6 Must-Watch D-Day Movies to Commemorate the Anniversary

Photograph: Time Out

As we approach the anniversary of the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy, it’s the perfect time to dive into some of the best D-Day movies that capture the epic scale, historical significance, and individual heroism of June 6, 1944. From heart-pounding action to reflective storytelling, these films offer a poignant glimpse into one of the most pivotal moments in history.

1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this iconic film revolutionized the war movie genre with its intense portrayal of the D-Day invasion. The opening 24-minute scene on Omaha Beach is a visceral experience that immerses viewers in the chaos and carnage of the battle. Tom Hanks leads a squad of US Rangers through the harrowing ordeal, showcasing the brutal reality of war.

Photograph: DreamWorks Pictures

2. Overlord (1975)
Stuart Cooper’s film takes a more personal approach to the D-Day story, following a young British Army conscript from training to the beaches of Normandy. The movie offers a raw and poignant look at the emotional journey of soldiers preparing to face the dangers of war, highlighting the human cost of conflict.

Photograph: 20th Century Studios

3. The Longest Day (1962)
This star-studded epic captures the massive scale of the D-Day landings with a cast of Hollywood legends, including John Wayne, Robert Ryan, and Henry Fonda. The black-and-white cinematography and grandiose score create a sweeping portrayal of the historic event, making it a classic choice for war movie enthusiasts.

Photograph: Allstar Picture Library / Alamy

4. D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
Richard Todd, a real-life D-Day veteran, stars in this action-packed film about a commando mission behind enemy lines. The movie blends romance and adventure as Todd’s character navigates the challenges of war while grappling with personal relationships amidst the chaos of battle.

Photograph: ROB YOUNGSON/Pathé

5. The Great Escaper (2023)
Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson shine in this poignant drama about a D-Day veteran’s journey back to Normandy for the anniversary celebrations. The film offers a unique perspective on the lasting impact of war on veterans and their loved ones, blending historical events with personal stories of resilience and courage.

Photograph: BFI

6. The Big Red One (1980)
Director Sam Fuller’s personal experiences as a soldier during WWII inform this gritty and realistic portrayal of combat on the frontlines. Lee Marvin leads a group of soldiers through the challenges of war, capturing the camaraderie and sacrifices made by the men of the US 1st Infantry Division.

As we honor the heroes of D-Day and commemorate their bravery, these films serve as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made on that fateful day. Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of war movies, these D-Day films offer a compelling and immersive experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll.