After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Tells the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in WWII. There are dozens of characters, some seen only briefly, who together weave the story of five separate invasion points that made up the operation. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Many of the military consultants and advisers - drawn from both sides - were actual participants on D-Day itself. See more »
Although Vandervoort and Steele are shown wearing "jump" boots, as befitted their status as paratroopers, Pvt. Schultz, also a paratrooper, wears two-buckle infantry "combat" boots. This type of boot was not worn to any degree on D-Day, even by the regular infantry (they wore ankle-high "field" boots with canvas leggings), much less the paratroopers. See more »
There is a 20-second overture on a black screen, no 20th Century Fox logo (in spite of this being one of their most expensive productions), and a six-minute cold open before the title is displayed. Apart from the title, there are no credits at the beginning of the film. All cast and crew credits are at the end of the film. See more »
The last good WW2 film made by people "who were there"
This is perhaps one of the most ambitious, epic WW2 films to have been made; certainly it is the last of the classic B&W films made about the subject. Featuring an all-star cast (John Wayne, Richard Burton, Kurt Jurgens... even a cameo by Sean Connery!), it comprehensively details the build-up and execution of the Normandy landings in 1944, taking care to show how the event was perceived by Allied and Axis soldiers and commanders, as well as the Free French resistance. This is a film that takes great care in documenting the events of the day, without lapsing into sickly sentimentalism or getting distracted with fictional characters' personal lives (a failing of many WW2 movies since about 1970), or over-emphasising any one nation's importance in the operation (although, admittedly, Canadians may feel a little short-changed).
Classic moments abound, notably the landing at St.Mere-Eglise and the soldier who gets caught in the church steeple, the frustrations of the front-line German commanders and fighters, and the numerous cameos for film nerds to keep track of.
If you want a wartime romance, or an appearance by Matt Damon or Ben Affleck, or long, loving shots of the Stars & Stripes in slo-mo, or a gritty blood'n'guts fest, you'll be disappointed. This film has broader concerns, and was made with much more thoroughness. There is no agenda at work here, pro-war or anti-. It is solely concerned with documenting Operation "Overlord" for the film-going public, and succeeds brilliantly; a shame then, that it has not made the top 50 war films list.
A must-see for any fan of war films.
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