During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Code named Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. History.com
There are so many timeless films that depict the different aspects of this monumental endeavor. We want to shine a new light on some of our favorites in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Saving Private Ryan is probably the most well-known. It is being shown in theaters this week in honor of D-Day. With its all-star cast (Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Paul Giamatti and Ed Burns just to name a few) and amazing special effects, it has been said by many that this film recreated the feeling of the day. Loosely based on the story of the Niland brothers of New York. Steven Spielberg received an Academy Award for best Director. The movie won four more awards for cinematography, sound, effects and editing. That this movie lost its best picture bid to Shakespeare in Love proves that it can be all about the marketing campaign.
The Dirty Dozen has always been one of my favorites. Based on an unverifiable urban myth, it is set during the days ramping up to D-Day. It also has an all-star cast. Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson and James Brown. If this is your first time to watch it, watch Sleepless in Seattle again and everything will be clear.
The Longest Day is told from both the German and the Allied points of view. It’s worth watching if for no other reason than to see of these actors in their heyday. Robert Wagner, Richard Burton, Peter Lawford, Sean Connery, Robert Mitchum and of course, John Wayne.
Even though most of these events happened before we could appreciate their importance, these movies help us appreciate the courage and sacrifice of our military heroes.
Enjoy these movies with fried bologna sandwiches and cheap shakes (milk, ice and chocolate syrup in a blender).