Miracle at St. Anna is a 2008 American–Italian epic war film directed by Spike Lee, and adapted by James McBride from his eponymous 2003 novel. The film stars Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, Pierfrancesco Favino and Valentina Cervi. Miracle at St. Anna is set primarily in Italy during German-occupied Europe in World War II. It tells the story of four Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division who seek refuge in a small Tuscan village, where they form a bond with the residents. The story is presented as a flashback, as one survivor reflects upon his experiences in a frame story set in 1980s New York. Several real-life events that occurred during the war, such as the Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre, are re-enacted, placing Miracle at St. Anna within the genre of historical fiction.
Lee first learned of the novel in 2004 and approached McBride with the idea of a film adaptation. In Europe, the film's development attracted the attention of Italian film producers, and Lee’s reputation as an acclaimed filmmaker helped secure the $45 million budget. A majority of the film was shot in Italy, on several locations affected by World War II. Other filming locations included New York, Louisiana and The Bahamas. Frequent Lee collaborator Terence Blanchard composed the score, and the visual effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic.
Miracle at St. Anna premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival before it was released on September 26, 2008. It was met with mostly negative reviews from critics and drew controversy in Italy over historical inaccuracies. During its theatrical run, Miracle at St. Anna was a box office disappointment, grossing only $9.3 million worldwide.
In 1983, Hector Negron, an aged Puerto Rican World War II veteran, works as a post office clerk in New York City. After recognizing a customer, Negron shoots and kills the man with a German Luger pistol. Several hours later, reporter Tim Boyle and Detective Tony Ricci are at the crime scene seeking information. At Negron's apartment, Boyle, Ricci and other officers discover a finely carved statue head, the Head of the Primavera, a long missing segment from the Ponte Santa Trinita. Also found is a Purple Heart and a photograph revealing that Negron was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star.