The 93rd Bomb Group association produced this near-perfect documentary, directed by Michael Sellers and narrated by Band of Brothers and The Walking Dead star Michael Cudlitz. According to the association website: “The 93rd was arguably the most decorated, most traveled and most effective bomb group of WWII. Helping to cripple Hitler’s Europe from the air, they executed some of the most daring bombing raids of the war. Along with the group’s rich history, sons, daughters, and grandchildren travel to England and explore the 93rd’s long-forgotten airbase.“
Sellers is one of the family members who returns periodically for reunions at Hardwick. He came for years with his grandfather, John L. Sullivan, a 93rd Bombardier/navigator. He presents the film with historical archive material using films and photos from the families and other sources, blended with a recent reunion trip to England to visit the site and meet others connected to Hardwick. The base has essentially returned to farmland at this point, with only a few landmarks to map the runways and support buildings. One of the objectives of each reunion is to rediscover the site, finding where each object that had been the base was located.
“…a living, breathing moment from our past, reminding us what has been done, and what can be done.”
This documentary comes on the heels of two other amazing reminiscences of war, though both are about the first World War. Peter Jackson resurrected archival footage to present the stunning They Shall Not Grow Old, and Sam Mendes helmed the Oscar-nominated 1917, based on a story from his grandfather. Return to Hardwick is so well done it deserves a place beside those films as a memory to be discovered.
The 93rd Bomb Group association is composed of veterans and family members who wanted to take the 93rd’s story public and financed the film themselves. Sellers has toured the film to many film festivals and has held historical screenings at museums as an educational piece, but it is so much more than an archive. Return to Hardwick is a living, breathing moment from our past, reminding us what has been done, and what can be done.
"…an elegant, elegiac reminder of who we were and who we can be again."