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The Longest Day

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The Longest Day (1962), starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Sean Connery and Sir Richard Burton
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The Longest Day (1962), starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Sean Connery and Sir Richard Burton

 This monumental account of the allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day (June 6, 1944) is a classic among WWII films. Spectacular battle scenes; intense acting by John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Sean Connery and Sir Richard Burton, among others; and gut-wrenching pathos capture the horrors and heroics of a defining historical event. 1962; black and white, 3 hours.

Editorial review of  The Longest Day courtesy of

The Longest Day is Hollywood’s definitive D-day movie. More modern accounts such as Saving Private Ryan are more vividly realistic, but producer Darryl F. Zanuck’s epic 1962 account is the only one to attempt the daunting task of covering that fateful day from all perspectives. From the German high command and front-line officers to the French Resistance and all the key Allied participants, the screenplay by Cornelius Ryan, based on his own authoritative book, is as factually accurate as possible.

The endless parade of stars (John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, and Richard Burton, to name a few) makes for an uneasy mix of verisimilitude and Hollywood star-power, however, and the film falls a little flat for too much of its three-hour running time. But the set-piece battles are still spectacular, and if the landings on Omaha Beach lack the graphic gore of Private Ryan they nonetheless show the sheer scale and audacity of the invasion. —Mark Walker

Cast of characters

American Troops




  • Christian Marquand … Cmdr. Philippe Kieffer – Commando Leader
  • Georges Rivière … Sgt. Guy de Montlaur
  • Jean Servais … RAdm. Janjard


  • Arletty … Madame Barrault
  • Jean-Louis Barrault … Father Louis Roulland
  • Bourvil … Mayor of Colleville
  • Pauline Carton … Maid
  • Irina Demick (Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines) … Janine Boitard
  • John Gregson … British Padre
  • Fernand Ledoux … Louis
  • Peter Lawford (Royal Wedding; Ocean’s 11 (1960)) … Lord Lovat
  • Madeleine Renaud … Mother Superior
  • Georges Wilson … Alexandre Renaud

[Updated April 16, 2023]

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