Hanks, Spielberg tops in U.S. Army Europe Hollywood poll

June 8, 2011

U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- “Band of Brothers” narrowly edged “Saving Private Ryan” in a two-week U.S. Army Europe Web poll asking the public to select their five favorite films portraying U.S. Soldiers in Europe.

The final tally for the top spot was 128 votes to 126, revealing the powerful appeal Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg hold among poll participants in detailing the experiences of WWII veterans.

The two movies were both the result of collaborations by the Hollywood A-listers.

Rounding out the top five was “The Longest Day,” a 1962 drama starring John Wayne about the events of D-Day; “Patton,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1970 and starring George C. Scott as the famed American general; and “A Bridge Too Far,” a 1977 film starring Sean Connery about the failed Operation Market-Garden.

The poll received a total of 814 votes and was based on the realism, entertainment value and overall quality of 20 movies featuring the U.S. Army in Europe.

Some of Hollywood's biggest stars throughout history - Elvis, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, Bill Murray, Gene Hackman – have all taken turns on the big screen portraying U.S. Soldiers in Europe.

But to participants of the U.S. Army Europe poll, it was the lesser-known “Band of Brothers” in Easy Company who were most endearing.
The 2001 television 10-part mini-series was based on the experiences of E Company Soldiers with the 101st Airborne’s 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II.

Popular write-in votes from participants were 1963’s “The Great Escape,” featuring Steve McQueen; 1965’s “The Battle of the Bulge,” starring Henry Fonda, and 1961’s “The Guns of Navarone,” with Gregory Peck.

The movies in the poll were selected based on a broad range of factors such as popularity, diversity and cultural impact. No restrictions were placed on the number of votes allowed per visitor.

The current poll at the U.S. Army Europe website is part of the new web design that is audience focused and interactive.