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The Longest Day (1962) Film Review

The Longest Day Film Review

June 6th 1944 , the largest armada ever assembled gathered off the coast of Normandy , ready to invade France and loosen Nazi Germanys grip on Western Europe .

With a cast of famous names, including John Wayne, Richard Burton and Robert Mitchum, this black and white film really delivers in showing the viewer the enormity of the day's events, and the personal stories of those involved.

This film was made in the 60's, so of course it doesn't have the gritty realism of Saving Private Ryan, but it does look at D-Day from a number of different viewpoints, which the Steven Spielberg Film did not.

We follow the actions of French Resistance members, preparing for invasion by blowing up railway tracks and telegraph lines, we follow the Ox & Bucks Regiment as the first troops into France , crash landing their gliders near a strategically important bridge. The tension and boredom of the troops waiting to disembark on the thousands of ships, the complacency of the German Generals, and the bravery of the troops storming the beeches.

Stand out scenes? My favourite has to be at the Bridge, near the end of the film, when the Ox & Bucks, under Major Howard are finally relieved by Troops from the beeches, or when the US troops break out of the hell of Omaha beech.

Overlooked, but a highlight has to be a cameo appearance by Rod Steiger, his speech from the Navy Radar post sums up the momentous events that were about to happen before dawn on June 6 1944.

What can the Longest Day tell us today? Well, we now know that a lot of the German troops were in fact from their conquered territories, not all Blond Aryans, and that the carnage of Omaha beech was truly terrible. But it also speaks to us of a time when we were fighting a war that was right - the world would be a better place after the fighting was finish. D-Day and the Battle for Normandy were a War of Liberation, pushing out an enemy occupier, and we didn't stay long after the job was done.

D-Day. The Longest Day. The best Second World War film ever? You decide.

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