This epic film depicts the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day – the turning point of World War II, and in many ways the day that changed the world. The invasion marked the end of Nazi domination over Europe and involved 3 million men, 11,000 planes and 4,000 ships.
The large international all-star cast is absolutely exceptional, helping The Longest Day to become an all-time screen classic.
The endless parade of stars – John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery and Richard Burton, to name just a few – makes for an astute mix of realism and Hollywood star-power.
In addition to the 50 international stars, 10,000 extras were involved in the movie – which cost $10 million to make. No black and white movie has ever cost as much.
Based on a book by Cornelius Ryan, The Longest Day is almost The Longest Film, clocking in at just over three hours (183 minutes).
Three directors were assigned to the movie – Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki – but there was never any doubt about who was in charge.
Darting from location to location in a helicopter, the cigar-chewing producer Darryl F. Zanuck declared “this is my picture. When one wants to take the credit for something one must also take the responsibility. I don’t mind the hard work. There is plenty of compensation in the pride one can feel when it’s over”.
The massive preparations, mistakes and random events that determined the outcome of 6 June 1944 are shown in the movie and add to the realism.
The screenplay by Cornelius Ryan, based on his own authoritative and best-selling book, is as factually accurate as possible and the set-piece battles are truly spectacular.
The movie won Academy Awards for special effects and cinematography.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort
Flying Officer David Campbell
Brig. Gen. Norman Cota
Pvt John Steele
Major of the Rangers
US Army Ranger
US Army Ranger
Theodore Roosevelt Jr
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin
Maj Gen Robert Haines
Sgt. John H. Fuller