A complete view of D-Day, showing participation by all forces, is long overdue. This film comes close, but it is still short of the mark.
Based on Cornelius Ryan's celebrated book of the same title, "The Longest Day" is almost three hours long and has one of the largest all star casts every assembled (42 international stars according to the poster), albeit with big names like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchem, Richard Burton, and Rod Steiger playing supporting roles because, to tell the truth, there is nothing else to play in this film. If you are telling the story of D-Day, no single figure is going to emerge as the star, which is the point (Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, played by an uncredited Henry Grace, has one scene). Sean Connery was about to become famous as James Bond in "Dr.Read more ›
It is true that "Ryan" showed a bloodier, and therefore probably more war-like, beach landing, but once again this is due to different motives: Speilberg's, to bring our emotion around the suffering of the main characters; Zanuck et al to show the events of the war in a human context, without being glib. And the black and white shots make it more family-friendly.
"Patriotic" films, especially from former decades, tend to portray the enemy as cartoonish or monstrous; TLD is not one of those films. The German characters are portrayed as human; their place in the film seems to illustrate the tragic mistakes their leaders have made in their plans, not to show us how "bad" Germans were. (This was not a film designed to explore the horrors of the Nazis' extracurricular activities; but it does not give a sense of avoiding them).Read more ›
You have to go to Normandy and see the Longe batteries, St. Mere Eglise, Pegasus Bridge etc..., then see the movie and you will walk away with nothing but appreciation for what was done by the "Greatest Generation." I wish I had been a part of it.
A movie of this type, coupled with actually seeing the real sites makes you proud to be an American.