Fury (2014 film)

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Fury
Staring into the distance, a disheveled soldier stands in front of a tank, with "Fury" written on the gun barrel and other soldiers leaning and sitting on and around it.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Ayer
Written byDavid Ayer
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyRoman Vasyanov
Edited by
Music bySteven Price
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • October 15, 2014 (2014-10-15) (Newseum)
  • October 17, 2014 (2014-10-17) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$68–80 million[3][4]
Box office$211.8 million[3]

Fury is a 2014 American war film written, directed, and co-produced by David Ayer. It stars Brad Pitt with Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, and Jon Bernthal as members of an American tank crew fighting in Nazi Germany during the final weeks of the European theater of World War II. Ayer was influenced by the service of military veterans in his family and by reading books such as Belton Y. Cooper's Death Traps, a 1998 memoir that underscores the high casualty rates suffered by American tank crews in combat against their better-equipped German counterparts.

Production began in England in early September 2013. Initial filming in Hertfordshire led to the start of principal photography in Oxfordshire on September 30, 2013. Filming continued in the city of Oxford and elsewhere and concluded on November 13, 2013. Fury was released on October 17, 2014, receiving generally positive reviews and grossing US$211 million worldwide.

Plot[edit]

In April 1945, the Western Allied invasion of Germany is encountering strong resistance. Don "Wardaddy" Collier, a battle-hardened staff sergeant in the U.S. Second Armored Division, commands an M4 Sherman nicknamed Fury whose crew of gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan, loader Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia, and assistant driver–bow gunner "Red" have been together since the North African campaign. After Red is killed in a tank battle, he is replaced by Private First Class Norman Ellison, a young typist clerk from V Corps.

As Fury moves deeper into Germany, the crew develops a disdain for Norman's combat inexperience and aversion to violence. While moving in a convoy, he spots but does not fire upon a group of concealed Hitler Youth child soldiers, who promptly ambush the tank column with a Panzerfaust, destroying the lead tank and killing the platoon leader and his crew. Later, he hesitates under fire from anti-tank guns. After a battle, Don orders Norman to execute a captured German soldier. When he refuses, Don wrestles his revolver into Norman's hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the soldier and traumatizing Norman.

After the platoon captures a small town, Don takes Norman to help search and clear an apartment, where they discover two German women – Irma and her younger cousin Emma – in hiding. After Don gives them some supplies, the women begin preparing a hot meal and give Don hot water for a shave. As they begin to bond, Norman and Emma retreat to the bedroom and have sex, having been prompted to do so by Don. Later, as the four sit down to eat together, the rest of Fury's crew drunkenly barges in, harassing the women and bullying Norman. The crew's resentment towards Norman leads to a tense standoff with Don before they all are called away for an urgent mission. As they depart, German artillery strikes the town and kills Emma, causing Norman to suffer a mental breakdown.

Tank crews occupying the town receive orders to hold a vital crossroads to protect the division's vulnerable rear lines. En route, a lone German Tiger I ambushes and wipes out the entire platoon before being defeated by Fury. The radio gets damaged in the battle, preventing Don from calling for reinforcements. Don decides that he and his crew must continue the mission alone. When they arrive at the crossroads, Fury is immobilized by a landmine. While the tank is being repaired, Don sends Norman to scout a nearby hill, where he spots a battalion of Waffen-SS marching towards Fury's position. He returns to inform the crew and they make plans to retreat, but ultimately stay to help Don hold the crossroads after he refuses to leave.

The men disguise Fury to make it appear destroyed and then hide inside. While they wait to make their final stand, Norman is nicknamed "Machine" as the crew members finally express their acceptance of him. They then ambush the Germans, inflicting heavy casualties. As a vicious and protracted battle ensues, Grady is killed by a Panzerfaust shot that penetrates the turret; Gordo is shot while unpinning a grenade and falls back into the tank with it, subsequently sacrificing himself by covering it with his body as it explodes; and Bible is shot in the head by small-arms fire. Don is then shot by a sniper multiple times and retreats into the tank. Out of ammunition and surrounded, Norman expresses that he wants to surrender, but Don tells Norman to escape through the floor hatch as the Germans drop grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just before they explode, and Don is killed. As he tries to conceal himself underneath the tank, Norman is spotted by a young Waffen-SS soldier, who does not alert the battalion and moves on.

Waking up the next morning, Norman crawls back into the tank and mourns over Don's corpse before covering him with his jacket and taking his revolver. He is then rescued by a group of American soldiers and heralded as a hero. While he is driven away in an ambulance, he looks back at Fury's carcass as American troops continue their advance. The final overhead image shows Fury surrounded by hundreds of dead Waffen-SS soldiers.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

On April 3, 2013, Sony started assembling the cast for the film when Brad Pitt, who previously starred in the WWII film Inglourious Basterds (2009), entered final talks to take the lead role of Wardaddy.[5] On April 23, Shia LaBeouf joined the cast.[6] On May 1, it was announced that Logan Lerman had also joined Fury's cast, playing Pitt's crew member Norman Ellison.[7] On May 14, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Michael Peña was in negotiations to play a member of Pitt's tank crew; ultimately joining the cast. On May 17, Jon Bernthal joined the cast as Grady Travis, a cunning, vicious, and world-wise Arkansas native.[8] On August 26, Scott Eastwood also joined the cast, playing Sergeant Miles.[9] On September 19, Brad William Henke joined as Sergeant Roy Davis, commander of another tank, Lucy Sue (the third Sherman destroyed by the Tiger).[10] Jason Isaacs was cast on October 7, 2013.[11] Other cast members include Xavier Samuel, Jim Parrack, Eugenia Kuzmina, Kevin Vance, and Branko Tomović.[12]

Tiger 131 – the only operating Tiger I tank in the world – was lent by The Tank Museum for the film. It is the first time a genuine Tiger I tank was used in a contemporary war film since 1950; 131 was restored to running condition between 1990 and 2003, and further work was only completed in 2012.
The Tank Museum's M4A2 76mm HVSS Sherman in 2009[13]

Preparation[edit]

Ayer required the actors to undergo four months of preparation for filming, including a week-long boot camp run by Navy SEALs. Pitt said, "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 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.

Ayer said, "I am ruthless as a director. I will do whatever I think is necessary to get what I want."[14]

Filming[edit]

The film's crews were rehearsing the film scenes in Hertfordshire in September 2013. The crew were also sighted filming in various locations in North West England. Brad Pitt was spotted in preparations for Fury driving a tank on September 3 in the English countryside.[15] Principal photography began on September 30, 2013, in the Oxfordshire countryside.[16][17] 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.[18][19]

On October 15, 2013, a stuntman was accidentally stabbed in the shoulder with a bayonet while rehearsing at the set in Pyrton. He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford by air ambulance. Police treated it as an accident.[20] In November 2013, the film caused controversy by shooting a scene on Remembrance Day in which extras wore Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS uniforms. Ayer and Sony apologized.[21]

Music[edit]

On November 19, 2013, composer Steven Price signed on to score the film.[22][23] Varèse Sarabande released the original soundtrack album for the film on October 14, 2014.[24]

Portrayal of history[edit]

The Schachtellaufwerk wheel arrangement on a Tiger I, which is identical to that on the Tiger 131 used for the movie

Ayer sought authentic uniforms and weapons appropriate to the period of the final months of the war in Europe.[25] The film was shot in the United Kingdom, partly 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.[26] It was the first time since the film They Were Not Divided (1950) that a real Tiger tank was used on a film set.[citation needed] Tiger 131 is a very early model Tiger I tank, and externally it has some significant differences from later Tiger I models.[27] In the last weeks of the war, some 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.[28]

Ten working M4 Sherman tanks were used. The Sherman tank Fury was portrayed using an M4A2E8 HVSS Sherman tank named RON/HARRY (T224875), also lent by The Tank Museum.[29]

Ayer's attention to detail 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.[30]

Map of Hannover, Germany used in the film

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,[31] 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, one of two[32] Canadian Sherman tanks to survive the fighting from D-Day to VE Day.[33] The plot also has some similarities to the battle of Crailsheim, fought in Germany in 1945.[citation needed] 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 said 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."[34]

Release[edit]

Sony Pictures Releasing had previously set November 14, 2014, as the American release date for Fury.[35] On August 12, 2014, the date was moved up from its original release date of November 14, 2014, to October 17, 2014.[36] The film premiered in London, UK on October 20, 2014, as a closing film of London Film Festival[37] 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,[38] followed by a wide release across 3,173 theaters in North America on October 17.[39]

Home media[edit]

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.[40]

Partnership with World of Tanks[edit]

The film additionally had a partnership with the 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. The Blitz version has been widely criticized due to the lack of attention to detail on the in game Fury Model.[41][42][43]

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.[44]

Piracy[edit]

The film was leaked onto peer-to-peer file-sharing websites as part of the Sony Pictures hack by the hacker group "Guardians of Peace" on November 27, 2014.[45] Along with it came four unreleased Sony Pictures films (Annie, Mr. Turner, Still Alice, and To Write Love on Her Arms).[45] Within three days of the initial leak, Fury had been downloaded an estimated 1.2 million times.[45]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The Tank Museum's M4A2 76mm HVSS Sherman made up as Fury

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.[3]

U.S. and Canada[edit]

Fury was released on October 17, 2014, in North America across 3,173 theaters.[46] It earned $1.2 million from Thursday late-night showings from 2,489 theaters.[47][48] On its opening day, the film grossed $8.8 million.[49][50][51] The film topped the box office on its opening weekend earning $23,500,000 at an average of $7,406 per theater.[52][53] 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 2001's The Fast and the Furious ($40 million) and 2003's S.W.A.T. ($37 million).[54] In its second weekend the film earned $13 million (-45%).[55]

Other countries[edit]

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).[56][57] 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.[58][59] 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 ($420,000).[60]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 262 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website's critical 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."[61] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[62] 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.[63]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a 4-out-of-4 rating and wrote: "A great movie lets you know you're in safe hands from the beginning."[64] 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."[65] 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."[66] 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."[67]

Peter Debruge said in Variety, "Brad Pitt plays a watered-down version of his Inglourious Basterds character in this disappointingly bland look at a World War II tank crew."[68] New York magazine's David Edelstein said, "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'."[69]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award / Film Festival Category Recipients Result
Critics' Choice Awards 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
Best Cast 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

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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