over time,” Davis said.

Three years after his combat injury, the constant pain forced Eisch to undergo a leg amputation.

The events that unfold after following that are a reality for many service members experiencing physical or invisible wounds of war. This film will bring viewers on a journey filled with hope, but also devastating loss and pain. “As journalists we really wanted to make it a window into a military family…These quiet consequences and how they can ripple through a family and reshape things. That’s what we witnessed with this family and felt hadn’t been explored,” said Einhorn.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

Directors Catrin Einhorn (left) and Leslye Davis (right).

Both directors were asked how the family reacted to the documentary once it was revealed.

“We got to watch it with the family…He [Eisch] thinks it’s true. He thinks the story accurately depicts his life. The first time the family watched it – it was very retraumatizing. They were in grief watching it, and shock. But it seems that it has their seal of approval,” Davis shared. Einhorn added, “He said it was both joyful and devastating for them to watch it. He turned to us at the end and said, ‘It’s true, I am struggling.'”

“We look forward to what people take away from the film,” Davis said.

The documentary is available at midnight on July 17 to Netflix subscribers. The directors shared that the New York Times will be releasing a follow up a few days after the release to give viewers an update on the family.

When watching the film, it will take viewers into the unadulterated reality for military families. Father Soldier Son is a stark reminder of the far reaching ripple effects of war.

Articles

The ‘Finest Hours’ captures old school Semper Paratus

Disney’s “The Finest Hours” tells the story of a Coast Guard motorboat crew dispatched into an Atlantic storm after two 500-foot tankers break apart in 1952.


The crew is led by Boatswain’s Mate Bernard Webber, played by Chris Pine. Webber is second string, the junior ranking boatswain assigned to Chatham lifeboat station in Massachusetts.

The senior boatswain leads the rescue effort to the first tanker reported broken in the storm, the Fort Mercer. So when a Coast Guard plane spots the broken Pendleton, it falls to Webber and a few volunteers to attempt to rescue the 33 survivors in a small motorboat.

The movie does a good job of showing the perils of a rescue at sea in a severe winter storm. The waves crash onto a deadly sandbar with ominous booms, the boat is flipped in the waves, and the compass is ripped from the boat by a severe wave crash.

Crossing the sandbar was one of the most dangerous parts of the mission. Attempts to cross it could have easily destroyed the boat and left the crew drowning in the icy waters.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Photo: Youtube/Disney Movie Trailers

These details and others come from the factual book the movie is based on, and they’re brought to life by Craig Gillespie, the film’s director who spent his young life near the ocean.

“I grew up on the water in Australia, and I have a lot of respect for the ocean,” Gillespie told We Are The Mighty. “I sailed, I grew up surfing.

“When there’s a huge swell, you can hear it a mile and a half from the ocean, and it’s scary,” he said.

While the movie depicts the events on the boat and the Pendleton largely right, it takes more liberties with the story of Webber’s girlfriend, Miriam. During the real rescue, Miriam and Bernard were already married and Miriam was too ill to comprehend when told of Bernard’s mission.

But the movie Miriam is healthy and attempts to aid Bernard from the shore. She first argues with his commanding officer. When that doesn’t help, she seeks ways of ensuring that Bernard, if he’s successful in the rescue, will be able to make it home without a compass or any visible stars to follow.

Actress Holliday Grainger shaped her portrayal of Miriam after speaking to the Webber family and spending time at Chatham lifeboat station that the Coast Guard still operates.

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be
Photo: Youtube/Disney Movie Trailers

She said that Miriam’s journey in the movie is about learning what it takes to be a Coast Guard wife.

“He will always be in danger,” Grainger told We Are The Mighty when discussing Miriam’s attitude toward Bernard, “and if she wants to be with him, she has to live with that, because he does it for the greater good. He can’t always put their family first. He has to put others lives first.”

“The Finest Hours” deftly weaves Bernard and Miriam’s stories, breaking up the chaos at sea with the tension on the coast.

“The Finest Hours” opens in theaters nationwide on Jan. 29.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Watch the ‘Top Gun 2’ trailer or lose me forever

Do not tell me your heart doesn’t skip a beat when that music kicks in. I don’t want to hear it because you’re a goddamn liar.

A new Top Gun 2: Maverick trailer was just released, and even though it’s a teaser, it’s gonna make you want to go right into the danger zone — or at least you’ll have the urge to head to a recruiting office or call your battle buddies or whatever.

I know I did.


MIGHTY MOVIES

These are the 10 most epic battles on television

The rise of television has brought epic, cinematic stories to home screens, where episodic series can develop characters and plot steadily over a season and build suspense for the exciting climax in ways only film used to do — especially when it comes to battles.

Not only have the visual effects and sets improved, but filmmakers are telling military stories like never before. Whether the stories are fictional, as in Game of Thrones, or historical, as in Band of Brothers, storytellers are using real battles and tactics as inspiration for their shows.

So, let’s a take look at the 10 most dramatic battles in television history:


 

The bizarre way this North Korean movie came to be

(Generation Kill | HBO)

1. Battle of Al Muwaffiqiyah — ‘Generation Kill’ (Episode 5)

Generation Kill tells the true story of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the invasion of Iraq in March, 2003. The seven-part miniseries from HBO realistically depicts the Marines, from the heroic moments to the horrifying mistakes. Rudy Reyes, who plays himself in the show, selected this particular ambush as one of the most impactful of the series.

The battle pitted Marines in Humvees against an insurgent attack force that allowed the viewer to perceive combat, through the characters’ eyes, exactly the kind of asymmetrical warfare our service members experience overseas. Dealing with faulty equipment, communication chaos, confusion, unknown enemy numbers or locations, and treating wounds in the field are all common scenarios for deployed troops.

What’s especially eerie is how accustomed they are to this environment. The characters are just as annoyed about trying to get the caravan to back up as they might have been while stuck in traffic back home in the States.

It’s not until the battle is done that the camera reveals how affecting combat truly is.

Inside Game of Thrones: Battling the Silence (HBO)

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2. Battling the Silence — ‘Game of Thrones’ (Season 7, Episode 2)

Battling the Silence was not the first groundbreaking naval battle in Game of Thrones, but even without Wildfire, it managed to be the most epic. Euron Greyjoy’s fleet ambushes his niece, Yara’s, in the night and the attack quickly descends into fire and brutality. For the battle, filmmakers cranked up the frame rate and filled the camera with too many people and fights to follow. They were inspired by riots, where the violence is chaotic and encroaching.

Not only are the heroes of this battle captured, killed, or forced to flee, their ships are sunk to the Narrow Sea’s version of Davy Jones Locker in a sound defeat, reminiscent of World War II’s “Ironbottom Sound,” where the Imperial Japanese fleet dealt a crushing blow to American and Australian forces at Savo Island in the Pacific.

The seven-minute scene took weeks to film and was shot with 40 stuntmen, six cast members, and all of the crew on the set, which was slippery from rain and actually burning with real fire and ember guns, spraying flaming ash through the air. Most importantly, “Silence” left fans of the show with a sharp introduction to the depravity that can be expected from the final season’s newest villain.

Battlestar Galactica | Pegasus & Galactica Vs Cylon Resurrection Ship

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3. Destruction of the Resurrection Ship— ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (Season 2, Episode 12)

In Battlestar Galactica, the cylons are able to download their consciousness into a new body aboard Resurrection Ships within range. In other words, they’re extremely difficult to kill because they can just jump into a new body when the old one is defeated.

In Season 2, the Colonial Fleet takes down its first Resurrection Ship — a major victory in their war with the Cylons. The destruction of a Resurrection Ship held the tactical weight of the raid at St. Nazaire by Royal Commandos against German drydocks in World War II. The ambush shifted the logistics of German ship repair in the Atlantic, forcing them to deploy their naval ships more cautiously, as they could only be repaired by sending them to the north coast of Europe (and past Royal Air Force and Royal Navy patrols).

Battlestar Galactica has a distinctly unique “signature style” of camera-work, especially during space battles. Cinematographers employed handheld work and zooms, almost as if the cameras were shooting a documentary, which gives the show a realistic feel.

Battlestar Galactica is also filled with subtle details that further heighten the realism. In this battle, you can see some of the Cylon missiles headed for the Pegasus turn or curve around it. Producers have stated that this was to demonstrate the electronic countermeasures employed by the Pegasus, just as modern aircraft scramble the guidance systems of enemy missiles.

Marvel’s The Punisher (S1 Ep. 3): Kandahar Fight Scene

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4. Kandahar Flashback — ‘The Punisher’ (Season 1, Episode 3)

The first season of The Punisher reveals a flashback to a visceral battle that Frank Castle fought while deployed as a Marine. The action sequence depicts Castle as a terrified warrior, driven by adrenaline, training, and instinct. His actions are violent, but the expression on his face conveys his horror — and his humanity.

Set to The White Buffalo’s “Wish It Was True,” the scene captures the tragic demands on military service members, who experience terror and violence while trying to do the right thing. As the scene nears its end, Castle snaps, succumbing to pure animalistic aggression. This moment would certainly influence the tortured destiny of the man who later becomes The Punisher.

Game of Thrones: The Loot Train Attack (HBO)

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5. The Loot Train Attack — ‘Game of Thrones’ (Season 7, Episode 4)

Whenever Daenerys Targaryen gives the command “Dracarus,” she proves just how dramatically airpower changed war. The sheer and immediate destruction wrought on the Lannister army by dragon fire was enthralling and horrifying. The director, Matt Shakman, likened the destruction to that of napalm or an atom bomb; the magnitude and heat of the flame was enough to turn people to ash in an instant.

The scene took 14 months to plan and 18 days to shoot, shifting from multiple characters’ points of view; but it was the perspective on the ground that was so gripping. Jaime and Bronn had become well-loved characters whose humanity was really revealed when they took in the harrowing aerial assault.

The lines of destruction are reminiscent of the Highway of Death during the Persian Gulf War, when aircraft destroyed hundreds of Iraqi vehicles on Highway 80. The photographs of the carnage after the attack — including bodies that were charred from the bombing — were so violent and disturbing that many media outlets refused to publish them.

Fans of the show await the final season — and inevitable undead dragon damage to come — with dread and morbid anticipation.

BTS Okinawa w/ Tom Hanks and WWII Veterans | The Pacific | HBO

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6. Battle of Okinawa — ‘The Pacific’ (Part 9)

Part 9 of The Pacific, HBO’s follow-up to Band of Brothers, portrays an almost post-apocalyptic version of war, where battle-hardened, weary Marines struggle to hold on to their humanity in the face of an enemy willing to fight to the death. Executive Director Steven Spielberg wanted to portray war as the hellacious experience veterans, like his father and uncle, said it was, rather than glorifying it in a traditional Hollywood format — and he succeeded.

In addition to capturing the grim brutality of battle, the Okinawa scenes also push the characters into battles of the soul. When Sledge and Snafu find a crying baby, they react as warfighters: They are suspicious, alert, and nearly desensitized to the child’s pain. The point is driven home by comparison when another Marine walks in and simply picks up the baby, leaving the characters — and the audience — to wonder whether these two young men can ever truly come back from this war.

Vikings: The Siege of Paris (Part 1) [Season 3 Battle Scene] 3×08 (HD 1080p)

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7. Siege of Paris — ‘Vikings’ (Season 3, Episode 8)

The Siege of Paris from Vikings expertly depicts the brutality and madness of scaling a wall, a common tactic in ancient or medieval (or Middle-Earthen) warfighting. Trying to overcome an enemy by scaling his walls means attacking from a position of weakness. Defenders would push scaling ladders away from the walls, light them on fire, or pour boiling pitch upon the insurgents. If the attackers did manage to make it to the top of the wall, they would be outnumbered by a well-fortified enemy.

In this episode, Floki straight-up panics at the thought of it and hides, which might not have been such a bad idea, considering what befell heroes like Rollo, Bjorn, and even Ragnar himself.

Lagertha doesn’t fair much better. After her forces are able to successfully break through a door — via reverse battering ram? — they advance into a trap and are torn down by French ballistae.

The vikings were handed a searing defeat, leaving a pile of bodies beneath the walls of Paris.

Band of Brothers (2001) – D-Day Drop Zone Scene

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8. D-Day — ‘Band of Brothers’ (Part 2)

Everyone knows about the storming of the beach at Normandy, but fewer people know about the paratroopers who jumped behind enemy lines to support the amphibious insertion.

The second episode of Band of Brothers depicts the men of Easy Company jumping into the midst of an air battle. The military is no stranger to waiting around… but waiting as the enemy lights up your fuselage had to have been terrifying.

Band of Brothers captured the details of human nerves and anticipation, military training coming through under duress, and moments of decision-making in the face of terror. Both the pilot and his passengers watch as AAA strike their companions, but neither can do much more than stay the course and try to make it to the drop zone.

Unfortunately for Easy Company, they jumped out of the fire… and into the war.

True Detective – Six minute single take tracking shot – no edits, no cuts – Who Goes There

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9. House Raid — ‘True Detective’ (Season 1, Episode 4)

In its first season, True Detective featured a 6-minute, single-take, tracking shot of a shoot-out when a raid goes bad. This scene made the list because, though it doesn’t feature army versus army, neither does most modern warfare that our troops engage in. America is fighting asymmetrical threats, often in urban environments among civilians — which is exactly what we saw in this shot.

Director Cary Fukunaga deliberately trained the camera tightly with Matthew McConaughey’s character, Rust, to create a feeling of dread, suspense, and imminent danger.

It is perhaps the greatest long tracking shot on television — and for good reason. According to an interview in The Guardian, the scene involved perfect coordination between the actors, grips, gaffer, cinematographer, operators, multiple rooms with fight choreography, a jumped fence, and a freaking helicopter.

Makeup artists dashed out to add blood and injuries to actors. Special-effects teams fired live rounds. And yeah, the helicopter flew in, right on target. Hell, even Woody Harrelson nailed his driving scene.

It was impressive in every department and cemented the notion that television had become every bit as cinematic as feature films.

Game of Thrones Season 6: Anatomy of A Scene: The Battle of Winterfell (HBO)

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10. Battle of the Bastards — ‘Game of Thrones’ (Season 6, Episode 9)

The Battle of the Bastards was not only an intensely satisfying showdown between two pivotal characters, Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, it was one the most riveting battles depicted on television.

When Ned Stark lost his head in the first season, Game of Thrones made it clear that no character is safe on the series; as a result, the stakes are exponentially higher in Game of Thrones than in other shows.

But even beyond the emotional connection to the characters and their respective military forces, the Battle of the Bastards was loosely based on tactics from the Battle of Cannae in 216 CE, where the Carthaginian leader Hannibal Barca surrounded and defeated his enemy.

The Boltons’ tactic of using Romanesque scutums to surround the Stark forces was unnerving, and filmmakers captured the panic it inspired. Even commanding archers to volley their arrows into the fray of battle demonstrated the lengths Ramsay Bolton was willing to go to for victory.

The psychological effect of being trapped by a mountain of dead bodies is one that no healthy person should linger on for long — nor should we consider the slow and painful deaths that would have befallen our heroes had they not been rescued by the Knights of the Vale.

Did we leave something out? Write us a comment and let us know which dramatic television battles are your favorites.

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