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Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004)

PG | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 31 May 2004
A dramatization of the 90 days leading up to Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, and how General Dwight Eisenhower, against all odds, brilliantly orchestrated the most important military maneuver in modern history.

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Nominated for 6 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ian Mune ...
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RAdm. Bert Ramsay
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Group Cpt. Major James Stagg (as Christopher Baker)
George Shevtsov ...
Gregor McLennan ...
Captain Chapman
Paul Gittins ...
Major General Henry Miller
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U.S. Colonel at Savoy
Catherine Boniface ...
Woman at Savoy
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Storyline

This is the story of the senior-level preparations for the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 from the time of Dwight D. Eisenhower's appointment as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, to the establishment of the beachhead in Normandy. The film recounts many of the trials and tribulation Ike had to face, not the least of which were the many prima donnas surrounding him (Patton, Montgomery and especially de Gaulle) and the need for tact and diplomacy to bring all sides together for what would be the largest amphibious assault ever attempted. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

31 May 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ike: Thunder in June  »

Company Credits

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16:9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

D-Day was on the 6th of June 1944. This tele-movie marked the 60th Anniversary of D-Day as it was both filmed and first broadcast in 2004, sixty years after D-Day. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Eisenhower is holding the clip-board you can clearly see a laser scan bar code on the back. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: I'm not sending a bunch of fresh young kids to die for a people they know nothing about, I'm asking them to die for freedom and they're ready to do it and that's why they're heroes.
See more »

Connections

Features Henry V (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Good Performance by Tom Selleck in a Tough Role

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the perfect choice for Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces that stormed French beaches on the one D-Day that indelibly evokes 6 June 1944. Having successfully commanded the forces that invaded North Africa and subsequently Sicily, Eisenhower was the right man at the right time, the indispensable molder of a coalition with perhaps too many headstrong generals and admirals. All these senior officers had combat command experience-Eisenhower never left the United States during World War I. He was a remarkably competent staff officer whose abilities were noted by, probably, the shrewdest judge of Army men in America, George Marshall. And Marshall elevated his protege from lieutenant colonel to General of the Army in a very short period.

The problem with portraying Eisenhower in the tense and confusing period before the actual invasion is that never-ending talk, not action - briefings, meetings, staff reports - were the basis for the Supreme Commander's decision to launch the invasion or postpone it. Weather issues were critical but The Weather Channel has much more excitement every night than that found in the calm, Scottish-accented reports RAF Group Captain Stagg, Eisenhower's meteorologist, delivered several times a day.

"Ike: Countdown to D-Day" has no battle sequences nor does it explore the emotional territory of the fighting men who would begin what Eisenhower termed "The Great Crusade," the title of his postwar bestselling memoir.

Tom Selleck, in an outstanding performance, captures the nuances of a general with high ideals and a simple but consummate love of his country. British generals and some American ones, including Patton, decried Eisenhower's lack of battlefield command experience and even his ability to grasp complex tactical situations. They were, to a certain degree, correct but what they missed was that his job was not to micro-manage combat but to hold together men of extreme temperaments and often mutual dislikes against the forces that might pull them apart and damage the coalition effort.

Selleck's Eisenhower is quiet, thoughtful and fully engaged in being an ALLIED leader and his gifts in that capacity are well reflected by this actor. Yes, some incidents are perhaps subject to challenge by the historically knowledgeable (including me) but in the main this is as accurate a movie dramatization of D-Day planning and decision-making as we're likely to get.

While Eisenhower's driver and confidant, Kay Summersby, an attractive Englishwoman in uniform, is present kudos go to the writers and director for not hyping up the film with an unnecessary romantic digression into the general's alleged extramarital affair with the winsome chauffeur.

This film might bore some but it's a fairly good capture of the tensions and issues preceding the issuance of one of the most momentous orders in the history of warfare: "Let's go!," Eisenhower simple command that translated years of preparation into a massive assault that presaged the liberation of Europe.

9/10


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