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4.6 out of 5 stars 928 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

DISC 2: Day of Days / Point of No Return / Striking Distance / Glory and Guts

DISC 3: Edge of the Abyss / End Game / Bonus

Disclaimer - Program shot and mastered in High Definition. Presented on standard definition DVD that will play in any standard definition DVD Player

Special Features

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


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)

Special Features

Character profiles
Behind-the-scenes featurettes: Finding the Footage, Preserving the Footage
Program shot and mastered in high definition. Presented on standard-definition DVD that will play in any standard-definition DVD player.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Sinise, Justin Bartha, Rob Lowe, Josh Lucas, Steve Zahn
  • Directors: Frederic Lumiere, Matthew Ginsburg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A & E Television Networks
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 455 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (928 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,652 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "WWII in HD (DVD)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Blu-ray
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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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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Format: Blu-ray
As a student of history and especially World War II history: this set of programs will educate those knowing the least to those knowing the most.

The cost is such that it is a good value. It would also make a great gift for most.

The stories told by the actors adds a nice element to the overall presentation as well.

What detracts from this program is the editing of the program. It is simply too fast-paced for people of "all" ages.

I can see the younger generations more accepting of the production values and fancy graphics and all that jazz, so-to-speak. However, for say, the older person including those still left who actually fought in that conflict; it would be extremely difficult to remain focused all the time on the real story presented on these DVDs. This, despite the fact that some veterans of World War II are actually featured in this set of programs: I find it hard to imagine that they would be completely impressed with this program's production values.

The History Channel is leaning more towards this style of editing. Perhaps because the younger generation of film students that have now entered the workforce. I do not believe that gives license to exploit these techniques on the rest of the population in general.

A constant barrage of mostly 3 second film clips is simply too fast paced for too long a time for many to try to "learn" from these programs as well as being entertained by them.

This sadly, is where many in TV production are now falling short: by blurring the standards between education and entertainment; rather than enhancing them.

As others have stated, what remains as the definitive program is the 1974 epic, "The World At War". Buy "WWII in HD" for youngsters, borrow it from the library for the more mature.
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Format: DVD
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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