The Longest Day (1962)
The scope of this movie is huge – covering everything from Eisenhower’s difficult decision to launch D-Day under far less than ideal conditions – to the utter confusion of the ordinary G.I. lost behind enemy lines.
The story actually consists of a vast montage of stories/vignettes – both large and small. In so doing the viewer is made aware of how chaotic the entire enterprise turned out to be.
So too we see the disorganization and stumbling on the side of the Germans. The greatness of the film is in its strength to convey snippet-stories of individual characters and combine them in a coherent fashion.
Stand-out stars for me include: John Wayne, Robert Mitchem, Richard Burton, Red Buttons, Wolfgang Buttner, Richard Todd, Jeffrey Hunter.
Some of the very smallest scenes are acted and directed with tremendous impact – whether the end effect is humorous or tragic.
All war film fans have already seen this motion picture (at least once) – so I can only encourage those who may have avoided the film for one reason or another to give it a chance. It's difficult to imagine anyone watching a film of this caliber and walking away feeling empty handed.