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Brad Pitt’s Fury Deserves a Second Look


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Summary

  • Fury
    is a brutal movie about the horrors of war that follows the American tank
    Fury
    and its crew during World War II.
  • The film draws inspiration from a real memoir but is not a true story, although it accurately portrays the experiences of American tankers during the war.
  • The attention to detail in
    Fury
    is impressive, with real tanks, maps, uniforms, and weapons used to create an authentic environment for the film.


Fury is a brutal movie about the horrors of war. Now streaming on Netflix, the film originally premiered in theaters in 2014. The film follows a World War II M4 Sherman American tank, nicknamed Fury, under the command of Staff Sergeant Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), who’s part of the U.S. Second Armored Division. His crew includes gunner Boyd “Bible” Swan (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis (Jon Bernthal), driver Trini “Gordo” Garcia (Michael Peña), and assistant driver/ gunner Norman “Machine” Ellison (Logan Lerman). Woefully unprepared for the horrors of war due to his limited training as a typist clerk, Norman/Machine joins the group after the previous assistant driver/gunner is killed in battle, which kicks off the catalyst of the film.



Filled with flawed, off-putting men, except for a few, the film highlights what war eventually does to those who are forced to live with it all around them for years. While Fury doesn’t seek to make excuses for the abhorrent behavior of its characters, it most definitely urges the audience to understand how the environment of war ultimately influenced such actions. Much like Norman/Machine, the audience is almost immediately repelled by Fury’s crew. However, once it’s clear just how much the crew has actually been through, it’s hard not to empathize with them and understand how they evolved in such a way. Given the importance of Fury’s narrative, the film undoubtedly deserves a second look ten years after its initial theatrical release.


Is Fury Based on a True Story?

fury

Fury

Release Date
October 15, 2014

Runtime
134


Although inspired by the real events of World War II and American tankers, Fury itself is not a true story, at least not entirely. The film draws inspiration from an anecdote in the 1998 memoir by Belton Y. Cooper titled Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II, in which the author details his experiences during the war. Serving with the 3rd Armored Division during the war, Cooper was tasked with the recovery, repair, and maintenance of US tanks. He regularly traversed “the void,” a 50-mile-wide area between the front lines and US supply trains, to deliver loss reports that were too important to be sent via radio.


David Ayer, the film’s director, was clearly inspired by the book, given how much a singular story in Cooper’s memoir parallels the conclusion of Fury. Ayer utilized the story surrounding a US tank and its crew to create an entire narrative leading up to the film’s final climatic moment. While the characters throughout the film aren’t real people, they are based on a collection of people who fought as American tankers during WWII. Ayer brilliantly used the anecdote from the book as a jumping-off point in order to tell a broader story about American tankers during the war. As such, no matter the year, the film is one worth watching.


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Was a Real Tank Used in Fury?


The attention to detail throughout the film is astounding, which makes it a timeless World War II movie. Real tanks were used in the film, as well as real maps, authentic uniforms, and authentic weapons, which made a difference when creating the necessary environment for a fake war while telling such a story.


The film has a slew of real tanks, including the last surviving operational Tiger I, the Tiger 131. Not since They Were Not Divided, a movie from 1950, has a real Tiger tank been used onscreen. Lent by The Tank Museum in Bovington, England, the film also used ten M4 Sherman tanks, including an M4A2E8 HVSS Sherman tank that was used to portray the main Fury tank. Given the accuracy the film strove to achieve with its portrayal of tanks and other aspects of WWII, the film deserves a revisit a decade after its initial release.


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What Happens at the End of Fury?


Fury isn’t the kind of movie in which spoilers necessarily ruin the experience of the film. That being said, skip the following two paragraphs to remain spoiler-free. The end of the film is obviously a tragic one. After receiving orders to hold a vital crossroads to protect the division’s vulnerable rear lines, Fury and the rest of the other tanks are ambushed by a German tanker. Before Fury can defeat their enemy, the Nazis wipe out the entire platoon. With the radio destroyed in battle, Don/Wardaddy has no way of contacting anyone for reinforcements. As such, the crew decide to continue and complete their mission alone.


While en route, Fury hits a landmine and is unable to move. Don/Wardaddy sends Norman/Machine to scout the area while they attempt to fix the tank. He immediately spots an SS battalion headed straight for them. Rather than run, the crew decide to hold their ground and fight the Nazis.


After they disguise Fury to appear abandoned, the SS battalion inspects the tank, which causes a battle to ensue. The entire crew, barring Norman/Machine, are eventually killed, but not before taking out a slew of German soldiers. Norman/Machine survives by escaping through the tank’s bottom hatch at the behest of Don/Wardaddy and hides in the dirt until he’s discovered by Allied forces the following morning. Although hailed as a hero, he is clearly confused by such a notion. He’s carted away by medics, unable to avert his eyes from Fury as he leaves his fallen comrades behind. Fury is currently streaming on Netflix.

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