Just last week author Mark Harris announced his latest project on twitter: a Netflix docuseries based on his book about Hollywood and World War II. Today Netflix has officially announced the project with the first trailer for a series cinephiles and history buffs will want to clear their calendars for.
Five Came Back is an three-part docuseries based on Harris’ best-seller of the same name. It examined how the Second World War changed the film industry through the lens of five legendary directors who went to war to film in combat zones, John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Narrated by none other than Meryl Streep, the series features interviews with Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Lawrence Kasdan, and Paul Greengrass who each discuss the five filmmakers and how their work helped show America the realities of war.
The series is directed by Laurent Bouzereau, whose most recent credit was the behind-the-scenes doc of The Force Awakens, and features over 100 hours of archival and news footage. “It became clear as we were doing this series that the past was re-emerging in some ways,” the director said in a press release, “including the line we see that separates cinema that exists for entertainment and cinema that carries a message.”
Even better news is that with the release of Five Came Back Netflix will also add 13 film documentaries discussed in the series to their streaming service. Netflix members can look forward to watching Ford’s 1942 short doc The Battle of Midway, Wyler’s 1944 doc The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, Huston’s 1943 doc Report from the Aleutians, Capra’s Oscar nominated The Battle of Russia, Stevens’ 1945 doc Nazi Concentration Camps, and Stuart Heisler’s The Negro Soldier, which was selected for the National Film Registry. Five Came Back hits Netflix on March 31.