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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 1, 2013
This in-depth series offers detailed accounts of the Doolittle Raid, near suicidal, from concept to honors. The presentation uses extensive war and historic archived film (B/W & color), joining modern footage at sites & interviews telling this heroic tale. One sortie truly against all odds. Gary Sinise is the featured narrator. A must for WW2 DVD libraries.

5 survivors remain in 2012:
Plane #1, pilot Doolittle's, RICHARD COLE, co-pilot, parachuted into fir tree
Plane #7, DAVID THATCHER, engineer, ended in beach water crash
Plane #9, TOM GRIFFIN, navigator, parachuted
Plane # 15, EDWARD SAYLOR, engineer gunner, subject of bonus interview
Plane #16, ROBERT HITE, co-pilot, parachuted into Jap capture POW 3.5 yrs

SUBTITLES for all four 44-minute episodes plus bonus interview.
Episode 1--The Call to War:
80 volunteers, 16 bombers, attack the Japanese home,
Tokyo. American survivors are honored. Those survivors help tell the Doolittle Raiders story. Mitchell B-25 was chosen for the 1st retribution of Pearl Harbor attack. The Doolittle Raid would go from a public relations mission to establish the beginning of the end of a long war. A carrier deck plan is initiated. James H. Doolittle, racing pilot, was selected for leadership (a great film biography is shown).

2--Special Aviation Project Number One:
17th Bombardment Group provides Doolittle the volunteers and planes needed for an extremely hazardous mission. Experts explain how B-25s were stripped to lighten, enabling added fuel capacity. Eglin Field, FL, training presented by testimony and film. Of course, during the actual mission, plans had to change.

3--The Target of This Task Force Is Tokyo:
While crossing the Pacific, the raiders are informed of their target and more about the difficulty & risk. Striking Tokyo & returning was almost suicidal--and then matters worsened on April 18, 1942. Planes launched 200 miles early. 55 on 11 planes parachuted into China. One plane was forced to Russia.

4--The Legacy:
All the planes successfully dropped payloads on intended targets, but all with too little fuel to land and rendezvous in safety. The US had indeed accomplished a surprise attack on Japan, but each plane was on its own finding a landing means. 8 POWs, of which 3 executed, 1 died in a cell. 3 died from landing injuries. 13 entire crews returned. All planes lost.

Enlightening war documentary, and spellbinding history.
More of Doolittle Raid in Narrow Escapes of World War II, along with a dozen other harrowing episodes.
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on April 14, 2014
Recently I had occasion to teach a class to some university age students. During this class I brought up the name Winston Churchill. The students knew virtually nothing about this great politician and World War II leader. It reminded me that historical events like World War II – arguably the single most important event of the 20th-Century — are little-known to many generations of young people today.

That is precisely why DVD releases like the one under consideration here are so important.

MISSIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAR: THE DOOLITTLE RAID is as good as any WWII-era documentary I’ve ever seen and superior to most. It has the perfect blend of narrative, archival footage, interviews both vintage and contemporary, and well-placed and unobtrusive re-enactments. I knew the basics of the story, but the details! Everything from the close calls so many of the 80 volunteers airmen faced to the eccentric touches such as painting a couple of broomsticks black and setting them up to look like a tail gun (the real tail gun having been removed due to issues of weight).

This four episode documentary has no pretensions about its purpose. This is to-the-point, well-balanced, dramatically interesting storytelling of one of the most important U.S. military operations of the Second World War.

There is sufficient examination of Jimmy Doolittle the man to understand what drove him to be the only person considered capable of planning and executing this crucial mission. Doolittle was a great American hero, though not without flaws: he praised the Apartheid system of government in South Africa in the 1960s, for example. Nonetheless it is the portrayal of Doolittle as a real human being that makes his story so compelling. Convinced the mission had failed because all the planes were lost after the raid, Doolittle had no idea what was in store for him or the other raiders if and when they returned home safely.

The program’s sense of authenticity and solid research is anchored in Gary Sinise’s superb narration. Sinise is a worthy contributor to this program. He started The Gary Sinise Foundation several years ago, a charity that supports the work of America’s “defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.” ([...]) His narration is a text book example of how to do documentary narration right.

Also of great interest is the contribution of the handful of surviving Doolittle raiders who, now all in their nineties, give that important first-hand account that benefit all historical documentaries.

THE DOOLITTLE RAID’s four episodes are titled “The Call To War”; “Special Aviation Project Number One”; “The Target Of This Task Force Is Tokyo”; and “The Legacy”. There are surprises in every episode that help make this program one of those rare gems you just can’t turn off.

For those of you who, like me, were familiar with the bombing raid only from the excellent Spencer Tracy film “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”, you’ll be immediately drawn into MISSIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAR: THE DOOLITTLE RAID. It’s war documentary as it should be: informative, enlightening, entertaining and thrilling.
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on April 15, 2013
This historical event has largely been relegated to a footnote rather than the truly incredible effect it had on every American at that time and how it impacted the senior officials in Japan. The event truly changed the complexion of the war. I personally identify with the last Four of the Raiders because I have personally met them and chatted with them. I am so glad I had the opportunity to speak to such heroes and to ask them about their amazing mission. Every American should see this video and treasure it forever.
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on March 22, 2013
If you watched this series on television, you know it was well done.

These DVDs, of course, include all of the material that was aired but also a lot more.

This will be a great addition to your library.
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on March 6, 2015
Great historic information. Well put together and thought provoking. We couldn't stop watching it. We will watch it over and over again.
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on June 21, 2016
Incredible story and well presented - the story is poignant on its own, but the film is wonderfully done.
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on May 17, 2015
I enjoyed every minute of it. A very detailed y adpect of the mission.account of ever
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on August 22, 2014
very interesting
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on January 7, 2014
My husband liked it, he was just a little disappointed in the lack of actual war footage. Also, the beginning of both DVDs was exactly the same. I think he was just hoping for more.
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