Today marks the solemn 76th anniversary of D-Day, the June 6, 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy by sea and air. Coded named Operation Overlord, the landings at Utah, Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold beaches with support from the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne cost 4,414 Allied lives.
D-Day began the liberation of Nazi-occupied France and laid the groundwork for victory over the Germans on the Western Front.
But this year, for only the second time in post-WWII history (the first was in 2001 after 9/11), France has made the decision to cancel its public D-Day tributes, this time due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Celebrating D-Day History Virtually
Which got me to thinking … there are so many inspiring movies about D-Day, why not commemorate the Normandy Invasion virtually right here on The War Movie Correspondent?
To that end, I have curated five different takes on the drama of D-Day, from the classic to the romantic to the Nazis as mutant Zombies. Whether you watch just one or all five, may you honor those who paid the ultimate price for your freedom to choose.
Visceral Realism and Uplifting Patriotism: Saving Private Ryan (1998)
This Spielberg masterpiece is my favorite of all time. It doesn’t get more real than the opening sequence and it doesn’t get more heartwarming than the final scene.
The Historical Documentary: Operation Overlord and Neptune (2013)
Hear the unfiltered recollections of those who landed at Normandy that fateful day.
The Oldie-But-Goodie: The Longest Day (1962)
With an all-star cast ranging from John Wayne to Richard Burton to Sean Connery, The Longest Day is pure theater, but very effective theater.
The War-Time Romance: D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
War buffs need not apply, but Mom will love this one. Don’t hold your breath waiting for scenes of Omaha Beach.
The Nightmare Zombie Conspiracy Theory: Overlord (2018)
Zombie Nazis as only J.J. Abrams can conjure them. Surprisingly satisfying.