'Greyhound' on Apple TV+: The True Stories Behind the Tom Hanks Movie

Apple TV+ is set to release new movie Greyhound on Friday, July 10, which yet again plunges Tom Hanks into the battlefield of World War II. This time, the Saving Private Ryan actor is on board a destroyer in the middle of the ocean, fighting against German U-boats in what is called the Battle of the Atlantic. This real-life battle took place from September 1939 to May 1945 and saw the Allies and Nazis fight over supply routes in the ocean where vital supplies would move from the U.S. to Europe and the Soviet Union.

Is Greyhound based on a true story?

The Apple TV+ movie Greyhound is based on the C.S. Forester novel The Good Shepherd, which has been praised by critics for its historical accuracy in depicting the events of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The actual story of Greyhound and The Good Shepherd, however, is a fictional one. Hanks' character Commander Krause is not a real person, and the destroyer he is the captain of USS Keeling (nicknamed 'Greyhound') is not a real boat. However, the story related the experiences of many who fought in the Atlantic. In the book and movie, Kraus takes control of the Keeling as his first-ever wartime mission when the U.S. enters the war. As the battle rages on, Krause begins to experience self-doubt over his decisions and his lack of experience.

greyhound movie tom hanks
Tom Hanks movie 'Greyhound' is set during the real-life Battle of the Atlantic AppleTV+

The movie, however, was filmed on a real warship with a WWII pedigree–something that surely delighted Hanks, who is known for his passion for the history of the era. In August 2018, WBRZ reported that the film was shooting in Baton Rouge onboard the USS Kid, which launched in 1943 and operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean as an escort to large combatant vessels before heading to Pearl Harbor to escort aircraft carriers.

Speaking of the Forester book to Military Officer Magazine, Hanks said that the Battle of the Atlantic has a lot of similarities to life under the coronavirus. He said: "Time and history came to a standstill. I'd been looking for material that would explore that period of 'hang fire' when no end, no conclusion to the war was in sight.

"The Good Shepherd delivered a canvas for that stasis perfectly—the middle of the Atlantic, the relentless sea, only a horizon, and then, only in the daylight, the unseen enemy, with time and distance not mattering beyond the next hour and the next page of the charts."

History Extra said of the Battle of the Atlantic: "Had the Atlantic been lost, so too would have Britain. There would have been no Mediterranean campaign, no D-Day, no VE or VJ Days. The vast, global supply chain upon which the Allies depended ... would have been cut, and with it the lifeline."

The Smithsonian Magazine notes similarities between what happens in the film and the real battle between the USS Borie and the U-boat U-405. In real life, a wave caused the two vessels to collide, with the bow of the ship going over the U-boat. With the submarine so close, it was hard to aim at it with the ships gun, meaning the crew had to use a barrage of rifles and machine guns to try and sink the 405. In reality, this scuttled the Borie and sank the U-boat, but we will not spoil what happens in the movie.

In the real Battle of the Atlantic, an estimated 80,000 Allied troops died, while about 70 percent of Germany's 41,000 German sailors lost their lives, while the former lost over 2,700 ships to the latter's 1,100 U-boats.

Greyhound is released on Apple TV+ on Friday, July 10.