Mountain View

The Longest Day (1962)

178 Min.
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In a nutshell... This Oscar-winning war epic chronicles World War II's harrowing D-Day invasion. Shot on the beaches of Normandy, France, the ambitious film attempts to cover the historic day from all perspectives, focusing on both sides of the conflict.

Watch The Trailer:

Why It Makes My List

A great deal of my childhood (too much, probably) was spent playing WWII strategy games, so I have a special appreciation for a movie that succeeds like no other in conveying the strategic and logistical challenges of war, while painting a vivid picture of what the men involved must have gone through. Furthermore, in contrast to many war movies before and since, The Longest Day gives full credit to the many nationalities that took part, and is remarkably even-handed in its portrayal of the Germans.

Other Reasons To Watch

One of the greatest all-star casts ever helps you to identify with their characters even though most are cameo appearances, which is perhaps the only way to tackle a story this monumental in scope.

"The Longest Day"
Blending in historical footage and shooting in the subtitled native languages of those involved gives The Longest Day an unusual level of authenticity.
The Longest Day
There are some breathtaking sequences that rank among the finest large-scale cinema set pieces of all time, some 30 years before the invention of CGI.
The Longest Day
BKDHCH THE LONGEST DAY -1962

Reason To Pass
Reason To Pass

The Longest Day is almost three hours long, with a fair bit of exposition and philosophical musing in the hour before the action starts. It's past half way before any beaches are stormed, and when they are soldiers throw up their hands and fall over with little gore or agony. It would be 36 years before Saving Private Ryan fixed that. Oh, and Sean Connery's comedy Scot is excruciating.
Despite being relatively even-handed for 1962, The Longest Day still serves up a few war clichés, flag-waving speeches and national stereotypes. Sean Connery's comedy Scot is excruciating.
For all its authenticity, the carnage is sanitized. When soldiers are shot they throw up their hands and fall over, with little gore or agony. It was 36 years before Saving Private Ryan fixed that.

Don't Watch If...

You avoid movies that are in black and white or subtitled. Or three hours long.



  • Jim

    I’m old enough to have seen this movie in NYC when it was initially released. I had the misfortune of being seated in front of a British couple in their 50s who lived through the horrible experience of Hitler’s nightly shelling of London. I say this was unfortunate for me because they couldn’t stop talking throughout the entire film. I remember more of their conversation than I do the film! I do understand why this documentary-like movie would bring them back to that unforgettable time in their lives.

    I think your review of The Longest Day is quite fair and balanced. It prompts me to see it again sans verbal commentary by others!

    • Hi Jim

      Thanks for your comment – the first of what I hope will be many on this blog! I’m frankly shocked and horrified that a British couple in their 50s would have been so impolite – and in 1962!

      I’m glad you’ve been prompted to see this film again, and would be interested to find out what you think of it after 52 years!

      Craig

  • MikeW

    As a HUGE WWII buff, this movie is awesome. They had actual American and Ex-Nazi officers as consultants for the movie.

  • DKSpeedy

    Just watched it because of your review. Excellent synopsis – good movie. That aerial scene with the planes over the beach was amazing. It is fun to watch and call out all of the famous faces that show up. My two biggest complaints are unrealistic carnage (typical for that time) and the light-hearted moments in a depiction of one of humanity’s darkest days.

    • Thanks, DK! Glad you enjoyed it! I guess they thought they had to have some light relief in such a long war movie.

  • Joel

    I really liked this film when I saw it many many years ago. Back in the early 90’s films like this and A Bridge Too Far inspired me to study history and write my thesis on WWII.Its not on Netflix which is shame, but A Bridge Too Far is worth tracking down if you liked The Longest Day. Same kind of all-star cast, authenticity, set pieces.

    • A Bridge Too Far is a good movie too, and many people think it has a better script, but for me some of the sequences in The Longest Day, such as that aerial shot that DK mentioned, put The Longest Day into a class of its own. I like the idea that movies like this can inspire someone to study WWII. Thanks for commenting!

  • AndyChild

    The Longest Film

    • Fair comment, but if you sit down to watch The Longest Day with the expectation that it’s going to go on forever and that you’ll need to pause it at least twice for food / bathroom breaks, then you’ll probably find watching it far more enjoyable!

  • Fair comment, but if you sit down to watch The Longest Day with the expectation that it’s going to go on forever and that you’ll need to pause it at least twice for food / bathroom breaks, then you’ll probably find watching it far more enjoyable!


Available in: Sadly, this movie is currently no longer available on Netflix

Last Checked: 03/03/2017
No longer accurate? Let me know


Director Bernhard Wicki, Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton

Starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Peter Lawford, Robert Ryan, Sean Connery, Jeffrey Hunter, Mel Ferrer, Richard Dawson, Steve Forrest

Genres Classics, Action Movies, Military and War Dramas