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Film / Fury (2014)

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"Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."
Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Fury is a 2014 war film, written and directed by David Ayer and featuring an All-Star Cast, about the exploits of a Sherman tank crew in the last days of World War II in Europe.

In April 1945, the Allies are slowly grinding their way through the heart of Nazi Germany as Adolf Hitler desperately orders a complete mobilization of all of the German people in an attempt to resist Germany's inevitable downfall. The crew of the American tank "Fury", led by Staff Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt), have spent years fighting the Nazis in various fronts throughout the war, and when the film begins they have just barely survived a battle that wiped out the rest of their tank platoon and killed a member of their crew. Upon arriving back at camp, Wardaddy is ordered to take along a new assistant driver, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a new recruit who has been in the Army for just eight weeks and has never fired a gun in his life apart from basic training. Norman is introduced to the rest of Fury's crew, including "Bible" (Shia LaBeouf), "Gordo" (Michael Peña) and "Coon-Ass" (Jon Bernthal), and works to gain their trust and get over his shock at the horror of war.

Only a few days into his time with the crew, Norman finds himself part of an unusual mission, as Fury and a handful of other tanks are ordered to advance beyond the Allied lines to intercept a large Nazi force headed straight for their undefended supply lines. Outnumbered and outgunned in enemy territory, this may be the most dangerous mission yet for the crew of the Fury...

The film is notable for marking only the second time in cinema that an actual Tiger I tank is seen on-screen.

Not related to the 1936 film directed by Fritz Lang or the Vietnamese action film Furie. Compare with the Russian counterpart, T34.

This film provides examples of:

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  • Ace Custom: Fury is customised with extra machine guns, along with a ton of ancillary gear scattered along her hull and tree trunks as improvised armour. Besides that, Fury and Matador are M4A3E8s, "Easy Eight" Sherman variant with a 76mm anti-tank main gun, HVSS suspension and wide tracks, while Lucy Sue and 'Murder, Inc. are older M4A3 versions with 75mm general purpose gun and VVSS suspension (Old Phyllis is also armed with a 76mm). M4A3E8 came to service in early 1945. Usually an American tank platoon was assigned one Sherman with 76mm gun, the rest being armed with the old 75mm cannon. In this case, Fury is the Sole Survivor of another platoon in the same company.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • The film actually opens with one — a lone German officer is riding his horse through the eerily-still aftermath of a battle, several burnt out tanks littering the landscape. And then Wardaddy leaps down from one, Fury, and stabs the man through the eye...
    • The scene in the German house, where Wardaddy and Norman meet the two German women.
    • Norman and Grady sharing a smoke among the corpses in the abandoned German field hospital.
    • The scene right before the SS soldiers show up during the movie's climax.
  • Actor Allusion: A minor one, but when the Fury returns to the army camp at the start of the movie, a few of the other tank commanders are surprised to see Wardaddy return alive from the massive engagement and comment that they thought he was dead. Wardaddy responds by joking about how "the devil looks out for his own". In the 90s Brad Pitt, who plays Wardaddy, starred in a film called The Devil's Own, a project Pitt regretted afterwards.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The crew of the Fury is riding on the tank when Norman spots a young and pretty German woman. It quickly turns into light-hearted hazing among the crew that even has the shell-shocked newbie laughing.
    Gordo: She'll let you fuck her for a chocolate bar.
    Norman: That's not true.
    Gordo: It's not true?
    Norman: [shakes his head] No.
    Gordo: Okay, it's not true.
    Coon-Ass: It's completely fuckin' true. Or just give her some smokes. Ain't gotta fuck around and give her a whole pack neither. Fuckin' four'll do it.
    Bible: Norman. Ignore him. Don't disappoint Christ, now. Don't let them lead you astray.
    ... Hazing continues for a few minutes mainly focused on Bible and whether his beliefs about Christian redemption extend to Hitler and their other enemies ...
    Wardaddy: Alright knock it off, knock off the horseplay.
    [long pause]
    Wardaddy: Boyd, you think Hitler'd fuck one of us for a chocolate bar?
    Bible: [Bible and Coon-Ass laugh] I hope so!
    [Norman chuckles]
    [Another Long Pause]
    [Entire crew bursts into laughter a few seconds later.]
  • The Alcoholic: Gordo is seen drinking straight from the bottle whenever he can.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted. The movie makes a point of showing that German civilians aren't much safer from the Nazis than the Allied soldiers.
  • All There in the Manual: A deleted scene details Wardaddy's backstory before joining the Army, including how he got the burn scars on his back.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Coon-Ass seems to have this attitude toward German woman, suggesting that a chocolate bar or a few cigarettes will do fine for their attention. (What goes unspoken is that at this point of the war so much of Germany is now occupied by the Allies in the west and the Russians in the east that any territories that haven't fallen yet also probably haven't gotten any food or other supplies in a while, or have had whatever supplies the civilians had taken by the remnants of the German army and the SS. So there are very concrete reasons why exchanging sex for some food or cigarettes is a bargain that a lot of the German women would make.)
  • Anyone Can Die: And they do, except Norman. In fact, Norman and Captain Waggoner are the only named characters who survive in the theatrical cut, although in a deleted scene Waggoner is also killed when the Nazis shell the town.
  • Armor Is Useless: Played straight with the (often regarded as historically inadequate) armour on the other Shermans when faced with a Tiger, subverted with the Tiger itself, where it keeps rolling with only scratches no matter how many times it's hit in the front before Fury gets around it to its more vulnerable rear armour note . Fury is an otherwise ordinary Sherman (albeit the best Sherman model), but during the battle with the Tiger manages to survive a number of hits with bad angles and ablating the clutter on the hull causing them to ricochet.
    • A notable incident averting this trope was during the attack in the town. Fury takes a full front hit by a Pak 38 gun and survives with the shell deflecting off. Granted, however, this gun was quite obsolete by 1942, let alone 1945, and serves to prove a point about how desperate the situation is for the Germans.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Downplayed, as the film is on the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, but still we've got this exchange:
    Binkowski: Why're we rescuing kittens instead of just driving down to Berlin?
    Wardaddy: Why're you such an asshole?
    Davis: Now that is an excellent question.
    • A little later, Wardaddy shows some brief Hidden Depths and some Foreshadowing, revealing he understands the Germans' refusal to give up, and shuts his complaining C.O. up with this exchange:
      Waggoner: Why don't they just give up?
      Wardaddy: Would you?
    • Grady delivers one to Norman right after Emma dies, and Norman has to be dragged away from her body.
      Grady: Who d'you think you are, huh? Jesus Christ? You gonna raise her up?
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The second line in the opening statement is this. "US tank crewmen suffered staggering losses against the superior enemy vehicles" is a broad statement in relative to the armoured warfare. Though tank losses ran as high as 10,000 in 1944 to the end of the war in Europe (although compared to a total production of 50,000 M4 Shermans, not such a big loss), crew casualties in tanks only averaged out at one per tank at the point of penetration, and sometimes crews were left unscathed from penetrations as well. According to historian Nicholas Moran, out of ~50,000 American tankers deployed in the European Theater of Operations, only 1,407 were KIA.
    • According to historian Steve Zaloga, the U.S. Army encountering a Tiger I tank was actually rare. The fact that, apart from its size, the Tiger I doesn't look all that different from a Panzer III/IV—and that troops under fire are probably not going to stop to figure out exactly which particular model of enemy tank is currently trying to kill them—led to frequent misidentifications. In fact, in the entire Normandy campaign, he only manages to find three verifiable instances where U.S. tanks encounter it, making the encounter in the movie that much more implausible in April 1945.
    • In the battle against the Tiger I, Fury is only able to destroy it by outflanking it and firing a round through its weak rear armour. However, the Tiger I's side armour was the same thickness as the rear's at 80mm, and even dropped to 60mm for the lower part of the hull. Fury should have been able to destroy it with a shot to the side. More significantly, Fury is an "Easy Eight" Sherman with a 76mm gun, which could easily penetrate the frontal armour of the Tiger I with High-Velocity Armour-Piercing rounds in engagements under 1,000 yards, such as the battle depicted in the movie.
  • Artistic License – Military: When the Tiger tank attacks the tank column, it knocks out the tank at the rear first. In the DVD Bonus Content, the director says that the normal practice during the war was to shoot the leading tank first, to create a roadblock, "but that would have killed Brad Pitt and ended the film."
    • Hell, the entire 2nd part of the film is a case of this trope in action. Tanks are not supposed to travel alone out in the open without support from another group such as the air force or infantry, even if they are in a platoon. This increases their vulnerabilities to attacks such as the one the Tiger tank did. And let's not even bring up the German SS tactics, as detailed in the Hollywood Tactics section.
  • As the Good Book Says...: From Bible, of course.
    Bible: [...] 'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And Who will go for us? And I said... Here am I. Send me.'
    Wardaddy: ...Isaiah, Chapter 6.
  • As You Know: Regarding a tank's weak point among the Fury crew
    Wardaddy: Bible, put it up his ass, where the armour is thin!
    Bible: I know where to fucking hit him!!
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Norman drops the loudest in the film after killing the German Tiger commander.
    Norman: Fuckin' Nazi. [opens fire with his machine gun] FUCK YOU!!!
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: The final shot of the film.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The SS soldiers in the finale show a disturbing lack of self-preservation or tactics, in some cases attacking the Fury crew barehanded.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Fury destroys the Tiger I by hitting the weaker rear armour. In real life however, the sides and rear were the same value in protection.
  • Badass Boast: Wardaddy delivers one as a response in the climaxing battle.
    German Officer: We're going to skin you alive!
    Wardaddy: [in German] Shut up and send me more pigs to kill!
  • Badass Crew: The whole crew is this from the beginning except for Norman, who becomes one by the end, though special mention goes to Wardaddy (for example, he is the only one to not even consider abandoning the immobilised tank and goes straight to preparing it to defend the vulnerable nurses, doctors etc which they were ordered to).
  • Badass Preacher: Boyd "Bible" Swan. Wardaddy too by a smaller degree in the preaching part only.
  • Batter Up!: SSGT Petersen carries a baseball bat when dismounted. Though we never see him use it, it's sufficiently worn and dented to suggest that he's used it in battle more than once.
  • Battle Trophy: Fury has quite a few, both inside and out, from the crew's long service in Africa, France, Belgium, and Germany (Fury herself is not that old, the first "Easy-8" models having entered service in November of 1944, with Wardaddy's crew having switched over from an older model). From the German helmet and gas mask mounted on her bow to the numerous German medals inside the crew compartment, both the tank and crew have obviously seen a lot of action. Wardaddy also wields a German StG 44, one of the first assault rifles made, as a personal defense weapon. Grady occasionally wears a German helmet when dismounted. Gordo wears a German Walther P-38 in a Wehrmacht holster, though he never uses it. Captain Waggoner wears a Waffen-SS Major's fur-lined overcoat.
    • The German corporal captured by the Americans is wearing an American coat he'd presumably taken off of a dead US soldier.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Emma winds up dead, but is still recognisable (and only partly buried despite the destruction) after her apartment collapses on top of her.
    • Wardaddy's face is almost entirely unmarred and fit for cradling by Norman, despite two German grenades going off in his lap.
  • Big Bad: Adolf Hitler, but he isn't seen throughout the film.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Some of the Mexican Spanish curses directed towards the Germans by Garcia are extremely profane. For example, "Chínga tu madre!" means "Fuck your mother!"
    • The signs attached to the executed German civilians are mostly untranslated. One woman has one saying "I did not want to let my children fight."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wardaddy and his crew are able to cripple an entire battalion of SS infantry at the crossroads, but at the cost of everyone's lives except for Norman.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While nobody argues that the Nazis and in particular the SS are monsters in human skin, the veteran American soldiers aren't exactly saints themselves. They will often default to the most efficient methods of fighting that maximize their own survival, such as using underhanded methods to ambush German soldiers, gunning down child soldiers in combat, and using ludicrous amounts of firepower to eliminate individual German positions. Outside of battle, American soldiers show no compunction for summarily executing SS soldiers and German soldiers carrying or wearing American war trophies.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with someone on a white horse approaching a broken-down Fury in the aftermath of a battle.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Bible. Exaggerated with Sergeant Peterson, who has his entire head taken off by an 88. In fact, it seems the shell impacts his head with such horrific force that it obliterates the upper half of his body, too. Also happens to the old man who informs Wardaddy which buildings the Wehrmacht are hiding in. Several German SS soldiers who try to fight against Fury get graphically mulched by a .50 BMG round from Wardaddy.
  • Break the Cutie: Norman gets subjected to this, very brutally.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece:
    • Downplayed in-universe example: The Tiger I tank encountered late in the film is an early production model from late 1942 or early 1943 but is nevertheless still very effective in knocking out the newer Sherman tanks it comes against. This is also justified in that, by this point in the war, the Germans were desperate to press anything still working into service just to halt the Allies.
    • Meta-example: The same Tiger I tank, Tiger 131, is the only remaining functional Tiger I tank in the world, currently owned by the Bovington Tank Museum.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Coon-Ass tells Norman that back when the crew was in North Africa, Wardaddy shit his pants the first time their tank's armour stopped an enemy round. This is after telling him what a great leader he is.
  • Bullet Sparks: When any bullets hit the tanks, they create sparks that shows quite brightly, even in the daylight.
    • There's a more gruesome and rarely-seen version when the Americans use white phosphorus rounds on German infantry — they leave white-hot bits of burning phosphorus embedded in the corpses.
  • Car Fu: Actually Tank Fu. One scene has the Fury run over a German soldier.
    Wardaddy: Watch 'em on the left—Gordo, run that son of a bitch over!
  • Cartwright Curse: It's implied Norman has sex with a German girl named Emma after taking the town she lives in. She dies in an artillery attack three scenes later.
  • Catchphrase: The tank crew has phrases they repeat throughout the movie which come off as catch phrases but they are actually part of standard procedure.
    • Bible's "ON THE WAY!" before firing each shell is standard procedure to warn the loader so that the recoiling breech doesn't come back and maim him.
    • Per procedure, Coon-Ass shouts "UP!" to let Bible know the gun's loaded and primed.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the town, Gordo teaches Norman how to open a fuel container to refuel Fury. Near the climax, Norman uses a fuel container to douse some rags and a dead German to fake a knocked out Sherman.
  • Child Soldiers:
    • The Americans take members of the Hitler Youth prisoner, which includes several girls.
    • Three of them attack the column with a Panzerfaust. Norman sees them, but hesitates to shoot at kids. They hit Lieutenant Parker's tank, killing the whole crew. Wardaddy cuts them down with his Sturmgewehr, then berates Norman for not shooting.
      Wardaddy: You see that? See what a kid can do? That's your fault! That's your fucking fault! Next German you see with a weapon, you rake the dogshit out of 'em! I don't care if it's a baby with a butter knife in one hand and momma's titty in the other, YOU CHOP HIM UP!!!
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most of the film's dialogue are subjected to this, especially if Coon-Ass is talking.
  • Cold Sniper: The German sniper who shoots Wardaddy doesn't say a word in his entire appearance.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Germans fire green tracer rounds, while the Americans fire red tracer rounds from their respective machine guns. Truth in Television.
  • Colour Wash: The film has a blue/grey tint. This is especially noticeable in the "Making of" features of the DVD Bonus Content which switch between the filming of a scene and the finished version.
  • Combat Pragmatist: By this point of the war, many of the veteran American soldiers are tired and jaded, having only survived this far because they were this trope or quickly learned to become one. This includes machine gunning corpses of German soldiers to make sure they really are dead, being prepared to blast a building full of surrending soldiers in case it was a trap, gunning down child soldiers in battle without a second thought, and more.
  • Companion Cube: Wardaddy treats the titular tank as this, giving it the name and calling it "his home".
  • Cunning Linguist: Wardaddy can speak German, allowing him to converse with the locals.
  • Darkest Hour: Happens twice:
    • The encounter with the Tiger tank. The first downed Sherman was taken by complete surprise. Then American guns prove to be completely ineffective. And within seconds Fury is the only tank left from a four-tank platoon of seasoned veterans.
    • The final battle. Fury is immobilised thanks to a mine blowing off one of her tracks, and an entire battalion of SS infantry is on their way. But Wardaddy's steadfast (and somewhat unhinged) determination reverses the fears of his crew.
  • David Versus Goliath: The battle against the Tiger can be interpreted as this, pitting Sherman medium tanks up against a heavy tank that can take on anything the Sherman has with its armour.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When he's not quoting Scripture, Bible can be this.
    Bible: I'm done tryin' to convert you heathens. You mind if I continue invading Germany?
  • Death Seeker: The deleted scenes reveals that Wardaddy is this. Though he's not going down without a fight.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • There are a few African-Americans present in the film, though they serve a very minor role as in World War II, the U.S. military was still segregated and Africans often served in menial assignments. Most notably, Captain Waggoner's aide is African-American, and his first scene involves Waggoner throwing a helmet at him and screaming at him to "wake up".
    • After liberating a town, Norman escorts Wardaddy as they investigate some apartments and find a lone woman who turned out to be hiding her cousin Emma. The tension in the scene is heavy, but once he confirms they are harmless Wardaddy instead politely asks them to prepare a meal with eggs he provided. Norman plays the piano to break the tension and connects with Emma as she sings along. Wardaddy then tells Norman "She's a healthy girl, take her to bed before I do". Under most scenarios it would be considered wartime rape or at least coercion under duress, but given the situation and compassion showed it comes across more like Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex.
  • Distinctive Appearances: Fury is instantly recognisable whenever she's sitting next to other Shermans, courtesy of her extra machine guns, bright white name on the barrel (all other tanks in the film have mustard yellow stencils instead), and her long 76mm cannon with a muzzle brake.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: A realistic version with the German sniper, who cycles the bolt of his Mauser rifle slowly and smoothly. This prevents his rifle from jerking off-target between shots, allows him to easily police his brass (thus leaving no evidence of his presence) by not launching it far, and is far less likely to draw the eye than a rapid motion, keeping him stealthy. This is exactly how real snipers do it.
  • The Dreaded: The Tiger I tank. It is feared to the point where when Fury hits a mine, the crew is paranoid enough to believed they are being attacked by this again.
  • Due to the Dead: Played with in the ending. Norman has enough time to drape his coat over Wardaddy's body before he's rescued by American forces, but the rest of the crew are left in the tank where they lay as the platoon continues marching. However, the bodies may have been recovered by the ordnance team after Norman left.
  • Dwindling Party: During the climax, casualties occur among the tank crew until only Norman is left.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: The tank gets totaled and four of the five crew are killed, but they shattered the SS battalion and held the crossroads.
  • Elite Mooks: The SS battalion at the movie's climax. Whereas other Wehrmacht in the movie were disorganised, fairly weak forces that quickly surrendered, these guys are boldly marching to combat, singing, fully armed, and when they come across Fury and find that she's still operational, they make it their top priority to get rid of her.
  • Ensign Newbie: Lieutenant Parker, who's young and clean-shaven, compared to the older, dirty faces of the tank commanders. Exemplified when he mixes up Sgt. Binkowski with Peterson.
  • Everybody Smokes: To the point where Norman is ridiculed for not doing so.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Wardaddy really hates the SS, and is all too happy to order one shot after asking if he's the one who's been hanging kids.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Wardaddy's back scars gets their story told in a deleted scene.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The film appears to take place over a period of, maybe, a day and a half.
  • Faking the Dead: Fury's crew pull a vehicular version of this when they dress the tank up to look as if it is destroyed or abandoned. They wait until SS troopers are actually climbing on Fury to investigate when they cut loose with everything they have.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Inverted. Norman finds the family pictures of Red, the crewman he's replacing, after Red's death (namely when Norman is cleaning up his remains inside the tank).
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Wardaddy warns Norman against surrendering to the SS, saying, "They'll hurt you real bad, and they'll kill you real bad."
    • Every tanker's worst fear is getting trapped in their own tank if it catches fire. One unlucky Sherman crewman opts to shoot himself rather than burn alive.
    • When Fury sets a German anti-tank crew on fire with a white phosphorous round, some American soldiers express disappointment at Norman machinegunning them and inadvertently putting them out of their misery.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Wardaddy to the Fury crew.
    • Captain Waggoner also, with him asking some men to take his truck if needed to get the wounded to an aid station and for Wardaddy to pound the Germans hard for murdering good boys out there.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The crew of Fury. Nearing the big climax, they all accept Norman as a member of the crew and give him his war-name, "Machine".
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Played for drama when Wardaddy forces Norman to shoot a German POW. He refuses, so Wardaddy grips his struggling hand and literally pulls the trigger with Norman's finger.

  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Norman and Emma go off into a bedroom together. When her cousin goes to intervene, Wardaddy stops her, saying "They're young and still alive."
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Subverted. Don is carrying a captured German StG 44, as it simply provides more firepower than anything else he could get. Later Bible is trying to get himself any German gun, as his Thompson ran dry. Some US Soldiers are also seen using captured German MP40s in the hedgerow battle as well, as noted by IMFDB.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Most notably, Wardaddy and a veteran SS sniper are shown as being heavily scarred. Averted in that Wardaddy does some morally corrupt things while the sniper is just doing his job and defending his fellows by shooting Wardaddy.
    • Jason Isaacs (who plays a U.S. army captain) is also heavily scarred.
  • Gorn:
    • Norman's first duty on joining the Fury's crew is to clean up the remains of the dead crewman he's replacing. This is grim but not gruesome until Norman finds that man left a very recognisable chunk of his face behind — he has to exit the tank and puke immediately.
    • During the ambush by the Tiger I, Sergeant Peterson takes an 88mm round to the neck and simply ceases to exist from the waist up.
    • The hedgerow battle also features some truly horrific casualties. From the raining chunks of German artillerymen to the poor grunt who gets run over by Fury, it hammers home how truly horrifying a tank assault can be.
    • During the city battle, three GI's get caught by a surprise burst of MG42 fire and one of them gets his leg shot off. note  The film makes a point to hold on their corpses, with the ragged leg stump front and center.
    • The film throws in plenty of casual background Gorn to emphasise the sheer brutality of the setting. Examples include a US bulldozer filling a mass grave within minutes of the opening of the film and Fury driving over a literally-flattened corpse on the road. (In contrast to the hedgerow battle example above, this body is so mangled and mud-spattered that the crew don't even notice it.)
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The crew of Fury have plenty of time to get away when they realise what is coming their way, according to Norman's recon watch. However, if they leave, the SS battalion will be able to get behind the American lines and wreak havoc on the lightly defended supply areas. They know that staying means that they will probably all be killed. In the end, what convinces them to stay is first Wardaddy's, and then Norman's, sheer bravery and determination to hold the crossroads, and Wardaddy's acknowledgment that the tank is now all he'll ever have or be good at. Note that Wardaddy was perfectly compared to do this all by himself.
    • Garcia huddles over a live grenade to save the rest of the crew when he drops it back into the tank after being shot.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: The Tiger tank's Ominous Walk toward the Sherman platoon allowed Fury to get behind it and shoot it in the rear.
  • Hollywood Tactics:
    • Showed in spades in the climactic battle, where the Germans seem to use mostly human wave tactics rather than encircling the Tank, attacking from blind spots and using their anti-armour weapons from the start (which in the scene prior where they are marching they actually had readied, yet still apparently have to break them out in the later scene; granted those carrying the Panzerfausts out of their boxes may have been killed first). Tanks actually have a critical weakness against infantry due to their extreme lack of visibility. Immobilised tanks would either be bypassed or attacked from their blind spots. By 1945 the Germans were actually masters of infantry anti-tank tactics and even produced training films outlining the proper ways to assault tanks. However, by this time in the war, new SS recruits long on fanaticism and short on training did attempt such things on occasion.
    • In the fight with the Tiger, the film tries to invoke the tactic of shooting a tank in the rear where the armour was thinnest. In reality a hit to the side of a tank is almost as good as the rear as the Tiger side armour is just as thick as the rear. Moreover, instead of charging the Tiger head on where the guns of the Shermans would likely fail to penetrate at point range, the standard tactic would be for a group of faster Shermans to maneuver around the Tiger for a shot on the side or rear. Also, up-gunned Shermans like Fury and Old Phyllis with their 76mm guns were more than capable of destroying a Tiger at the ranges seen in the film.
    • In the same fight, the Tiger also commits several tactical errors, primarily by moving from a perfectly good firing position. By moving forward, it made itself easier to flank, and made its powerful gun less accurate since tank cannons were quite inaccurate while moving. Could be justified since the Shermans had just fired smoke shells at the Tiger and messed with its visibility. The crew also inexplicably go from professional to incompetent over the course of the fight, taking longer and longer to reload, and sitting perfectly still so Fury can get the kill right at the end, though this could be chalked up to human error and panic.
    • In addition to all of this, there's a general sense of Hollywood Operations at play. Fury and its brethren are constantly moving and fighting detached from their adjacent support, with no evidence of other units to their left, right, or rear. This flies in the face of doctrine which dictates a very specific organisation to armoured units. Even if Fury's platoon is down to its last few tanks, there ought to be no shortage of support for them in April 1945, but it is as though they exist in an operational vacuum. It is no exaggeration to say that the film's plot would not occur if the protagonists were acting as they are supposed to.
    • Also, take the entire scenario of the Shermans being sent to hold a crossroads because a large contingent of German soldiers is on the march and heading there. It's made clear it's known where the soldiers are and where they're going. At that stage of the war (Allies pushing hard and the German war machine collapsing) and under those circumstances, either an air strike would have been ordered against them while they were on the march, or once they arrived at the crossroads an artillery barrage would have rained down on them until the entire place was a smoking crater.
  • Honor Before Reason: Wardaddy takes it upon himself to try to beat this quality out of Norman, albeit not in the sense of actually laying fists on him. He may have succeeded.
    • Then turned on it's head in the climax, where while Wardaddy's conviction to hold the crossroads is certainly honourable as it will defend the vulnerable auxillary staff he was ordered to, it's not reasonable as it will surely mean death (and the crew indeed stare at him as though he's finally and totally lost his mind). But the crew do come round to the idea and back him up.
  • Hopeless War: It's mid-April 1945. Nazi Germany has already lost the war and can't do a thing about it, regular Wehrmacht units are surrendering in droves, and the German people are starving because Hitler ordered the SS to burn all of the food supplies (hence, "She'll let you fuck her for a chocolate bar."), but the High Command still haven't surrendered and fanatical SS units continue to fight, to the chagrin of everyone, Germans included. To illustrate the point further, a massed formation of dozens of American bombers can be seen flying high overhead, with only 5 German planes seen moving to intercept them, showing that the Luftwaffe cannot field a meaningful defense over their own homeland at this point. Very much Truth in Television.
  • Hypocrite: An SS lieutenant ordered that children who refused to fight the Americans should be hanged. When the American forces take the town, he surrenders rather than fighting to the death. He gets unceremoniously executed by the Americans once Wardaddy finds out what he did.
  • I Call It "Vera": All the Shermans in the platoon have names: Fury, Matador, Lucy Sue, Old Phyllis, and Murder Inc.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: A rare anti-hero protagonist example. Wardaddy wants to make sure Norman will be able to kill on the field, so he forces Norman to shoot an unarmed German soldier that had already surrendered. He actually has to hold Norman's hands to make sure he pulls the trigger; arguably actually forcing Norman's trigger finger with his own.
  • I Have a Family: The German corporal captured by the Americans says this when he begs for mercy. It does not work: Wardaddy forces Norman to shoot him down.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Germans manage to be this with anti-tank guns. The Sherman platoon were only about 600 meters away, yet the guns can't seem to aim for shit, with the closest being a graze on Peterson's tank, whereas the Shermans were able to pepper the tree line with cannon rounds from the same distance and take out both Pak guns.
  • Improvised Armor: Played straight. Most of the Sherman tanks seen on-screen are festooned with tree trunks. Unfortunately, it does nothing for lieutenant Parker's Sherman, which goes up in flames moments after being struck by a Panzerfaust. However, toward the end of the film the logs are implied to have spared Fury from a Tiger shell penetrating. In reality, tree trunks, sandbags, and even concrete blocks were used to protect the Sherman tanks from handheld anti-tank weapons, where the extra distance would keep shaped charges from getting ideal performance. These improvised solutions worked to varying degrees, though the most effective approach was simply to cut up burnt-out tanks and weld on actual purpose-made armour plate.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Garcia takes a swig from a bottle right after the destruction of the Tiger tank.
    • Emma's cousin knocks back a shot too when the other members of Fury come in and start harassing Norman and Emma, more specifically when Coon-Ass starts "playing" the piano.
  • Informed Flaw: Subverted with the M4 Sherman's vulnerabilities to German guns. In the movie depiction, the two combat scenes with the Sherman at the Beetfield and the town make it seem like an indestructible American war machine (with Lt. Parker's tank taken out by a fluke due to an ambush). Then cue the Tiger I tank that proceeds to absolutely wreck the tank platoon.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Norman, though they border on being Icy Blue Eyes in the latter part of the film.
  • In-Series Nickname: Every member of the Fury crew has a "war name". Norman earns his after taking a slug of Wardaddy's good whiskey and not choking like he did earlier, prompting Grady to call him a "...fightin', fuckin', drinkin' machine."
  • Insert Grenade Here: Attempted by the German infantry in the film's climax which they finally succeed at. Reversed by the crew's preferred tactic whenever the infantry got too close: Popping the hatch open and chucking a grenade out.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Inverted. When Lt. Parker's tank catches fire, he screams for his father instead.
  • Jerkass:
    • Grady/Coon-Ass is pretty much a constant a-hole, smartass and insubordinate prick throughout the film. You think Wardaddy's being cruel by calling him a "dog" in the opening scene, but that description slowly becomes more and more accurate throughout the film.
    • He shows a small sliver of good nature while sharing a smoke with Norman in the abandoned field hospital, and is the one who gives the rookie his "war name". What's more, he reveals a surprising level of self-awareness about how awful he is. He knows he's not a good person, but he thinks Norman is, and he tells him so. Even when he's dragging Norman away from Emma's corpse, his behaviour has a "tough love" quality to it, with an underlying hint that he may have had a similar experience, and used to be a much nicer guy before he experienced the horrors of war. Also, the fact that he's quickest to suggest running and hiding from the SS battalion, and cries briefly when he realises the rest of the crew have decided to stay and fight and he has to choose between his brothers and his life. But ends up choosing his brothers.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • When leaving Emma's apartment quickly to go to a mission briefing, Norman tries to exchange addresses with Emma so he can write letters to her. Grady pulls him away, mocking Norman and asking if Norman and Emma were about to get married. While the audience is supposed to hate Grady for being insensitive, his point that they're in the middle of a war and just got called away by the personal aide of their commanding officer who came looking for them specifically and in a hurry for a mission. That means it's time to forget everything else and get their asses in gear to see what the heck is going on, it's definitely not time to sort out Norman's potential romantic future with a girl he just met and can't even communicate with. Also, saying that Norman's view of his and Emma's Because You Were Nice to Me/Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex is overly-romantic and unlikely to ultimately come to anything isn't exactly unfounded either.
    • A few minutes later when Emma's apartment is hit by a shell Grady pulls Norman away again, this time from Emma's body, and once again is a jerk about it and mocks Norman in a harsh way. (Asking Norman "What are you boy, Jesus Christ? You going to raise her back up?!") It's unquestionably a nasty way to do it but the underlying point isn't wrong; Emma is obviously dead, not breathing, and lying half buried in the rubble of her building, so there's nothing Norman can do for her or anyone else by staying. And while it might be a nice thing to do to let him grieve, they're in the middle of a warzone with nothing to say that more shells aren't going to come down at any moment and will maybe kill Norman next. On top of that they've got their mission now and there's a chance that it might affect hundreds or more of their comrades if they fail, so Norman has to manage his feelings and get going.
    • The scene prior with Emma and her cousin has a two-for for Wardaddy. He may be aggressive when entering the apartment, but when there's the possibility of Nazi soldiers hiding just above a rallying point where fellow soldiers are off-guard, he has every right to be suspicious. Likewise, when he discovers Emma hiding under the bed, he is angry with her cousin for lying to him about anyone being there, as it raised the very real possibility that he could have shot Emma out of sheer nerves and surprise while clearing the apartment (granted, the women are almost certainly dreading the possibility of being attacked or raped by the soldiers, which is not exactly without reason, so she had a good reason to lie).
    • Wardaddy has another earlier one as well; when Norman refuses to shoot the surrendered German soldier, Wardaddy reminds him that the Germans are there to kill the Americans (and other Allied forces).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Grady. He bullies Norman near the beginning, and twice he reduces Emma, the German girl, to tears, but he shares a quiet smoke with Norman in the abandoned field hospital, admitting to him that he thinks he, unlike himself, is a good man, and gives the rookie his 'combat name' of Machine. And he also manages to overcome his understandable fear and self-preservation instinct to join his crewmates in the Last Stand.
    • Wardaddy himself. His treatment of Norman in the first part of the film is callous in the extreme, even making him privy to murdering a surrendering prisoner. However, as the film goes on it becomes apparent he's trying his best to toughen Norman up for the brutal war they're in, and is trying his best to keep his crew alive. He refuses to retreat against near-impossible odds as it means the medical battalion getting slaughtered by the SS (albeit he also does this out of a crazed death wish to take out as many Nazis as possible before they put him down), and makes sure Norman escapes as he himself lies mortally wounded and about to eat a ton of grenade shrapnel.
  • The Juggernaut: The Tiger quite literally wades through the fire of three Sherman tanks without even slowing down, and whenever its shells find their mark dead-on it's a One-Hit Kill (when one "merely" takes out a tank commander, it's a classic case of "cut off the head of the snake to paralyse it's body", and the follow-up shot is like a Cruel Mercy for the hapless remaining crewmembers who are basically blind without their "top"). Broadly Truth in Television too, those things were nightmarishly tough (although Fury's upgraded 76mm gun should have been able to penetrate).
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Garcia smothers a grenade that falls into Fury to prevent any harm to the other crew members.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Bible via a headshot.
  • Kill It with Fire: During the town assault, Fury fires a incendiary white phosphorous round at a hidden German anti-tank gun, setting the entire crew on fire.
  • Large Ham: Jason Isaacs hams it up in his first scene.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Early in the movie, Norman tries to show mercy to a surrendering German soldier. Norman's own life is later spared by a young German soldier who finds him hiding under the tank, but decides not report him to his comrades. Also the SS officer in the bank, who hanged German children who didn't want to fight but then surrendered when the Americans had conquered the town. Wardaddy, quite rightly, orders a soldier to summarily execute him.
  • Last Stand: Five guys in one (immobile but still heavily armed) tank against an entire SS battalion (about three hundred men).
  • Leitmotif: SS Marschiert in Feindesland, the march song which the SS battalion sings. Doubles as Ominous German Chanting.
  • The Lost Lenore: Wardaddy's pistol grip contains a picture of a woman that is visible at several points in the film. In a deleted scene, he tells Norman about how he was responsible for the death of his fiancee before the war.

  • Made of Explodium: Zigzagged. It seems every piece that has a cannon in the film has a tendency to either explode, go up in flames, or none of the above.
    • Every destroyed tank behaves realistically. Instead of dramatic Hollywood fireballs, we get a nice, round hole where the armour-piercing round punched through, followed by the tank "brewing up" from the inside, with flames visible only from the open hatches. Sergeant Davis's tank's turret is blown off by a round striking the ammo locker, also realistic.
    • The moment Lieutenant Parker's Sherman gets hit by a Panzerfaust in the beginning of the movie, it quickly goes up in flames and roasts everyone in it alive. Sherman tanks were very susceptible to fire, so this is pretty accurate.
    • The Pak 40 in the Hedgerow battle explodes in massive fireworks probably due to the ammo exploding once the Shermans manage to hit close enough with high-explosive shells.
    • The Pak 38 in the town didn't blow up when hit with a white phosphorus round, but probably because the white phosphorus didn't immediately cook off the ammo.
    • During the Tiger tank battle, two Shermans instantly blow up when penetrated, with the turret dramatically coming off as well, while Peterson's Sherman catches fire very quickly once penetrated. All of the tanks are left with no survivors. Then Fury hits the Tiger tank in the rear and it catches fire very quickly due to damaging the engine and fuel area, and are left with three surviving crew members before Fury guns them down.
    • Finally, when Fury gets hit by a Panzerfaust near the end, no magnificent explosions or fire was made and suffered minimal damage. This is probably only because the ammo locker for the main gun was empty. One criticism on Quora did state that the penetration seems to be depicted more as a solid projectile ending up penetrating Grady's chest but not physically harming any of the other four crewmembers than as a cone of molten plasma.
  • Man on Fire:
    • The fate of Lieutenant Parker. He climbs out of his burning tank and falls to the ground, immolated and screaming. He quickly puts his .45 to his temple to stop the agony. Also, several Germans holed up in a building who are flushed out by White Phosphorus.
    • At least one SS officer dies in a manner eerily similar to Parker, wreathed in flames, but is unable to end his own suffering.
  • Mauve Shirt:
    • Sergeant Miles seems like the infantry counterpart to Wardaddy, an experienced, hardened soldier who's good at his job. When taking the German town he abruptly gets gunned down with no fanfare at due to the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a machine gunner opens up on the Americans. It's a good sign that yes, Anyone Can Die in war, regardless of how tough, experienced, or good they might be.
    • Of other tank crews, Binkowski has the most lines and interactions seem to indicate that he and Wardaddy have fought together for awhile. Doesn't stop him from getting killed before the final act, however.
    • The nameless infantry sergeant has only a couple of scenes but is quite memorable for his filthy, disheveled appearance, bucktoothed grin, and Southern drawl, most prominently when he hauls a surrendering SS officer out of a crowd and orders one of his men to shoot the bastard with a jovial slap on the back. He's one of the only officers to survive the movie, and is the one who rescues Norman from the wreckage of Fury in the final scene.
  • Meaningful Name: Norman, which sounds and is often pronounced like "normal". As in "the only normal crewman".
  • Merciful Minion: When he's hiding under the tank after escaping through the floor hatch, Norman is spotted by a young Waffen SS soldier, who spares his life and acts as if no one was found left alive. This is probably out of feeling the same, being both young men who were thrust into a brutal war.
  • Mercy Kill: Norman guns down several Germans burning from white phosphorus when the others were content to let the men burn.
  • Million Mook March: The SS Battalion gets its own scene with troops marching down the road with weaponry, horses and vehicles. Downplayed as it's only representing a battalion of about 300 men, but it definitely means something if the opposing side only has five men and a broken-down tank.
  • Moe Greene Special: Bible is shot through the eye.
  • Moment Killer: The rest of the Fury crew show up to hog the table and demand a meal when Norman is flirting with Emma.
  • Mood Whiplash: In one scene, Norman watches as German civilians are forced to evacuate their homes to get away from the war and in one part, sees a young woman with just a bicycle going. Looks like the part where the New Meat sees just how the war is affecting the people in the land, then...
    Gordo: She'll let you fuck her for a chocolate bar.
    • In one scene, the crew of Fury are laughing on the whole dialogue up in Actually Pretty Funny, the next scene Lt. Parker's tank goes up in flames.
  • Moral Myopia: An SS officer gives an awesome Rousing Speech to his men about defending their homeland. Never mind that they are being invaded because they invaded their neighbours first.
  • More Dakka: The titular tank is fitted with two Browning machine guns on top of the turret (a .30 caliber M1919 and a .50 caliber M2), something actually rather common on Sherman tanks in 1945 in reality (but unique to Fury in the movie to reflect the tank's status as an Ace Custom among it's peers). This is in addition to the two other .30 cal machine guns; one mounted coaxially next to the main 76mm gun (and fired with similar controls to said gun) and another mounted in the bow of the hull.
  • Mouthing the Profanity: Norman mouths the F word during the fight with the Tiger tank after it receives two concurrent direct hits only for the shells to ricochet harmlessly off its armour.
  • Mud Wrestling: Bible gets into one with a German SS troop while trying to acquire a weapon.
  • Murder, Inc.: One of the Shermans in the platoon is named after the Real Life Trope Namer, Murder, Inc.
  • New Meat: Norman is a clerk-typist who was forced onto the front lines. Neither he nor Fury's battle-hardened crew are particularly happy that he's there. However, despite how green he is, he manages to do quite well once he gets past his hangups about killing (with a little forced assistance from Wardaddy).
  • No OSHA Compliance: After returning to the camp in the first act, Don is smoking right between two huge fuel containers.
    • Another one was when the crew decided to smoke inside the Fury, which is a breach in standard safety protocols (fire + ammo = big boom). However, given that they were expecting their position to be their Last Stand, that danger seems very small compared to the incoming enemy.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: During the attack on the village, Fury and Murder Inc. come across a machine gun nest mowing down their fellow soldiers. Their solution? Murder Inc. blows it up with a 75 mm gun at about a tank's equivalent of point-blank range. The only reason why Fury didn't was because it was too close to even bring the gun to aim at it, though it likely helped that Murder Inc. was equipped with the 75mm M3, which had a better high explosive shell than Fury's 76mm M1A2.note 
  • Nose Art: The individual names of the Shermans are painted on their cannon barrels.
  • No-Sell:
    • The Tiger takes the rounds from the Sherman tanks full in the face to virtually no effect. Until Fury gets around behind and digs in a few shots at a key weakpoint.
    • The German infantry fires everything they have at the tanks, but bullets just bounce off their hull. The only real damage they do to Fury is from a single Panzerfaust team that manages to get close enough to fire at its side. It kills Grady and takes out the main gun (and even if it hadn't, they'd have to peel another man off his duties to load it, but otherwise the tank is still functional and the Germans have to wait till the crew runs out of (bullet based) ammo.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Resoundingly subverted. When finally cornered by the Germans with seemingly no way out, Norman has a small, muted breakdown and tells Wardaddy he's afraid. Wardaddy admits that he is too.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Fury being the lone survivor of 3rd Platoon in the beginning of the film is apparently attributed to a Tiger tank. We never saw if Fury destroyed the Tiger or simply evaded it, but given Wardaddy, probably the former.
      Tank Commander: There weren't supposed to be no more Tigers, Don.
      Wardaddy: Tell my platoon that.
    • In the intro scene with the horse-riding German officer, some of the destroyed tanks have been identified as an upgraded Panzer IV and a Panther tank, both having the capacity to destroy M4 Sherman tanks with ease yet both are destroyed as well. Fury must have been in one hell of a battle. This is somewhat disjointed with the intro, which tells us that Germany is on its last legs, yet somehow still has resources enough to throw all these tanks into suicidal battles. Suggesting pure desperation in the German tactics to use valuable resources in this fashion.
  • Off with His Head!: The fate of the assistant driver Norman replaces, but exactly how' this happened within the confines of the tank is not clearly indicated. Peterson, one of the tank commanders, has his head struck by an 88 round which ends up obliterating his entire top half. During the final battle, as several SS troopers get their heads blown off by a .50 cal.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Norman's expression when two of the Shermans land a direct hit clean on the front of the Tiger and they just bounce off with no effect just screams "we're all gonna die".
    • Norman does it again when he first spots the approaching SS battalion.
    • After Wardaddy verbally confirms said force as such, these two pieces of dialogue say it all:
      Gordo: Bullshit...!...?
      Coon-Ass Jesus Christ! (drops track cutting tool with a 'CLUNK!')
  • Ominous German Chanting: SS Marschiert in Feindesland as the SS battalion approaches. Doubles as Shown Their Work, as it is an actual Waffen SS march song.
  • Ominous Walk: A tank version. The Tiger tank slowly inches toward the Fury platoon after leaving its shooting position. As it crawls toward them and they bum rush it, they fire at each other. The Shermans only manage to scratch the front armour with their cannons while the Tiger is able to gradually dish out effective One-Hit Kill on the Shermans. This ends up to be the Tiger's undoing as getting in close with the platoon allowed Fury to get behind it and hit it in the back, killing the tank.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Wardaddy towards the Waffen-SS, including surrendering prisoners. Somewhat Truth in Television, as SS and, to a lesser extent, Fallschirmjägernote , were often shot on sight by American troops after the Battle of the Bulge in retribution for the Malmedy Massacre.
    Wardaddy: [pointing at the SS officer] Burgermeister, is he the one hanging kids?
    Burgermeister: Ja.
    Wardaddy: Hey, Abe. Shoot that guy.
  • Pet the Dog: Shortly after Fury's demise, one of the German soldiers spots Norman hiding under the tank. He spares him and pretends he didn't see anything.
  • Pink Mist: To be expected when 88mm of anti-tank munition hits somebody, misting not only the head, but part of his upper torso.
  • Playing Possum: Invoked by Gordo, who wants to be extra sure that none of the German soldiers will get up and burn their tank.
    • Played straight with Fury at the end, the crew disguised the tank to look knocked out. They wait for the incoming SS battalion to be right on top of Fury before opening fire, killing many in the initial attack.
    • In a form of Book Ends, Fury starts the movie in the same state, looking like a (slightly less beat-up) dead or abandoned tank like many other American and German models lying around it, all so that Wardaddy can get the drop on the horse-riding Nazi officer. So, the example at the end of the movie shows Serial Escalation both in terms of how well the tank plays possum and how many kills it scores this time round as a result of the deception.
    • In the final battle, as Bible runs out of the tank to grab weapons from dead soldiers, one springs up and they engage in a Mud Wrestling fight to the death.
  • Plot Armor: Mentioned by the Bible and Coon-Ass after the Tiger battle when the two contemplates why God didn't claim the crew in the battle when everyone else dies. Bible then comes to the conclusion that it was Lord's Protection, and everyone agrees. Too bad it didn't last long. Albeit, Norman survived, and the crew agreed that God put them there to take out as many SS in the Last Stand as possible, whether they were to live through it or die trying.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The US infantry sergeant with the Alabama drawl grabs the SS lieutenant out of the line, calls over a man with a Tommy gun, then slaps the Nazi on the back and says, "Auf wiedersehen, asshole!"
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Tiger tank battle. The tank destroyed all the Shermans in the platoon except Fury, so while they were able to defeat it, they are left the only survivor with a busted radio and a mission to complete still.
  • Rated M for Manly: If you aren't caked in at least an inch of mud and motor oil, Fury doesn't wanna know.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Many viewers have questioned the laser-beam like tracers during many of the prominent battles from tank cannons and machine guns. For the machine guns, one can find footage from WWII where an M1919 Browning machine gun is firing, and indeed the tracers it has are very visible. As for the tank cannons, tracers may have also been used in larger guns to help with aiming.
      • This video shows a modern day example with an M1 Abrams firing off a shot during a live fire exercise. Not only is there a visible streak of light in broad daylight, but the round bounces off the ground.
      • A relatively frequent complaint was that the tracer rounds make it look "too much like Star Wars", apparently without realising this is exactly what Lucas' "blasters" are based on.
    • Some may question the decision of sticking untrained personnel inside a tank during combat operations without so much as a five minute "This does X" explanation. However, Sherman tanks often rolled out with actual trained tankers (usually the gunner, commander, and driver) and guys plucked from other areas. The reason for this was that Sherman tanks were often knocked out during the war, and crew members were often severely wounded, or killed outright, and training new recruits to replace them took time. However, there were plenty of reserve infantry, mechanics, and other personnel just itching to get into combat...
    • Tank commanders do ride "heads up" out of the hatch as much as possible, even under fire. Riding "buttoned up" using periscopes severely restricts their visibility, and while Soviet commanders did tend to operate buttoned up, the combat efficiency of this doctrine was subjective. Western commanders did not have the luxury of better optics and "protective open" settings for hatches until modern times so what's shown in the movie was common place (the Tiger commander is buttoned up until his tank is destroyed, so he clearly found it more survivable to stay inside against three approaching tanks and enjoy his gun's superiority with impunity until that point.
    • People have questioned the Shermans' tactics in the Tiger battle, where the Shermans zerg rushed the enemy head on with no cover, plus since there were 76mm Shermans available, they could've took it out at long ranges. However, Nicholas Moran from Wargaming found a document in this video that indicates that if you were out-ranged by the enemy's gun, charge.
    • The fact that every single Sherman tank aside from Fury is instantly set ablaze upon penetration has nothing to do with Plot Armor. For almost the entire war, ammunition was stored all around the Sherman tanks, increasing their vulnerability to catching disastrous fires and/or explosions upon penetration, but unlike the common myth, it had nothing to do with M4 design as such. When Fury is penetrated in the climax, there are no more shells left, hence no instant fire. It is also worth noting that by 1945, this issue had been solved by the introduction of wet ammo stowage, making the Sherman no more likely to brew up than any other tank on either side.
    • Some people questioned how downright theatrical the SS was during the climax, giving rousing speeches to orderly rows of soldiers mere meters from a tank that's trying to kill them. The fact that with the exception of the sniper they can't hit anything doesn't help. However the SS really were both that crazy and poorly trained. On the other hand, the officer correctly observed that the tank was running low on ammunition, even if unbeknownst to him they were indeed out of 30 cal ammo. This created a lull in the battle which forced the crew to raise hatches, aim their hand weapons and get Wardaddy on the 50 cal, which also gave enough time for the officer's rousing (yet brief) speech. Hence providing a justification from a combination of luck and the officer's observation.
  • Red Shirt: Lieutenant Parker. Had his tank blown up to show Norman and the audience how vicious and desperate the German situation is. In the end, his leadership isn't necessary as Wardaddy instantly takes over with no complications.
  • Repeat Cut:
    • During the assault in the town when a Pak cannon fires onto Fury.
    • Later, when Fury gets a shot to the Tiger tank's rear.
  • Replacement Goldfish: A deleted scene all but spells out that Wardaddy sees Norman as one for his little brother, who was also named Norman, and who died in a pointless car accident caused when a drunken Wardaddy first caused some sort of trouble and then tried to escape from the police.
  • Retirony: Apart from Norman, the crew of Fury are killed just a few weeks before the end of the war.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Wardaddy's side-arm is a Smith & Wesson M1917 revolver.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The credits include "Young SS Trouper." A trouper is a theatrical performer. A soldier is a trooper.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Given by an SS officer to his men before sending them up against Fury in the final battle. In particular, he reminds them that "This is our land!" The fact that he avoids any "master race" stuff makes it easy to forget that this awesome speech is about fighting for Nazi Germany, and only comes in response to Germany invading and attempting to destroy all of its neighbors.
    • By contrast, Wardaddy is not so much about the formal speeches, but his words and actions prior to the final battle are still mighty rousing. He starts by declaring that the tank has never run from a fight before and that he's going to hold the crossroads, with or without his boys. Ordering them to mount up into fighting positions, he faces down their sheer incredulity at his courage/insanity and then thinks they really have given up the fight. Then he offers them the free decision to leave and protect themselves, that it's alright to do so, but Fury is his home. This inspires them, one by one, to find their nerve again and join him for the Last Stand.
  • R-Rated Opening: Taken up to eleven. Not only in the very first scene does the camera slowly pans over a battlefield full of mud, mutilated bodies, and destroyed tanks, but also one of the main characters pulls a brutal, graphic, and lethal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on an enemy officer. After which he and his crew drop a few Cluster F-Bombs in casual dialogue.
  • Rule of Drama:
    • The reason why a certain component on an M4 Sherman tank was ignored in the climax battle. Did you know Sherman hatches have locks?
    • The second line in the opening statement sensationalised the US tank crew situation in the European Theater. "US tank crewmen suffered staggering losses against the superior enemy vehicles" is a broad statement in relative to the armoured warfare.note 
  • Rule of Symbolism: After Norman wakes up the morning after the Fury crew have been killed, a white horse (possibly the same one from the opening scene of the film) can be seen trotting by the tank as he looks around.

  • Senseless Sacrifice:
    • The German troops are ordered to keep fighting despite the fact that the war is lost and nothing they do will change that.
    • It's clear that the tank's crew think this at first of Wardaddy's declared intent to hold the crossroads, but they gradually forsake the option to run away with their lives and resolve to fight alongside him regardless. Later, it's shown to be averted at the end when American reinforcements arrive, demonstrating that Fury's Last Stand really did buy enough time to make a difference.
  • Sergeant Rock: Wardaddy to a T. You may not like him, but he'll do his best to make sure you do your job, survive the fight, and win the war. Notably, after the battle against the German Pak guns, he extensively berates Norman for being unwilling to kill, forcing him to kill a captured German soldier, and then in the very next scene, he expresses concern that Norman hasn't eaten anything all day. At the end of the day, Wardaddy wants his men able to perform, which means chewing their asses off when he feels they've failed, and making sure they take care of themselves so they are ready to fight.
    Bible: He may be crazier than a shit-house rat, but ain't no crew stuck together like we have.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: With deleted scenes in mind, a lot of situations from the film where Grady and Gordo are total and callous dicks are much more understandable.
    • While it's only implied in the proper film, the deleted scenes make it more than clear that Grady is on a brink of total mental collapse (he dreams every night about one of their fellow soldiers being shred into pieces by artillery barrage).
    • Gordo drinks every given chance to simply forget what he's been through in the war and he was already desensitised before the war due to working in a slaughterhouse. He has a minor breakdown while they're in the house with Emma and her cousin.
    • Wardaddy maintains the facade of being a tough and fearsome leader, but only due to years of combat experience - he knows that if he starts showing any weakness, the morale of the entire crew will collapse, and while a deleted scene shows that Wardaddy is more or less seeking out his death due to Survivor's Guilt, as he survived a car accident that he caused which killed both his wife and little brother, he is also scared shitless of not coming back one day from a sortie or other assignment.
  • Shirtless Scene: Wardaddy gets a prominent one, to establish his back is covered in scar tissue. A deleted scene expands on this by establishing that the scars come not from a war wound of some sort, but being burned by battery acid in a car crash that Wardaddy was responsible for. The same crash also killed both his wife and younger brother.
  • Shovel Strike: A German soldier climbs onto Fury's turret and hacks at Wardaddy with his entrenching tool.
  • Show, Don't Tell:
    • The American's typical strategy against German's tanks during World War II of numerical superiority is shown against the Tiger.
    • The dilemma of fighting an enemy who uses Child Soldiers is shown when Lt. Parker's tank is destroyed by a child with a Panzerfaust.
  • Shown Their Work: While the movie has its share of Hollywood Tactics, a number of scenes are fairly accurate:
    • Throughout the film, the most common threat faced by the Sherman tanks are enemies firing from concealment, to include infantry with anti-tank rockets, towed anti-tank guns, and armoured vehicles lying in wait for the enemy to come into the kill zone. An armoured vehicle was far more likely to face its end at such a surprise attack than they were to be attacked out in the open.
    • The tactics used to protect the tanks from enemy infantry, to include friendly supporting infantry and lobbing grenades from open hatches. It was also fairly common to keep the tank "unbuttoned", with the crew (or at least the commander) sticking their heads out of the hatches for improved visibility (they were far more likely to survive if they saw a threat earlier).
    • The tactics used when the Shermans faced the heavier Tiger tank: Charge at it to close the distance and try to outflank it. Nearly all tanks put their strongest armour on the front, so weaker opponents would have to get around it to Attack Its Weak Point.
    • And of course, the Germans' use of Child Soldiers, as the closing months of the war saw the use of rather desperate tactics by the Nazi leadership.
    • The US soldiers in the film throughout never once called the M4 tanks "Shermans". Which would be periodically accurate, "Sherman" was a British coined term first while Americans only ever referred to them by their designations; it isn't until after the war that the "Sherman" name was pasted onto the M4 in American designations.
    • In the Tiger I battle, only one of the Tiger's machine guns was fired in the sequence despite having two. A small design detail in the Tiger was that it couldn't fire its coaxial machine gun when it was traversing the turret.
    • While the vast majority of movies featuring tanks merely having them firing their cannons without any discussion of the type of shell being fired, the writers for this film did their homework. There are multiple types of shells that tanks can fire, depending on the situation. In fact, on occasion Coon-Dog will yell "what do you want?" in order to be told what shell to load. Some of the different shells are:
      • AP (Armour Piercing): Used against tanks or other armoured vehicles.
      • HE (High Explosive): For use against structures, buildings, infantry, anti-tank guns, and soft-skin vehicles.
      • WP/Willy Pete(White Phosphorus): Incendiary shell. Creates fires that burn very hot and can't be easily extinguished with water. Very effective against wooden buildings.
      • Smoke: Exactly what it says on the tin. Creates a wall of smoke.
    • Also, if you pay close attention to the scenes where infantry troops are supporting the tanks, some of the troops are wearing tanker's goggles. The tank crews often mention how many tanks they've lost recently due to enemy action. Surviving crewmembers of destroyed tanks were often pressed into service as infantry until they could be reassigned to another tank. Tank crews were also expected to fight as infantry when the need arose, like when Wardaddy told his crew to "fight on foot" at one point.
    • Wardaddy ordering a captured SS officer to be summarily executed without trial is something that American soldiers really did in WWII. By this point in the war, the Malmedy Massacre had already occurred, where SS troops executed over 80 American POWs in cold blood. Upon learning of this, American officers issued unofficial orders that no SS soldier be taken alive, and as a result many SS soldiers were executed by American soldiers in retaliation.
    • The general reaction among both soldiers and military historians watching the film is that while the battle tactics and some of the facts come from Hollywood, the general atmosphere of being at war and both the camaraderie and resentment that build as a result of soldiers who've been serving together for a long time is excellently depicted.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Type 4. Coon-Ass seems to thrive on the chaos he causes, though hints seem in the final movie as well as more obvious cues in the deleted scenes indicate that it’s how he copes with combat stress (and that his coping mechanism is no longer working). Wardaddy also, killing Germans all the way and even forcing poor Norman to go along.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: Norman was a clerk typist, but got pulled into frontline duty as bow gunner in a tank to replace a casualty. He claims to be able to type 60 words a minute.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Norman is the only survivor from Fury's crew.
    • Fury itself is the sole surviving tank of two different tank platoons.
    • In a deleted scene, Grady reveals that out of the original unit that Fury was attached to in Africa, only the crew members of Fury other than Norman were left.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The artillery strike in the German village is revealed to also have fatally wounded Captain Waggoner in a deleted scene. Alternatively, in the script a sniper kills him by shooting him in the throat. In the final cut, his fate isn't told or shown.
  • Sparing the Final Mook: Inverted after the final battle. Norman, the last member of the crew left alive, tries to hide out underneath the Fury, hoping the Germans will pass by, but a young and inexperienced-looking mook spots him. Norman signals that he's unarmed, not a threat, and done fighting. After a few seconds of hesitating, the mook decides to spare Norman rather than alert his fellows, who would have almost certainly tortured and murdered Norman.
  • Spiritual Antithesis:
  • Steel Ear Drums:
    • A grenade goes off inside Fury after Garcia covers it with his body, but no one in the tank, not even Norman who was right next to it, suffers any hearing loss.
    • An SS machine gunner uses a fellow soldier as an improvised bipod by resting the weapon on his shoulder and firing it just past his ear. This was a method the Germans actually used sometimes.
  • Stress Vomit: When, Norman's cleans up the remains of the dead crewman he's replacing, he finds that man left a very recognisable chunk of his face behind. Norman has to exit the tank and puke immediately.
  • Student–Master Team: The movie focuses on the relationship between Wardaddy, a jaded and experienced soldier, and Norman, a young newbie. Wardaddy gives Norman lessons about war.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • A tank crew of five men can not survive a Suicide Mission of holding off a German advance of 300 soldiers, even if said crew have superior equipment and the element of surprise, are more resourceful, and are determined to kill as many of them as possible. As the battle continues, random lucky hits caused the crew to dwindle until their tank is eventually overrun and nearly all of them are killed.
    • From the same battle: The SS troopers charge the American tank, spraying it with small arms fire while trying to get their Anti-Armor rocket troops in close enough to attack. They are mowed down in droves and the small arms fire is entirely ineffective on the tank's armour. Even the one shot with a Panzerfaust that gets through fails to destroy the tank, as they had already run out of ammo, leaving little inside the tank to be blown up once the armour is pierced.
    • Ultimately, what dooms the Americans is that they run out of ammunition and can't keep the Germans from climbing on the tank to force the hatches open. Though in reality, the hatches would have just been locked.
  • Tank Goodness: The tanks used in the filming are all period accurate. In particular, the Tiger I that appears in the film is an actual Tiger I tank, Tiger 131, that was captured by the British in Tunisia and borrowed from the nearby-to-the-film set Bovington Tank Museum, as well as the only remaining operational Tiger I in existence. This is also the first time Tiger 131 has appeared on a feature film since the 1950 British war film They Were Not Divided.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks:
    • Fury's crew has supposedly been operating together in the same tank since Africa, three years before the "Easy Eight" came into service. While it's theoretically possible that their old tank was upgraded in the field (some "Jumbo Shermans" had their cannons changed after D-Day, for example), it's much more likely that the crew would have been issued a new tank. This presents something of a plot hole given the entire reason for the climactic fight is that Fury has been a home to Wardaddy and the crew. However, justified in that they also wish to protect the doctors, mechanics and cooks said to be imperiled should the SS encounter them.
    • Fury fires 'Supercharge' and White Phosphorus ammunition that 76mm models never had.
    • The tanks are mostly diesel-powered due to being British surplus. Fury itself is an M4A3E8, a British variant with a twin diesel engine. In real life, the US Army standardised on gasoline-powered variants like the M4A3. The movie seems to use stock sounds and the tanks clearly sound like diesels.
    • Murder Inc. is an M4A4 Sherman, which was largely supplied to Allied countries under the Lend-Lease Act, such as the Commonwealth, so it is unlikely one would be in a US tank unit (the A4 can be differentiated from the A2 and A3 by the length of the hull and spacing between the bogies; this was to accomodate the Chrysler A57 Multibank engine, which was five straight-six car engines geared together).
    • Though played straight at times with the major battles. For example, there's debate that the PaK 40 anti-tank gun should've been able to take out the tank it was firing at, instead of having its round ricochet off. Though the angle at which the round impacted may have been extreme enough, which is just as ridiculous anyway.
    • The scene against the Tiger I has it fire its cannon right on a Fury's side and be deflected. At its angle, even with the improvised log armour, the Tiger round should be able to penetrate Fury straight through the back, but instead is deflected off to the left, ruining the log improvisation but otherwise leaves the tank standing fine.
    • Also, Fury's 76mm Cannon should allow it to be able to engage the Tiger I tank from up to 800 meters away, so it didn't need to get up close to the Tiger I to penetrate its armour.
    • In addition, there was no reason for the Shermans to try and get to the Tiger I's rear armor, since the side and rear armor are equal thickness and equally vulnerable to to even a 75mm armed Sherman.
  • Taught by Experience: Norman didn't even attend basic tanker training before being reassigned as Fury's bow machine gunner.
  • Tempting Fate: In the final battle...
    Norman: How long can we keep this up?!. [cue machine gun running out of ammo]
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • When Wardaddy tells Binkowski to take out the machine gun nest in the cellar of the town they were seizing, Binkowski replies that he's will "slap 'em around" and tells Wardaddy to close his hatch. His tank then fires a HE round into the cellar, which causes a huge explosion, showering debris all over the American troops, as well as on Fury. This was Lampshaded with a Precision F-Strike from one of the foot soldiers as the debris rained down. Even Wardaddy swears quietly about it and gives Binkowski a dirty look after he reopens his hatch and surveys the damage. A HE round into the cellar could have well collapsed the building and choked the alley they were driving through, forcing them to back up, and throwing off the timetable for taking the town. Wardaddy was probably expecting Binkowski to use a Willy Pete round, which would have taken out the gun crew with much less damage. Wardaddy's exasperated look probably means Binkowski does this kind of shit all the time.
    • During the fight with the Tiger tank, Peterson, one of the tank commanders, has his head and entire upper torso sheared off by an 88mm round. Considering that the next shot was a well-placed hit into the tank that killed the rest of the crew, the first shot was probably a "lucky miss".
    • A deleted scene has Grady talk about a man he saw running away from the Germans, only to be hit by a cannon shell.
  • Throw-Away Guns: When Wardaddy runs out of ammo for his Sturmgewehr 44 rifle, he chucks it with good effect at an incoming German soldier.
  • Token Minority:
    • Gordo, a Latin American in the whole crew of whites. The actor even lampshades it in a behind-the-scene cut. At the time, Hispanics were classified as white and not deployed in segregated units.
      Michael Peña: My hats go off to David Ayer for paying homage to Latins that fought in World War II that were unacknowledged.
    • There was also a curious case in the beginning when Wardaddy attacked the SS prisoner. There is an Asian soldier escorting the prisoner, leading some to assume that it's a reference to the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It's far more likely, though, that the soldier in question is of Chinese descent. As many as 20,000 Chinese-Americans served during WWII, and 75% of those served in non-segregated units, including several that fought in Germany in 1945.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Bible, in a surprisingly real and non-stereotypical way. He’s only a little less foul-mouthed and ill-tempered than the other members of the crew, but he refrains from philandering (notice he’s also wearing a wedding ring, though his wife is never mentioned). He also mostly refrains from hazing Norman and never acts in a threatening manner to the German women the team encounter.
    Bible: No, no! You’re just tryin' to rile me up! We been talkin' 'bout the same dumb shit for three years now! I’m done tryin' to convert you heathens! You know where I stand on it. You mind if I continue invadin' Germany?
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Some of the trailers for the movie has a clip that shows Fury fighting the Tiger tank. Some also include the line "It's five against three hundred", spoiling that the final battle comes down to only the crew of Fury on their own against the entire SS battalion.
  • Vehicle-Roof Body Disposal: A subversion occurs when the Sherman crew puts a dead German soldier (disguised as an American) onto their disabled tank and set the corpse on fire. When the SS troopers arrive shortly after, they approach the tank carelessly to investigate the odd situation, and the crew opens up with everything they still have at point-blank range, with devastating results.
  • Vehicle Title: Fury is the nickname of the tank. But of course, it also refers to the fury of war.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film's events were inspired by a few actual events that happened in World War II.
    • Wardaddy taking up the .50 caliber machine gun on Fury at the end is similar to Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy when he climbed onto a knocked-out and burning M10 tank destroyer and used its machine gun to hold off a German attack.
    • In an interview with a tank veteran, he described a time his group of Shermans defended a small village at night against German infantry, which is not too unlike Fury's climactic scene. The German infantry climbed up at the tanks (no Panzerfausts this time) and so the Shermans decided to shoot each other with machine guns to kill the infantry on them, but the crew would be safe in the tanks. A Korean War veteran had a similar experience with North Koreans. One minor detail this scene reveals that would present a huge plot hole in the movie was that the infantry tried opening the Sherman hatches... but the hatches have locks.
    • The name Wardaddy was actually based on a real tank commander, Lafayette G. "Wardaddy" Pool, who is the US tank ace of aces.
    • A Sherman lasting the entire war unscathed such as Fury (well...until the end of the movie) isn't unheard of. A Canadian Sherman tank named Bomb survived from D-Day to the end of the war without being knocked out (although the crew members were swapped out due to injuries).
  • Villain Song: A variation, as the SS show up in the movie being preceded by the sound of them marching and singing the real-life marching song SS Marschiert in Feindesland. Due to the lyrics of the full version of the song from real life, this is also a clear-cut case of a Card-Carrying Villain song as well, as the beginning part they sing specifically calls it an "evil song".
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Norman throws up on-screen when he sees the remains of Fury's former assistant driver/bowgunner.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Tiger I tank. Seriously, just look at all entries related to it on this page. Plus, given the infamous reputation this had in the war, you will be certain that many American tanks are going to die if it is ever mentioned.
  • War Is Hell: The action isn't the least bit shy on gruesome content, and even the quieter moments show just how much damage the war has done to the psyches of everyone involved.
  • War Was Beginning: The film begins with a caption about the state of the war in April 1945.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: "Best job I ever had." Sometimes said in a distinctly weary way.
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: Zig-zagged. When Wardaddy barges into the apartment of two young women hiding from the American troops, he at first appears to have malicious intentions, but ultimately wants only a home-cooked meal. Coon-Ass appears to have no qualms about raping Emma, but Wardaddy tells him she's off limits, so we never have to find out if he's actually serious or if it's just more of his Jerkass bravado. His earlier dialog about trading cigarettes for sex and his nonviolent treatment of the German girl he and Gordo have sex with suggest the latter, at least. He's still an asshole, of course.
    • A deleted scene has Wardaddy tell the messenger to ensure the women are treated well.
  • The Worf Effect: The Shermans in the film's combat scenes make it seem like a nigh-impenetrable American war machine, curb-stomping most of the opposing German forces (albeit a sneak attack does take out the lieutenant's tank, establishing the threat of the Panzerfaust grenadiers). The moment the Tiger tank shows up, it destroys three of the four said Shermans and puts it over as vastly inferior to the German monster. At least, this is what the film wants to tell us, but in reality, the Tiger I only had a 1.7/1 K/D ratio at most in the entire war.
  • The Workhorse: The main focus of the film are the Sherman tanks, the standard tank for the US Armed Forces during World War II. While established as reliable and great for infantry support, the Sherman suffered from inferior firepower and armour in tank-on-tank engagements against its late war German counterparts.
  • Working-Class Hero: While the film is clearly favoring blue-collar, low ranking personnel as the "real" soldiers who do all the dirty job and actual fighting, Coon-Ass comes across as a vicious deconstruction of this trope, showing exactly how primitive and crude characters with such a background can turn out.
  • Would Harm a Child:
    • The SS is not afraid to hang children for refusing to fight for Germany.
    • The veteran American soldiers are just as willing to shoot any German child soldier that points a weapon at them. Given how deadly a kid with a Panzerfaust was shown to be, it's the only sane reaction. Norman's hesitation to do this is rightly scorned by his crewmates.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Norman at first, with disastrous results.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Zig-Zagged. Fury's right track is indeed busted, but the crew makes it look as if the whole tank was just a burning wreck.
  • You Always Hear the Bullet: German AT fire onto the Shermans in two scenes have the sound shrieking through the air, before we see the shells. In actuality, the 7.5 cm anti-tank guns used in the hedgerow scene and the 8.8 cm cannon on the Tiger I fires shells traveling more than twice the speed of sound, meaning we should see the shell streak before the sound.
  • You Are in Command Now: After Lieutenant Parker is killed, Wardaddy (a seasoned tank sergeant) is left to command a multi-vehicle tank column, plus the men on foot assaulting an entrenched German position. Luckily, he has the experience to direct such numbers.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The film's climax, as the crew tries to hold a crossroads against a German advance. Of Fury's crew, only a traumatised Norman survives, and though many SS soldiers are killed, they were merely held up, not stopped at the crossroads. One of the medics called Norman "a hero", implying that their last stand stalled and weakened the enemy forces enough that it couldn't be a significant threat to the Allies' supply line.
  • Zerg Rush: The tactic the Sherman platoon did against the Tiger tank (after first backing up to regroup and blind it with smoke shells). Also what the SS troopers did against Fury in the climax.


Video Example(s):


Sherman vs Tiger

In this iconic scene, "Fury", the sole survivor of a platoon of Sherman tanks, engages and ultimately destroys its much heavier foe, a German Tiger I Heavy tank.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / EpicTankOnTankAction

Media sources: