|Alias||Wardaddy, Don (By the crew), Sarge (By Norman in the original script), Sergeant (By everyone else)|
|Rank||US Army Staff Sergeant (In the script)|
|Portrayed by||Brad Pitt|
- "Ideals are peaceful, history is violent."
- ―Wardaddy to Norman
Don "Wardaddy" Collier (1916- April 25, 1945) is one of the main protagonists that appear in the movie Fury.
As the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany, U.S. Army staff sergeant Don Collier, in the 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division who commands Fury, an M4A3E8 Sherman along with its five-man, all-veteran crew (aside from Norman); Boyd Swan, gunner, Grady Travis, loader, and Trini Garcia, driver. The tank's original assistant driver/bow gunner has been killed in a battle that has killed all the rest of Fury's platoon. Wardaddy hides on top of Fury and sees a Nazi SS officer riding on horseback through the ruins of the battle, looking for survivors. Wardaddy jumps on him, knocks him off the horse and stabs him in his eye socket viciously several times until he dies. Wardaddy then lets the horse go. Wardaddy returns to the tank and kicks Coon-Ass until he gets the broken tank fixed enough to drive them back to their camp. There, Wardaddy sees that his gunner's replacement is a recently enlisted Army typist, Norman Ellison who has neither seen the inside of a tank nor experienced the ravages of war. Norman eventually earns the nickname "Machine", given to him by Grady Travis. While at a forward operating base, it is revealed that Wardaddy greatly despises the Waffen-SS, shown when he harasses an injured captive SS officer before telling Norman to kill every one of them he sees.
The surviving crew, who have been together since the North African Campaign, belittle the new recruit upon meeting him, for both his lack of experience and for his reluctance to kill Germans, especially the children of the Hitlerjugend; a decision which results in the destruction of Lieutenant Parker's tank and its crew. Wardaddy is furious and, enraged, forces Norman to look at an American soldier who committed suicide while burning alive. Wardaddy angrily screams to Norman that this is his fault. Later, in an effort to 'educate' him to the realities of war, he violently attempts to force Norman to take his weapon and kill a captive German artilleryman, who is wearing a looted American trenchcoat. When Norman refuses to do so, Wardaddy forces the gun into his hand and makes him execute the prisoner.
The bond between Norman and Wardaddy becomes stronger after capturing a small German town which is riddled with hanged children displaying signs. Wardaddy reads the signs and translates them. They say that the dead children were "cowards" for not fighting for Germany. Wardaddy and the rest of the crew kill all the Nazi soldiers that have taken it over and Wardaddy realizes that most of the surviving soldiers who are surrendering are merely children being forced to fight. Wardaddy lets the children live but sees an SS officer and asks if he was the one hanging children in the town. The townsfolk identify him as the murderer and Wardaddy promptly has him executed. Later, Wardaddy and Norman meet a German woman, Irma, and her cousin Emma. Norman presumably sleeps with Emma, then joins Wardaddy and Emma's cousin for breakfast, during which time Norman discovers that Wardaddy has horrific, severe burn scars on his back. The rest of the crew barge in and cause tensions while at the table, (all of whom but Bible were looting the town and enjoying the spoils of war) but Wardaddy stops them from harming the two women. Coon-Ass continues to be rude, taking Emma's eggs and licking them before putting them back on her plate. Wardaddy switches plates with her and eats the eggs Coon-Ass licked instead. Shortly afterwards, a German bombardment hits the town, killing Emma and some of the American forces. This, coupled with observing the retreating Germans burning their own towns and the cruelty they show to those who do not fight for the Wehrmacht, hardens Norman.
A platoon of four tanks, led by Wardaddy, gets a mission to hold a vital crossroads from advancing Germans, protecting a clear way to supply trains and a camp full of army doctors and cooks. If the Germans were to reach the camp, all those people would likely be killed and the whole unit may be in jeopardy. After encountering and engaging a heavily-armored German Tiger I tank, only Fury remains, the other three vehicles being outgunned and annihilated by the Tiger. Wardaddy's vehicle is then immobilized after hitting a landmine; shortly afterwards, a battalion of three hundred Waffen-SS infantry approaches. Wardaddy refuses to leave, and the rest of the crew, initially reluctant, decide to stay and plan an ambush, as Bible believes God has kept them alive to keep the camp past the crossroads safe.
Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men nevertheless inflict heavy losses on the Germans using both the tank's and the crews' weapons. Although virtually hundreds of the SS officers are killed by the crew, gradually, one by one, Grady, Gordo and Bible are all killed and Wardaddy is wounded twice by a sniper. Norman and Wardaddy retreat back into Fury where they share their last words. When two stick grenades are unexpectedly dropped into the tank by the SS soldiers, the heavily wounded Wardaddy, unable to move, orders Norman to escape through the bottom emergency hatch of the tank, which Norman immediately obeys. Right as Norman escapes, two German stick grenades are dropped into the hatch and detonate, killing Wardaddy. Norman hides until the next morning and finds Don's corpse the next day, covering it with his coat out of respect. He hears someone outside the tank and grabs Don's revolver, aiming it at the hatch. However, when it is opened, it is revealed that the people are just his rescuers: fellow Allied Soldiers. Norman is led away and told that he is a hero, implying that the German offensive failed.
While it's true that Wardaddy is a hero, and the main one of the movie at that, he's more of an antihero. He's a ruthless soldier, one who's extreme brutality nearly has no limits - even to his own men if they don't follow his orders. Though he shows a great hatred for Nazi SS soldiers and officers along with the majority of the Wehrmacht in general, he shows mercy towards the youth pressed into Army service . He's also ordered his men to run over German soldiers with their tank. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wardaddy's committed war crimes, such as executing an unarmed prisoner of war. His brutal behavior does effect him though, as he is shown on a few occasions having trouble living with himself because of what he's done. He smokes to take the edge off, though it doesn't seem to help much. He tries to remain calm and collected for his crew at all times. Wardaddy doesn't hate Germans per se, just the Nazis, and, more strongly, the SS, who were the more loyal and fanatic Nazi troops. He did everything he could to kill them. There is a certain sympathy to be found with him. Producer John Lesher claims that Wardaddy is a damaged soul; Director David Ayer claims that Fury is a father-son story, that Wardaddy's like a father to Norman. It can be argued that Wardaddy doesn't like killing people, but does it either to save his own life and the lives of others, or to just finally finish the war the Nazis started. He has a complex personality, at one point mocking the Bible and another quoting it right down to the verse; At one point shooting an unarmed POW, and at another defending two German women from his own men by threatening to "kick in [their] teeth". What makes the character even more complex and enigmatic is the he is strongly hinted to be of German descent, and can even speak the language. In an unused portion of the script, Wardaddy states to Norman that his mother was born in Germany, in a village that the Nazis destroyed. His brutality towards the Nazis could hint at a hatred of how they've destroyed his country, though this is just speculation.
There is a scene where Don tells Norman to sleep with Emma or he will. However, he was only trying to get him to make a move and did not want the girl, because he never makes a move on Irma, who is much closer to his age. This is confirmed by the script:
"Norman looks at Wardaddy. At the girl. Wardaddy doesn't really want her. But Norman doesn't know that."
This further shows that Don is a good man deep down, unlike most of the other men in the tank, i.e. Coon-Ass and Gordo.
- Wardaddy knows German. And while the crew speculates that he knew it before the war started, the final cut of the film makes it hard to determine.
- Wardaddy has severe third-degree burn scars all up and down his back. The script and some deleted scenes explain Wardaddy's burns. After Norman asks if the Germans did it, and it turns out that it wasn't from combat. Earlier in the script, he talks occasionally about how drinking doesn't solve anything. Later, Wardaddy explains he once was an alcoholic and drove drunk with his girlfriend and brother. He got into a wreck, killing them both. His back was then burned badly when the car lit on fire and it burned until help arrived. The whole county hated him for it. Wardaddy was then given the choice of jail or serving in the military and dying for his country. Wardaddy claims it's the best advice he ever got.
- Collier may be an English name, but he is a second-generation German; He reveals in the script that his mother was born in Germany, in a town they saw burned to the ground by the SS, which explains in part his hatred for the SS.
- Wardaddy carries an StG 44 (an assault rifle of German origin) as his main weapon in the film. It is likely he obtained it as a trophy of sorts while fighting on the Western Front.
- Wardaddy also carries a Smith & Wesson M1917 revolver chambered in .45 ACP. This was issued to many soldiers in WWII when quantities of the M1911A1 pistol were low. Wardaddy's M1917 has custom plexiglass grips with a picture of a girl underneath. These are called "sweetheart" grips and were often fashioned by homesick soldiers. It's entirely possible that the photo of the girl is Don's girlfriend he killed years earlier.
- Wardaddy has been compared by many to Aldo Raine, Brad Pitt's character from Inglorious Bastards.
- Wardaddy's famous line "ideals are peaceful, history is violent" was ad-libbed by Brad Pitt.
- In a opening scene, a superior says he thought he'd never see Wardaddy alive again. He responds "The devil watches over his own" perhaps a reference to one of Pitt's past movies "The Devil's Own".
- In the script for Fury, Wardaddy is described as "Late twenties, he looks middle aged. A light beard and hollow cheeks. Years of combat have ground him into something hard and sharp."
- Wardaddy loved horses. This may be attributed to the script mentioning that he grew up in a rural county, where he most likely worked with horses.
- Wardaddy has been with his crew since 1942 in the North Africa campaign.
- In the script, Wardaddy and Norman have a much stronger bond. The two have more heartfelt discussions and it is revealed that Wardaddy's dead brother was named Norman.
- In the script, Wardaddy was a gambling addict.
- According to the script, Wardaddy asks Norman if he didn't mind killing Nazis to give himself absolution for all the people he's killed. In a way, Wardaddy needs Norman to agree with him and give him some peace and reassurance.
- Wardaddy's hair style is not GI standard; He cuts it himself.
- In the script, Wardaddy is vastly more brutal than in the film. In the script, Wardaddy stabs and kills the SS POW in the script after he belittlingly "questions" him. Other soldiers don't do anything about it because Coon-Ass is aiming his Thompson submachine gun at them. Wardaddy then scratches another notch in his blade. There is another scene in the script where Wardaddy reloads his assault rifle after killing the other two Hitler Youth and goes up to the injured third one. He kicks the child, belittles him, and then shoots him again, killing him. This was cut from the film, likely for being too graphic and disturbing.
- In the script, there is a stage direction that reads: "Norman opens the hatch, scared of Wardaddy. Who wouldn't be?"
- "I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Then France. Then Belgium. Now I'm killing Germans in Germany."
- (In German to the Nazis) "Shut up and send me more pigs to kill!"
- "It will end, soon. But before it does, a lot more people gotta die."
- (Referring to Fury) "It's my home."
- "Best job I ever had."
- "See that? That's a whole city on fire. I bet that's where those bombers were heading. The dying's not done. The killing's not done."
- "Wars are not going anywhere, Sir."
- (To Norman) "I had the best Assistant Driver in the entire Ninth Army in that seat. Now I got you. I promised my crew a long time ago I'd keep them alive. You're getting in the way of that. It ain't like the newsreels up front."
- (To Norman) "See what a kid can do? That's your fault. Next fucking German with a weapon you see, rake the dog shit out of him. I don't care if it's a baby with a butter knife in one hand and mama's left titty in the other. You chop him up."
- "We ain't never run before. Why we goona run now?"
- "You think it can't get worse? It can. And it will."
- (To Norman about Fury) "That's home. Do what you're told. And don't get too close to no one."
- (To SS Prisoner of War) "I'll question him. (in fluent German) What's your favorite color? You like chicken or beef? You a good dancer? You like fat girls?"
- "Norman, open this goddamn hatch, you cocksucker!"
- (To Coon-Ass) "You're an animal. A dog. All you understand is the fist and boot."
- (To Gordo) "Wanna talk Mexican? Find another tank. A Mexican tank. This is an American tank. We talk American."
- (To Norman) "I'm scared too, son."
- (In the script) "Take good care of him. Or I'll take good care of you."
- "I'm sorry, son. I did my best."
- (After Norman says that he is the new assistant gunner) "No you are not."
- "Done much killing?"
- "What happened back there, that's every day. That's every day."
- "Keep doing what I say. You do that and you'll get through this thing."
- "Button up!"
- "We ain't here to ask them questions."
- "I know what I did. He's an SS. They're real assholes. I kill every SS I can. You'd seen what I seen you would too."
- (To Norman) "Why are you here? You're here to kill him! Know why he's here? He's here to kill you! He's here to kill YOU, Norman!"
- (After Sergeant Miles asks why they are rescuing low-level soldiers) "Why are you such an asshole?"
- (In German to German refugees) "Keep walking. American lines are that way. Keep moving. Hands up high. There you go. Move."
- (After Norman mentions wanting to surrender) "Please don't. They'll hurt you real bad. And kill you real bad."
- "The Devil watches over his own."