World War II: When Lions Roared

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World War II: When Lions Roared
World War 2 When Lions Roared DVD.jpg
UK DVD cover art
Screenplay byDavid Rintels
Directed byJoseph Sargent
StarringMichael Caine
John Lithgow
Bob Hoskins
Music byJohn Morris
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Ethel Winant
Producer(s)Bruce M. Kerner
David W. Rintels
Victoria Riskin
Production location(s)Prague, Czech Republic
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Editor(s)John A. Martinelli
Running time194 minutes
Production company(s)Gideon Productions
The Kushner-Locke Company
World International Network
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseApril 19, 1994 (1994-04-19)

World War II: When Lions Roared (also known as Then There Were Giants) is a 1994 American war television miniseries, directed by Joseph Sargent, and starring Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins as the three major Allied leaders, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill respectively.[1] It was notable as the first video production to be produced in an early form of analog high-definition video using the Sony HDVS line of equipment expressly for broadcast in the United States on the NBC television network.[2]


The film portrays Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin as they maneuver their countries through several of the major events of World War II - such events include the Blitz, Operation Barbarossa, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the North African Campaign, the Allied invasion of Italy, the Tehran Conference, and the Yalta Conference. The Big Three discuss Operation Overlord in Tehran, and the formation of the United Nations and the future of Poland at Yalta. The film concludes with the death of Roosevelt and the end of the war in Europe.

In particular, the focus is on the relationship between the leaders themselves and the large strategic concerns at play, with little scrutiny given to the decisions taking place at a lower level[3][4] - an example of this is how, despite his personal disdain for communism, Churchill was willing to go to great lengths to aid the Soviet Union in their fight against Nazi Germany.



It was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards, including Best Actor for Michael Caine, but only won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special.

Home media[edit]

Certain UK home versions used an edited version of the film running at 115 minutes, under the alternate title of Then There Were Giants.[5][6] The complete film was released on a two-disc DVD set on February 13, 2007.[7]


  1. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". fandango. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". IMDb. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. ^ Stupid Yalta Tricks. New York Magazine. 25 April 1994. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Excellence Roars in NBC 'Lions'". Los Angeles Times. 19 April 1994. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^[better source needed]
  7. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". Amazon. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011.

External links[edit]