The War (2007)
1 user 2 critic

When Things Get Tough: January 1943 - December 1943 

Americans mobilize for total war at home and overseas. Factories hum around the clock, while in North Africa and then Italy, inexperienced GIs learn how to fight. Meanwhile, in the skies ... See full summary »


Ken Burns (co-director), Lynn Novick (co-director)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Keith David ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Olga Ciarlo Olga Ciarlo ... Herself - Sister of Corado Ciarlo
Katharine Phillips Katharine Phillips ... Herself - Resident of Mobile, Alabama
Ward Chamberlin Ward Chamberlin ... Himself - Resident of Connecticut
Charles Mann Charles Mann ... Himself - Resident of Luverne, Minnesota
Paul Fussell Paul Fussell ... Himself - Infantry
Clyde Odum Clyde Odum ... Himself - Resident of Mobile, Alabama
John Gray John Gray ... Himself - Resident of Mobile, Alabama
Emma Belle Pelcher Emma Belle Pelcher ... Herself - Resident of Mobile, Alabama
Sascha Weinzheimer Sascha Weinzheimer ... Herself - Resident of Sacramento Valley, California
Robert Kashiwagi Robert Kashiwagi ... Himself - Resident of Sacramento, California
Susumu Satow Susumu Satow ... Himself - Resident of Sacramento, California
Asako Tokuno Asako Tokuno ... Herself - Resident of Sacramento, California
Sam Hynes Sam Hynes ... Himself - Marine Pilot
Earl Burke Earl Burke ... Himself - Resident of Sacramento, California


Americans mobilize for total war at home and overseas. Factories hum around the clock, while in North Africa and then Italy, inexperienced GIs learn how to fight. Meanwhile, in the skies over Europe, thousands of American airmen gamble their lives against preposterous odds on daylight bombing missions. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

24 September 2007 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Florentine Films, WETA See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera). See more »


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User Reviews

Americans Get Behind The War Effort
20 October 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This wasn't as powerful as the opening 140-minute episode, but it was still worth watching, especially with some war action film that is just spectacular at times. My only complaint on this almost-two hour second episode was that it lagged in a few parts, going a little too long on a few interviews, one of them being a guy who spoke in a monotone. However, overall who can complain? Not me. I may not always think film maker Ken Burns is objective enough on certain issues but I almost always find his documentaries well worth viewing.

The thing that stuck in my mind most after watching this episode was the United States effort on the home front during World War II. I knew it was a unified and committed one, but I had no idea it was this concentrated. I couldn't believe how much effort went into World War II from the average American worker. The Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan producing a 1,500,000-part bomber every 63 minutes? That is incredible!

The story of Mobile, Alabama, was also unbelievable, too; how the town grew almost overnight to immense proportions due to some wartime industries there. The efforts of "Rosie The Riveter" and the long, long hours all U.S workers put in each week was truly remarkable. Burns did a great job showing us this.

On the war front, it was shocking to hear how unprepared we (Amercia) we were for ground combat, how badly we looked in Africa, until General George Patton came in and helped turned things around.

The bomber strikes over Germany featured some tremendous aerial photography.

As with Burns' Civl War documentary, there are some genuinely touching moments and you just ache for some of the people as they cope with losing sons and husbands in this war. I can't imagine the fear, tension and sadness so many felt during this period.

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