Generation Kill
GenreWar drama
Based onGeneration Kill
by Evan Wright
Written byDavid Simon
Ed Burns
Evan Wright
Directed bySusanna White
Simon Cellan Jones
StarringAlexander Skarsgård
James Ransone
Lee Tergesen
Jon Huertas
Stark Sands
Billy Lush
Jonah Lotan
Wilson Bethel
Pawel Szajda
Marc Menchaca
Rey Valentin
Kellan Lutz
Mike Figueroa
Josh Barrett
Rudy Reyes
Rich McDonald
Eric Ladin
Chance Kelly
Eric Nenninger
Brian Patrick Wade
Neal Jones
Michael Kelly
David Barrera
Benjamin Busch
Owain Yeoman
J. Salome Martinez
Nabil Elouahabi
Robert John Burke
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes7
ProducerAndrea Calderwood
Production locationsMozambique
CinematographyIvan Strasburg
EditorsJason Krasucki
Oral Norrie Ottey
Running time63–69 minutes
Production companiesCompany Pictures
Blown Deadline Productions
BudgetUS$56 million
Original release
ReleaseJuly 13 (2008-07-13) –
August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)

Generation Kill is an American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO that aired from July 13 to August 24, 2008. It is based on Evan Wright's 2004 book Generation Kill, about his experience as an embedded reporter with the US Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and was adapted for television by David Simon, Ed Burns, and Wright.[1] The miniseries was directed by Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones and produced by Andrea Calderwood. The ensemble cast includes Alexander Skarsgård as Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert, Jon Huertas as Sergeant Tony "Poke" Espera, James Ransone as Corporal Josh Ray Person, and Lee Tergesen as Wright.


The cable channel HBO gave the go-ahead to a seven-part miniseries based on Evan Wright's book about his experiences as an embedded reporter with the U.S. Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the Iraq War's first phase. The series is set during the invasion of Iraq, from late March to early April 2003. The miniseries was shot over a six-month shoot from mid-to-late 2007 in South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia.[2][3] The miniseries was produced on a budget of $56 million, with an emphasis on the realism of the production design.[4][5][6][7]


David Simon and Ed Burns co-wrote and executive produced the miniseries alongside Company Pictures' George Faber and Charles Pattinson, and HBO's Anne Thomopoulos. Andrea Calderwood was the producer; Nina Noble served as co-executive producer; author Evan Wright was credited as a consulting producer; Susanna White and Simon Cellan Jones directed the episodes; and two former U.S. Marines, Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes, served as the production's military advisors as well as starred in the series.[8]

Cast and characters

Main article: List of Generation Kill characters

There are 28 starring cast members with a large supporting cast. The majority of the characters were drawn from the Second Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion's Bravo Company. Lee Tergesen played embedded reporter Evan Wright, though throughout the series he is only referred to as "reporter" or "Rolling Stone". Wright was assigned to the lead vehicle of Bravo Company, which he shared with Staff Sergeant Brad "Iceman" Colbert, played by Alexander Skarsgård, Corporal Josh Ray Person, played by James Ransone and Lance Corporal Harold James Trombley, played by Billy Lush. To prepare for their roles as Recon Marines, the cast attended a six-day boot camp led by Eric Kocher and Rudy Reyes.[9]

Other starring characters, from 2nd platoon include:

Additional characters;


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Get Some"Susanna WhiteDavid Simon & Ed BurnsJuly 13, 2008 (2008-07-13)
Marines prepare to invade Iraq at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; while the Marines wait to receive their orders at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait, they learn that a Rolling Stone columnist, Evan Wright, will be embedded with them.
2"The Cradle of Civilization"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns and Evan Wright
July 20, 2008 (2008-07-20)
With the invasion of Iraq now in full swing, Sgt. Colbert tries to keep his unit focused. First Recon Marines adjust to shifting attack plans while anticipating their first contact with the enemy in Nasiriyah and Al Gharraf.
3"Screwby"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
July 27, 2008 (2008-07-27)
Bravo Company await their next orders for a recon mission, having survived its first trial by fire; Fick tries to take control of a dangerous situation; Lt. Col. Ferrando issues a new, more urgent order shortly after Alpha Company shells Ar Rifa.
4"Combat Jack"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : David Simon
August 3, 2008 (2008-08-03)
Grumbling in the ranks about the abandoned supply truck occupies time to kill at the captured airfield, but Bravo is soon on the move again, heading north, clearing villages and setting up a roadblock outside Al Hayy. Meanwhile, Alpha is ordered to find the body of a Marine in Al-Shatrah, but their mission is delayed by a CIA operation.
5"A Burning Dog"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Evan Wright
August 10, 2008 (2008-08-10)
Despite an armored division's punishing response to First Recon's intelligence-gathering about an ambush-in-waiting at a strategic bridge, Bravo still meets stiff resistance while making several attempts to cross it; a survey of the battlefield prompts more questions than answers about the enemy; a roadblock in Al Muwaffiqiyah tests the Marines' ever-changing rules of engagement.
6"Stay Frosty"Simon Cellan JonesStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : Ed Burns
August 17, 2008 (2008-08-17)
After First Recon is assigned the unfamiliar mission of escorting hundreds of civilians fleeing Baghdad, they begin to wonder if their part in the war may be ending. Lt. Col. Ferrando has other plans to get his men back into the battle.
7"Bomb in the Garden"Susanna WhiteStory by : David Simon & Ed Burns
Teleplay by : David Simon
August 24, 2008 (2008-08-24)
Having reached Baghdad, Bravo Company is shocked at the size of the city; while First Recon begin doing their daily patrols in Baghdad, they find out the obstacles that they and the Iraqis face are much greater than they could have imagined.


Although the series has no score, it features a large collection of music, much of it songs that were popular among the American populace in late 2002 and early 2003. The newer music (in the show's context) serves to illustrate pop culture during the time of the invasion. All of the songs are sung a cappella by cast members, with the exception of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" and Josh Ray Person's "Re-Up Time".

Episode 1: "Get Some"[edit]

"Merry Christmas from the Family", by Robert Earl Keen
"Sk8er Boi", by Avril Lavigne
"Lovin' You", by Minnie Riperton
"Use Me", by Bill Withers

Episode 2: "The Cradle of Civilization"[edit]

"Beyoğlu", by D.J. Kambo
"The Marines' Hymn", Traditional
"Smoke Signals", by Dada Flair
"Complicated", by Avril Lavigne
"Bodies", by Drowning Pool
"Boyz-n-the-Hood", by Dynamite Hack
"Hot in Herre", by Nelly

Episode 3: "Screwby"[edit]

"Hot in Herre", by Nelly
"It Was a Good Day", by Ice Cube
"Tainted Love", by Ed Cobb

Episode 4: "Combat Jack"[edit]

"The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", by Country Joe and the Fish
"Attahaddiat", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Entaha Almeshwar", by Kadhum Al Sahir
"Copenhagen Song", by Josh Ray Person
"Teenage Dirtbag", by Wheatus

Episode 5: "A Burning Dog"[edit]

"On the Road Again", by Willie Nelson
"Sundown", by Gordon Lightfoot
"My Cherie Amour", by Stevie Wonder
"Gangsta Gangsta", by N.W.A

Episode 6: "Stay Frosty"[edit]

"It Ain't Easy", by Tupac Shakur
"Let Me Ride", by Dr. Dre
"Fuck tha Police", by N.W.A
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", by Ed Bruce
"Can I Kick It?", by A Tribe Called Quest
"So Fresh, So Clean", by Outkast

Episode 7: "Bomb in the Garden"[edit]

"9 to 5 (Morning Train)", by Sheena Easton
"Come Sail Away", by Styx
"King of the Road", by Roger Miller
"Re-Up Time", by Josh Ray Person
"The Man Comes Around", by Johnny Cash


Critical response

The miniseries received very positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it received a score of 80 out of 100 based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10] On Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries has an approval rating of 86% based on 42 reviews, with an average rating of 9.1/10. The critical consensus reads, "Generation Kill plunges the viewer into war with a visceral force that's still somehow reined in by masterful storytelling and a strong command of period details."[11] A red carpet screening of Generation Kill was held for U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California, where the series was favorably received.[5]

Entertainment Weekly gave the series an "A−" rating, and critic Ken Tucker remarked favorably on its avoidance of cliché, self-consciousness, and agenda-driven storytelling, and praised its execution, nuance, and verisimilitude.[12] Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote: "the seven-part Generation Kill is what you'd hope for from the people behind The Wire: an honest, barely adorned, sometimes painfully vivid representation of life as we live it now. It's journalism converted to art, with both benefiting".[13] Nev Pierce of Empire gave the miniseries a perfect five out of five stars.[14] Brian Lowry of Variety says "HBO nails the target with Generation Kill".[15] Tim Goodman of SFGate praised the series' authenticity and attention to detail.[16] Writing for The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley remarked "Generation Kill has a superb cast and script, provides a searingly intense, clear-eyed look at the first stage of the war, and it is often gripping".[17] Noel Murray of The A.V. Club wrote: "By the time Generation Kill's final chapter ends, Wright and company have created not just a nuanced, necessary explication of recent events, but an epic that can stand alongside the greatest long-form movies ever made".[18] Pattie Pegler of Stuff said, "This is a complex, unwieldy tale that draws you in and isn't afraid to take its time. And, in that way it reminds me of The Wire – a brilliant piece of television that left you thinking long after you switched off. Generation Kill promises to be equally unforgettable."[19]

Conversely, Austin Smith of the New York Post was not as impressed. He described the series "as dull and throbbing as a severe headache".[20] Similarly, Troy Patterson of Slate wrote: "Generation Kill is too skeptical about authority to entertain neocons or red-meat nationalists and too depressing to delight a good liberal. It plays like it's been built for antisocial boys—armchair heroes in love with guns and in search of demented adventure."[21]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Gracie Awards Outstanding Director – Entertainment Series or Special Susanna White Won [22]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Mini Series Alexa L. Fogel Won [23]
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Movies and Miniseries Danny Hambrook, Stuart Hilliker, and Alexandros Sidiropoulos
(for "A Burning Dog")
Nominated [24]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – Long Form Dialogue and ADR in Television Barry Donnelly, Stefan Henrix, Becki Ponting, Will Ralston, and Iain Eyre
(for "Get Some")
Won [25]
Best Sound Editing - Long Form Sound Effects and Foley in Television Stefan Henrix, Andy Kennedy, David Evans, Graham Headicar, Lee Walpole,
Jack Whittaker, Virginia Thorn, Andrea King, and Jack Stew (for "A Burning Dog")
Imagen Awards Best Supporting Actor/Television Rudy Reyes Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Miniseries David Simon, Ed Burns, George Faber, Nina Kostroff Noble, and
Andrea Calderwood
Nominated [26]
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special Susanna White (for "Bomb in the Garden") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special David Simon and Ed Burns (for "Bomb in the Garden") Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie Rob Harris, Mickey Lennon, and Emelia Weavind Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special Alexa L. Fogel, Christa Schamberger, Suzanne Crowley, and Gilly Poole Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie Ivan Strasburg (for "Combat Jack") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie Jason Krasucki (for "The Cradle of Civilization") Nominated
Oral Norrie Ottey (for "A Burning Dog") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Lee Walpole, Stefan Henrix, Graham Headicar, Jack Whittaker,
Becki Ponting, Jennifer Ralston, Iain Eyre, Andre Schmidt, Virginia Thorn,
Andy Kennedy, Pete Burgis, and Andi Derrick (for "The Cradle of Civilization")
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or Movie Colin Nicolson, Paul Hamblin, and Martin Jensen (for "The Cradle of Civilization") Won
Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Adam McInnes, Courtney Vanderslice-Law, Antony Bluff, Paul Edwards,
Ken Dailey, Stephane Paris, David Sewell, Stuart Partridge, and
Jean-Paul Rovela (for "The Cradle of Civilization")
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Nominated [27]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special Adam McInnes, Anthony Bluff, Stephane Paris, and David Sewell
(for "The Cradle of Civilization")
Nominated [28]
Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial Christian Irles and Yannick Bourgie (for "The Cradle of Civilization") Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adaptation David Simon and Ed Burns (for "Stay Frosty" and "Bomb in the Garden");
Based on the book by Evan Wright
Nominated [29]
Royal Television Society Awards International Award Nominated [30]


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