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The Longest Day

Year: 1962
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directors: Darryl Zanuck (uncredited), Andrew Marton, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki
Cast:
John Wayne ... Colonel Vandervoort
Robert Mitchum ... General Norman Cota
Henry Fonda ... General Roosevelt
Robert Ryan ... General Gavin
Rod Steiger ... Commander
Robert Wagner ... U.S. Ranger
Richard Beymer ... Schultz
Mel Ferrer ... General Haines
Jeffrey Hunter ... Sergeant Fuller
Paul Anka ... Ranger
Tommy Sands ... Ranger
Fabian ... Ranger
Sal Mineo ... Private Martini
Roddy McDowall ... Private Morris
Stuart Whitman ... Lieutenant Sheen
Eddie Albert ... Colonel Newton
Edmond O'Brien ... General Barton
Red Buttons ... Private Steele
Richard Burton ... RAF Pilot
Peter Lawford ... Lord Lovat
Sean Connery ... Private Flanagan
Curt Jurgens ... General Blumentrit
(and many more ...)

Plot synopsis: The story of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, as told from the point of view of the Americans, English, French, and Germans, from the decisionmakers in Berlin and Washington D.C. to the individual men storming the beach and manning the guns, to the men and women of the French resistance.

Verdict: Truly one of the greatest war films of all time, with an all-star cast of "42 international stars" that can never be duplicated. It's perhaps today's equivalent of casting Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gene Hackman in the same film. The multiple viewpoints ensure that the story is evenhanded and fair, even to the Germans. It clocks in at three hours, but is well worth it. Wayne (who doesn't let a broken ankle stop him) is a particular standout, as is a gravelly-voiced, cigar-chomping Mitchum barking such memorable lines as "There are only two kinds of people who are going to stay on this beach: those that are already dead and those that are going to die. Now get off your butts!" and "OK, run me up the hill, son." Yes sir!

Behind the Scenes: - This film singlehandedly saved 20th Century Fox studio, which foundered after former studio boss Zanuck had left to form his own independent film company. Thanks to the overwhelming success of The Longest Day, which was nominated for five Oscars and won two, Zanuck regained control of the studio.
- Mitchum got into trouble after allegedly telling the press that extras playing U.S. infantryman were "cowards" for being afraid of the rough waters. The actor claimed he had been misquoted.
- Producer Zanuck praised Mitchum for doing all his own stunts.
- A curious note: an original poster for the film featuring then-hot young stars Fabian, Paul Anka, and Tommy Sands was later doctored with the heads of more enduring stars Mitchum, Fonda, and Wayne.

If You Liked This Movie, You Might Also Like: Saving Private Ryan, Anzio, The Story of G.I. Joe, The Enemy Below, The Young Lions, The Thin Red Line, Hell is for Heroes, Black Hawk Down

Links:

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