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The Winds of War (miniseries)

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Title: The Winds of War (miniseries)  
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Subject: Cultural depictions of Winston Churchill, A Rumor of War (miniseries), 35th Primetime Emmy Awards, The Last Days of Pompeii (miniseries), Concealed Enemies
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The Winds of War (miniseries)

The Winds of War (miniseries)
Promotional image
Genre Historical novel-based
Created by Dan Curtis
Written by Herman Wouk
Directed by Dan Curtis
Starring Robert Mitchum
Ali MacGraw
Jan-Michael Vincent
John Houseman
Narrated by William Woodson
Theme music composer Bob Cobert
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 7
Producer(s) Dan Curtis
Editor(s) John F. Burnett
Bernard Gribble
Jack Tucker
Peter Zinner
Location(s) Germany
United Kingdom
United States
Cinematography Charles Correll and Stevan Larner, ASC
Running time 883 minutes
Production company(s) Paramount Television
Jadran Film
Distributor Paramount Television
Original channel ABC (US)
Original run February 6, 1983 (1983-02-06) – February 13, 1983 (1983-02-13)
Followed by War and Remembrance

The Winds of War is a 1983 miniseries that follows the book of the same name by Herman Wouk. Just as in the book, in addition to the lives of the Henry and Jastrow families, much time in the miniseries is devoted to the major global events of this period. Adolf Hitler and the German military staff with the fictitious general Armin von Roon as a major character is a prominent subplot of the miniseries. Winds of War also includes segments of documentary footage narrated by William Woodson to explain major events and important characters.[1]

According to the DVD-featurette "From Novel to Television," The Winds of War became a smashing television success, and a US national television event as never seen before. It was followed by a sequel War and Remembrance in 1988, also directed by Dan Curtis.[2]


The film follows the plot of Wouk's novel closely, depicting events from March 1939 until the entry of the United States into World War II in December 1941.

The almost 15 hour long series was shown by ABC in seven parts over seven evenings, between February 6 and February 13, 1983,[3] and attracted an average of 80 million viewers per night.[4]

Part Title Original air date
1 "The Winds Rise" February 6, 1983 (February 6, 1983)
2 "The Storm Breaks" February 7, 1983 (February 7, 1983)
3 "Cataclysm" February 8, 1983 (February 8, 1983)
4 "Defiance" February 9, 1983 (February 9, 1983)
5 "Of Love and War" February 10, 1983 (February 10, 1983)
6 "Changing of the Guard" February 11, 1983 (February 11, 1983)
7 "Into the Maelstrom" February 13, 1983 (February 13, 1983)

Main cast


Film production in Vienna in 1981

Author Herman Wouk was very negative and skeptical about a motion picture adaptation of his beloved and scrupulously researched novel, since he was most displeased with several earlier adaptations of his novels. But in 1983, Winds of War eventually became a successful mini-series on the ABC television network, directed by Dan Curtis. Herman Wouk himself wrote the teleplay for the series and had considerable influence on the production itself, and gave detailed instructions on what and how many commercials would be allowed. Wouk also has a cameo as the archbishop of Siena. The music with its famous main theme was composed by Bob Cobert, a composer often associated with Curtis. Nazi concentration camp-survivor Branko Lustig was an associate producer in the miniseries, and also on Schindler's List.[5]

  • The series consists of 7 episodes, has a runtime of 14 hours 40 minutes (episodes ranged from one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours). The script was almost 1000 pages. The estimated budget was very large for its time, about $35 million (about $75 million in 2010 dollars).
  • The Paramount production made use of battle scenes from other films during the attack scene on Pearl Harbor, including scenes from Tora! Tora! Tora!
  • The OpsRoom at RAF Uxbridge from which the Battle of Britain fighter defences were commanded, is only rarely made available to the public. Producers managed to get permission to film there.


The show was a success throughout America and was widely received as a well done series, honoring the show with many accolades, including Golden Globe nominations and various Emmy wins (Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or a Special, Outstanding Individual Achievement - Costumers , and Outstanding Individual Achievement - Special Visual Effects) and nominations.[6]


  1. ^ Winds of War at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ The Winds of War, DVD-featurette.
  3. ^ - episode listThe Winds of WarIMDb: Linked 2013-08-27
  4. ^ Winds of WarDVD Talk: Linked 2013-08-27
  5. ^ The Winds of War, DVD-featurette.
  6. ^ IMDb, Awards section.

External links

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