Fury (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Ayer|
|Written by||David Ayer|
|Music by||Steven Price|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$211.8 million|
Fury is a 2014 American war film written and directed by David Ayer. The film stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal and Jason Isaacs. The film portrays US 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. Cooper's 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.
Don "Wardaddy" Collier, a battle-hardened U.S. Army staff sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division, commands an M4 Sherman "Easy Eight" tank named Fury and its five-man, all-veteran crew: gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan; loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis; and driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia (all of whom have been together since the North African Campaign), as the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany. When the tank's original assistant driver/bow gunner, "Red", is killed in action, Private Norman Ellison (a fresh recruit trained only as a clerk typist) is assigned to be an immediate replacement.
As Fury and its tank platoon move deeper into Germany, Norman's inexperience becomes dangerous: first when he fails to shoot several Hitler Youth child soldiers — who ambush the commanding officer's tank with a Panzerfaust, killing the entire crew, and then later during a skirmish with German anti-tank guns in which he hesitates under fire. Wardaddy is angered at his incompetence, and after the battle, he orders Norman to execute a captive German soldier. When Norman refuses, Wardaddy wrestles a pistol into his hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the prisoner and traumatizing Norman. Wardaddy then leads the tanks to capture a small German town, where Norman kills several German soldiers who were burning alive. Gordo tells him he should have "let them burn". While searching an apartment, Wardaddy and Norman encounter a German woman, Irma, and her younger cousin, Emma. Wardaddy befriends the women with food and asks for hot water to clean himself up. Norman starts to play a piano in the home and Emma joins in to sing. Norman and Emma go into the bedroom together and when Irma tries to intervene, Wardaddy stops her, saying that they are young, and alive. Irma agrees. The four then have breakfast, but the rest of Fury's crew barges in, harassing the women and angering Wardaddy and Norman. Wardaddy addresses his crew in a stern manner until a soldier notifies them there is another mission. As the men prepare to leave, a German artillery bombardment strikes the town. Norman finds Emma among the dead, which traumatizes him once more.
Wardaddy and his platoon are then ordered to hold a vital crossroads to prevent the enemy from attacking the Allies' vulnerable rear lines. They head to their objective, only to be ambushed by a German Tiger I(Tiger 131). Wardaddy leads the Shermans in a counterattack; their shells fail to penetrate the Tiger's thick frontal armor, and the 8.8 cm KwK 36 cannon on the Tiger knocks out three tanks from the platoon with relative ease. Fury eventually destroys the Tiger by outmaneuvering it and firing into its thinner rear armor, but with the radio damaged, Fury is forced to continue the mission alone. Just as it reaches the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Norman and Grady scope out a nearby barn that is an abandoned medical site for the Nazis. Norman wants to leave but Grady stops him, apologizing for his actions and that he believes Norman is a "good man". Norman accepts the apology and the men return outside.
Norman is ordered to scout a nearby hill where he spots a battalion of Waffen-SS panzergrenadiers heading their way. The crew initially wants to flee, but Wardaddy refuses to leave and they decide to stay.
The crew disguise Fury so that it will appear knocked out, and then wait for the approaching Germans inside. They share a bottle of whiskey, and Norman is finally accepted by the crew and given his nickname: "Machine". When the Germans arrive, the crew ambush them using both the tank's and their own personal weapons. As ammunition runs out and the battle turns desperate, Grady is killed by a Panzerfaust round penetrating the turret; Gordo is wounded and then sacrifices himself by covering one of his dropped grenades; then a sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Wardaddy. Wardaddy then orders Norman to escape through an emergency hatch in the floor as the Germans drop grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just as they explode, killing Wardaddy. Norman tries to hide as the Germans move on, but is quickly discovered by a young SS soldier. The soldier hesitates and then leaves, deciding not to report him.
The next morning, Norman awakens and crawls back into the tank, where he covers Wardaddy's corpse with his coat and takes his revolver as he hears movement outside. Norman awaits his fate, only to discover he is being rescued by US soldiers, who tell him that he is a hero. As Norman is transported away to safety, he looks back at the carnage behind him: the countless dead German troops lying around the battered Fury.
- Brad Pitt as US Army S/Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier
- Logan Lerman as Pvt. Norman "Machine" Ellison
- Shia LaBeouf as T/5 Boyd "Bible" Swan
- Michael Peña as Cpl. Trini "Gordo" Garcia
- Jon Bernthal as Pfc. Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis
- Jason Isaacs as Capt. "Old Man" Waggoner
- Scott Eastwood as Sgt. Miles
- Xavier Samuel as 2nd Lt. Parker
- Brad William Henke as S/Sgt. Roy Davis
- Jim Parrack as S/Sgt. Binkowski
- Anamaria Marinca as Irma
- Alicia von Rittberg as Emma
- Kevin Vance as S/Sgt. Peterson
- Branko Tomović as German Corporal
- Iain Garrett as Sgt. Foster
- Eugenia Kuzmina as Hilda Meier
- Miles J.D. Vedder as SS Officer
- Chris Wilson as Chaplain
- Mario Babic as Soldier
- Daniel Betts as Burgermeister
- Edin Gali as Seargent
- Osi Okerafor as Benton
- Stella Stocker as Edith
On April 3, 2013, Sony started to assemble the cast for the film when Brad Pitt, who previously starred in 2009's WWII-set Inglourious Basterds, 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 Pitt's crew member Norman Ellison. On May 14, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Michael Peña was in negotiations to play a member of Pitt's tank crew. With his addition to the cast, Fury became one of the few films to show Hispanic-Americans serving in WW2. 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 Tomović.
Prior to filming, Ayer required the actors to undergo a four-month preparation process. This included a week-long boot camp run by Navy SEALs. Pitt stated, "It was set up to break us down, to keep us cold, to keep us exhausted, to make us miserable, to keep us wet, make us eat cold food. And if our stuff wasn't together we had to pay for it with physical forfeits. We're up at five in the morning, we're doing night watches on the hour."
Ayer also pushed the cast to physically spar each other, leading to many black eyes and bloody noses. They insulted each other with personal attacks as well. On top of that, the actors were forced to live in the tank together for an extended period of time where they ate, slept and defecated.
In regard to his choices, Ayer defended himself, saying, "I am ruthless as a director. I will do whatever I think is necessary to get what I want.”
The film's 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.
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. Cooper's 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. The film was shot in England 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. The tank belongs to The Tank Museum at Bovington, England. It is the first time since the 1950 film They Were Not Divided that a real Tiger tank, not 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, most noticeably the outermost row of road wheels (of the trio per axle, used in the Schachtellaufwerk overlapping and interleaved arrangement characteristic of the Tiger I) which are also rimmed in rubber, as well as the dustbin shaped cupola. In the last weeks of the war a number of these early model Tigers were used in last ditch defense efforts; one of Germany's 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. Ayer's attention to detail also extended to the maps used in the film. A 1943 wartime map of Hannover, Germany, held in McMaster University’s Lloyd Reeds Map Collection was used to demonstrate the types of resources relied on by Allied forces.
While the plot of the film is fictional, the depiction of the tank 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 war's 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, where 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 1943 film Sahara 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 had previously set November 14, 2014 as the American release date for Fury. On August 12, 2014, the date was moved up to October 17. The film was released in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2014.
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 film's release. The tank also served as the centerpiece in themed events in the vein of the film following its release.
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.
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 (Annie, Mr. Turner, Still Alice, and To Write Love on Her Arms). Within three days of the initial leak, Fury had been downloaded an estimated 1.2 million times.
Fury was a box office success. The film grossed $85.8 million in North America and $126 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $211.8 million, against a budget of $68 million.
- North America
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 film's opening weekend gross is David Ayer's 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 The Fast and the Furious ($40 million) and S.W.A.T. ($37 million). In its second weekend the film earned $13 million (-45%).
- Other territories
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 [cume] to $37.8 million. It went number one in Finland ($410,000) and in Ukraine ($160,000).
Fury received positive reviews from critics, who praised the portrayal of war, as well as Ayer's direction, Price's score and the work of its main cast members; with the performances of Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, and Shia LaBeouf singled out for praise. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a "Certified Fresh" rating of 77% based on 230 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesn't quite live up to its larger ambitions." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on reviews from 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by Cinemascore gave the film a grade A-. The audience was 60 percent male, 51 percent of the audience was over the age of 35.
The Boston Globe's Ty Burr gave 2.5 out of 4 stars and talked about Pitt's character Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier, commenting on Wardaddy's 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, he's 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 clichés. 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 Lerman's performance saying, "It is a great performance, very Oscar-worthy in part of Logan Lerman. Those scenes between Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman trying to teach him the trips of war and how to man up is remarkable."
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 stars 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 Rea's admiration, he thinks, "It wouldn't be right to call Fury entertaining, and in its narrow focus (as narrow as the view from the tank's periscope), the film doesn't 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 it's 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, it's 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 4 out 5 ratings and expressed a warm approval of the film which 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 "who's 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 completely in the favor of the film: "A great movie lets you know you're 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. It's as good a World War II film as I've 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 Pitt's 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 you're 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, you'll 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, "It's 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 The Miami Herald gave the film 2 out of 4 stars said, "War is hell. That's 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 that's melted into the mud." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave 3 out of 4 stars 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 "couldn't help suspecting that there's 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 magazine's 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 he's forced to kill; the frightening vibe of the scene with German women; the meanness on some soldiers' faces and soul-sickness on others'."
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award / Film Festival||Category||Recipients||Result|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Action Movie||Nominated|
|Best Actor in an Action Movie||Brad Pitt||Nominated|
|Hollywood Film Awards||Hollywood Editing Award||Jay Cassidy and Dody Dorn||Won|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Original Score - Feature Film||Steven Price||Nominated|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||Feature English Language - Effects/ Foley||Nominated|
|National Board of Review||Top Ten Films||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actor||Brad Pitt||Nominated|
|Favorite Movie Dramatic Actor||Nominated|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Logan Lerman||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Art Direction & Production Design||Andrew Mendez, Peter Russell||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Dody Dorn, Jay Cassidy||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Steven Price||Nominated|
|Santa Barbara International Film Festival||Virtuosos Award||Logan Lerman||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Drama||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actor: Drama||Logan Lerman||Nominated|
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