Thank goodness that "The Winds of War" is finally available on DVD. I missed the original presentation of TWOW when it was first shown on television, but later bought the videocassete version, which was enjoyable enough. Unfortunately, I did not realize (until I got the DVD version) that the VHS version omitted a great many scenes of the original miniseries. This DVD version appears to present TWOW in its entirety, as far as I can tell. Wonderful!
This is a very well-done presentation of Wouk's masterpiece--essentially tracking an American Naval family through pivotal events just prior to America's entry into the Second World War. The viewer is introduced to prewar Nazi Germany, the Nazi invasion of Poland, Britain's early struggles against the Nazis, issues surrounding President Roosevelt's attempts to prepare America for its inevitable entry into the War, and its aid to the British. As other reviewers have mentioned, the casting is fabulous. Robert Mitchum is perfect as Victor Henry, Jan Michael-Vincent is a great Byron Henry, John Houseman is wonderful as Aaron Jastrow, Victoria Tennant is magnificent as Pamela Tudsbury. All of the leads do very well in my opinion. Further, the script is very faithful to the novel, rarely deviating from it, and this is a plus, because the novel moves at a steady pace with a solid storyline. The result is that this is a miniseries that does not feature much in the way of draggy pointless interludes the way so many miniseries sometimes do. Every minute of TWOW is enjoyable and worth watching, which is why I am so pleased that this DVD version is uncut, presenting the entire miniseries.
This is a wonderful value and a fabulous viewing experience about one of the very best novels dealing with World War II.