World War II: When Lions Roared (1994)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

World War II: When Lions Roared Photos

Movie Info

This made-for-TV historical drama focuses on the sometimes uneasy alliances between three of the world's great leaders -- Franklin D. Roosevelt (John Lithgow), Winston Churchill (Bob Hoskins), and Joseph Stalin (Michael Caine) -- as they met in 1943 for the Tehran Conference, in which they discussed the Allied drive against Germany and the possible postwar relationship between the three nations. With all dialogue for the three principle characters drawn from transcripts and reporting of the event, Then There Were Giants was first aired as a two-part miniseries; it was later released on home video under the title World War II: When Lions Roared.
Drama , Television
Directed By:
Written By:
Gideon Productions


Michael Caine
as Joseph Stalin
John Lithgow
as Franklin D. Roosevelt
Bob Hoskins
as Winston Churchill
Ed Begley Jr.
as Harry Hopkins
Jan Triska
as Vyacheslav Molotov

Critic Reviews for World War II: When Lions Roared

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Audience Reviews for World War II: When Lions Roared


Let us put the war aside, and enter into the theater. Every enlisted man will cringe, and every officer will take some advice from this work of high art. HBO might have to close the shop if they want to out pace this poetic officer's club marvel. Suppose you are a mechanic, or even a doctor treating the sick, you will want to see the truth of actions which made these events. But then if you are a member of model UN in jr high. If you aspire to throw the fates of others into deeds upon fancy as a senator or president. IF YOU HAVE A HEART AND ASPIRE TO BE IN THE FABLED 1 % this piece of theater will help shape you into a person capable of command, given you are a person capable of command by greater command. Enjoy. Learn. Mimic. Don't smoke so much.

Dastreagus Letobeiter
Dastreagus Letobeiter

I love American history as well as learning of its involvement in the world, whether it be through politics, war or aid. This TV movie felt too much like other films of its kind. I didn't feel the weight of the events occurring onscreen, and some of the visual effects, such as layering part of the screen with Stalin while the rest is taken up by Churchill to be rather galling. As for the performances of the leads, they weren't embarrassing, but I'm sure Michael Caine probably doesn't hold his performance as Stalin to be one of the highlights of his career. Lithgow seems to be reading his lines rather than embodying FDR, and Hoskins wants to be a little too dramatic. A great disappointment given the awards it won at the time of its release.

Luke W
Luke W

I'm a bit of a WW2 buff so I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I'll get my complaints out of the way first. I know star power drives the entertainment industry, I'm aware that magical star dust must be sprinkled on everything, but I think it is a mistake to cast well-known actors as historical figures. John Lithgow is just too well known to pull of a convincing FDR. He's John Lithgow, for crying out loud, and I seen him in "The World According to Garp" dressed up as a woman. Now, I'd rather not picture FDR as a woman, but I can't help it, and it's weird. Michael Caine, who I'm pretty sure dressed up like a woman in one of his pictures, is a little stiff playing Stalin but, hey, it's Stalin! What are you going to do? Stalin makes for a much funnier woman though, you have to give him that. Bob Hoskins. Well, I thought he was too short to play Churchill, he's like a smidget, but according to a reputable looking web site, Churchill only stood 5' 6". (Hmm. Who knew?) Anyway, I don't remember Hoskins ever in drag, but I'm not a recognized expert in his oeuvre. What I would say is that Churchill dressed up as a woman would look just like Queen Victoria. They're like dead ringers, right? Anyway it's not that these actors aren't good, Hoskins is especially good, I just think lesser known actors wouldn't be as distracting, especially when playing such big figures. It's one less thing to think about, instead of wondering how tall Churchill was or what he would look like with lipstick. But that's just me. This teleplay really does get into the heads of the three. Apparently it is based nearly verbatim on the correspondences with each other, and it certainly comes off as authentic. There is an odd structure to this in which the characters talk to each other directly, instead of through cables, even when they are geographically oceans apart. It's surreal at first, but you get used to it and you couldn't really have a movie with just three guys reading letters, right? This is good and I recommend it. I think it made me smarter. I feel smarter.

Clark Bowman
Clark Bowman

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