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Fury is a 2014 American war film written and directed by David Ayer. The film stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal and Jason Isaacs. The film portrays US tank crews in Nazi Germany during the final days of World War II. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books, such as Belton Y. Cooper's Death Traps, about American armored units in World War II and the high casualty rates suffered by tank crews in Europe. Ayer aimed for a greater degree of realism in the film than in other World War II dramas. Rehearsal began in early September 2013 in Hertfordshire, England followed by principal photography on September 30, 2013, in Oxfordshire. Filming continued for a month and a half at different locations, which included the city of Oxford, and concluded on November 13. Fury was released on October 17, 2014. The film received positive reviews from critics and proved to be successful at the box office.
As Fury and its tank platoon move deeper into Germany, Norman's inexperience becomes dangerous: first when he fails to shoot several Hitler Youth child soldiers — who ambush the commanding officer's tank with a Panzerfaust, killing him and his crew, and then later during a skirmish with German anti-tank guns, in which he hesitates under fire. Wardaddy is angered at his incompetence, and after the battle, he orders Norman to execute a captive German soldier. When Norman refuses, Wardaddy wrestles a pistol into his hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the prisoner and traumatizing Norman. Wardaddy then leads the tanks to capture a small German town, where Norman kills several German soldiers. While searching an apartment, Wardaddy and Norman encounter a German woman, Irma, and her younger cousin, Emma. Norman and Emma go into the bedroom together and have sex. The four then have breakfast, but the rest of Fury's crew barges in, harassing the women and angering Wardaddy and Norman. The men soon leave and a German artillery bombardment strikes the town. Norman finds Emma among the dead, which traumatizes him once more.
Wardaddy and his platoon are then ordered to hold a vital crossroads to prevent the enemy from attacking the Allies' vulnerable rear lines. They head to their objective, only to be ambushed by a German Tiger I. Wardaddy leads the Shermans in a counter-attack; their shells fail to penetrate the Tiger's thick frontal armor, and its heavier gun knocks out three tanks from the platoon. Fury eventually destroys the Tiger by outmaneuvering it and firing into its thinner rear armor, but with the radio damaged, Fury is forced to continue the mission alone. Just as it reaches the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Norman is ordered to scout a nearby hill where he spots a battalion of three hundred Waffen-SS panzergrenadiers heading their way. The crew initially wants to flee, but Wardaddy refuses to leave and they decide to stay.
The crew disguises Fury so that it would appear knocked-out, and then waits for the approaching Germans inside. They share a bottle of whiskey, and Norman is finally accepted by the crew and given his nickname: "Machine". When the Germans arrive, the crew ambush them using both the tank's and their own personal weapons. As ammunition runs out and the battle turns desperate, Grady is killed by a Panzerfaust round penetrating the turret; Gordo is wounded and then sacrifices himself by covering one of his dropped grenades; then a sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Wardaddy. Wardaddy then orders Norman to escape through an emergency hatch in the floor as the Germans drop grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just as they explode, killing Wardaddy. Norman tries to hide as the Germans move on, but is quickly discovered by a young SS soldier. The soldier hesitates and then leaves, deciding not to report him.
The next morning, Norman awakens and crawls back into the tank, where he covers Wardaddy's corpse with his coat and takes his revolver as he hears movement outside. Norman awaits his fate, only to discover he is being rescued by US soldiers, who tell him that he is a hero. As Norman is transported away to safety, he looks back at the carnage behind him: the countless dead German troops lying around the battered Fury.
Fury is a fictional film about a tank crew during the final days of the war in Europe. Ayer was influenced by the service of veterans in his family and by reading books such as Belton Y. Cooper's Death Traps about American armored warfare in World War II. Ayer went to considerable lengths to seek authentic uniforms and weapons appropriate to the period of the final months of the war in Europe. The film was shot in England in large part due to the availability of working World War II-era tanks.
Ten working M4 Sherman tanks were used. The Sherman tank Fury was played by an M4A2 Sherman tank named RON/HARRY (T224875), also lent by The Tank Museum. Ayer's attention to detail also extended to the maps used in the film. A 1943 wartime map of Hannover, Germany held in McMaster University’s Lloyd Reeds Map Collection was used to demonstrate the types of resources relied on by Allied forces.
Map of Hannover, Germany used in the film.
While the plot of the film is fictional, the depiction of the tank Fury and its commander Wardaddy parallels the experience of several real Allied tankers, such as the American tank commander Staff Sergeant Lafayette G. "War Daddy" Pool who landed just after D-Day and destroyed 258 enemy vehicles before his tank was knocked out in Germany in late 1944, and the small number of Sherman tanks to survive from the landing at D-Day to the end of the war, such as Bomb, a Sherman tank that landed at D-Day and survived into the bitter fighting in Germany at the war's end, the only Canadian Sherman tank to survive the fighting from D-Day to VE Day.
Fury received positive reviews from critics, who praised the portrayal of war, as well as Ayer's direction, Price's score and the work of its main cast members; with the performances of Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, and Shia LaBeouf singled out for praise. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 77% based on 228 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesn't quite live up to its larger ambitions."On Metacritic, the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The Boston Globe's Ty Burr gave 2.5 out of 4 stars and talked about Pitt's character Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier, commenting on Wardaddy's portrayal as "the battle-scarred leader of a tank crew pushing through Germany toward Berlin, Brad Pitt creates a warrior who is terse, sometimes noble, more often brutal." Another critic, Burr, explained that Ayer portrayed in the character of Wardaddy "a figure both monstrous and upstanding. In one scene, he shoots a captured enemy officer in the back. A few scenes later, he's protecting two German women from being assaulted by his own men." Burr further stated that, "Fury gives us terrible glimpses: tank treads rolling over a body pancaked into the mud, an elderly woman cutting meat off a dead horse, a woman in a wedding dress among a crowd of refugees. Fury wants to lead us to a fresh consideration of 'the good war' while simultaneously celebrating the old bromides and clichés. No wonder it shoots itself in the tank."
Newsday's Rafer Guzman admired director Ayer, who "does a good job of putting us inside the tank Fury"; with "all the extra blood and brutality, this is still a macho and romanticized war movie", and he singled out Pitt, who he said "serves honorably in the John Wayne role". Deadline Hollywood's Pete Hammond praised Lerman's performance saying, "It is a great performance, very Oscar-worthy in part of Logan Lerman. Those scenes between Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman trying to teach him the trips of war and how to man up is remarkable."