Five Came Back: Miniseries (2017)

Five Came Back

Critics Consensus

Five Came Back tells an inspiring story to captivating effect, offering viewing that should appeal to historians and film buffs in equal measure.



Critic Ratings: 39


Audience Score

User Ratings: 139
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Air date: Mar 31, 2017
Air date: Mar 31, 2017
Air date: Mar 31, 2017

Tv Season Info

This docuseries explores the actions of five filmmakers who left Hollywood to serve in World War II.

News & Interviews for Five Came Back: Miniseries

Critic Reviews for Five Came Back Miniseries

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (17)

Five Came Back is, in the end, a compelling examination of propaganda-its purpose, its effectiveness, and its drawbacks.

May 16, 2017 | Full Review…

That, really, is the point. Five Came Back is tailor-made for film aficionados.

May 16, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Five Came Back is nothing less than a masterpiece

Apr 3, 2017 | Full Review…

A cinephile and historian's dream come true.

Apr 3, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Making a documentary informative is tricky on its own, but making it as informative as well as thrilling as Five Came Back is truly an incredible feat.

Oct 31, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

As informative and captivating as all the material on display here is, it rushes by far too quickly. This could be seen as a positive: so engrossing is Five Came Back that you won't believe how quickly it's over.

Dec 28, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

... the miniseries excels at demonstrating how the war altered its subjects, and how their work overseas continued to change the world for decades after the fighting had ceased.

Sep 21, 2017 | Full Review…

[It] gives us hope a truism exists - that in the worst of times, real news triumphs over fake.

Jun 23, 2017 | Full Review…

A film buff's film, a grand creation of American mythology and a slick, entertaining, informative work.

Jul 31, 2019 | Full Review…

This reviewer found the three hours uplifting, informative, upsetting and well worth it.

May 18, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Five Came Back: Miniseries

  • Apr 09, 2018
    Superb documentary series. During World War 2 several movie directors joined the US armed forces, making documentary films of the war. These included five of the greatest directors, not just of that era, but of all time: Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler and George Stevens. They had a great impact on the war, and the war had an impact on them, not only during the conflict but in their subsequent cinematic careers. Superb documentary series. The five directors covered in the series are legends of cinema. By the ends of their careers they would, between them, win 14 Oscars and be nominated 50 times (Capra 2 wins, 6 nominations, Ford 4/6, Huston 2/15, Wyler 3/14, Stevens 3/9). Between then they would ultimately direct six Best Picture Oscar winners (It Happened One Night, You Can’t Take It With You, How Green Was My Valley, Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years Of Our Lives, Ben Hur). However, from 1942 to 1945 most of their time was spent helping the war effort, directing some brilliant, relevant and inspiring documentaries. These were not shot from behind a desk but out in the thick of it – Ford was wounded at the Battle of Midway, a cameraman of Wyler’s was killed in aerial combat while filming The Memphis Belle and Wyler himself lost his hearing while filming the film Thunderbolt. This documentary series shows well how the five of them contributed, often having to fight and manipulate their own War Department to have their films released, or, at least, not tampered with. The personal sacrifices, mentioned previously are also well documented. Most emotionally, the effects of the war on the five of them are examined. They all came back changed men, including in their movie-making styles and careers. The interviews with five present-day directors – Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Paul Greengrass, Guillermo Del Toro and Laurence Kasdan – help frame the contributions of the five and translate their work for us to understand. Good narration by Meryl Streep, adding the right amount of gravitas to proceedings. Great documentary on five extraordinary film-makers. Makes for emotional watching for any lover of the silver screen.
  • Jul 22, 2017
    I haven't ever cried like I did at the end of this. Excellent.
  • Jul 01, 2017
    Uma aula de história e de cinema. O terceiro episódio traz lágrimas aos olhos de qualquer pessoa apaixonada pela sétima arte. O que esses 5 homens fizeram foi incrível! Obrigado #Netflix
  • Apr 23, 2017
    An absolute must for fans of war history, the U.S.A., the military, filmmaking...or all of the above.
  • Apr 05, 2017
    Good/great throughout, and if the montage at the end doesn't floor you, then you're dead inside.
  • Apr 04, 2017
    Even in the first episode, there were times, when I felt an emotion that I do not feel often. That, feeling of synchronization with the terror that the men, women, and children endured in the early days of the war. The feeling that the Nazis were indeed unstoppable , as pervasive as it was, and the little power the directors had that was but a glimmer of what was to come in the fight they faced. The decision to have such monumental men as Speilberg and Del Toro narrate and describe the lives of these men, as only their equals could, is a touch that gives the documentary more than validation. It gives it Life.
  • Apr 02, 2017
    one of the best Netflix original documentaries! a mini series about five iconic filmmakers (John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, George Stevens) and their legacy in close relation to WWII, from the perspective of five other present-day filmmakers (Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Paul Greengrass, Lawrence Kasdan). narrated by Meryl Streep.
  • Apr 01, 2017
    A Must-See Tv Series for every filmmakers who want to give a purpose to their job. Life is not just having a cool camera or knowing how to do a wonderful dolly. Making films is heart, experience, pain and love.

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