The Longest Day – 1962 – English
War film directed in 1962 by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki, and starring John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Curd Jürgens, Rod Steiger, Robert Ryan, Eddie Albert, Peter Lawford, Gert Fröbe, Robert Wagner, Sal Mineo, Mel Ferrer, Richard Todd, Richard Beymer, Bourvil, Georges Wilson, Paul Anka, Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Red Buttons, Irina Demick, Ray Danton, Fabian, Steve Forrest, Leo Genn, Jeffrey Hunter, Alexander Knox, Christian Marquand, Roddy McDowall, Kenneth More, Edmond O’Brien, Ron Randell, Tommy Sands, George Segal, Jean Servais, Tom Tryon, Peter van Eyck, Stuart Whitman, Mark Damon…
Synopsis: In 1944, the U.S. Army and Allied forces plan a huge invasion landing in Normandy, France. Despite bad weather, General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the okay and the Allies land at Normandy. General Norma Cota travels with his men onto Omaha Beach. With much effort, and lost life, they get off the beach, traveling deep into French territory. The German military, due to arrogance, ignorance and a sleeping Adolf Hitler, delay their response to the Allied landing, with crippling results.
Review: I’m old enough to have seen this epic when it was first released and, even as a nine year old, I was impressed. It was the great Daryl Zanuck’s last hurrah and a fitting one (not his last film – just his last worthwhile film).
This is a great film. It’s not perfect but its faults are few and minor. For me the most glaring fault is the amateurish delivery by the actor (a near ringer) portraying Ike. Also, the very beautiful actress portraying the French resistance fighter is wearing a very 1960s hairdo (a common problem with Hollywood films).
I see this film every memorial day. It helps me to remember my father, a Navy gunner’s mate in the Pacific theater and my maternal grandfather, an island-hopping Sgt. in the Marine Corps. Personally, as a veteran, I find this movie as realistic as I think it was possible to be in 1961.