The Winds of War
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Polly Bergen plays unhappy wife Rhoda, who turns to A-bomb developer Palmer Kirby (Peter Graves) for comfort. Pug's 19-year-old daughter, Madeline (Lisa Eilbacher), defies her iron-willed dad's decision that she stay in school by taking a job for CBS radio in New York. Compliant son Warren (Ben Murphy) can't seem to get Pug's attention despite doing everything right (including becoming a Navy pilot, eventually present at the bombing of Pearl Harbor). By contrast, Pug spends more time fuming over black sheep son Byron (Jan-Michael Vincent), who is working in increasingly Fascist Italy as an assistant to an art historian (John Houseman) while trying hard to woo the latter's exasperating niece, Natalie (Ali MacGraw). The story of Byron and Natalie takes up much of The Winds of War as the pair traverse Poland during the shock of Hitler's 1939 assault, and Jewish Natalie later finds herself trapped inside Italy facing the threat of concentration camps. Before The Winds of War ends, each of these characters will end up in places and situations, and with historical figures (Churchill, Mussolini) as well as ordinary people, they would not have anticipated outside the pressures of war. The program's length and smart script allow for a lot of ideas and background detail that pull a viewer in--happily. --Tom Keogh
- The complete miniseries on six discs
- Making The Winds of War featurette
- A Novel for Television featurette
- Cast and Characters
- On Location featurette
Top Customer Reviews
I was anxious to make sure this DVD measured up, so I watched it with my old VHS playing at the same time, and switched back and forth occasionally on the remote to see the difference. It's nothing less than astonishing. The old Winds videos look unwatchable when compared to the new image, which probably looks as close as possible to the way it was shot.
This is, of course, a TV miniseries from 1983, long before anyone imagined the resolution of DVD, so it's not going to look perfect. Still, almost every time I switched to the VHS, then back, I literally said "wow." Colors are distinct and deep, details are sharp and the variously-colored hazes that afflicted most of the VHS are gone. Having only seen the series this way, the DVDs were a revelation. These discs represent what is best about DVD and its success, bringing a long-quiet catalog title back to life.
Although Paramount usually mixes new 5.1 audio tracks for their old films, with 15 hours of film here, they can't be blamed for leaving the existing mono tracks, which are certainly decent and don't detract at all from viewing the film. (I can't understand the other reviewer who gave the DVD set one star, largely because of the audio. Doesn't he understand how prohibitively expensive a new sound mix of that length, for such a complex series, would have been? We're very lucky with what we've got.)
Paramount also fixed some framing mistakes on the VHS edition. Large portions of episodes 5, 6 and 7 were noticeably off-center when compared to the re-aligned DVDs.Read more ›
Casting for Winds of War was perfect when it came to matching Wouk's characters. Despite the age differences Ali McGraw and Jan-Michael Vincent were absolutely perfect as the independent and fickle Natali Jastrow and the bull-headed Byron Henry. Robert Mitchum is the glue that holds the story together in a flawless performance as Victor "Pug" Henry, the man that meets everyone that is anyone in his role as a Naval Attache stationed in Berlin in the pre-World War II years. One of the best ever ensemble casts include stand-outperformances by Polly Bergen as Pug Henry's hard-drinking wife Rhoda, not to mention Topol, David Dukes, Victoria Tennant and John Houseman.
Winds of War has become a semi-annual event for our family. It is simply so entertaining that it never grows tiresome. The historical value alone makes it worth having in your home library.
Wouk wrote the script for the 1983 mini-series, directed by Dan Curtis, and one of the major strengths of "The Winds of War" is that it takes its time in telling the story of the Henrys and the Second World War (this would be even more true in the sequel, "War and Remembrance," which it seemed every episode had a great set piece). For example, in the second episode there is an extended sequence in which several main characters are caught up with American embassy personnel fleeing Warsaw during the German invasion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent in every way. The two books (videos) should be mandatory reading in high school and/or college. Lest we forget.Published 21 days ago by bobbysd1
Outstanding miniseries - one of the best of its time. They did a superb job of interweaving the global events of the day into the daily lives of a military family. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Matt
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