The Longest Day (film)

The Longest Day is a 1962 black-and-white epic World War II film based on Cornelius Ryan's 1959 book The Longest Day (1959)[3] about the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, who paid author Ryan $175,000 for the film rights.[4] The screenplay was by Ryan, with additional material written by Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, and Jack Seddon. It was directed by Ken Annakin (British and French exteriors), Andrew Marton (American exteriors), and Bernhard Wicki (German scenes).

The Longest Day
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced byDarryl F. Zanuck
Screenplay by
Based onThe Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
Music byMaurice Jarre (score)
Paul Anka (theme)(arr. Mitch Miller)
Edited bySamuel E. Beetley
Darryl F. Zanuck Productions, Inc.
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • September 25, 1962 (1962-09-25) (France, U.S.)
  • October 4, 1962 (1962-10-04) (Canada)
  • October 23, 1962 (1962-10-23) (Germany, Mexico, UK)
Running time
178 minutes
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • German
  • French
Budget$7.75 million[1]
Box office$50.1 million[2]

The Longest Day features a large international ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More, Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Steve Forrest, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Bourvil, Curd Jürgens, George Segal, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka, and Arletty. Many of these actors played roles that were essentially cameo appearances. In addition, several cast members had seen action as servicemen during the war, including Albert, Fonda, Genn, More, Steiger, and Todd; Todd was among the first British officers to land in Normandy in Operation Overlord, and he participated in the assault on Pegasus Bridge.

The film employed several Axis and Allied military consultants who had been actual participants on D-Day, and many had their roles re-enacted in the film. These included Günther Blumentritt (a former German general), James M. Gavin (an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff at SHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer (who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Marie-Pierre Kœnig (who commanded the Free French Forces in the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat (the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef "Pips" Priller (the hot-headed pilot), and Lucie Rommel (widow of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel).

The film won two Academy Awards and was nominated for three others. A colorized version of this film was released on VHS in 1994, the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.


Shot in a docudrama style (with subtitles identifying the different participants), the film opens in the days leading up to D-Day, concentrating on events on both sides of the English channel. The Allies wait for a break in the poor weather while anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France. As Supreme Commander of SHAEF, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower makes the decision to go after reviewing the initial bad weather reports and the reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen and what should be their response.

Multiple scenes document the early hours of June 6: Allied airborne troops being sent in to take key locations inland, away from the beaches, and the French resistance reaction to the news that the invasion has started. Also chronicled are important events surrounding D-Day: British troops' glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, and the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion. The uncertainty of German commanders is also shown as to whether this is a feint in preparation for Allied crossings at the Strait of Dover (see Operation Fortitude), where the senior German staff had always assumed that the invasion would begin.

Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the U.S. Ranger Assault Group's assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces, and the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots. The film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before they advance inland by crossing France to eventually reach Germany.



Actor Role
Don AdamsLieutenant JG on warship (uncredited)
Eddie AlbertColonel Thompson, 29th Infantry Division[5]
Paul AnkaPrivate, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Richard BeymerPrivate Arthur 'Dutch' Schultz, 82nd Airborne Division[6]
Red ButtonsPrivate John Steele, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Gary CollinsOfficer on destroyer bridge (uncredited)
John CrawfordColonel Eugene M. Caffey, Commander, 1st Engineer Special Brigade (uncredited)
Mark DamonPrivate Harris (uncredited)
Ray DantonCaptain Frank, 29th Infantry Division
Fred DurMajor, 2nd Ranger Battalion
FabianPrivate, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Mel FerrerMajor General Robert Haines, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF)
Henry FondaBrigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Assistant Commander, 4th Infantry Division
Steve ForrestCaptain Harding, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Henry Grace (dubbed by Allen Swift)General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces (uncredited)
Peter HelmYoung private, 29th Infantry Division
Jeffrey HunterSergeant John H. Fuller (later field promoted to lieutenant), combat engineer, 29th Infantry Division
Alexander KnoxLieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff, SHAEF
Mickey KnoxDowned Airman, (uncredited)
Dewey MartinPrivate Wilder, 4th Infantry Division (scenes deleted)
Roddy McDowallPrivate Morris, 4th Infantry Division
John MeillonRear Admiral Alan G. Kirk, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces (uncredited)
Sal MineoPrivate Martini, 82nd Airborne Division
Robert MitchumBrigadier General Norman Cota, Assistant Commander, 29th Infantry Division[7]
Tony MordenteCook, 82nd Airborne Division (uncredited)
Bill NagyMajor, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Edmond O'BrienMajor General Raymond O. Barton, Commander, 4th Infantry Division
Ron RandellJoe Williams, war correspondent
Robert RyanBrigadier General James M. Gavin, Assistant Commander, 82nd Airborne Division
Tommy SandsPrivate, 2nd Ranger Battalion
George SegalPrivate, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Bob SteeleParatrooper, 82nd Airborne Division (uncredited)
Rod SteigerDestroyer commander, United States Navy
Nicholas StuartLieutenant General Omar N. Bradley, Commander, First Army (uncredited)
Tom TryonLieutenant Wilson, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Robert WagnerPrivate, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Joe WarfieldArmy medic (uncredited)
John WayneLieutenant Colonel Benjamin H. Vandervoort, CO, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Stuart WhitmanLieutenant Sheen, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment


Actor Role
Patrick BarrGroup Captain J. M. Stagg, meteorologist (uncredited)
Lyndon BrookLieutenant Walsh, "D" Company, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (uncredited)
Richard BurtonFlying Officer David Campbell, Royal Air Force fighter pilot [fictional character][8]
Bryan ColemanRonald Callen, war correspondent (uncredited)
Sean ConneryPrivate Flanagan, 3rd Infantry Division[Fictional character][9]
Richard DawsonBritish soldier (uncredited)
Jack Hedley6th Airborne Division briefing officer (uncredited)
Leslie de LaspeePiper Bill Millin, 1st Special Service Brigade (uncredited)
Frank FinlayPrivate Coke (uncredited)[Fictional Character][10]
Harry FowlerSoldier, 6th Airborne Division (uncredited)
Bernard FoxLance-Corporal Hutchinson, Royal Armoured Corps (uncredited)[Fictional Character][11]
Leo GennMajor-General at SHAEF
Harold GoodwinSoldier in glider (uncredited)
John GregsonPadre, 6th Airborne Division
Walter HorsbrughRear-Admiral George Creasy, Chief of Staff to Admiral Ramsay (uncredited)
Donald HoustonRAF fighter pilot in mess
Patrick JordanBritish officer (uncredited)
Simon LackAir Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expeditionary Air Force (uncredited)
Harry LandisBritish soldier (uncredited)
Peter LawfordBrigadier Lord Lovat, Commander, 1st Special Service Brigade
Victor MaddernCook (uncredited)
Howard Marion-CrawfordMajor Jacob Vaughan, Medical Officer, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (uncredited)
Michael MedwinPrivate Watney, Universal Carrier driver, 3rd Infantry Division
Kenneth MoreActing Captain Colin Maud, Royal Navy Beachmaster, Juno Beach
Louis MounierAir Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, Deputy Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces (uncredited)
Leslie PhillipsRAF officer with French Resistance
Siân PhillipsWren assistant to Stagg (uncredited)
Trevor ReidGeneral Sir Bernard Montgomery, Commander-in-Chief, Allied Armies (uncredited)
John RobinsonAdmiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief (uncredited)
Norman RossingtonLance-Corporal Clough, 3rd Infantry Division
Richard ToddMajor John Howard, OC, "D" Company, 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Richard WattisMajor, 6th Airborne Division


Actor Role
Neil McCallumCanadian medical officer (uncredited)


Actor Role
ArlettyMadame Barrault, resident of Sainte-Mère-Église
Jean-Louis BarraultFather Louis Roulland, parish priest of Sainte-Mère-Église
Yves BarsacqFrench Resistance man, Caen (uncredited)
André BourvilAlphonse Lenaux, Mayor of Colleville-sur-Orne
Pauline CartonLouis's housekeeper
Jean ChampionFrench Resistance man, Caen (uncredited)
Irina DemickJanine Boitard, French Resistance, Caen[12]
Bernard FressonFusilier Marin Commando (uncredited)
Clément HarariArrested man (uncredited)
Fernand LedouxLouis, elderly farmer
Christian MarquandCapitaine de Corvette Philippe Kieffer, CO, 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos
Maurice PoliJean, French Resistance, Caen (uncredited)
Madeleine RenaudMother superior in Ouistreham
Georges RivièreSecond-Maître Guy de Montlaur, 1er Bataillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos
Jean ServaisContre-amiral Robert Jaujard, Commander, 4th Cruiser Division, Free French Naval Forces
Alice TissotLenaux's housekeeper (uncredited)
Georges WilsonAlexandre Renaud, Mayor of Sainte-Mère-Église
Dominique ZardiSpitfire pilot (uncredited)


Actor Role
Hans Christian BlechMajor Werner Pluskat, 352nd Artillery Regiment, 352nd Infantry Division
Wolfgang BüttnerGeneralleutnant Dr. Hans Speidel, Chief of Staff, Army Group B
Eugene DeckersGerman Major in church (uncredited)
Robert FreitagMeyer's aide (uncredited)
Gert FröbeUnteroffizier "Kaffeekanne" ("coffee pot")
Walter GotellSS General (uncredited)
Paul HartmannGeneralfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt, Commander, OB West
Ruth HausmeisterLucie Rommel, Rommel's wife (uncredited)
Michael HinzManfred Rommel, Rommel's son (uncredited)
Werner HinzGeneralfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, Commander, Army Group B
Karl JohnGeneralleutnant Wolfgang Häger, Luftwaffe Kommando West
Curd JürgensGeneral der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt, Chief of Staff, OB West
Til KiweHauptmann Helmuth Lang, ADC to Rommel (uncredited)
Wolfgang LukschyGeneraloberst Alfred Jodl, Chief of Operations, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (uncredited)
Kurt MeiselHauptmann Ernst Düring (uncredited)
Richard MünchGeneral der Artillerie Erich Marcks, Commander, LXXXIV Army Corps
Rainer PenkertLeutnant Fritz Theen, 352nd Artillery Regiment, 352nd Infantry Division (uncredited)
Wolfgang PreissGeneralleutnant Max Pemsel, Chief of Staff, 7th Army
Hartmut ReckOberfeldwebel Bernhard Bergsdorf, pilot, Jagdgeschwader 26 (uncredited)
Heinz ReinckeOberstleutnant Josef Priller, Kommodore, Jagdgeschwader 26 (uncredited)
Paul Edwin RothOberst Schiller (uncredited)
Dietmar SchönherrHäger's aide (uncredited)
Ernst SchröderGeneraloberst Hans von Salmuth, Commander, 15th Army (uncredited)
Hans SöhnkerPemsel's staff officer (uncredited)
Heinz SpitznerOberstleutnant Helmuth Meyer, Chief of Intelligence, 15th Army (uncredited)
Peter van EyckOberstleutnant Ocker, Commander, 352nd Artillery Regiment, 352nd Infantry Division
Vicco von BülowPemsel's adjutant (uncredited)



French producer Raoul Lévy signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to purchase the filming rights to Cornelius Ryan's book The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 D-Day on March 23, 1960. After finishing The Truth, Lévy set up a deal with the Associated British Picture Corporation and got director Michael Anderson attached. Ryan would receive $100,000, plus $35,000 to write the adaptation's screenplay. Lévy intended to start production in March 1961, filming at Elstree Studios and the English and French coasts. But the project went into a halt once ABPC could not get the $6 million budget Lévy expected. Eventually, former 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck learned about the book while producing The Big Gamble, and in December purchased Lévy's option for $175,000.[13] Zanuck's editor friend Elmo Williams wrote a film treatment, which piqued the producer's interest and made him attach Williams to The Longest Day as associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. Ryan was brought in to write the script, but had conflicts with Zanuck as soon as the two met. Williams was forced to act as a mediator; he would deliver Ryan's script pages to Zanuck, then return them with the latter's annotations.[14] While Ryan developed the script, Zanuck also brought in other writers for cleanups, including James Jones and Romain Gary. As their contributions to the finished screenplay were relatively minor, Ryan managed to get the screenplay credit after an appeal to the Writers Guild arbitration,[15] but the four other writers are credited for "additional scenes" in the closing credits.

During pre-production, producer Frank McCarthy, who had worked for the United States Department of War during World War II, arranged for military collaboration with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Zanuck also realized that with eight battle scenes, shooting would be accomplished more expediently if multiple directors and units worked simultaneously, so he hired German directors Gerd Oswald and Bernhard Wicki, British director Ken Annakin, and Hungarian-American director Andrew Marton.[16] Zanuck's son Richard D. Zanuck was reluctant about the project, particularly the high budget.[17]


  • The film was shot at several French locations including the Île de Ré, Saleccia beach in Saint-Florent, Haute-Corse, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain filling in for Ouistreham, Les Studios de Boulogne in Boulogne-Billancourt, and the actual locations of Pegasus Bridge near Bénouville, Calvados, Sainte-Mère-Église, and Pointe du Hoc.[18]
  • During the filming of the landings at Omaha Beach, the extras appearing as American soldiers did not want to jump off the landing craft into the water because they thought that it would be too cold. Robert Mitchum as Gen. Norman Cota became disgusted with their trepidation. He jumped in first, at which point they followed his example.
  • The Rupert paradummies used in the film were far more elaborate and lifelike than those actually used in the decoy parachute drop (Operation Titanic), which were simply canvas or burlap sacks filled with sand. The dummies dressed in American jumpsuits were used in filming the Sainte-Mère-Église sequence.[18] In the real operation, six Special Air Service soldiers jumped with the dummies and played recordings of loud battle noises to distract the Germans.
  • With a budget of $10 million ($82 million in 2019 dollars), this was the most expensive black-and-white film made until 1993, when Schindler's List was released.[4]
  • In the scenes where the paratroopers land, the background noise of frogs croaking was incorrect for northern French frog species and showed that the film probably used an American recording of background night noises.
  • Colin Maud lent Kenneth More the actual shillelagh that he carried ashore in the invasion. (More had served as an officer in the Royal Navy during World War II, albeit not as a Beachmaster.) Similarly, Richard Todd wears the beret that he actually wore on D-Day, although he changed the cap-badge to that of Maj. John Howard's regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
  • In the film, three Free French Special Air Service paratroopers jump into France before British and American airborne landings. This is accurate. Thirty-six Free French SAS (4 sticks) jumped into Brittany (Plumelec and Duault) on June 5 at 23:30 (operation Dingson). The first Allied soldiers killed in action were Lt. Den Brotheridge of the 2nd Ox & Bucks Light Infantry as he crossed Pegasus Bridge at 00:22 on June 6, and Corporal Emile Bouétard of the 4th Free French SAS battalion at the same time in Plumelec, Brittany.
  • The United States Sixth Fleet extensively supported the filming and made available many amphibious landing ships and craft for scenes filmed in Corsica, though many of the ships were of newer vintage. The Springfield and Little Rock were World War II light cruisers extensively reconfigured into guided missile cruisers, and both were used in the shore bombardment scenes.
  • Gerd Oswald was the uncredited director of the parachute drop scenes into Sainte-Mère-Église. Darryl F. Zanuck said that he himself directed some uncredited pick-ups with American and British interiors.[19]
  • Elmo Williams was credited as associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. He later produced the historical World War II film Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) for Zanuck. It depicted the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, also using the docudrama style.


  • Charlton Heston actively sought the role of Lt. Col. Benjamin H. Vandervoort, but the last-minute decision of John Wayne to take the role prevented Heston's participation. At 55, Wayne was 28 years older than Vandervoort at the time of action (and 10 years older in real life). All the other major actors accepted $25,000 as payment, but Wayne insisted on $250,000 to punish Zanuck for referring to him as "poor John Wayne" regarding Wayne's problems with his lavish film The Alamo.[20]
  • Zanuck hired more than 2,000 serving soldiers for the film as extras.
  • Sgt. Kaffeekanne's (Gert Fröbe) name is German for "coffee pot", which he always carries.
  • Several pop stars such as Paul Anka, Tommy Sands and Fabian appear as Rangers together.[21]
  • Bill Millin was the piper who accompanied Lord Lovat to Normandy with his bagpipes, and it is a common misconception that he played himself in the film. He was actually portrayed by Pipe Major Leslie de Laspee, the official piper to the Queen Mother in 1961.[22][23]
  • In Sainte-Mère-Église, Pvt. John Steele from the 82nd Airborne (played by Red Buttons) has been memorialized by the local population with a dummy hanging from a parachute from the church tower on which he accidentally landed.
  • Richard Todd played Maj. John Howard, leader of the British airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge, and Todd himself took part in the real bridge assault on D-Day. He was offered the chance to play himself but took the part of Maj. Howard instead.
  • Joseph Lowe landed on Omaha Beach and scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. He repeated the climb for the cameras 17 years later as a serving member of the 505th Airborne Battle Group who provided US Army extras.
  • Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was considered for the role of himself in the film, and he indicated his willingness. However, it was decided that makeup artists couldn't make him appear young enough to play his World War II self. The role of Gen. Eisenhower went to Henry Grace, a set decorator with no acting experience but who had been in the film industry since the mid-1930s. He was a dead ringer for the younger Eisenhower, though his voice differed.
  • The film marked the last film appearance of Sean Connery before he was cast in the role of James Bond. Gert Fröbe (Sgt. Kaffeekanne) and Curd Jürgens (Gen. Günther Blumentritt) later played Bond villains Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger (1964)) and Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me) respectively. Connery played Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, which was also based on a book by Cornelius Ryan. Likewise, Wolfgang Preiss played Maj. Gen. Max Pemsel in The Longest Day and Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt in A Bridge Too Far.
  • Mel Ferrer was originally signed to play the role of Gen. James M. Gavin but withdrew due to a scheduling conflict.[18]
  • According to the 2001 documentary Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, Richard Burton and Roddy McDowall were so bored having not been used for several weeks while filming in Rome that they phoned Zanuck begging to do "anything" on his film. They flew themselves to the location and each did a day's filming for their cameos for free.
  • One of the stuntmen was Robert Weinstein (Dec 7, 1936 - Sept 22, 2019), a French Jew who narrowly avoided the death camps. In his seventies, he wrote his memoirs with the help of Stéphanie Krug. "Vent printanier" was published by L'Harmattan, and was subsequently renamed "L'orphelin du Vel' D'Hiv" for its second edition. In it he recounts the details of his life, including his work on this film.


The film premiered in France on September 25, 1962, followed by the United States on October 4 and 23 for the United Kingdom. Because Fox was suffering with the financial losses of Cleopatra, the studio intended that The Longest Day should have a wide release to reap quick profits. Zanuck forced them to do a proper Roadshow theatrical release, even threatening to sell distribution to Warner Bros. if Fox had refused to do so.[24] The Longest Day eventually became the box office hit Fox needed, with $30 million in worldwide rentals on a $7.5 million budget.[1]

There were special-release showings of the film in several United States cities. Participants in D-Day were invited to see the film with their fellow soldiers; in Cleveland, Ohio, as one example, this took place at the Hippodrome Theater.

Uniquely for British- and American-produced World War II films of the time, all French and German characters speak in their own languages, with subtitles running below in English. Another version, which was shot simultaneously, has all the actors speaking their lines in English (this version was used for the film's trailer, as the Germans deliver their lines in English). However, this version saw limited use during the film's initial release. It was used more extensively during the film's late 1960s re-release.

The film was re-released in 1969 and opened at number one at the US box office with a first week gross of $501,529.[25] In the first four days of its worldwide re-release in 544 theatres, it grossed $2,846,627.[26]

Home media

The Longest Day was released on LaserDisc in 1989, its first wide-screen and stereo surround home video presentation. It was subsequently released on DVD on November 6, 2001.[27]


The day after the film opened at the Warner Theatre in New York City, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times declared: "The total effect of the picture is that of a huge documentary report, adorned and colored by personal details that are thrilling, amusing, ironic, sad ... It is hard to think of a picture, aimed and constructed as this one was, doing any more or any better or leaving one feeling any more exposed to the horror of war as this one does".[28] Variety described it as "a solid and stunning war epic" that "emerges as a sort of grand scale semi-fictionalized documentary concerning the overall logistics needed for this incredible invasion".[29] Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post called it "a tingling, eye-gripping, fantastic picture" that "must rank as the screen's most massive battle epic". His only criticism was "the lack of perspective in depicting the German belief that the Normandy landings might not have succeeded had Hitler not taken a sleeping pill ... 'The Longest Day' should have taken infinitely more care to put this German belief, however strongly held, into proper proportion".[30] Brendan Gill of The New Yorker called the film "a tour de force of audio-visual verisimilitude," but confessed that "my emotions were hardly ever engaged, and I ended, rather to my embarrassment, by being bored". He went on, "Mr. Zanuck made it all the harder for me to take this mock-documentary seriously by stuffing it with innumerable celebrated actors, most of whom make such fugitive appearances that the audience finds itself engaged in a distracting game of instant identification".[31] The Monthly Film Bulletin stated, "The Longest Day is a monument split down the middle by compromise. At its best, what comes across very strongly is the feeling of immense and careful organisation that went into the whole D-Day operation, the sheer crippling weight of noise, the simple fact that a lot of people died, and the sense of personal confusion and dismay of soldiers wandering alone through the countryside ... But the film is, first and foremost, a spectacle, and therefore it has stars—a multitude of them, often with barely a line to speak, and usually with no real part to play".[32]

The film holds a rating score of 87% at the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews.[33]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
1962 Academy Award Best Art Direction Ted Haworth, Léon Barsacq, Vincent Korda and Gabriel Béchir Nominated [34]
Best Cinematography Jean Bourgoin and Walter Wottitz Won
Best Editing Samuel E. Beetley Nominated
Best Picture Darryl F. Zanuck Nominated
Best Special Effects Robert MacDonald and Jacques Maumont Won
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture – Drama Darryl F. Zanuck Nominated [35]
Best Cinematography - Black and White Henri Persin, Walter Wottitz and Jean Bourgoin Won
Eddie Awards1 Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic Samuel E. Beetley Won [36]
David di Donatello Best Foreign Production Darryl F. Zanuck Won [37]
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki Nominated [38]



  1. ^ The Eddie Awards are not archived. The website refers people to IMDb.


  1. Solomon, Aubrey (1989). Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
  2. "The Longest Day – Box Office Data". The Numbers. 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  3. Ryan, Cornelius (1959). The Longest Day (1st ed.). New York City: Simon & Schuster. ASIN B002YJG2WU.
  4. "Operation Overblown". TIME. October 19, 1962. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  5. Colonel Thompson of the 6th Engineer Special Brigade is listed in Longest Day [p.308]; however unlike the movie he survived the battle. In the film, a line from Thompson about getting the troops off the beaches is actually a quote that was spoken by Norman Cota.
  6. BBC June 2019
  7. In the Movie Cota is credited with the remark the only types of persons remaining on the beach are the dead and those going to die; in fact this was made by Colonel George A. Taylorof the US 16th Infantry Regiment.
  8. [No RAF Officer by the name of Campbell is in Ryan's book; however the story of a wounded men leg being treated with safety pins is true [Longest Day .p.202]; likewise the report of a German putting his boots on backwards is true -although he was not shot and killed [Longest Day .p.108]; lastly Pvt Schultz did not meet with any RAF officer while being lost see BBC June 8, 2019
  9. Only One Flanagan is listed in Ryans book..a US Soldier [Longest Day .p.289]
  10. Not listed in Ryans book
  11. Not listed in Ryans book
  12. An Actual person; while she did help in the escape of two RAF Officers on D Day [Longest Day .p.252] the scene of her being involved in a gunfight with two German soldiers and a wrecked train is fictional
  13. Rubin 1981, p. 91.
  14. Williams 2006, p. 138-40.
  15. Lev 2013, p. 234.
  16. Rubin 1981, p. 93.
  17. Gussow 1971, p. 198-9.
  18. "Notre jour le plus long" [Our longest day]. La Presse de la Manche. Cherbourg, France. 2012.
  19. "The Longest Day". American Film Institute. 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  20. Wills, Garry (1997). John Wayne's America: The Politics of Celebrity. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-80823-9.
  21. Vagg, Stephen (August 26, 2019). "The Cinema of Fabian". Diabolique.
  22. "Piper Bill Millin". The Pegasus Archive. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  23. "D-Day Piper – Bill Millin". The Miniatures Page. August 3, 2006. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  24. Gussow, Mel (February 1, 1971). "The Last Movie Tycoon". New York. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  25. "50 Top-Grossing Films". Variety. June 18, 1969. p. 11.
  26. "The Longest Day advertisement". Variety. June 11, 1969. p. 29.
  27. The Longest Day (DVD). Century City, Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. November 6, 2001. ASIN B00005PJ8S. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  28. Crowther, Bosley (October 5, 1962). "Screen: Premiere of 'The Longest Day'". The New York Times. 28.
  29. "Film Reviews: The Longest Day". Variety. October 3, 1962. 6.
  30. Coe, Richard L. (October 12, 1962). "'Longest Day' Is Battle Epic". The Washington Post. B12.
  31. Gill, Brendan (October 14, 1962). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. 188.
  32. "The Longest Day". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 29 (346): 149. November 1962.
  33. "The Longest Day". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  34. "The Longest Day (1962) Awards". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  35. "Winners & Nominees 1963". Golden Globe Award. United States: Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  36. "American Cinema Editors, USA – 1963 Awards". IMDb. United States: Amazon. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  37. "David di Donatello Awards 1963". FilmAffinity (in Spanish). Madrid: Movie Soulmates. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  38. "DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA 1963". MUBI. United States: MUBI, Inc. Retrieved January 19, 2018.


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