When he left Hollywood in March 1941, Jimmy Stewart was America’s boy next door movie star and a recent Academy Award winner. He left all that behind to join the United States Army Air Corps and fulfill his family mission to serve his country—only to face obstacle after obstacle from both Hollywood and Washington.
Finally he made his way to the European Theater, where several near-death experiences and the loss of men under his command took away his youthful good looks. The war finally won, he returned home with millions of other veterans to face an uncertain future, suffering what we now know as PTSD.
For the next half century, Stewart refused to discuss his combat experiences and took the story of his service to the grave. Mission presents the first in-depth look at Stewart’s life as a Squadron Commander in the skies over Germany…What emerges is the story of a Jimmy Stewart you never knew until now, a story more fantastic than any he brought to the screen.
I read somewhere recently that the scene in It’s A Wonderful Life where George Bailey arrives home on Christmas Eve bankrupt, ruined, and facing possible criminal charges, everything he has worked for all of his life is being wrenched from his grasp, he snaps and goes into his little man-cave area and smashes all of the things he’s been working on in a Hulk-like fit of rage, all of that was just Stewart letting out his PTSD demons.