Monday, 22 July 2019

“The Longest Day”

Ok - I was going to do some reading on the flight, but then I noticed Delta had “The Longest Day” as one of its movies, and it dawned on me that I haven’t actually watched it since I started paying attention to WW2 history.

Shot in black and white, despite being plenty recent enough (1962) for Technicolour, because the director wanted it ‘to look like WW2’, it features a fairly ridiculous cast of famous names, from John Wayne through Richard Todd to Robert Mitchum. Todd played Major Howard in the assault on Pegasus Bridge, having declined the option to play himself :D Several other cast members also took part in the D-Day landings.

What do I think?

It hasn’t aged brilliantly, but it’s markedly better than a lot of that era’s war films. The fight scenes are definitely of their time (compared to the gritty realism of Saving Private Ryan) with perhaps too many grenades and explosions and not enough MG34s, but it’s still an entertaining romp though the story of D-Day.


  1. I agree completely with your assessment. One explanation I read was that in the days prior to colorization, Zanuck wanted to be able to use all the newsreel footage shot in black and white. He felt that a B&W shoot would make that usage more seamless.

  2. The long single take on the Ouistreham is a striking technical achievement for its time IMO

  3. I think the first time I saw it was in 1984 when the BBC (or maybe ITV) split it up over 5 afternoons. My school at the time was operating on compressed days (start early, short breaks, finish early) so I was just able to get home in time for it.

    It still holds up as a film, even if the film version of Colin Maud's mutt is a British Bulldog rather than an Alsatian.

  4. Hi Tamsin,
    Our hobby has a funny side to it. I have two models of Colin Maud and the dog - both show an English Bull Dog rather than an Alsatian. You must admit that from a film stand point, the scene with Colin Maud saying "Down, Winston!" comes across a little more humorously with Winston being an English Bull Dog. With an Alsatian the line might have gone "Down, Adolf. Down."

  5. One of the better WWII movies, up there with "A Bridge Too Far", and better than probably produced since


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