The Winds of War Miniseries was a War drama series of seven two hour segments that aired over eight days in February of 1983 on ABC. It highlighted the events that led to the outbreak of World War II beginning in the late 1930s. Germany is rearming its military despite its agreement after World War I to remain non-militaristic. Hitler's Nazi party has come to power and begins invading nearby countries. Italy's Facist leader Musolini wants to use his military to return to the days when Rome ruled the world. Japan is invading China in their attempt to dominate Asia. Throughout all of this the United States maintains their diplomatic relations with all three aggressors, determined to not be drug into another conflict far across the seas. A few smart individuals, however, including Naval Officer Pug Henry realize that would be dictators will not stop at ruling only part of the world and will eventually find their way to U.S. shores. Pug walks a fine line between remaining the friendly dimplomat and watching for the aggressors' evil intentions while trying to convince his leaders of the imposing danger to America and its allies.
The Winds of War Cast
Robert Mitchum .... Victor "Pug" Henry (7 episodes)
Ali MacGraw .... Natalie Jastrow (7 episodes)
Jan-Michael Vincent .... Byron Henry (7 episodes)
Polly Bergen .... Rhoda Henry (7 episodes)
John Houseman .... Aaron Jastrow (7 episodes)
David Dukes .... Leslie Slote (7 episodes)
Lisa Eilbacher .... Madeline Henry (7 episodes)
Ben Murphy .... Warren Henry (7 episodes)
Victoria Tennant .... Pamela Tudsbury (7 episodes)
Peter Graves .... Palmer "Fred" Kirby (7 episodes)
Jeremy Kemp .... Brigadier General Armin Von Roon (7 episodes)
Ralph Bellamy .... President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (7 episodes)
Topol .... Berel Jastrow (7 episodes)
Wolfgang Preiss .... Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch (7 episodes)
William Woodson .... Narrator (7 episodes)
Reinhard Kolldehoff .... Hermann Goering (6 episodes)
Joachim Hansen .... Field Marshal Alfred Jodl (6 episodes)
Alexander Kerst .... Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel (6 episodes)
Gunter Meisner .... Adolf Hitler (6 episodes)
Werner Kreindl .... Colonel General Franz Halder (6 episodes)
Rainer Penkert .... Grand Admiral Erich Raeder (6 episodes)
Howard Lang .... Winston Churchill (4 episodes)
Anton Diffring .... Joachim von Ribbentrop (4 episodes)
Timothy Stack .... Yeoman Ryan (4 episodes)
Michael Logan .... Alistair Tudsbury (3 episodes)
John Carter .... Colonel William Forrest (3 episodes)
Joseph Hacker .... Lieutenant Carter "Lady" Aster (3 episodes)
Deborah Winters .... Janice Lacouture Henry (3 episodes)
Tom McFadden .... Hugh Cleveland (3 episodes)
Barry Morse .... Wolf Stoller (3 episodes)
Roy Poole .... Harry Hopkins (3 episodes)
Scott Brady .... Captain Red Tully (2 episodes)
Judith Atwell .... Sally Forrest (2 episodes)
Elizabeth Hoffman .... Eleanor Roosevelt (2 episodes)
Enzo G. Castellari .... Benito Mussolini (2 episodes)
Lawrence Pressman .... Bunky Thurston (2 episodes)
Allan Cuthbertson .... Major General Tillet (2 episodes)
Sky Dumont .... Count Galeazzo Ciano (2 episodes)
Leo Gordon .... General "Train" Anderson (2 episodes)
Eloise Hardt .... Mrs. Lacouture (2 episodes)
Ferdy Mayne .... Ludwig Rosenthal (2 episodes)
Lin McCarthy .... Blinker Vance (2 episodes)
Michael McGuire .... Fred Fearing (2 episodes)
Edmund Pegge .... Air Commodore Burne-Wilke (2 episodes)
Edmund Purdom .... Luigi Gianelli (2 episodes)
James Ray .... Charge Reese Claremont (2 episodes)
The Winds of War Trivia
The Winds of War was based on a novel by Herman Wouk that was 962 pages in length and encompassed 1785 seperate scenes!
The filming of the Winds of War took nearly three years and editing the footage took another year! No expense was spared in filming. One million feet of film was shot with a play time of 185 hours. That raw footage was edited to 81,000 feet with a run time of about 13 hours. It was done on two continents, in six countries, and at 267 seperate locations!
Critics mostly agreed that the Winds of War may be the miniseries that most closely followed the novel on which it was based.
The Winds of War was so popular that it was followed six years later by an even longer, 29 hour long "spinoff miniseries" titled, "War and Remembrance". That miniseries continued to follow the Henry family as they struggled to survive the ravages of World War II!
In the finale, the bombing of Pearl Harbor was actually filmed beginning on December 7th, the anniversary of the real-life attack on Pearl Harbor. It was filmed at the Port Hueneme Naval harbor located 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. While the Navy was exceptionally co-operative in the filming of the Winds of War, they only gave the cast and crew four days to shoot that intensely complicated sequence!
Many great TV stars were eager to appear in The Winds of War due to the marvelous script. To name just a few there was: Jan-Michael Vincent ("Airwolf"), John Houseman ("The Paper Chase"), Polly Bergen ("To Tell the Truth"), Ben Murphy ("Alias Smith and Jones"), Peter Graves ("Mission Impossible"), Ralph Bellamy ("Man Against Crime"), Scott Brady ("Shotgun Slade"), Lawrence Pressman ("Doogie Howser, M.D."),
About the only criticism of the Winds of War was that many viewers and some critics felt that Robert Mitchum was too old to play the role of a dynamic Naval leader involved in international intrigue. They also felt that the love affair between Ali MacGraw was too much older than Jan-Michael Vincent for the love affair between their characters to be believeable. As for Robert Mitchum, his portrayal of Pug Henry was, in this author's opinion, right on target. There's no doubt that he wasn't an "action" hero. He was the determined and mature leader who was effective in his duties because he remained so calm. As to Ali and Jan-Michael, Ali MacGraw was only actually six years older. It's true that they looked like the age difference was greater than that due to Jan-Michael's youthful appearance, however. I, for one still found it disappointing when their characters were played by other actors who were more age compatible in the sequel. I had obviously come to accept them as a couple. Most likely, today's audiences wouldn't find it difficult to believe that an older woman and a younger man could fall in love.
Besides starring in this miniseries and in its sequel, Robert Mitchum also starred in the "North and South Miniseries".
There was one mini scandal involving the Winds of War. A divinity school professor filed a law suit claiming that the miniseries' theme was plagarized from a song that he had written 18 years earlier. In 1991 a jury in Los Angeles agreed with him and he won the suit!
In a strange twist, Sky Dumont, Barry Morse, and Barbara Steele appeared in the Winds of War and War and Remembrance but they didn't play the same roles in the latter! Six years is a long time and their roles were relatively minor so not many fans noticed.
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
- The Winds Rise (2/6/1983)
- The Storm Breaks (2/7/1983)
- Cataclysm (2/8/1983)
- Defiance (2/9/1983)
- Of Love and War (2/10/1983)
- The Changing of the Guard (2/11/1983)
- Into the Maelstrom (2/13/1983)
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