Synopsis: It’s like Saving Private Ryan, except...nobody’s scared.
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “The Longest Day is a vivid, hour-by-hour recreation of this historic event [D-Day]. Featuring a stellar international cast, and told from the perspectives on both sides, it is a fascinating look at the massive preparations, mistakes, and random events that determined the outcome of one of the biggest battles in history.”
What Did I Learn?: John Wayne is capable of walking on a broken foot if you lace up his boots really tight because he’s the Duke, damn it!
Really?: While I’m sure I would welcome the Allied invasion if I were a Frenchman living under German occupation, I really don’t think I’d be jumping up and down with joy as the naval bombardment destroys my lovely home on the coast.
Rating: it’s tough to rate The Longest Day because the movie is clearly a product of its time, and tastes have changed since the early 1960s. Sure, the film won a couple of Oscars, it boasts an all-star cast, and a lot of time, money and effort went into making it. Unfortunately, after viewing The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan, I had trouble taking The Longest Day seriously (especially when John Wayne swaggers around like a buffoon). Leaving aside the graphic violence of TTRL and SPR, both films portrayed ordinary soldiers realistically: scared absolutely out of their minds. In this film, front-line grunts are either gung-ho excited about going into battle, or they’re focused on crap games and impressing the dames when they hit Paris. Even worse, dialogue frequently descends into patriotic editorializing. 6.5/10 stars.