The Winds of War | 1982
Herman Wouk's best-selling 1971 epic about a fictional Navy family in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor came to TV in this 16-hour miniseries over seven nights (initially it had been planned for only twelve hours). At about $40-million, it was the single most expensive television event up to that time. Filmed over a period of 13 months in over 400 locations, this TV saga captured a massive audience not only for its content but also its stars. Robert Mitchum, as a fictitious commander who hobnobs with the greats of the time and is asked for advice by FDR, Churchill and others, did his first TV acting here (although the TV movie he made subsequently, "One Shoe Makes It Murder", was shown first).
Ali MacGraw also made her TV acting debut as the Jewish girl who falls in love with Mitchum's WASP son (Jan-Michael Vincent). Polly Bergen, as Mitchum's ambitious, socially-active wife, and Ralph Bellamy, as FDR (reprising the role he made famous on stage and screen in "Sunrise at Campobello" over 22 years earlier), won Emmy Award nominations as Supporting Actress and Actor. Other nominations: Outstanding Limited Series, direction (Part 7), art direction and set decoration (Part 1), costume design (Part 2), editing (Part 7), special effects (Part 4), and four more in the sound category. It won Emmys for photography (part 7) and costume design (part 2).
An equally expansive miniseries, with much of the same cast and production crew, and based on Wouk's sequel novel, "War and Remembrance", covering the events from Pearl Harbor to war's end, was scheduled to begin production in late 1985 as a monumental 30-hour miniseries for the 1987-88 television season.