Movie Review: The Longest Day (1962)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the black and white war movie starring John Wayne and Henry Fonda.

Synopsis: Dramatic re-telling of the Allied Normandy D-Day invasion and attempted liberation of France during World War II on June 6, 1944. The story is told from several points of view, including the Allied invasion force, the German military and the French resistance starting from the days leading up to the famous event to the invasion itself.

Who's in it?

Review

I watched the first half of this movie some time ago but didn’t get an opportunity to watch the rest of the film until this morning before work. After finally seeing the movie in its entirety, I can honestly say I now understand why it is such a popular war film.

The thing that really impressed me about this movie was the way the filmmakers managed to use an all-star ensemble cast. A lot of other movies have struggled with this and, more often than not, end up focusing on just one actor. That wasn’t the case with this film. Most of the top names shared the screen time and all of them managed to put on strong performances, whether it was Wayne’s wounded Lt. Col. Vandervoort or Fonda’s Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Another thing I liked about this film was the way it did give the details of the event from different perspectives, including the German military’s point of view. This does manage to give a much bigger picture of the event than most other movies (which usually just focus on the United States’ involvement), including the British military’s presence during the invasion and the raw emotion of the losing German commanders that were caught off guard and were unable to regroup because of a variety of reasons.

While all the battle scenes in this movie are entertaining to watch, the one that really stood out for me had to be the scene with the nuns (lead by Madeleine Renaud as Mother Superior) walking through the crossfire so they could volunteer their services as nurses. I loved that scene because, while all the soldiers were taking cover, they showed no fear. It's something I've honestly never seen in a movie like this before and it was one of many things that made it a memorable film.

Longest Day [Blu-ray]

The Longest Day is a re-creation of the D-Day invasion. Whenever possible, the original locations were utilized, and an all-star international cast impersonates the people invol...

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Final Opinion

I’ve seen quite a few war movies, including many classic films and, after seeing this movie in its entirety, I can honestly say it is now one of my favorites. If you haven’t had a chance to watch this movie, I do recommend taking the time to do so at least once.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/30/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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StevenHelmer on 07/01/2015

It's a movie I think they should show in schools when teaching kids about D-Day. Saving Private Ryan was probably a little more realistic (at least when it came to the opening scene) but this shows a much larger picture of the event and is a little more suitable for younger viewers.

Mira on 07/01/2015

I've heard of this movie but never watched it. Thank you for the review.

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