The Pacific : Season 1

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 14, 2010
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 204 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 24 out of 204

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User Reviews

  1. Aug 31, 2010
    4
    I had such high hopes for The Pacific after having watched Band of Brothers. I expected an intertwining storyline moving in a linear manner with high drama and a soulful look at the changes a man goes through living and fighting in a hellish war. What I received was an incoherent jumble of storylines mixing like oil and water with a love story inserted as a change of pace. DisappointingI had such high hopes for The Pacific after having watched Band of Brothers. I expected an intertwining storyline moving in a linear manner with high drama and a soulful look at the changes a man goes through living and fighting in a hellish war. What I received was an incoherent jumble of storylines mixing like oil and water with a love story inserted as a change of pace. Disappointing to say the least. Collapse
  2. Aug 7, 2010
    7
    Band of Brothers is clearly a very tough act to follow. The Pacific is not nearly as good, in part because it follows three different "lead characters", and you don't get that intimate connection that you did with the company in BoB. For some reason, I was also more interested in the stories told by the actual vets in BoB. But beyond just the entertainment value, these are amazingBand of Brothers is clearly a very tough act to follow. The Pacific is not nearly as good, in part because it follows three different "lead characters", and you don't get that intimate connection that you did with the company in BoB. For some reason, I was also more interested in the stories told by the actual vets in BoB. But beyond just the entertainment value, these are amazing individuals who put their lives on the line for the rest of us. I appreciate the historical document. Expand
  3. meh
    Aug 11, 2010
    5
    The Pacific is a ringing endorsement for meh. Not as riveting as its predecessor, Band of Brothers, but better than most war movies. Having to condense the entirety of the Pacific War into 10 episodes was too much in my opinion. Also, the jumping POV between the various characters made it difficult to follow.
  4. RandyP
    Apr 6, 2010
    8
    I was hyped for this series, huge fan of B.O.B you felt a connection with the cast and vets that were interviewed, but with the pacific i feel its not indepth and lacks any means of connection to the characters, am i the only one who feels the same? cinamatics are phnomanal but i just dont buy the characters, sorry.
  5. Jan 8, 2013
    2
    Bad acting, great special effects, and the story of the Marines in the Pacific Theater could be told by 5th graders and still be fascinating. However, and for whatever reason, the director decided to make the characters so cliche and the writers went waaay out of their way to try to exclude or minimize everything Army, and if that wasn't good enough, decided they needed to throw in a fewBad acting, great special effects, and the story of the Marines in the Pacific Theater could be told by 5th graders and still be fascinating. However, and for whatever reason, the director decided to make the characters so cliche and the writers went waaay out of their way to try to exclude or minimize everything Army, and if that wasn't good enough, decided they needed to throw in a few poorly written jabs as well. Obviously done in poor taste and there's not enough story to hold the narrative together as the characters get lost in the jumble and then sweeping boring lulls. Skip this one, stick to Band of Brothers. Expand
  6. Aug 22, 2010
    5
    The Pacific is definitely not Band of Brothers. The stories all seem separate from eachother and are rather dull. There is no spark between any of the characters. The battle scenes are amazing but I just didn't get gripped by the story like I did when watching Band of Brothers. Really the best part of the show was the opening theme song, and even that wasn't as good as what they hadThe Pacific is definitely not Band of Brothers. The stories all seem separate from eachother and are rather dull. There is no spark between any of the characters. The battle scenes are amazing but I just didn't get gripped by the story like I did when watching Band of Brothers. Really the best part of the show was the opening theme song, and even that wasn't as good as what they had for Band of Brothers. I was excited about The Pacific for a long time, but I had hoped for much better. Expand
  7. bobm
    Apr 12, 2010
    8
    Not as good as band of brothers as the stroyline is alot more harder to follow in the pacific. War scenes done incredibly well again as you would expect really of hanks and speilzberg. The general idear of the history of the pacfic warfare is portaryed very well, however the lack of outstanding acting as portrayed in band of brothers and the amazing dialougue the characters had in terms Not as good as band of brothers as the stroyline is alot more harder to follow in the pacific. War scenes done incredibly well again as you would expect really of hanks and speilzberg. The general idear of the history of the pacfic warfare is portaryed very well, however the lack of outstanding acting as portrayed in band of brothers and the amazing dialougue the characters had in terms of how they bonded and bounced off each other which the pacfic fails to supply. In conclusion the series is still a remarkable effort by HBO and a powerful drama as the war scenes are rightfully shown in gory detail in how the the pacific was thought and how the veterans are regarded as heroes in our eyes. Expand
  8. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    Fantastic, mainly for one reason: It's an original war story. It strays away from only showcasing the action in the war and spends time focusing on the characters in it and their journeys throughout the war.
  9. May 29, 2013
    10
    When this show first got announced, I knew Band of Brothers would be something very tough to surpass. Although the Pacific isn't better than BoB its is still an incredible movie/show to watch. On its own accord this film is great and is easily one of my favorite movie/shows of all time.
  10. Sep 9, 2010
    3
    Not interesting at all. Characters are boring cliches. Fights are so dark and poorly displayed that you wont see anything. The different fights are barely connected by background personal stories that are soooooo booooooring. A politically correct vision of the war at the pacific. Close to nationalist propaganda.
  11. lanceb
    Apr 12, 2010
    8
    I'm not quite enjoying the series (still ongoing) as much as I did Band of Brothers (which was perfect as far as I'm concerned), but The Pacific has still been quite a joyride.
  12. Arimack
    Apr 7, 2010
    6
    I so wanted to like this series. I own Band of Brothers and have read Sledge's book on which part of the series is based. Unfortunately is is clear early on that this is not in the same league as BoB. The issue comes not from the technical aspects of the series which if anything surpass some of BoB's best scenes. What is missing is the ensemble cast that flow thru the series and I so wanted to like this series. I own Band of Brothers and have read Sledge's book on which part of the series is based. Unfortunately is is clear early on that this is not in the same league as BoB. The issue comes not from the technical aspects of the series which if anything surpass some of BoB's best scenes. What is missing is the ensemble cast that flow thru the series and are ever present even when they are not the focus of the episode. I grew to care deeply about the ensemble of BoB. I am having a great deal of difficulty following even the leads in the Pacific. The ensemble supporting them is almost lost with little back story on any of them. That is where the Pacific fails. It does not follow a group who came together and fought across the war together. It follows three individuals, separately, as they struggle in the vast Pacific. The fact that they have to open each episode with a narrative of what is going on in the war, also shows the lack of a clear driving story behind the whole production. Sad because I so wanted to like this series. I will watch the whole thing...but I will not be happy about it. Expand
  13. MichaelB
    Mar 28, 2010
    4
    One single omission speaks volumes why the Pacific simply does not work.The most critical battle of the entire Pacific Campaign is not mentioned that being the Battle of Midway which put the Japanese on the defensive, losing 4 aircraft carriers. Without that epic victory Guadalcanal could never have been attempted. On virtually every level- acting, direction, editing and particularly One single omission speaks volumes why the Pacific simply does not work.The most critical battle of the entire Pacific Campaign is not mentioned that being the Battle of Midway which put the Japanese on the defensive, losing 4 aircraft carriers. Without that epic victory Guadalcanal could never have been attempted. On virtually every level- acting, direction, editing and particularly writing- The Pacific is substantially inferior to A Band of Brothers. The Battle of Guadalcanal was incoherently told at best. As for the Australia R&R episode please, this was stale and boring, lifted from a few hundred earlier war films. All in all a major disappointment. Expand
  14. Aug 28, 2010
    6
    Technically perfect, but more disjointed and much less engaging than the fantastic Band of Brothers. I could not make myself care for any of the characters and that kills everything, even the will to finish watching the last two episodes. It seems the story would function better if they ditched the idea of following the books and made a cast of composite characters (still true) who wouldTechnically perfect, but more disjointed and much less engaging than the fantastic Band of Brothers. I could not make myself care for any of the characters and that kills everything, even the will to finish watching the last two episodes. It seems the story would function better if they ditched the idea of following the books and made a cast of composite characters (still true) who would be with us all the way. Expand
  15. Sep 7, 2010
    9
    This is probably one of the best mini-series ever created, for the simple fact that it is a very powerful series. Not only does it tell about the war, but it also tells about the lives of the men.
  16. Apr 19, 2011
    9
    Hemos visto muchas series y películas de la segunda guerra mundial enfocadas en los eventos desarrollados en Europa, esta serie nos trae una imagen sorprendente y veraz de lo sucedido en el Pacífico entre Estados Unidos y Japon. Buen guíon, buenas actuaciones, espectacular montaje, vale la pena. Un buen complemento a esta serie es ver laHemos visto muchas series y películas de la segunda guerra mundial enfocadas en los eventos desarrollados en Europa, esta serie nos trae una imagen sorprendente y veraz de lo sucedido en el Pacífico entre Estados Unidos y Japon. Buen guíon, buenas actuaciones, espectacular montaje, vale la pena. Un buen complemento a esta serie es ver la película Letters from Iwo Jima Expand
  17. Nov 6, 2010
    5
    The fact is that the Pacific is not even close to being as good as Band of Brothers. For starters, the focus on the characters in The Pacific is disjointed and somewhat haphazard, resulting in the overall story itself lacking any feeling of cohesion, at least for the entire first half of the series. Secondly, aside from Sledge, the characters just aren't all that interesting, and theThe fact is that the Pacific is not even close to being as good as Band of Brothers. For starters, the focus on the characters in The Pacific is disjointed and somewhat haphazard, resulting in the overall story itself lacking any feeling of cohesion, at least for the entire first half of the series. Secondly, aside from Sledge, the characters just aren't all that interesting, and the half-baked attempts to show the families on the homefront falls completely flat. I was bored for the first several episodes, at least until they get to Peleliu. In sharp contrast with Band of Brothers, the audience simply doesn't have enough time to really get to know the characters and their stories, and the fact that the episodes themselves are shorter than those in B.o.B. only makes this problem worse. Overall, The Pacific is just plain disappointing. Do yourself a favor, read Sledge's book 'With the Old Breed' instead... best World War II novel ever written (makes the Naked and the Dead seem lazy and unrealistic in comparison). Expand
  18. Jan 17, 2011
    8
    Top-class entertainment that synthesizes all that's good about Hollywood. Stunning acting performances, superb dialogue and a well-written plot (with some minor exceptions, hence 9 instead of 10 for me)...and the score by Hans Zimmer is splendid!
  19. May 24, 2011
    9
    test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review test review
  20. Apr 19, 2012
    10
    Very powerful and moving series. Yes it lacks the character focus of BoB but that wasn't the point of the Pacific. No other war related movie or series comes close to showing the first person experience of battle and the toll it takes on everyone like this one. The Pacific's main focus was on the personal experiences of its characters and how it affected and changed them in a very dramaticVery powerful and moving series. Yes it lacks the character focus of BoB but that wasn't the point of the Pacific. No other war related movie or series comes close to showing the first person experience of battle and the toll it takes on everyone like this one. The Pacific's main focus was on the personal experiences of its characters and how it affected and changed them in a very dramatic and terrible way. Because of this its very dark and ominous. The cheerful reverence and respect to veterans that BoB gave is replaced by the dark, haunting feelings and experiences that would stay with the characters for the remainder of their lives. Viewers will really begin to understand why ww2 vets never liked talking about their experiences in battle and how it permanently changed their lives for the worse and those with similar experiences will understand very strongly what they're attempting to portray. Basically the Pacific says "war is hell" and it will haunt you for the rest of your life. The music plays a key role in depicting the feelings they experienced. So if you want to see through all the praise and hoopla given to war vets marching to "To the halls of Montezuma..." and see it all through their eyes I would recommend nothing other than this series. You will see how in the end every single one of them who experienced battle and survived had still in a way sacrificed their lives. They lost they're ability to live a normal life and had it replaced with one haunted by their past. In the end you will respect them so much more for what they did. Expand
  21. Aug 19, 2014
    8
    Less ambitious than Band of Brothers, but a whole lot darker, The Pacific is both a tragic and important reminder of the individuals caught between an international armed conflict and the home they yearn to see again.
  22. Jan 3, 2015
    9
    During the holidays I had some free time to watch television. I just finished watching the HBO Miniseries (on Amazon Prime) directed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg "The Pacific", a intertwined journey of three U.S. Marines in World War II. Sometimes a hard movie to watch due to to violence and killing but was a well invested 10 hours of TV time. I could not help but cry during someDuring the holidays I had some free time to watch television. I just finished watching the HBO Miniseries (on Amazon Prime) directed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg "The Pacific", a intertwined journey of three U.S. Marines in World War II. Sometimes a hard movie to watch due to to violence and killing but was a well invested 10 hours of TV time. I could not help but cry during some scenes, and more so at the end when I discovered the stories are true as the credits roll with the Marines real pictures and when they died and some still living. What strong men, committed to freedom and loyal to each other, and our country we had during this Pacific invasion. Made me very proud of these Marines and also to be a free American in a country we time take for granted that it will always be a great country of freedom. I pray that if we ever have another war that the men today will be as strong as they were in that generation of my parents. My next movie series will be "Band of Brothers". Expand
  23. Mar 30, 2015
    8
    Less ambitious than Band of Brothers, but a whole lot darker, The Pacific is both a tragic and important reminder of the individuals caught between an international armed conflict and the home they yearn to see again.
  24. Jul 25, 2015
    8
    Less ambitious than Band of Brothers, but a whole lot darker, The Pacific is both a tragic and important reminder of the individuals caught between an international armed conflict and the home they yearn to see again.
  25. Mar 20, 2016
    8
    If you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improvesIf you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improves on its 2001 European-theater predecessor.

    The war against Japan was different from the war against Hitler militarily, topographically and psychologically. WWII in Europe was, for all its mechanized death and horror, in some ways a throwback: it was the last great (so far) land war in Europe, fought in places with recognizable names by great massed armies. The men fighting there may have not known the big picture or cared about the geopolitics, but they at least recognized the war.

    (As did we. For whatever reason, the movies have had more success with war-in-Europe stories than with war-in-the-Pacific stories like Letters from Iwo Jima and The Thin Red Line. Even WWII videogames, like Call of Duty, involve Nazi-fighting more often than Pacific-war scenarios.)

    In the other theater, The Pacific makes painfully clear in its early episodes, the Marines that it follows had no idea what they were getting into. On the one hand, the war was simple: Japan attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, and now we were going to get those bastards back. On the other hand, they were going to be introduced to a kind of war they had scarcely imagined, on islands they didn’t know, at a cost they could not conceive. “I might have jumped into Normandy, but at least I got some liberties in London and Paris,” a Europe vet tells a Marine after the war. “You got nothing but jungle rot and malaria.”

    The Pacific’s Marines are not naive: they know they’re going off to face a fierce enemy. But they go into the war in December 1941 talking about being home by next Christmas. Some expect a “cakewalk.” No one can pronounce “Guadalcanal.” We can, and the reason we know it is how horrible it—and Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and Peleliu—became for them.

    If Band of Brothers’ soldiers were fighting the last kind of war, in many ways The Pacific’s are going to fight the next one. They land on their first beach in a flotilla of armored ships, and we, like them, are dreading the kind of D-Day firefight we saw in Band, and before that in Saving Private Ryan. They land: quiet. For the moment.

    Instead of tank columns and shelled European cities, they find oppressive heat, disease and an enemy using guerilla tactics, suicide missions and sometimes civilians. There are poisoned wells and bugs in the rice (“Think of it as meat”). It’s part Vietnam, part Iraq, part horror movie. (In some of the most tense scenes of waiting, in the jungle, in the dark, it is–and I don’t mean this to be glib–like the sense of menace in a scene from Lost.)

    But there’s little History Channel-like attention to the sweep and strategy of the war; really, The Pacfic is not about “war” as practiced by generals, but fighting as done by grunts. And unlike Band of Brothers, which spread its attention among a wide ensemble fighting together, The Pacific focuses mainly on three Marines, in different units, whose stories and battles are mostly separate.

    Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale) is a smart, cocky aspiring writer who struggles to keep his body and mind intact through some of the war’s fiercest fighting; Dale nails the role, making Leckie a soulful rogue. John Basilone (Jon Seda) is a Medal of Honor winner whose heroism wins him a trip home to sell war bonds—a prize, and a role, he’s uncomfortable with. And Joe Mazzello has maybe the most psychologically tricky role: Eugene Sledge, who has a guaranteed out from fighting—a heart murmur—and enlists anyway, over the objections of his father, who worries he’ll come back dead-eyed and broken like men he’s seen from WWI.

    The deeper Sledge gets into the war, the more he sees that his father may have been right. This is a kind of war that tries soldiers’ souls, and minds. Threats seem to be everywhere. Rumors fly (the Japanese have poisoned the coconuts, goes one). Witnessing atrocities and an almost incomprehensible willingness of the enemy to die takes a toll, and brings out ugliness in some soldiers along with the best in others. There are acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, as well as casual racism toward the “yellow monkeys.” After one savage battle, a few Marines amuse themselves by taking potshots at a stranded enemy soldier, to kill him slowly; disgusted, Leckie dispatches the soldier with his sidearm to end it.

    But if you want to watch The Pacific, it will repay you with a brutal but eloquent story that’s finally less about how men fight and die than what happens to them when they fight and survive. It will show you how character and sheer, unfair randomness combine to produce cruelty or decency.
    Expand
  26. Mar 22, 2016
    8
    If you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improvesIf you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improves on its 2001 European-theater predecessor.

    The war against Japan was different from the war against Hitler militarily, topographically and psychologically. WWII in Europe was, for all its mechanized death and horror, in some ways a throwback: it was the last great (so far) land war in Europe, fought in places with recognizable names by great massed armies. The men fighting there may have not known the big picture or cared about the geopolitics, but they at least recognized the war.

    (As did we. For whatever reason, the movies have had more success with war-in-Europe stories than with war-in-the-Pacific stories like Letters from Iwo Jima and The Thin Red Line. Even WWII videogames, like Call of Duty, involve Nazi-fighting more often than Pacific-war scenarios.)

    In the other theater, The Pacific makes painfully clear in its early episodes, the Marines that it follows had no idea what they were getting into. On the one hand, the war was simple: Japan attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, and now we were going to get those bastards back. On the other hand, they were going to be introduced to a kind of war they had scarcely imagined, on islands they didn’t know, at a cost they could not conceive. “I might have jumped into Normandy, but at least I got some liberties in London and Paris,” a Europe vet tells a Marine after the war. “You got nothing but jungle rot and malaria.”

    The Pacific’s Marines are not naive: they know they’re going off to face a fierce enemy. But they go into the war in December 1941 talking about being home by next Christmas. Some expect a “cakewalk.” No one can pronounce “Guadalcanal.” We can, and the reason we know it is how horrible it—and Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and Peleliu—became for them.

    If Band of Brothers’ soldiers were fighting the last kind of war, in many ways The Pacific’s are going to fight the next one. They land on their first beach in a flotilla of armored ships, and we, like them, are dreading the kind of D-Day firefight we saw in Band, and before that in Saving Private Ryan. They land: quiet. For the moment.

    Instead of tank columns and shelled European cities, they find oppressive heat, disease and an enemy using guerilla tactics, suicide missions and sometimes civilians. There are poisoned wells and bugs in the rice (“Think of it as meat”). It’s part Vietnam, part Iraq, part horror movie. (In some of the most tense scenes of waiting, in the jungle, in the dark, it is–and I don’t mean this to be glib–like the sense of menace in a scene from Lost.)

    But there’s little History Channel-like attention to the sweep and strategy of the war; really, The Pacfic is not about “war” as practiced by generals, but fighting as done by grunts. And unlike Band of Brothers, which spread its attention among a wide ensemble fighting together, The Pacific focuses mainly on three Marines, in different units, whose stories and battles are mostly separate.

    Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale) is a smart, cocky aspiring writer who struggles to keep his body and mind intact through some of the war’s fiercest fighting; Dale nails the role, making Leckie a soulful rogue. John Basilone (Jon Seda) is a Medal of Honor winner whose heroism wins him a trip home to sell war bonds—a prize, and a role, he’s uncomfortable with. And Joe Mazzello has maybe the most psychologically tricky role: Eugene Sledge, who has a guaranteed out from fighting—a heart murmur—and enlists anyway, over the objections of his father, who worries he’ll come back dead-eyed and broken like men he’s seen from WWI.

    The deeper Sledge gets into the war, the more he sees that his father may have been right. This is a kind of war that tries soldiers’ souls, and minds. Threats seem to be everywhere. Rumors fly (the Japanese have poisoned the coconuts, goes one). Witnessing atrocities and an almost incomprehensible willingness of the enemy to die takes a toll, and brings out ugliness in some soldiers along with the best in others. There are acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, as well as casual racism toward the “yellow monkeys.” After one savage battle, a few Marines amuse themselves by taking potshots at a stranded enemy soldier, to kill him slowly; disgusted, Leckie dispatches the soldier with his sidearm to end it.

    But if you want to watch The Pacific, it will repay you with a brutal but eloquent story that’s finally less about how men fight and die than what happens to them when they fight and survive. It will show you how character and sheer, unfair randomness combine to produce cruelty or decency.
    Expand
  27. Apr 7, 2016
    8
    If you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improvesIf you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improves on its 2001 European-theater predecessor.

    The war against Japan was different from the war against Hitler militarily, topographically and psychologically. WWII in Europe was, for all its mechanized death and horror, in some ways a throwback: it was the last great (so far) land war in Europe, fought in places with recognizable names by great massed armies. The men fighting there may have not known the big picture or cared about the geopolitics, but they at least recognized the war.

    (As did we. For whatever reason, the movies have had more success with war-in-Europe stories than with war-in-the-Pacific stories like Letters from Iwo Jima and The Thin Red Line. Even WWII videogames, like Call of Duty, involve Nazi-fighting more often than Pacific-war scenarios.)

    In the other theater, The Pacific makes painfully clear in its early episodes, the Marines that it follows had no idea what they were getting into. On the one hand, the war was simple: Japan attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor, and now we were going to get those bastards back. On the other hand, they were going to be introduced to a kind of war they had scarcely imagined, on islands they didn’t know, at a cost they could not conceive. “I might have jumped into Normandy, but at least I got some liberties in London and Paris,” a Europe vet tells a Marine after the war. “You got nothing but jungle rot and malaria.”

    The Pacific’s Marines are not naive: they know they’re going off to face a fierce enemy. But they go into the war in December 1941 talking about being home by next Christmas. Some expect a “cakewalk.” No one can pronounce “Guadalcanal.” We can, and the reason we know it is how horrible it—and Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and Peleliu—became for them.

    If Band of Brothers’ soldiers were fighting the last kind of war, in many ways The Pacific’s are going to fight the next one. They land on their first beach in a flotilla of armored ships, and we, like them, are dreading the kind of D-Day firefight we saw in Band, and before that in Saving Private Ryan. They land: quiet. For the moment.

    Instead of tank columns and shelled European cities, they find oppressive heat, disease and an enemy using guerilla tactics, suicide missions and sometimes civilians. There are poisoned wells and bugs in the rice (“Think of it as meat”). It’s part Vietnam, part Iraq, part horror movie. (In some of the most tense scenes of waiting, in the jungle, in the dark, it is–and I don’t mean this to be glib–like the sense of menace in a scene from Lost.)

    But there’s little History Channel-like attention to the sweep and strategy of the war; really, The Pacfic is not about “war” as practiced by generals, but fighting as done by grunts. And unlike Band of Brothers, which spread its attention among a wide ensemble fighting together, The Pacific focuses mainly on three Marines, in different units, whose stories and battles are mostly separate.

    Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale) is a smart, cocky aspiring writer who struggles to keep his body and mind intact through some of the war’s fiercest fighting; Dale nails the role, making Leckie a soulful rogue. John Basilone (Jon Seda) is a Medal of Honor winner whose heroism wins him a trip home to sell war bonds—a prize, and a role, he’s uncomfortable with. And Joe Mazzello has maybe the most psychologically tricky role: Eugene Sledge, who has a guaranteed out from fighting—a heart murmur—and enlists anyway, over the objections of his father, who worries he’ll come back dead-eyed and broken like men he’s seen from WWI.

    The deeper Sledge gets into the war, the more he sees that his father may have been right. This is a kind of war that tries soldiers’ souls, and minds. Threats seem to be everywhere. Rumors fly (the Japanese have poisoned the coconuts, goes one). Witnessing atrocities and an almost incomprehensible willingness of the enemy to die takes a toll, and brings out ugliness in some soldiers along with the best in others. There are acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, as well as casual racism toward the “yellow monkeys.” After one savage battle, a few Marines amuse themselves by taking potshots at a stranded enemy soldier, to kill him slowly; disgusted, Leckie dispatches the soldier with his sidearm to end it.

    But if you want to watch The Pacific, it will repay you with a brutal but eloquent story that’s finally less about how men fight and die than what happens to them when they fight and survive. It will show you how character and sheer, unfair randomness combine to produce cruelty or decency.
    Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. By dramatizing the true stories of the men who fought there, Spielberg and Hanks craft perhaps their most psychologically grounded work.
  2. 100
    Certain moments may verge on cliche (and once in a while, the dialogue is a little corny), but overall, The Pacific is crafted and acted with such loving devotion that it's hard to find fault with its sincerity and sentimental forays.
  3. The Pacific has both grand scale and intimacy. It builds in intensity as the series proceeds.