(Above source: Wikipedia)
This Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landing at Normandy, also known as Operation Overlord. The massive seaborne invasion marked the turning point of World War II and the beginning of the end for Hitler’s Third Reich.
Filmmakers have been challenged to convey the massive scope of that history-changing battle – and the personal sacrifice of the thousands of soldiers who charged onto Omaha Beach that day.
Below we identify three noteworthy entries – The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan, and Band of Brothers – and where you can stream them.
Based on Cornelius Ryan’s 1959 book, this epic, panoramic three-hour account offers perspectives of the Germans, Americans, British, Canadians, and Free French. Told in a black-and-white docudrama style, the film spans the days leading up to the invasion, including the planning and anticipation of such uncontrollable variables as the weather. Everyone from foot soldiers to such historic figures as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and General Dwight D. Eisenhower make appearances. The extensive cast includes John Wayne, Paul Anka, Red Buttons, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Rod Steiger and Robert Wagner.
Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece takes a different approach – opening with an incredibly graphic and harrowing depiction of the first wave of Allied troops wading on-shore against fierce German resistance, only to then focus on the story of the search for one man, Private Ryan (Matt Damon). A small core of troops, commanded by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks), are ordered to push inland, behind enemy lines, to retrieve that paratrooper, whose brothers have all been killed in action. The cast also includes Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, Ted Danson and Paul Giamatti.
The HBO series, which ran for one 10-episode season, is based on the interviews, journals and letters of survivors of the 101st Airborne Division’s Easy Company. It follows their extraordinary experiences from paratrooper training back home through D-Day to V-J Day. The show stars Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Michael Fassbender, Scott Grimes and Donnie Wahlberg. Based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers — executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks — won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for best miniseries.
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