Generation Kill (miniseries)

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Generation Kill
Generation kill hbo.png
GenreWar drama
Based onGeneration Kill
by Evan Wright
Written byDavid Simon
Ed Burns
Evan Wright
Directed bySusanna White
Simon Cellan Jones
StarringAlexander Skarsgård
James Ransone
Lee Tergesen
Jon Huertas
Stark Sands
Billy Lush
Jonah Lotan
Wilson Bethel
Marc Menchaca
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes7
ProducerAndrea Calderwood
Production locationsMozambique
CinematographyIvan Strasburg
EditorsJason Krasucki
Oral Norrie Ottey
Running time63–69 minutes
Production companiesCompany Pictures
Blown Deadline Productions
BudgetUS$56 million
Original networkHBO
Original releaseJuly 13 (2008-07-13) –
August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)

Generation Kill is an American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO that aired from July 13 to August 24, 2008. It is based on Evan Wright's 2004 book about his experience as an embedded reporter with the US Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, adapted for television by David Simon, Ed Burns, and Wright.[1] The miniseries was directed by Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones and produced by Andrea Calderwood. The ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert, James Ransone as Corporal Josh Ray Person, and Lee Tergesen as Wright.


The cable channel HBO gave the go-ahead to a seven-part miniseries, based on Evan Wright's book about his experiences as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the Iraq War's first phase. The series is set during the invasion of Iraq, from late March to early April 2003. The miniseries was shot over a six-month shoot from mid-to-late 2007 in South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia.[2] The primary production value aspired to was authenticity.[3][4][5] The miniseries was produced on a budget of $56 million.[6]


David Simon and Ed Burns co-wrote and executive produced the miniseries alongside Company Pictures' George Faber and Charles Pattinson, and HBO's Anne Thomopoulos. Andrea Calderwood was the producer; Nina Noble served as co-executive producer; author Evan Wright was credited as a consulting producer; Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones directed the episodes; and two former U.S. Marines, Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes, served as the production's military advisors as well as starred in the series.[7]

Cast and characters[edit]

There are 28 starring cast members with a large supporting cast. The majority of the characters were drawn from the Second Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion's Bravo Company. Lee Tergesen played embedded reporter Evan Wright, though throughout the series he's only referred to as "reporter" or "Rolling Stone". Wright was assigned to the lead vehicle of Bravo Company, which he shared with Staff Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert, played by Alexander Skarsgård, Corporal Josh Ray Person, played by James Ransone and Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley, played by Billy Lush. To prepare for their roles as Recon Marines, the cast attended a six-day boot camp led by Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes.[8]

Other starring characters, from 2nd platoon include:

Additional characters;


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Get Some"Susanna WhiteDavid Simon & Ed BurnsJuly 13, 2008 (2008-07-13)
Marines prepare to invade Iraq at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; while the Marines wait to receive their orders at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait, they learn that a Rolling Stone columnist, Evan Wright, will be embedded with them.
2"The Cradle of Civilization"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns & Evan Wright
July 20, 2008 (2008-07-20)
With the invasion of Iraq now in full swing, Sgt. Colbert tries to keep his unit focused. First Recon Marines adjust to shifting attack plans while anticipating their first contact with the enemy in Nasiriyah and Al Gharraf.
3"Screwby"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
July 27, 2008 (2008-07-27)
Bravo Company await their next orders for a recon mission, having survived its first trial by fire; Fick tries to take control of a dangerous situation; Lt. Col. Ferrando issues a new, more urgent order shortly after Alpha Company shells Ar Rifa.
4"Combat Jack"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : David Simon
August 3, 2008 (2008-08-03)
Grumbling in the ranks about the abandoned supply truck occupies time to kill at the captured airfield, but Bravo is soon on the move again, heading north, clearing villages and setting up a roadblock outside Al Hayy. Meanwhile, Alpha is ordered to find the body of a Marine in Al-Shatrah, but their mission is delayed by a CIA operation.
5"A Burning Dog"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Evan Wright
August 10, 2008 (2008-08-10)
Despite an armored division's punishing response to First Recon's intelligence-gathering about an ambush-in-waiting at a strategic bridge, Bravo still meets stiff resistance while making several attempts to cross it; a survey of the battlefield prompts more questions than answers about the enemy; a roadblock in Al Muwaffiqiyah tests the Marines' ever-changing rules of engagement.
6"Stay Frosty"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
August 17, 2008 (2008-08-17)
After First Recon is assigned the unfamiliar mission of escorting hundreds of civilians fleeing Baghdad, they begin to wonder if their part in the war may be ending. Lt. Col. Ferrando has other plans to get his men back into the battle.
7"Bomb in the Garden"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : David Simon
August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)
Having reached Baghdad, Bravo Company is shocked at the size of the city; while First Recon begin doing their daily patrols in Baghdad, they find out the obstacles that they and the Iraqis face are much greater than they could have imagined.


Although the series has no score, it features a large collection of music, much of it songs that were popular among the American populace in late 2002 and early 2003. The newer music (in the show's context) serves to illustrate pop culture during the time of the invasion. All of the songs are sung a cappella by cast members, with the exception of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" and Josh Ray Person's "Re-Up Time".

Episode 1: "Get Some"[edit]

"Merry Christmas from the Family", by Robert Earl Keen
"Sk8er Boi", by Avril Lavigne
"Lovin' You", by Minnie Riperton
"Use Me", by Bill Withers

Episode 2: "The Cradle of Civilization"[edit]

"Beyoğlu", by D.J. Kambo
"The Marines' Hymn", Traditional
"Smoke Signals", by Dada Flair
"Complicated", by Avril Lavigne
"Bodies", by Drowning Pool
"Boyz-n-the-Hood", by Dynamite Hack
"Hot in Herre", by Nelly

Episode 3: "Screwby"[edit]

"Hot in Herre", by Nelly
"It Was a Good Day", by Ice Cube
"Tainted Love", by Ed Cobb

Episode 4: "Combat Jack"[edit]

"The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", by Country Joe and the Fish
"Attahaddiat", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Entaha Almeshwar", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Copenhagen Song", by Josh Ray Person
"Teenage Dirtbag", by Wheatus


Critical response[edit]

The miniseries received very positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it received a score of 80 out of 100 based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9] On Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries has an approval rating of 86% based on 42 reviews, with an average rating of 9.1/10. The critical consensus reads, "Generation Kill plunges the viewer into war with a visceral force that's still somehow reined in by masterful storytelling and a strong command of period details."[10]

Entertainment Weekly gave the series an "A−" rating, and critic Ken Tucker remarked favorably on its avoidance of cliché, self-consciousness, and agenda-driven storytelling, and praised its execution, nuance, and verisimilitude.[11] Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote: "the seven-part Generation Kill is what you'd hope for from the people behind The Wire: an honest, barely adorned, sometimes painfully vivid representation of life as we live it now. It's journalism converted to art, with both benefiting".[12] Austin Smith of the New York Post, however, was not as impressed; he described the series "as dull and throbbing as a severe headache".[13]

A red carpet screening of Generation Kill was held for U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, where the series was favorably received.[3]


Generation Kill was nominated for 11 Primetime Emmy Awards and won three in 2009, in the miniseries categories. Nominations included Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing (Susanna White for "Bomb in the Garden"), and Outstanding Writing (David Simon and Ed Burns for "Bomb in the Garden"). It won for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Sound Mixing.[14] It was nominated for two awards by the Visual Effects Society in the categories of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special and Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial.[15]


  1. ^ Smith, Lynn (July 15, 2008). "Ensuring a Series is Combat Ready". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Finer, Jonathon (July 12, 2008). "Generation Kill Captures War's Lulls and Horrors". Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Billen, Andrew (January 15, 2009). "Generation Kill: the new Wire". The Times. London. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  4. ^ Generation Kill: "Eric Ladin's Video Diaries" featurette (Blu-ray/DVD). HBO. December 16, 2008.
  5. ^ Grove, David (November 21, 2018). "The 3 reasons why 'Generation Kill' feels so authentic". We Are The Mighty. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  6. ^ Robinson, John (October 2, 2009). "Calling the shots on Generation Kill". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 27, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2007). "HBO drafts cast for 'Kill' mini". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  8. ^ Clark, James (August 1, 2016). "10 Facts From 'Generation Kill' That Make Us Love The Series Even More". Task & Purpose. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "Generation Kill". Metacritic. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "Generation Kill: Miniseries". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  11. ^ Tucker, Ken (July 14, 2008). "Generation Kill". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  12. ^ Bianco, Robert (July 11, 2008). "HBO scores a direct hit with Generation Kill". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  13. ^ Smith, Austin (July 9, 2008). "War Bonding". New York Post. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  14. ^ "Generation Kill". Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  15. ^ "7th Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved December 21, 2017.

External links[edit]