The Longest Day
is Hollywood's definitive D-day movie. More modern accounts such as Saving Private Ryan
are more vividly realistic, but producer Darryl F Zanuck's epic 1962 account is the only one to attempt the daunting task of covering that fateful day from all perspectives. From the German high command and front-line officers to the French Resistance and all the key Allied participants, the screenplay by Cornelius Ryan, based on his own authoritative book, is as factually accurate as possible. The endless parade of stars (John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton, to name a few) makes for an uneasy mix of verisimilitude and Hollywood star-power, however, and the film falls a little flat for too much of its three-hour running time. But the set-piece battles are still spectacular, and if the landings on Omaha Beach lack the graphic gore of Private Ryan
they nonetheless show the sheer scale and audacity of the invasion. --Mark Walker
An all-star international cast re-tells the events of the Allied Landings in Normandy in 1944. Events are seen from various points of view, including the Germans', in an epic and spectacular style. Along with the 43 international stars, the film used 23,000 Allied troops and despite costing over $10 million to make, it has now become one of the most successful films of its genre. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and Henry Fonda head the cast.