American Experience (1988– )
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D-Day Remembered 

An award-winning documentary of the invasion of Normandy in World War II, using rare archival films and pictures from British, American, and German archives. The narrator provides the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Narrator
Edward A. Askew ... Himself (voice)
John C. Ausland ... Himself (voice)
Joe Bacile ... Himself (voice)
Geoffrey S. Barkway ... Himself (voice)
Sid Berger ... Himself (voice)
Ralph Bennett ... Himself (voice)
Bill Bowdidge ... Himself (voice)
Felix P. Branham ... Himself (voice)
George Buckley ... Himself (voice)
Ted Eaglen ... Himself (voice)
Roger A. Freeman ... Himself (voice)
William Friedman ... Himself (voice)
Curt Fromm ... Himself (voice)
John Golley ... Himself (voice)
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Storyline

An award-winning documentary of the invasion of Normandy in World War II, using rare archival films and pictures from British, American, and German archives. The narrator provides the overall continuity, but the voices of over 50 participants who were involved in the staging of the invasion in Britain or were on the beaches of France bring the images to life. Written by Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

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PBS [United States]

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25 May 1994 (USA)  »

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Overlord.
24 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

Aside from David McCullough's introduction, the program consists entirely of footage from England and Normandy.

There are brief sparse comments from participants -- British, Canadian, and American, not German -- about their personal impressions. One of the voices almost certainly is that of actor Charles Durning, though he's not listed in the credits. Durning was severely wounded on the beach and, recovered, went on to be captured and barely escaped the Malmedy Massacre in the Battle of the Bulge. Unlike so many veterans, Durning had no desire to return to Normandy on the 1994 anniversary.

The approach is personal, limited to individual experiences, and filled with sentiment. There is little mention of particular units or ships and nothing much about strategy. The technology goes unremarked.

The impression left with the viewer -- both by the images and by the commentary -- is that Murphy's Rule applied. If it could go wrong, it did. The result was chaos. Success was achieved through the leadership of individual brave soldiers. It's a dismally candid documentary that doesn't shun the images of dead Americans as well as dead Germans.

I'm not sure there is much here that isn't already familiar, at least in some sense, to most people who have any interest in World War II, but the presentation is not sensationalized or propagandistic. Well done.


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