The World Wars is a three-part (later six-part), six-hour event miniseries by the History Channel that premiered on Monday 26 May 2014 (Memorial Day), airing for three consecutive nights.
Narrated by Jeremy Renner, the documentary series features a mix of dramatic reenactments, archival stills and footage, and interviews with historians and authors alongside current and former prominent political figures such as:
- Former US Senator John McCain from Arizona;
- Former US General and Secretary of State Colin Powell;
- Former British prime minister John Major;
- Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti;
- Former US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta;
- Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband; and
- Many more.
According to the History Channel, the miniseries “showcase(s) the thirty year period that changed the course of human history”, documenting both World Wars and the interwar era in a continuous timeline from 1914 to 1945. The series takes a personality-driven approach, focusing on some of the key players of World War II (Hitler, Mussolini, Patton, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt), and chronicling how their experiences as younger men in the First World War shaped them into the leaders they became in World War II.
The series features two actors for each of the main characters, one young (during WWI) and one older (during World War II and its lead-up).
- Winston Churchill – Ian Beyts.
- Young Churchill – Tom Vickers.
- Charles De Gaulle – Don Meehan.
- Young De Gaulle – Michael Perrie.
- Adolf Hitler – Hugh Scully.
- Young Hitler – Maximilian Klas.
- Douglas MacArthur – Dan Berkey.
- Young MacArthur – Prescott Hathaway.
- Benito Mussolini – Jonathan Hartman.
- Young Mussolini – Nabil Vinas.
- George S. Patton – Don Hartman.
- Young Patton – Matt Dearman.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Dino Gigaliano.
- Young Roosevelt – Kevin McKillip.
- Joseph Stalin – Joseph Scott Barbarino.
- Young Stalin – Jacopo Rampini.
- Hideki Tojo – Isao Ota.
- Young Tojo – Koji Oshashi.
- Vladimir Lenin – C. Conrad Cady.
- Bernard Montgomery – Joe Bevilacqua.
- Harry S. Truman – David Mitchum Brown.
- Woodrow Wilson – Judd Bankert.
- George Marshall – Sewell Whitney.
- An extended version of the series, divided into six episodes with never before seen footage, was subsequently broadcast on H2 and in more than 160 countries on 22 to 24 June 2014.
- On 09 September 2014, the miniseries was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats.
- The two-disc includes English subtitles and bonus material, such as deleted scenes of over an hour of footage cut from the original US broadcast; “Characters In Depth” of Churchill, Stalin, Truman, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Hitler; and 10 featurettes on both wars.
- UltraViolet digital copies of each episode were also included.
The World Wars Series
- Original Series (26 to 28 May 2014):
- Episode 01: Trial by Fire.
- Episode 02: A Rising Threat.
- Episode 03: Never Surrender.
During the expanded re-airings during June, instead of three episodes, the series was split into six episodes.
- Expanded Version (22 to 24 June 2014):
Production & Filming Details
- Narrator(s): Jeremy Renner.
- Director(s): John Ealer.
- Producer(s): Stephen David, Russ McCarroll, Paul Cabana, Elaine Frontain Bryant, Christian Murphy, Brian Burstein, David C. White, Tim W. Kelly, and Randy Counsman.
- Writer(s): David C. White, John Ealer, Alec Michod, Chelsea Coates, Jordan Rosenblum, and David Schaye.
- Music: The 13 Brotherhood.
- Cinematography: Roger Chingirian.
- Editor(s): Tim W. Kelly and Jonathan Soule.
- Production: Stephen David Entertainment.
- Distributor(s):History Channel and H2.
- Release Date: 26 May 2004 to 28 May 2004 (original series) and 22 June 2014 to 24 June 2014 (expanded series).
- Running time: 60 minutes (per episode, original series).
- Country: US.
- Language: English.