There have been thousands of discussions on Facebook and articles circling the world wide web fiercely defending why Band of Brothers or The Pacific is legions better than the other however… Can you really compare the two just for the sake of arguement or having a no. 1 or no. 2? In our humble opinion there’s is no way comparing Band of Brothers with the Pacific (and the other way around ofcourse) since both have their unique way of story telling.
Biggest difference between the series are A: Band of Brothers covers roughly 1-2 years of a sole company into the whole series bringing the story and daily-life of the major players of this company, whilst B: The Pacific covers circa 5 years following an entire division and focuses on three subjects Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge and John Basilone. Two of the episodes are dedicated to Basilone. Making a comparison already difficult.
First of, Band of Brothers is based on the history of a single company and its men during World War II on the Western Front, in particular “Easy Company”, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles”. The miniseries, based on the novel by Stephen Ambrose, won the hearts of most viewers by one of the most sympathetic military characters seen in any series.. That of Dick Winters. His character was so brilliantly played and portrayed by Damian Lewis in the miniseries, grabbing many viewers, that Band of Brothers already solely became unique in this matter. Whilst The Pacific certainly had various great actors around portraying Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge, and John Basilone, there’s simply no match for Damian Lewis’ excellent performance portraying Dick Winters. What also grabbed many viewers after watching Band of Brothers, was not solely the story or the action that the series bring but the humble, honest Winters himself recalling memories of that time and quoting one of the most famous phrases that almost any viewer will still recall:
“One day my grandson said to me, grandpa were you a hero in the war? And I said to him: no, I’m not a hero, but I have served in a company full of them.”
All characters share a compelling stories. Who can’t remember the infamous Ronald Speirs? The grabbing comradery, daily life and stories of William Guernare, Carwood Lipton, Warren H. Muck, Joseph Liebgott, Eugene Roe, Randleman and all others… Not forgetting about Herbert Sobel, who for certain, will have angered a big part of the viewers during the series.
Both series share – for sure – equally beautiful theme music. “Main Titles of Band Brothers” produced by Michael Kamen is just haunting whilst “Honor”, theme music of The Pacific, which was produced by one of the most famous composers Hans Zimmer, is incredible motivating and strong.
“War is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste… The only redeeming factors were my comrades’ incredible bravery and their devotion to each other. Marine Corps training taught us to kill efficiently and to try to survive. But it also taught us loyalty to each other – and love. That espirit de corps sustained us.” ― Eugene B. Sledge
The Pacific showed us viewers, a way more detailed graphic reality of war during the war in the Pacific in particular the bloody, gruesome fightings on Okinawa and Iwo Jima. However, there’s also a difference here. Whilst the pain and war doesn’t change per continent and is shared on all battlefields, the Allied forces on the Pacific Islands saw and endured a much different method of fighting against the Japanese soldiers than the Allied forces fighting the Germans on the Western Front. The ways war were fought on the Eastern Front (Germans on the Eastern Front vs. the Soviet Union) and the Allied forces in the Pacific were much ‘more brutal’ and lacked ‘more’ humanity than anywhere else. Much more war crimes and cruelty was committed on these fronts than all others. The Soviet Union never signed the Geneva Convetion whilst Japan did, however Japan never ratified it. In many last hopes, the Japanese forces would commit continious suicide attacks on the Allied forces or booby trap themselves as depicted in the Pacific miniseries. The Pacific definitely showed the toll on the human psyche.
Below are two videos, one from Band of Brothers and the other one from The Pacific. Although both show combat and the reality of war, after watching these (and don’t just look at the action), you’ll see the big difference between Band of Brothers and The Pacific and why you can’t compare them on a rank list.
Band of Brothers showed the unique bond between comrades and a single unit, giving viewers a realistic view from bootcamp to the last day of war and what the men went through. The Pacific gave the viewers a clear, non-romantized version of the cruelty of war and what it takes on the human psyche. My only wish for The Pacific would’ve been that there were either more episodes or longer episodes on the Battle of Okinawa, where both forces took a massive toll in casualties and ruthless fighting.
In a way, both series can be related to Saving Private Ryan. The first unique, unmatched, overwhelming, gruesome minutes of Saving Private Ryan when the soldiers storm the beaches and are hailed by mortar fire and MG fire depict the miniseries The Pacific however, the whole story and everything that happens after storming the beaches and what happens with the men of the small rescue force, shows us what Band of Brothers is about.
Viewer tip: There’s another miniseries that’s also unique and can’t be compared to another miniseries, which is Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (Generation War). More unique because this is from the German point of view and follows four friends throughout the war. A definite must-watch.