World War II: When Lions Roared

World War II: When Lions Roared

UK DVD Cover art
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Produced by Bruce M. Kerner
David W. Rintels
Victoria Riskin
Ethel Winant
Screenplay by David Rintels
Starring Michael Caine
John Lithgow
Bob Hoskins
Music by John Morris
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by John A. Martinelli
Distributed by NBC
Release dates
  • April 19, 1994 (1994-04-19)
Running time
194 minutes
Country United States
Language English

World War II: When Lions Roared (also known as Then There Were Giants) is a 1994 war television miniseries, directed by Joseph Sargent, and starring Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins as the three major Allied leaders, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill respectively.[1] It was notable as the first video production to be produced in an early form of digital high-definition video using the Sony HDVS line of equipment expressly for broadcast in the United States on the NBC television network.[2]


The film portrays Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin as they maneuver their countries through several of the major events of World War II - such events include the Blitz, Operation Barbarossa, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the North African Campaign, the Allied invasion of Italy, and concluding with the Tehran Conference. The Big Three discuss Operation Overlord in Tehran.

In particular, the focus is on the relationship between the leaders themselves and the large strategic concerns at play, with little scrutiny given to the decisions taking place at a lower level[3][4] - an example of this is how, despite his personal disdain for communism, Churchill was willing to go to great lengths to aid the Soviet Union in their fight against Nazi Germany.



It was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards, including Best Actor for Michael Caine, but only won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special.

Home media

Certain UK home versions used an edited version of the film running at 115 minutes, under the alternate title of Then There Were Giants.[5][6] The complete film was released on a two-disc DVD set on February 13, 2007.[7]


  1. "World War II: When Lions Roared". fandango. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. "World War II: When Lions Roared". IMDb. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  3. Stupid Yalta Tricks. New York Magazine. 25 April 1994. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  4. "Excellence Roars in NBC 'Lions'". Los Angeles Times. 19 April 1994. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  7. "World War II: When Lions Roared". Amazon. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
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