149. The Longest Day (1962)

Film 60 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Two films in a row containing a Bond villain? You wouldn’t think it possible, but I was most excited to see Goldfinger cycling along in a Normandy village, as over in Britain plans are being made for the D-Day landings.

The Longest Day is so star-studded, I was squealing at each actor I recognised. So much so, that when Sean Connery turns up with the most appalling accent (I think he was trying to play being a Scotsman playing an Irishman who is trying to speak in a bad Scottish accent), I made my housemate jump out of his skin. But among others, the lead actors comprise of John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, with cameos from Richard Burton, Kenneth More, Richard Todd and even Leslie Phillips.

As part of the Channel 4 Top 100 War Films project, I’ve seen a number of movies on the list that can hardly call themselves war films at all. Just because something is set with a war backdrop, it really doesn’t count in my opinion if there is nothing in the storyline that involves a fight or two. However, The Longest Day has nothing to worry about on that count, being stuffed full of scenes including tanks, amphibious landing craft and planes, as it tells the story from both sides of the development and execution of the plans to invade Normandy and beat back the Germans along the heavily defended French coast.

I was drinking rather a lot of homemade elderflower vodka at the time, but it’s action-packed, dramatic, exciting and well-filmed. I’d go as far as to say it’s a perfect war film in a lot of respects. I enjoyed it immensely and I never thought I’d feel that way about something like this.


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