Fury (2014 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Ayer|
|Written by||David Ayer|
|Music by||Steven Price|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$211.8 million|
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 fighting in Nazi Germany during the final weeks of the European theater 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, received positive reviews, and grossed $211 million worldwide.
In the beginning of the film, a prologue says Allied tanks were defeated by the more advanced German tanks.
In early April 1945, the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany, encountering fanatical resistance. Don "Wardaddy" Collier, a battle-hardened U.S. Army Staff 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 by a German anti-tank shell, which went through his head hitting the gun mantlet. Red is replaced by Private First Class Norman Ellison, a young clerk typist from V Corps.
As they move deeper into Germany, Norman's inexperience becomes dangerous: he spots but fails to shoot Hitler Youth child soldiers who ambush the platoon leader's tank with a Panzerfaust, killing the crew; later, he hesitates under fire during a skirmish with anti-tank guns. After the battle, Don spots a captured German soldier wearing a U.S. Army coat and gives Norman his revolver, ordering him to execute the soldier. When he refuses, Don wrestles the revolver 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. Don and Norman enter an apartment and encounter a German woman, Irma, and her younger cousin, Emma. Don pays them in cigarettes for a hot meal and some hot water so he can shave. Norman and Emma bond and, at Don's urging, go into the bedroom. Later, as the four sit down to eat, the rest of the crew drunkenly barges in, harassing the women and bullying Norman until Don rebukes them. They are called away for an urgent mission but, as the men prepare to leave, German shells hit the town, killing Emma and further traumatizing Norman.
The tank platoon is ordered to capture and hold a crossroads to protect the division's rear. En route, they are ambushed by an SS Tiger tank, which wipes out the platoon except for Fury. Fury 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 they must complete their mission. Upon arriving at the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Don sends Norman to scout a nearby hill, from which he sees infantry approaching. Don realizes that it is a Waffen-SS battalion dispatched to put a halt to allied advance and decides to stay, informing the others they are permitted to leave if they want to. Norman volunteers to stay with Don and one by one the rest of the crew decide to stay and fight.
The men disguise Fury to appear destroyed knocked out and hide inside. While they wait, they give Norman the nickname "Machine" to show their acceptance of him and they pass around a bottle of liquor. They then ambush the SS soldiers, inflicting heavy casualties in a long battle during which day turns to night. 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. A sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Don. Norman wants to surrender, but Don warns him he will be tortured and killed if he does. Out of ammunition and surrounded, Don orders Norman to escape through the floor hatch as the Germans drop grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just before they explode, killing Don. Norman tries to hide as the SS move on, but is spotted by a young soldier who hesitates and spares his life.
The next morning, Norman crawls back into the tank, covers Don's body with his jacket and takes his revolver. The hatch opens and Norman prepares to fight but realizes it is an American soldier. As Norman is driven away, he looks back at the tank and numerous dead SS soldiers lying around while the American troops continue their advance deeper into Nazi Germany.
- Brad Pitt as Staff Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier, tank commander
- Shia LaBeouf as Technician fifth grade Boyd "Bible" Swan, tank gunner
- Logan Lerman as Private First Class Norman "Machine" Ellison, tank assistant driver/bow gunner
- Michael Peña as Corporal Trini "Gordo" Garcia, tank driver
- Jon Bernthal as Private First Class Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis, tank loader
- Jason Isaacs as Captain Waggoner
- Brad Henke as Staff Sergeant Davis
- Jim Parrack as Staff Sergeant Binkowski
- Xavier Samuel as Lieutenant Parker
- Scott Eastwood as Sergeant Miles
- Kevin Vance as Master Sergeant Peterson
- Anamaria Marinca as Irma
- Alicia von Rittberg as Emma
- Chris Wilson as Chaplain
- David Rae as Tiger I Commander
- Laurence Spellman as Sergeant Dillard
- Zach Avery as SS Medic (uncredited)
- Adam Ganne as an Obersturmführer
- Daniel Dorr as Obersturmführer Schmidt
- Berhard Forscher as Sturmbannführer Muller
- Edin Gali as Hauptscharführer Wolfe
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 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 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 Tomović.
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."
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 treated 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 and Sony apologized.
Portrayal of history
Fury is a film about a fictional 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 sought authentic uniforms and weapons appropriate to the period of the final months of the war in Europe. 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. It was the first time since the film They Were Not Divided (1950) that a real Tiger tank was used on a film set. Tiger 131 is a very early model Tiger I tank, and externally it has some significant differences from later Tiger I models. 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.
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.
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 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, 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."
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.
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. 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. Additionally, in the 2019 Blitz fair, the fury was sold for 30,000 in-game gold, prompting players to criticize Wargaming for greed and the overall ridiculous price.
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 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 the US and Canada, and $126 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $211.8 million, against a budget of $68 million.
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 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). In its second weekend the film earned $13 million (-45%).
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).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 257 reviews, with an average rating of 6.92/10. 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." 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.
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." 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." 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. 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."
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." 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'."
|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|
|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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