ⓘ Fury (2014 film)
Fury is a 2014 American war film written and directed by David Ayer, and starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jason Isaacs and Scott Eastwood. The film portrays U.S. tank crews in Nazi Germany during the final days of World War II. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books, such as Belton Y. Coopers Death Traps, about American armored units in World War II and the high casualty rates suffered by tank crews in Europe.
Production began in early September 2013, in Hertfordshire, England, followed by principal photography on September 30, 2013, in Oxfordshire. Filming continued for a month-and-a-half at different locations, which included the city of Oxford, and concluded on November 13. Fury was released on October 17, 2014, received positive reviews, and grossed $211 million worldwide.
In early April 1945, the Allies make their final push into the heart of Nazi Germany. Don "Wardaddy" Collier, a battle-hardened U.S. Army First sergeant in the Second Armored Division, commands an M4 Sherman "Easy Eight" tank nicknamed Fury and its veteran crew: gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan, loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia, and assistant driver–bow gunner "Red," all of whom have fought together since the North African campaign. Red is killed in action and replaced by Private First Class Norman Ellison, a clerk typist from V Corps who was transferred to be a replacement.
As they move deeper into Germany, Normans inexperience quickly becomes dangerous: he spots but fails to shoot Hitler Youth child soldiers who ambush the platoon leaders tank with a Panzerfaust, killing the entire crew; later, he hesitates under fire during a skirmish with anti-tank guns. Don is angered and worried by his lack of aggression; after the battle, he spots a captured German soldier wearing a U.S. Army coat and orders Norman to execute him. When he refuses, Don wrestles the pistol into his hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the prisoner and traumatizing Norman.
With Don now the acting platoon leader, the tanks capture a small town with relative ease. Don and Norman then enter an apartment and encounter a German woman named Irma, and her younger cousin Emma. Don pays them in cigarettes for a hot meal and some hot water for a shave. Norman and Emma bond, and at Dons urging, the two go into the bedroom and are implied to have sex. Later, as the four sit down to eat, the rest of the crew drunkenly barges in, harassing the women and bullying Norman, but Don firmly rebukes them. They are called away for an urgent mission, but as the men prepare to leave, German artillery targets the town, killing Emma and further traumatizing Norman.
The tank platoon is ordered to capture and hold a vital crossroads to protect the divisions rear echelon. En route, they are ambushed by a SS Tiger tank, which wipes out the entire platoon except for Fury. Fury eventually destroys the Tiger by outmaneuvering it and firing into its thinner rear armor. Unable to notify his superiors because the radio has been damaged, Don decides to try to complete their mission. Upon arriving at the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Don sends Norman to scout a nearby hill; from there, he eventually spots a company of Waffen-SS infantry approaching. The rest of the crew wants to flee, but Don decides to stay, eventually convincing the others to stand and fight.
The men disguise Fury to make it appear to be knocked out and then hide inside. While they wait, the crew finally gives Norman a nickname – "Machine" – to show their acceptance of him. They then ambush the Germans, inflicting heavy casualties in a long and vicious battle. Grady is killed by a Panzerfaust that penetrates the turret, Gordo is shot while unpinning a grenade and sacrifices himself by covering it before it explodes, then a sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Don. Out of ammunition and surrounded, Don orders Norman to escape through the floor hatch as the Germans drop potato masher grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just before they explode, killing Don. Norman tries to hide as the Germans move on, but is spotted by a young SS soldier, who hesitates, then leaves without alerting his comrades.
The next morning, Norman crawls back into the tank, where he covers Dons body with his jacket. He is rescued by American soldiers who praise him as a hero. As Norman is driven away in an ambulance, he looks back at numerous dead SS soldiers lying around the disabled Fury while the American troops continue their advance.
2.1. Production Casting
On April 3, 2013, Sony started assembling the cast for the film when Brad Pitt, who previously starred in the WWII-set Inglourious Basterds 2009, entered final talks to take the lead role of Wardaddy. On April 23, Shia LaBeouf joined the cast. On May 1, it was announced that Logan Lerman had also joined Fury s cast, playing Pitts crew member Norman Ellison. On May 14, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Michael Peña was in negotiations to play a member of Pitts tank crew. With his addition to the cast, Fury became one of the few films to show Hispanic-Americans serving in WWII. On May 17, Jon Bernthal joined the cast as Grady Travis, a cunning, vicious, and world-wise Arkansas native. On August 26, Scott Eastwood also joined the cast, playing Sergeant Miles. On September 19, Brad William Henke joined as Sergeant Roy Davis, commander of another tank, Lucy Sue the third Sherman destroyed by the Tiger. Jason Isaacs was cast on October 7, 2013. Other cast members include Xavier Samuel, Jim Parrack, Eugenia Kuzmina, Kevin Vance, and Branko Tomovic.
2.2. Production Filming
The films crews were rehearsing the film scenes in Hertfordshire, England, in September 2013. The crew were also sighted filming in various locations in the North West of England. Brad Pitt was spotted in preparations for Fury driving a tank on September 3 in the English countryside. Principal photography began on September 30, 2013, in the Oxfordshire countryside. Pinewood Studios sent warning letters to the villagers of Shirburn, Pyrton, and Watlington that there would be sounds of gunfire and explosions during the filming of Fury.
On October 15, 2013, a stuntman was accidentally stabbed in the shoulder by a bayonet while rehearsing at the set in Pyrton. He was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford by an air ambulance. Police confirmed that they were treating it as an accident. In November 2013, the film caused controversy by shooting a scene on Remembrance Day in which extras wore Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS uniforms. Ayer apologized for the incident, and Sony also made an apology. Filming was wrapped up on November 15, 2013 in Oxfordshire.
2.3. Production Music
On November 19, 2013, composer Steven Price signed on to score the film. Varese Sarabande released the original soundtrack album for the film on October 14, 2014.
3. Portrayal of history
Fury is a fictional film about a tank crew during the final days of the war in Europe. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books such as Belton Y. Coopers Death Traps, about American armored warfare in World War II. Ayer went to considerable lengths to seek authentic uniforms and weapons appropriate to the period of the final months of the war in Europe. A seed for this movie may be found in the heroic saga of Ernest R. Kouma, a sergeant of a tank battalion, with his single-handed battle during the Second Battle of Naktong Bulge in August 1950 soon after outbreak of the Korean War by the Communist North Korean invasion.
The film was shot in the United Kingdom, in large part due to the availability of working World War II-era tanks. The film featured Tiger 131, the last surviving operational Tiger I, owned by The Tank Museum at Bovington, England. It is the first time since the film They Were Not Divided 1950 that a real Tiger tank, rather than a prop version, has been used on a film set. Tiger 131 is a very early model Tiger I tank; externally it has some significant differences from later Tiger I models. In the last weeks of the war a number of these early model Tigers were used in last ditch defense efforts; one of Germanys last Tigers to be lost at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was of a similar vintage.
Ten working M4 Sherman tanks were used. The Sherman tank Fury was played by an M4A2 Sherman tank named RON/HARRY T224875, also lent by The Tank Museum.
Ayers attention to detail also extended to the maps used in the film. A 1943 wartime map of Hannover, Germany, held in McMaster Universitys Lloyd Reeds Map Collection, was used to demonstrate the types of resources relied on by Allied forces.
While the storyline is fictional, the depiction of Fury and its commander Wardaddy parallels the experience of several real Allied tankers, such as the American tank commander Staff Sergeant Lafayette G. "War Daddy" Pool, who landed just after D-Day and destroyed 258 enemy vehicles before his tank was knocked out in Germany in late 1944, and the small number of Sherman tanks to survive from the landing at D-Day to the end of the war, such as Bomb, a Sherman tank that landed at D-Day and survived into the bitter fighting in Germany at the wars end, the only Canadian Sherman tank to survive the fighting from D-Day to VE Day. The plot also has some similarities to the battle of Crailsheim, fought in Germany in 1945. The last stand of the crew of the disabled Fury appears to be based on an anecdote from Death Traps, wherein a lone tanker was "in his tank on a road junction" when a "German infantry unit approached, apparently not spotting the tank in the darkness". This unnamed tanker is described to have ricocheted shells into the enemy forces, fired all of his machine gun ammunition, and thrown grenades to kill German soldiers climbing onto the tank. Cooper concluded: "When our infantry arrived the next day, they found the brave young tanker still alive in his tank. The entire surrounding area was littered with German dead and wounded." The battle bears some resemblance to that of Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy aboard a burning M10 tank destroyer outside Holtzwihr in Alsace-Lorraine, on January 26, 1945. The fighting in the film also bears similarity to the film Sahara 1943, starring Humphrey Bogart, in which the crew of an M3 Lee named "Lulu Belle" and a contingent of stranded British soldiers defend a remote well in Libya against a larger German force of the Afrika Korps, to the demise of most of the Allies.
Sony Pictures Releasing had previously set November 14, 2014 as the American release date for Fury. On August 12, 2014, the date was moved up from its original release date of November 14, 2014 to October 17, 2014. The film premiered in London on October 20, 2014 as a closing film of London Film Festival and was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2014.
Fury had its world premiere at Newseum in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 2014, followed by a wide release across 3.173 theaters in North America on October 17.
4.1. Release Home media
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on January 27, 2015. It was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on May 22, 2018.
4.2. Release Partnership with World of Tanks
The film additionally had a partnership with the popular online video game World of Tanks, where the main tank from the film, Fury, was available for purchase in-game using real currency for a limited time after the films release. The tank also served as the centerpiece in themed events in the vein of the film following its release. The Blitz version has been widely criticized due to the lack of attention to detail on the in game Fury Model. An Ipetitions page was created with a goal of 1.000 signatures seeking Wargaming to fix the Fury tank model, only 176 signatures have been signed as of Thursday, September 6, 2018.
As part of the UK DVD release, the game also hid 300.000 codes inside copies of the film, which gave in-game rewards and bonuses.
4.3. Release Piracy
The film was leaked onto peer-to-peer file-sharing websites as part of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack by the hacker group "Guardians of Peace" on November 27, 2014. Along with it came four unreleased Sony Pictures films. Within three days of the initial leak, Fury had been downloaded an estimated 1.2 million times.
5.1. Reception Box office
Fury was a box office success. The film grossed $85.8 million in the US and Canada, and $126 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $211.8 million, against a budget of $68 million.
5.2. Reception US and Canada
Fury was released on October 17, 2014, in North America across 3.173 theaters. It earned $1.2 million from Thursday late-night showings from 2.489 theaters. On its opening day, the film grossed $8.8 million. The film topped the box office on its opening weekend earning $23.500.000 at an average of $7.406 per theater. The films opening weekend gross is David Ayers biggest hit of his now five-film directorial career, surpassing the $13.1 million debut of End of Watch and his third-biggest opening as a writer behind 2001s The Fast and the Furious $40 million and 2003s S.W.A.T. $37 million. In its second weekend the film earned $13 million -45%.
5.3. Reception Other countries
Fury was released a week following its North American debut and earned $11.2 million from 1.975 screens in 15 markets. The film went number one in Australia $2.2 million and number five in France $2.1 million. In UK, the film topped the box office in its opening weekend with £2.69 million $4.2 million knocking off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which earned £1.92 million $3.1 million from the top spot. In its second weekend the film added $14.6 million in 44 markets, bringing the overseas cumulative audience to $37.8 million. It went number one in Finland $410.000 and in Ukraine $160.000.
5.4. Reception Critical response
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 77% based on 242 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The websites critical consensus reads, "Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesnt quite live up to its larger ambitions." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale. The opening weekend audience was 60% male, with 51 percent over the age of 35.
The Boston Globe s Ty Burr gave 2.5 out of 4 and talked about Pitts character Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier, commenting on Wardaddys portrayal as "the battle-scarred leader of a tank crew pushing through Germany toward Berlin, Brad Pitt creates a warrior who is terse, sometimes noble, more often brutal." Another critic, Burr, explained that Ayer portrayed in the character of Wardaddy "a figure both monstrous and upstanding. In one scene, he shoots a captured enemy officer in the back. A few scenes later, hes protecting two German women from being assaulted by his own men." Burr further stated that, Fury gives us terrible glimpses: tank treads rolling over a body pancaked into the mud, an elderly woman cutting meat off a dead horse, a woman in a wedding dress among a crowd of refugees. Fury wants to lead us to a fresh consideration of the good war while simultaneously celebrating the old bromides and cliches. No wonder it shoots itself in the tank."
Newsday s Rafer Guzman admired director Ayer, who "does a good job of putting us inside the tank Fury "; with "all the extra blood and brutality, this is still a macho and romanticized war movie", and he singled out Pitt, who he said "serves honorably in the John Wayne role". Deadline Hollywood s Pete Hammond praised Lermans performance saying it could be "Oscar-worthy".
It never scales the cinematic heights or reaches the same groundbreaking level as Saving Private Ryan, but its intensely ferocious and relentlessly rough on the senses. Youll know youve been to war, and not on the Hollywood front.
Film critic Christopher Orr of The Atlantic magazine said that the film "is too technically refined to be a truly bad movie, but too narratively and thematically stunted to be a good one. In a sense, it succeeds too well in conjuring its own subject matter: heavy, mechanical, claustrophobic, and unrelenting." The Philadelphia Inquirer s Steven Rea gave the film 3 out of 4 and praised, Fury presents an unrelentingly violent, visceral depiction of war, which is perhaps as it should be. Bayonets in the eye, bullets in the back, limbs blown apart, corpses of humans and horses splayed across muddy, incinerated terrain. Ayer brought a similar you-are-there intensity to his 2012 cops-on-patrol drama, End of Watch also with Peña." But on the opposite side of Reas admiration, he thinks, "It wouldnt be right to call Fury entertaining, and in its narrow focus as narrow as the view from the tanks periscope, the film doesnt offer a broader take on the horrors of war - other than to put those horrors right in front of us, in plain view." Chris Vognar wrote the review for The Dallas Morning News giving the film "B+" grade, in which he writes about "War" which he thinks is, "hell," and also "relentless, unsparing, unsentimental and violent to the mind, body and soul. Fury conveys these truths with brute force and lean, precise drama." Kenneth Turan for the Los Angeles Times praised the film highly, writing: The "best job I ever had" sentence "is one of the catchphrases the men in this killing machine use with each other, and the ghastly thing is they half believe its true."
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter simply said, Fury is a good, solid World War II movie, nothing more and nothing less. Rugged, macho, violent and with a story sufficiently unusual to grab and hold interest, its a modern version of the sort of movie Hollywood turned out practically every week back in the 1940s and 1950s." Peter Debruge wrote for the magazine Variety in which he praised Pitt, "Brad Pitt plays a watered-down version of his Inglourious Basterds character in this disappointingly bland look at a World War II tank crew." The Wrap s James Rocchi gave a 4 out 5 rating and said the film is "unflinching, unsentimental and never unconsidered, Fury s rumbling, metal-clad exterior has real humanity, fragile and frightened, captured and caged deep within it." Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News rated the film 3 out of 4 and talked about LaBeouf "whos most impressive, inhabiting the soul of a scripture-quoting soldier who seeks guidance from the Word in hopes of remaining on a moral path. While much has been made about the reportedly extreme lengths he took to prep for the role, the fact remains it is one of his best performances." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a 4-out-of-4 rating and wrote: "A great movie lets you know youre in safe hands from the beginning." James Berardinelli also gave the film a positive review saying: "This is a memorable motion picture, accurately depicting the horrors of war without reveling in the depravity of man like Platoon. Equally, it shows instances of humanity without resorting to the rah-rah, sanitized perspective that infiltrated many war films of the 1950s and 1960s. Its as good a World War II film as Ive seen in recent years, and contains perhaps the most draining battlefield sequences since Saving Private Ryan.
The New York Times critic A. O. Scott praised the film and Pitts character, "Within this gore-spattered, superficially nihilistic carapace is an old-fashioned platoon picture, a sensitive and superbly acted tale of male bonding under duress." Rex Reed of The New York Observer said, "The actors are all good, Mr. Pitt moves even closer to iconic stardom, and young Mr. Lerman steals the picture as the camera lens through whose eyes and veins we share every dehumanizing experience. Purists may squabble, but if youre a history buff or a pushover for the sight of a man engulfed in flames who shoots himself through the head before he burns to death, youll go away from Fury sated." The Arizona Republic s critic Bill Goodykoontz said, "In terms of story, structure and look with the exception of the gore, this movie could have been made at any time in the past 70 years." To Goodykoontz review, Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the reply, "Given how many World War II films have emerged in the last 70 years, it requires a thoroughly fresh angle to make one seem distinctive." Puig also said, "Flesh-and-blood soldiers play second fiddle to the authentic-looking artillery in Fury, rendering the film tough and harrowing, but less emotionally compelling than it could have been." The A.V. Club s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky gave the film a "C+" grade and said, "Its all very Peckinpah-or at least it could be, if Ayer had any sense of poetry." The Chicago Tribune s Michael Phillips wrote a negative review, saying "At its weakest, Fury contributes a frustrating percentage of tin to go with the iron and steel."
Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald gave the film 2 out of 4 and said, "War is hell. Thats entertainment, folks." Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly said, "This is an ugly part of an ugly war, and Ayer wallows in it. Instead of flags and patriotism, Fury is about filth: the basins of blood, the smears on the soldiers exhausted faces, the bodies pushed around by bulldozers, a decomposing corpse thats melted into the mud." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave 3 out of 4 and said, "Written and directed with exacting skill and aching heart by David Ayer, Fury captures the buried feelings of men in combat with piercing immediacy." The New York Post s Kyle Smith said that he "couldnt help suspecting that theres a pornographic leer to it all, a savage glee." Tom Long wrote for The Detroit News and gave the film negative reviews, Fury is a brutal film that too easily celebrates rage and bloodshed to no clear end beyond ugly spectacle." The Globe and Mail wrote: Fury. is a war movie with balls of steel and marbles for brains." Chris Klimek of NPR praised the film and actors, Fury is a big step up in sophistication. Where it elevates itself from being merely a believably grimy, well-acted war drama is in its long and surprising middle act." New York magazines David Edelstein admired the film in his own words, "Though much of Fury crumbles in the mind, the power of its best moments lingers: the writhing of Ellison as hes forced to kill; the frightening vibe of the scene with German women; the meanness on some soldiers faces and soul-sickness on others."