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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 »

Parents Guide:

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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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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A written message written by Eisenhower and taking full responsibility by him and to be issued to the media should the D-Day landings fail was found in one of the pockets of his military uniforms years later after D-Day. These details about this message were worked into this tele-movie's script. 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

Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith: Last one at the dance or the first?
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Hell, it's just the way it is, Bedell. One minute I'm exactly what Churchill described, the most powerful man in history. Now the order's given, hell; I'm just audience, front row center to be sure. But a Corporal on Juno, a Private on Utah, they're the ones who will affect the outcome, not me. It's up to them now.
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Connections

Features Sahara (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Compelling character study of Ike, gripping D-Day strategy tale
27 May 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

There are no combat scenes in this wartime drama, yet it offers a compelling portrait of Ike and a gripping depiction of all the strategy meetings involved in the Allied landing in Normandy. I'm one of the few who has not yet seen Saving Private Ryan, and think this might be a useful movie to have watched first. The film chronicles the complicated planning meetings during the three month build up to D-Day, the operation masterfully orchestrated by the American General Dwight D. Eisenhower in his position as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.

Tom Selleck is positively brilliant in his portrayal of Ike. Like every other viewer, I knew what the real Eisenhower looked like but while watching this movie, I didn't see Tom Selleck or Magnum. I saw Ike. The movie gives a moving portrait of this confident and decisive but not egotistical general. Fortunately, it avoids any depiction of an alleged romantic affair with his chauffeur Sommersby, best not to cast needless aspersions. It especially provides a touching glimpse into this leader's inner turmoil, secret doubts, and emotional anguish at sending soldiers into a dangerous battle bound to involve high Allied casualties. The battle depicted in this film is truly Eisenhower's inner one.

The most wrenching scene is definitely the one in which Eisenhower himself visits the paratroopers on the eve of the landing. As this group is expected to suffer especially high casualties, he realizes that he is undoubtedly sending many of them off to their deaths. However, given the dire wartime situation, he realizes he has no choice. His unpretentious friendliness with these paratroopers is touching as he tries to put them at ease, shares a cigarette with them, and shows genuine interest in their personal lives...uncharacteristic of a military commander in his position.

The inner squabbling between the generals is also interesting, the various egos of those who disagree on strategy. It's obvious why there needs to be one leader with the final word! Ike exhibits both able tactical strategy but also admirable people skills, dealing respectfully with both the political leaders and the other generals, seeking their opinions, but unafraid to ultimately insist on his chosen course of action. Generals Montgomery, Patton, and Bradley are all highly involved in the planning operation. I'm no expert on the historical accuracy about any of these generals, so will leave such commentary to others better informed.

Charles DeGaulle is certainly cast as an irritating, unsympathetic, and uncooperative obstacle to the Allies' plans, though some have commented that this depiction is inaccurate. Hopefully. While I hesitate to disparage the dead, he comes across as quite despicable here. Churchill is also shown of course, behaving very Churchillian!

The planning operation of Operation Overlord makes a riveting story. I was especially taken with the operation's total dependence on the weather reports near the target date. The pressure must certainly have been on these meteorologists to get their forecast right! Sellick brought to life an historical figure I had previously really never thought much of, though Eisenhower must have been regarded quite heroically in public opinion for him so have gained such an endearing nickname. I hope his portrayal in this movie is accurate, because I would like to believe that Ike actually was in real life the very capable but unpretentious and compassionate man of integrity depicted here.


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