The Longest Day Reviews
Not as realistically gory as Saving Private Ryan - such realism would never gave gotten past the 1960s censors - but such micro-detailed realism is not necessary here. The picture is more a strategic one, though you often get to see it from the eyes of average soldiers.
Mostly quite accurate, but there are some mildly-annoying inaccuracies. The portrayal of 27-year old Lt Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort by the 55-year old John Wayne is probably the pick of the bunch. Once the action starts, however, the mild inaccuracies are quickly forgotten, as you immerse yourself in reliving an event of massive historical significance.
In fitting with the epic nature of the movie, just about every actor in it with dialogue is a major star. About the only male superstars of the time missing are Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and Orson Welles! Some of them, eg George Segal, Sean Connery, Robert Wagner, have very minor parts and only have a handful of lines, but it shows just how deep the talent pool was in the cast of the movie.
Stirring, incredible, epic war drama.
- Not enough ppl have seen it.
In terms of plot, story execution and the presence of an ensemble cast, The Longest Day is clearly very I influential of the later epic war masterpiece A Bridge Too Far, yet The Longest Day isn't nearly as confusing or repetitive. As it goes through the complex development of June 6, 1944, The Longest Day ensures that all it's dramatic plot dynamics are in order and making sense, and from a technical standpoint it honestly feels ahead of its time.
By that I mean the cinematography is absolutely astounding. It gets up close with the characters when the dramatic tension is building within them, and it follows them well when they move through battle. It tracks them perfectly and always manages to get the perfect quantity of elements into perspective. The cinematography in The Longest Day is some of the finest I've seen in a war film ever, and it's some of the finest use of the tracking shot technique in existence as well, definitely worthy of the Academy Award it was victorious of.
The Longest Day is heroic but it always feels real since it touches on the intense and damaging effect of the battle in the same manner that Saving Private Ryan did decades later while covering the more human side of the soldiers the same way that The Big Red One did. It's production design is impeccable and it feels really humane, touching on both sides of the war from each perspective and pointing to the middle man in the situation too. For a John Wayne film, it isn't right wing propaganda. It's a spectacular war epic with strong drama and entertaining action which makes it a powerful visual experience which hits the viewer pretty strongly. And with the directional efforts of Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald and Darryl F. Zanuck all collaborating, The Longest Day truly had an epic production to match its epic scale which makes it a powerful all around. It tells its story very well and it never comes up short, and with a well written script and a talented cast it proves great.
The standouts of its ensemble cast begins with John Wayne, because despite being more familiar for his patriotic western efforts he breaks into the cast of The Longest Day without skipping a heartbeat and delivers a commanding patriotic charisma which makes him perfectly dominant for the lead part.
Henry Fonda also makes a great splash in his brief role on screen by putting in fine line delivery and facial gestures with a real spirit in them.
Robert Mitchum also manages to dominate the screen when on it in a likeable manner since he conveys the role of a military hero worth following as a leader without glamourising the role. He gets it just right.
Sean Connery of course is a real genial presence because his natural Scottish Charm makes him an exceptional action hero like it did when he played James Bond.
Richard Burton was good too and Eddie Albert really nailed the dramatic heft of his character.
Roddy McDowall was also good early on in his career.
So The Longest Day is surely a war classic, an action classic and a cinematic classic in general.