World War II: When Lions Roared
UK DVD cover art
Screenplay byDavid Rintels
Directed byJoseph Sargent
StarringMichael Caine
John Lithgow
Bob Hoskins
Music byJohn Morris
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerEthel Winant
ProducersBruce M. Kerner
David W. Rintels
Victoria Riskin
Production locationPrague, Czech Republic
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
EditorJohn A. Martinelli
Running time194 minutes
Production companiesGideon Productions
The Kushner-Locke Company
World International Network
Original release
ReleaseApril 19, 1994 (1994-04-19)

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


The film portrays Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph 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, the Tehran Conference, and the Yalta Conference. The Big Three discuss Operation Overlord in Tehran, and the formation of the United Nations and the future of Poland at Yalta. The film concludes with the death of Roosevelt and the end of the war in Europe.

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][better source needed] The complete film was released on a two-disc DVD set on February 13, 2007.[7]


  1. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". 20 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". 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.
  5. ^ "Then There Were Giants". Amazon UK. 6 April 2003.
  6. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared (TV Mini Series 1994)". Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  7. ^ "World War II: When Lions Roared". 3 April 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011.