Our 3 favorite D-Day movies and TV biopics
75 years ago today, tens of thousands of soldiers of the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. D-Day was a turning point in the Second World War. It was a pivotal moment to defeat the Nazi regime 11 months and 1 day later.
The significance of this military operation has been epitomized in countless movie and TV productions. Here are 3 notable examples
The Longest Day (1962)
One could say this movie was the first ever large-scale, massive movie production tackling this subject. The Longest Day boasted an all-star ensemble cast from multiple countries, and its production meticulously looked at every detail with the help of military consultants.
The film follows the Normandy landings from the perspective of both Allied and Axis forces. It’s shot in a documentary drama style focusing on General Eisenhower giving the go-ahead for the operation, the early hours of the Normandy landing, and the events deep into French territory.
One famous incident during the shooting of the Omaha Beach landing required soldiers to jump into the water; several real American soldiers were reluctant thinking the water would be too cold. It was only after the actor Robert Mitchum went ahead that everyone else followed suit.
Considering the scale of the production, it comes to no surprise that the film received many accolades, including Golden Globe and Academy Award Best Picture nominations. The film won in both award ceremonies for Cinematography.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
After the success of his first WWII biopic, Schindler’s List, director Steven Spielberg set out on a new project, this portraying the other side of the war, the Allied forces.
The film follows a squad of U.S. Army Rangers that following the Normandy landings go behind enemy lines to search for a paratrooper whose brothers have already been killed in action.
One of the most notable aspects of this movie is the intense and very graphic first 27 minutes, which depict the gruesome Omaha Beach landing. The rest of the film is considered to be realistic, with incredible performances and an overall excellent storyline.
Its significance is such that in 2014 it was selected for preservation in National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. It’s won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama and an Academy Award for Best Director (amongst many other awards and nominations).
Band of Brothers (2001)
Before there was Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers was one of the most ambitious projects ever produced at the time. Released in 2001 on HBO, Band of Brothers was produced by Saving Private Ryan’s Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
The 10-part series focuses on the U.S. Army’s “Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (of the 101st Airborne Division) with a story based on the Stephen E. Ambrose book of the same name.
The series received universal critical acclaim. Most critics praised how the series managed to balance the typical cinematic heroics with the real horrors of war.
Some critics even dare say it surpassed Saving Private Ryan. It received many accolades, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries, and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television.
And there you have it, 3 or favorite D-Day movie and TV productions. Considering some of the locations we visit on our trips, the topic of WWII is quite close to our hearts.
What’s your favorite WWII biopic or documentary feature? Tell us in the comments below!