There are plenty of World War Two movies out there. It takes a pretty good film to stand out from the crowd and in recent years, few have been as standout as Fury.
It’s easy to see why. There’s the cast, which features stellar actors like Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena and Jason Isaacs, and the action, which starts about seven seconds in and then doesn’t let up for another hour and a half.
The most striking thing about Fury, however, is that the whole thing is based on a true story.
“Both of my grandparents were in World War II and retired as officers,” David Ayer, who directed Fury, told Cinema Blend.
“One fought in the Pacific and one fought in Europe. The whole family was in the war. I grew up exposed to it and hearing the stories, but the stories I heard weren’t kind of the whole ‘Rah, rah, rah! We saved the world!’
“They were about the personal price and the emotional price. The pain and the loss are the shadows that sort of stalk my family.”
Ayer was clearly inspired by the stories of his forefathers in making the movie.
“That was something that I wanted to communicate with people,” he said.
“Even though it was literally a fight of good against evil and it had an incredibly positive outcome, the individual man fighting it was just as tired, scared and freaked out as a guy operating a base in Afghanistan or a guy in the jungle in Vietnam.”
It was this inspiration that led Ayer to use as many authentic materials as possible in making the film.
The Fury tank battalion used real World War Two tanks, with the famed Sherman tanks of the US Army being provided by Bovington Tank Museum.”It was great to be able to get the wartime tanks,” said the film’s director.
“Tanks from all over Europe. The owners were kind enough to let us weld them, paint them and get them into the exact configurations they were in during the end of the war. The Bovington Tank Museum, after extended negotiations, let us use a type of tank that has never been in a feature before.
“It’s the only running German Tiger tank in the world. To have a battle with a real Tiger and real Sherman tanks coming at each other with pyro blowing off and explosions and everything – It was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Ken Tout, who took part in some of Normandy’s most brutal fighting, told the Telegraph: “When you first saw a tank – this ugly, trundling, noisy monstrosity – you thought that somehow or other you’ve got to fold yourself up and get inside that.
“And there was also the realisation that the role of the tank was to go out in front and be shot at.”
So many of the five-man Sherman crews were killed by the tanks catching fire when hit that the German troops nicknamed the vehicles ‘Tommy-cookers’.
Ken told the paper: “It probably earned that name the first time a German shot into the rear part of a Sherman and hit the 600 litres of high-octane fuel, which immediately flared up.
“It was an immense flare. You could get a tower of flame and ammunition up to 30 feet coming out of the turret.
“If the Sherman was hit at a certain angle and with a certain deflection, the ammunition would ignite at the same time as the fuel. It was a cocktail of burning fury.”