Another fantastic HBO miniseries this time it about the American participation in World War II. All their battles in the Pacific region – Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa – are depicted along with the young men who fought there. The miniseries, which was executive produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, is 10 parts and was nominated for 24 Emmy Awards.
The series is based on the journals of U.S. Marines Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge and John Basilone. Each of the men wrote a book that was used as source material for the series. It follows them during the war and after.
Part 1: Right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Marine Sergeant John Basilone (played by Jon Seda) gets ready to head out to the Pacific region, sports journalist Robert Leckie (played by James Badge Dale) enlists in the Marines and Eugene Sledge (played by Joseph Mazello) is unable to enlist due to a heart murmur, so he has to say goodbye to his best friend Sidney Phillips (played by Ashton Holmes).
Part 2: The 7th Marines, including Basilone, arrive at Guadalcanal to reinforce the 1st Marine Division, including Leckie, in order to continue the defence of the airstrip. Basilone is heroic during this particular Japanese attack. After many deaths and an exhausting four months the Marines are finally evacuated off the island.
Part 3: Leckie is mentally and physically exhausted after the long four months on Guadalcanal. Basilone and Leckie are evacuated to Melbourne where they are greeted as heroes. Leckie begins an intense relationship with an Australian girl and her first-generation Greek family. Basilone is given the Medal of Honor and is sent home to help sell U.S. War Bonds.
Part 4: Sledge finally is able to enlist as a Marine and trains at Camp Cape Gloucester on the Japanese occupied island of New Britain. While Leckie and the other Marines realize that they are not only battling the Japanese but also the jungle. Leckie is now stationed on the island of Pavuvu and he begins to exhibit the signs of a man mentally and physically overwhelmed by months of combat. He is sent to a naval hospital on the nearby island of Banika for psychiatric evaluation.
Part 5: Basilone becomes a bigger and bigger star as he travels across the U.S. on the War Bond tour. Leckie rejoins his company on Pavuvu. Sledge is assigned to the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division and is reunited for a short time with his friend Phillips. Sledge experiences his first combat experience as the 1st Marine Division meets with strong Japanese resistance while landing on the island of Peleliu.
Part 6: Sledge, Leckie and the other Marines go up against a heavily fortified Japanese airstrip on the island Peleliu. After a few of his close friends are injured, Leckie is injured himself and is evacuated from the island.
Part 7: The battle of Peleliu continues as the Japanese refuse to surrender. Sledge is greatly affected by a respected leader being killed and witnessing some unimaginable things committed by both sides.
Part 8: Basilone, who hates his job of trying to sell War Bonds, asks the Marines to allow him to train troops who will soon be involved in combat. Working at Camp Pendleton, Basilone begins a romance with female Marine Lena Riggi (played by Annie Parisse). They are married just before Basilone is shipped out to fight in the Marine landing on Iwo Jima.
Part 9: The battle on Okinawa has gone on for over one month, Sledge and his fellow Marines of the 1st Marine Division are sent to relieve an Army division waging battle against a heavily outfitted Japanese position on the island.
Part 10: The Japanese have surrendered and a healed Leckie leaves the hospital and goes home. Sledge also returns to Mobile, Alabama and his family and his friend Sid Phillips. Lena goes to the Basilone home to return something to his family.
Special Features: Enhanced Viewing, Field Guide, Profiles of The Pacific, Making The Pacific, Anatomy of the Pacific War