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WWII in HD [Blu-ray] (2010)

Rob Lowe , Justin Bartha , Frederic Lumiere , Matthew Ginsburg  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (434 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rob Lowe, Justin Bartha, Josh Lucas, Gary Sinise, Rob Corddry
  • Directors: Frederic Lumiere, Matthew Ginsburg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: History Channel / A&E
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 470 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (434 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,935 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "WWII in HD [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Character profiles

Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes: Finding the Footage; Preserving the Footage

Editorial Reviews

At first glance, the very concept of WWII in HD seems like an oxymoron. After all, isn't the footage from back then nothing more than grainy black-and-white newsreel? And really, how much definition can be added to film that was shot more than 60 years ago? The answers: no, and quite a lot, actually. The quality of much of what is seen in the course of these 10 episodes (each around 45 minutes long) is surprisingly good. Add to that the fact that most of it is in color (not colorized, but originally recorded in that medium, some at the behest of the United States government), and the result is nothing short of astonishing. It's not easy viewing; there are sequences that are shockingly graphic (vivid examples include the carnage on view after major battles and the shots of Japanese civilians on the Pacific island of Saipan hurling themselves off cliffs to avoid capture by American troops). But all of it has been put to good use in what is undoubtedly one of the most compelling accounts of World War II ever produced.

Other documentaries have chronicled the same events seen here, from the earliest days of the war (when Hitler was overrunning Europe and the ill-prepared Americans were still years away from becoming involved), through Pearl Harbor, the major confrontations with the Japanese in the Pacific theater (like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the incomparably bloody Iwo Jima) and with the Germans in Europe and North Africa (the invasion of Tunisia, D-day, the Battle of the Bulge), and straight on to victory in Europe and finally the Japanese surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what separates WWII in HD is the filmmakers' decision to view these events through the experiences of a dozen individuals who were actually there, including a couple of war correspondents (one of whom, Richard Tregaskis, was the author of the seminal Guadalcanal Diary); an Austrian immigrant who escaped the Nazis and almost immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army; a nurse with General George Patton's Third Army; an African-American pilot who was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen; a Japanese-American medic who fought heroically while his family was held in an internment camp; and others from the rank and file. All of them are voiced by such actors as Rob Lowe, Amy Smart, Steve Zahn, Josh Lucas, and LL Cool J; and with Gary Sinise providing voice-over narration, the whole piece comes off as a dramatic film as much as a straight documentary (an effect also enhanced by some brilliantly creative juxtapositions of words, images, and music). Not all of these men and women made it through the war (those still alive also appear in on-camera interviews), but none could ever forget the horrors they witnessed, and while those of us who did not serve will never really comprehend the sacrifices they made, this remarkable program may be as close as we can get. --Sam Graham

Stills from WWII in HD (Click for larger image)

Product Description

Product Description

Seventy years in the making. Three thousand hours of color footage few knew existed. The first documentary to show original color footage of World War II in immersive HD, the world premiere HISTORYTM series WWII IN HD uses the journals and accounts of those who served in the war s biggest battles to create a personal, introspective and detailed look at life on and off the front lines. Follow 12 unforgettable Americans, and experience the war through their eyes, in their own words, as it really looked and sounded. WWII IN HD transforms their stirring journey into a tangible piece of history. Culled from rare color film found in a two-year worldwide search and converted to HD with meticulous technique, WWII IN HD provides a picture of World War II as it has never been seen before.

DISC 1: Darkness Falls / Hard Way Back / Bloody Resolve / Battle Stations / Day of Days

DISC 2: Point of No Return / Striking Distance / Glory and Guts / Edge of the Abyss / End Game / Bonus

Special Features

  • Character Profiles
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes - Finding the Footage
  • Preserving the Footage

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WWII documentaries November 20, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have watched this series on the History channel and it is unbelievable. Although very graphic at times, the color footage is extrordinary and the comments by the veterans add a new dimension and at times will break your heart. Of all the WWII series I have seen this probably the best overall. The History channel has done a great job. I just wish the DVD was available right now. If you are at all interested in this part of US history or had a relative or friend who served in this war, you will want to get this series.
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117 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WWII mini-series ever November 20, 2009
This came in a very close second in my favorite mini-series ever. Right behind Band of Brothers. Even though this series was different from B.o.B (being that the whole series was actual footage from WWII and not acting), it was still an amazing show to watch. Real footage from the war and interviews from actual soldiers that were in the war was perfect. Some of the video was graphic, but that made it real and worth watching. I rarely get teary eyed, but some of those interviews and some of the concentration camp footage, got to me. After seeing the first part, it makes you want to see more. And the other 9 parts of the series certainly delivered. I would highly recommend this to any World War buffs or to anyone who wants to see how much our veterans went through.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't history classes be this interesting? November 20, 2009
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This entire series is masterfully done! Instead of a bunch of facts and figures delivered by the usual talking heads often seen in documentaries, this series focuses on 12 individuals that were on the front lines during the war. The battles of WWII are told in their own words, through their letters, reports, and interviews, making the entire documentary intensely personal. The narration provided by Gary Sinise seamlessly intertwines the personal accounts with the facts of the battles and strategies used, giving the viewer all of the background information they need to understand what's going on without being the least bit intrusive. The added backdrop of the never-before-seen color WWII footage of the events really makes it seem as if the viewer is right in the middle of the action; watching and experiencing everything for themselves. History teachers and textbook authors take note: this is how history should be taught!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This is the greatest documentary about the greatest story ever told. We think we are scared of terrorists....give me a break....terrorists are pimples on our posteriors compared to the fear the Nazis and Japs put the world through. Not only is this documentary visually breathtaking, but the meticulous research of each of the stories, the strategies of the war, and the perspective it gives the viewer is like nothing I've ever seen before. It truly proves that they were the greatest generation, the generation we should all strive to be. This documentary should be in every school...let the teacher close the book and pop this in as a history lesson because it can not be told better than this. I can't say enough about it. Jack Yusen was the best! "He went to go see his muddah on the back porch!"
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never forget December 28, 2009
I ordered this DVD set after watching the first episode on The History Channel. I think that we need to protect every bit of film, every photograph that preserves the memory of not only the great heroes of the greatest war ever, but the horror of what war is, so that we never, ever embark upon such a path again without first trying our damndest to find another way. This series shows color footage culled from hidden archives and personal collections, linked by the stories of various individuals who participated in some way or another - an infantryman, a pilot and author, a nurse, a Tuskegee airman, a Nisei, and more. Actors provide a surprisingly competent performance - giving voice to the thoughts and words of people who are long gone. Survivors are also interviewed, and it is clear that the memories of those events remain as clear now as they were sixty years ago. Some of the images are disturbingly graphic, so I do advise caution with watching with smaller children. The quality of some of the footage is rather poor, so don't be disappointed if the images are not crystal clear like the promised HD. Some of the sections were not particularly strong - the part profiling the Tuskegee Airman seemed rather thin - but I assume that there was a paucity of good footage, so I didn't really consider this to be that great a weakness. Very significant battles were entirely skipped over, but I think that it was beyond the scope of this project to completely summarize the entire war, nor do I think it necessary. I think that the series did what it set out to do - show us small glimpses into the world at war, give both evil and heroism a face, and make us remember even as the last survivors and their accounts fade away.
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102 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but not the best December 30, 2009
WWII in HD does a good job of using personal stories to tell a larger tale. Gary Sinise is a great narrator. The real-life soldiers/sailors/marines are terrific and their story is worthy of being told.

The production suffers from two main problems, that pull it down from being the best of class in the area of color WWII documentaries.

1) There is heavy use of colorized film. For example, you can now watch General MacArthur wade ashore in a film you've seen before, but now it's in color. I found that to be too distracting to abide. There are many, many other cases of film colorization, this is just the most shocking.

2) There is a lot of unnecessary back and forth... from Leyte to Europe, then back to Leyte, then back to Europe, then back to Leyte, then to somewhere else in Europe, then back to Leyte... At each transition, there is a high-tech, google-earth-like movement across the globe that I found out of place and amateurish given the seriousness of the subject.

I found "World War II - The Lost Color Archives", sold right here at (World War II - The Lost Color Archives), to be a much more satisfying experience. That documentary does a better job of using its 100% authentic color film to tell the story of WWII.

While "WWII in HD" is not the best documentary, either about WWII, or in the sub-genre of color presentation of the war, it should be considered a quality addition to the canon. In other words, if you own several other documentaries, you should consider getting this one too, for what it adds. However, if you are looking for one or two, definitive, documentaries to watch, then I'd suggest going elsewhere.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent documentary, I'd watch it again and encourage others ...
Excellent documentary, I'd watch it again and encourage others to see it. I enjoy the color footage and the stories of the different characters that are true.
Published 1 hour ago by John L. Apodaca
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome documentarie. Great quality.
Published 9 hours ago by caitlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by Larry Everett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 1 day ago by Joseph Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good coverage of the last popular war.
Published 1 day ago by C George Brockus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I like WWII documentaries but found the narrative disorganized and dull.
Published 1 day ago by Joan R. Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great if you are a history buff. Good original footage.
Published 2 days ago by Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Great footage that truly is original
Great footage that truly is original. I have been watching WW2 docs for decades and most of what I saw in this one I had not seen before. Read more
Published 2 days ago by chrisbmartin
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-see film footage
Great series. Although the 'episodes' don't have the unified story line of a polished Hollywood series like Band of Brothers, you know that you are watching THE REAL THING, and not... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Franz Kafka
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good documentary so far through the first 3 episodes
Very good documentary so far through the first 3 episodes, has some footage I have never seen before. Not for kids though as there is alot of graphic footage of injured soldiers.
Published 4 days ago by Sean M
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Topic From this Discussion
Subtitles Blu-Ray Version
There are no subtitles or closed captions of any kind, English or otherwise. I have contacted The History Channel about this glaring oversight. Persons with hearing problems will have difficulty following this.
Jan 28, 2010 by Eric Weiss |  See all 8 posts
No subtitles makes this title almost worthless
I have to agree - subtitles would be extremely beneficial, especially for elderly WWII vets like my father who have badly impaired hearing (an affliction he developed in boot camp in 1944).
Jun 25, 2010 by T Constable |  See all 9 posts
Problems with Disk 1, of the Blu-Ray version.
I'm hoping 3rd time's a charm. What player do you guys have? I have the Sony BDP-S300.
Mar 10, 2010 by Derek Marshall |  See all 35 posts
DVD 1.33:1 aspect ratio
yes it is.
Dec 16, 2010 by Maddog |  See all 3 posts
Why would they even bother releasing it on DVD? Then it's not in HD anymore.
Mar 3, 2010 by BubbaCoop |  See all 2 posts
I have all 10 episodes saved on my DVR in HD and CC Be the first to reply
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