Is Band of Brothers based on a true story?

Eion Bailey as Webster in Band of BrothersHBO

Band of Brothers might now be on Netflix, but is the acclaimed war drama actually based on a true story?

Band of Brothers first aired on HBO in 2001, to immediate critical and commercial acclaim. The show topped the ratings, and also won both the Golden Globe, and Emmy, for best mini-series.

Created by powerhouse pair Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the show featured recognizable actors like Ron Livingston, Donnie Wahlberg, Dexter Fletcher, and David Schwimmer. But it also helped launch the careers of multiple stars, including Damian Lewis, Colin Hanks, Simon Pegg, and Tom Hardy.

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So where did the inspiration for the show come from?

Is Band of Brothers based on a true story?

Yes, Band of Brothers is based on a true story. It dramatizes the WWII experience of the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, who were also known as Easy Company.

The 10-part series charts their journey from training in the United States through to action in Europe, with the DVD notes describing Easy Company as “parachuting into France early on D-Day morning, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and capturing Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgarten.”

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Meaning pretty much everyone in that cast is playing a real-life character. Some of them appear via contemporary talking head interviews.

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The show is drawn from conversations with Easy Company survivors, as well as journals and letters written by the soldiers. Band of Brothers is also an adaptation of Stephen E. Ambrose’s 1992 non-fiction book of the same name.

What is the Band of Brothers book about?

Now featuring a foreward by Tom Hanks to celebrate the book’s 25th anniversary, here’s the official synopsis for the source material:

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“In Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose pays tribute to the men of Easy Company, a crack rifle company in the US Army. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the dangerous parachute landings on D-Day and their triumphant capture of Hitler’s ‘Eagle’s Nest’ in Berchtesgaden, Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. Repeatedly sent on the toughest missions, these brave men fought, went hungry, froze, and died in the service of their country.”

The title comes from the St. Crispin’s Day speech in William Shakespeare’s Henry V, with that passage appearing on the book’s first page, and in the series, where it’s said by Carwood Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg).

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Band of Brothers is streaming on Netflix now. You can check out our other coverage here and our Netflix hub here.