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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the D-Day invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944
The first time I saw "The Longest Day" in a movie theater they got a couple of the reels mixed up. The only way I knew this was that every time a major figure shows up in the film we are told their name, rank and unit. This mistake did not hurt the film all that much because this sprawling story of the D-Day invasion sixty years ago today was so huge and...
Published on June 6 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Participation Almost Completely Ignored
Yes, this is one of the finest war movies ever made. However, I have to shake my head at those who talk of the film's accuracy when the Canadian participation is almost completely ignored. Virtually no mention is made of Juno beach. The film certainly doesn't mention that Juno was the second bloodiest Normandy beach, behind only Omaha. In spite of that, the Canadians...
Published on July 23 2003 by Allan W. Goodall


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Participation Almost Completely Ignored, July 23 2003
By 
Allan W. Goodall (Monroe, LA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Longest Day (DVD)
Yes, this is one of the finest war movies ever made. However, I have to shake my head at those who talk of the film's accuracy when the Canadian participation is almost completely ignored. Virtually no mention is made of Juno beach. The film certainly doesn't mention that Juno was the second bloodiest Normandy beach, behind only Omaha. In spite of that, the Canadians succeeded at their objectives better than any of the other participants in the landings. Stephen Ambrose dedicates a chapter of his book _D-Day_ to the Canadians. Surely this film could have at least _mentioned_ them.
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the D-Day invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944, June 6 2004
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Longest Day, the (VHS Tape)
The first time I saw "The Longest Day" in a movie theater they got a couple of the reels mixed up. The only way I knew this was that every time a major figure shows up in the film we are told their name, rank and unit. This mistake did not hurt the film all that much because this sprawling story of the D-Day invasion sixty years ago today was so huge and complex that it had four directors: Ken Annakin (British scenes), Andrew Marton (American scenes) Bernhard Wicki (German scenes), and the uncredited Darryl F. Zanuck. Granted, the realism of the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan" make the storming of Omaha Beach in this 1962 film look like a walk on the beach in comparison, but "The Longest Day" remains along with "Battleground" one of the most realistic portrayals of what it was like for the infantry in World War II from what we will know have to call the old school Hollywood and which ended with "A Bridge Too Far" in 1977.
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. No," and familiar faces include Red Buttons, Curt Jürgens, Edmond O'Brien, Kenneth More, Robert Ryan, Robert Wagner, Eddie Albert, Roddy McDowell, Peter Lawford, George Segal, Gert Fröbe, and Jeffrey Hunter. The idea of throwing in teen idols like Paul Anka, Fabian, Sal Mineo and Tommy Sands makes sense because a generation earlier they would have been storming the beaches of Normandy. However, you might have a hard time picking up the likes of Richard Dawson and Bernard Fox in the crowd. Several minor players in the film were involved in D-Day, and the piper playing as Lord Lovat's commandos storm ashore is the man himself, Bill Millin. The key thing is that the story being told is so big that it gobbles up all the stars.
The film shows events on both sides of the English Channel both before and during D-Day. On the side of the Allies there is the bad weather, troops tired from being on constant alert for several days, and the sheer size and importance of what is about to happen. Meanwhile the Germans are confident the Allies will attack at Calais and certainly wait for better weather, which explains why the key commanders are away from the front. One of the strengths of this film is that it also tells the story from the German's side. Not only do we get necessary exposition and explication concerning German troop movements before and during June 6, 1944, but there is also the human element of Maj. Werner Pluskat (Hans Christian Blech), the guy sitting on the Atlantic Wall who looks out one morning and suddenly sees the Allied invasion fleet when the fog lifts and we hear the "da da da daaah" of Beethoven's 5th (it is also Morse Code for "V," used to denote "Victory" by the Allies). It is Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Werner Hinz) himself who calls the coming battle "the longest day." There are also the efforts of the French Resistance ("Wounds my heart with a monotonous languor") and French troops in helping to free their own country as well as the British efforts, so this is not just the Americans versus the Germans.
There are several sequences that stand out, most notably the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne landing directly into Ste. Mère-Eglise and being butchered by German troops. The shots of a a terrified and helpless Red Buttons stuck on a church steeple are probably the most memorable in the film, as is the reaction of John Wayne's colonel when he sees the carnage and orders the bodies be cut down. The assault on the cliffs at Omaha also stands out, with Mitchem sending a series of men off to their deaths trying to blow a hole open to get the troops off the beach. Again, there is not the bloody carnage of Spielerg's "Saving Private Ryan," but the scene still retains an emotional power even by contemporary war movie standards.
"The Longest Day" was the most expensive black & white film ever made until "Schindler's List" in 1993 and in both instances not using color works; after all, our "memory" of World War II is based on black & white images. The DVD has some solid extras, with "Hollywood Backstory: The Longest Day" providing a 25-minute documentary on the making of the film, focusing primarily on Zanuck and a 50-minute documentary on "D-Day Revisited," while offers the rather strange sight of Zanuck telling strangers about D-Day and providing historical commentary mixed with clips from the film. In addition to the trailer for "The Longest Day" you get those for "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (certainly a comparable film), "Patton," and "The Thin Red Line."
Certainly "The Longest Day" is one of the best World War II films, even if now have to talk about it as representing the old school of that genre. At some point, given the success of "Saving Private Ryan" and the early chapters of "Band of Brothers," I would expect that someone is going to again try and do the macro view of D-Day. But clearly the next time around it is going to take a mini-series or limited series format to come up with something grander than this 1962 film.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Canadians Present?, June 8 2008
By 
The Longest Day was a great epic film, but it's hard to believe that no Canadians of influence in Hollywood at the time could have leveraged a small part of the film to depict Canada's contribution on D-Day. Someone should take the film now and insert a Canadian segment using CGI or whatever they did a few years ago to creat those commercials with John Wayne or Bogart in them. Strictly for the Canadian market of course. Wouldn't want to offend American sensibilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We'll start the war from here!", May 8 2004
By 
Kelly L. Norman "li'l rock & roller" (Plymouth, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Longest Day (DVD)
Take your "Saving Private Ryans", your "Big Red Ones", your "Band of Brothers"', put them together; they'll never match the excitement and apparent authenticity of this 1962 gem. Unlike "Ryan", which followed a powerful subplot, "TLD" relies on the experiences of the average soldiers, the resistance fighters, and leaders (both Nazi and Allied) in a chronological retelling of the D-Day Invasion itself. Eisenhower is seen making the final decision to invade; Rommel leavinig Normandy because he knows the Allies would never land in the rain. In other words, this film tells the whole story, American, British Commonwealth, German, and French. Those who complain that this seems too broad a brush with which to paint would be surprised at how well Zanuck knit the various scenes together, in part because of the comeraderie built among the allied troops and their leaders.
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).
The French and German characters speak French and German, not English with French and German accents, and not bad French and German. In many cases German actors portray the Nazi leaders and soldiers at the beach.
And who can beat this film for it's star-studded glory? Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Sal Mineo, Eddie Albert, Paul Anka as a Ranger scaling Pointe du Hoc, Sean Connery, Richard Burton...Red Buttons has the unenviable job of playing paratrooper John Stele, 101st Airborne, who ended up with his chute caught on a church steeple, German gunfire all around him. (The church in Ste. Mere Eglise still has a "dummy" chutist hanging there to memorialize Steele, who died in 1969, as well as stained glass windows telling the chutists' story). In one of the neatest twists, British D-Day vet Richard Todd, a screenstar there, plays Maj. Richard Howard. One wonders where Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart was at casting time...maybe he was already too busy with "Cheyenne Autumn" or "How the West Was Won." Regardless, if you like American film from this era, you're sure to find one or two of your favorite male actors here.
The DVD is nice for its letterbox view, and the trailers are fun to watch. This year marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day. If you and your family are looking for media that teaches accurately the important events of that pivotal day, this one is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been There, March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Longest Day (DVD)
Having toured Normandy, St. Mere Eglise, Aromanches, Bayeux, Caen and several other sites, I have to say that this movie is about as accurate as you can get, especially the part about the bridge over the Orne River, the Pegasus Bridge. Also, the scene where PFC John Steele is hanging from the steeple of the church at St. Mere Eglise conforms to the real scene right to the "t."
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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for being a great film, 1 Star for accuracy, June 1 2004
By 
Andrew Dobrenis (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
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There has been so much written here that I won't go into details. Suffice it to say that this is a great war movie illustrating the logistical nightmare that D-Day was. BUT, overlooking the third key allied participant, Canada, who had their own seperate beachhead cannot be forgiven. Considering how long this film is, surely something could have been worked in on behalf of a country who was in the war from the start, and whose efforts at Dieppe (in northern France) helped provide valuable lessons that Allied commanders used in preparing for D-Day. 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed on Juno beach that day, along with 450 who parachuted in the previous evening. The Canadian navy was there as well including 10,000 sailors. Surely some mention of all this could have been made!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional, May 19 2013
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So many stars in this movie made it fun to watch, it explained different sections of the American conflict for D-day, the only thing I wish was that it had more British and other Allies info , but riveting to watch
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to own this film, April 27 2009
By 
E. Hall (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This film is amazing. I had recently visited the Canadian War Memorials in France and used this film as reference for each battleground I saw. It puts into perspective how huge the D-Day Operation: Overlord was.

Although, it doesn't have the graphic intensity as "Saving Private Ryan" did as they stormed the beaches, Ken Annakin gets his point across, thoroughly.

If you ever want to see 1 war movie in your life, this one is it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where are the Canadians?, May 28 2004
By 
This review is from: Longest Day, the (VHS Tape)
How can anyone consider this to be an accurate interpretation of D-Day with barely a mention of the Canadian involvement. Juno beach was one of the more well defended beaches and the location a key to the success of D-Day. The Canadians fought against the best the Germans had in Normandy and never get the credit they deserved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The longest Day., Jan. 30 2014
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This review is from: The Longest Day (DVD)
What can you say about one of the greatest events in modern history ,with the best of actors and realistically portrayed in vignettes yet giving a true picture of these dramatic few days following D day.
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The Longest Day
The Longest Day by Ken Annakin (DVD - 2003)
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