In the annals of World War II, Officer Richard Winters stands as the epitome of bravery, integrity and unfaltering leadership. He led his troop - Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Division - into some of the biggest and most dangerous battles of the war. The documentary portrait Dick Winters: Hang Tough traces his journey on and off the battlefield, and outlines the characteristics that made him such a legendary leader.
Narrated by actor Damian Lewis (who played Winters in the acclaimed HBO series Band of Brothers), the film is centered by a late interview with Winters himself. This first-person narrative makes the film feel personal, and gives voice to the inner drives that motivated him.
Born in New Holland, Pennsylvania, Winters was taught the value of discipline as a child, a value that would carry him to great heights later in life. Towards the end of his college life - as young men were typically embarking on their career of choice - Winters decided to enlist in the draft. Disinterested in participating in the war, Winters' fate was nevertheless sealed following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
He soon began to build a sterling reputation based on his fearless commitment to the mission and to his men. He was revered as a commander who "walked the walk" and set an example by leading his men from the front-line. As a result, each member of his battalion felt empowered to follow his commands and in his footsteps at every turn. They trusted him for his strength, strategic prowess and tireless commitment to bring them out of any battle safely.
During the course of the film, Winters discusses his views on leadership, the importance of seamless collaboration in battle, the challenges of epic skirmishes like the one he encountered on D-Day, and the enduring bonds he shared with the men he swore to protect. A few of those men - heroic survivors from America's greatest generation - are also profiled in the film. Collectively, they testify to Winters' strength of character with heartfelt sincerity and admiration.
Directed by: Tim Gray