TORONTO — June 6, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the landings of Allied forces on Normandy, France during World War II. Of the 150,000 troops who invaded, 14,000 were Canadians — of which 1,074 suffered casualties, including 359 who were killed.
Here are six films set on or around the historic date:
The Longest Day (1962)
This epic war movie has five directors and stars Canada’s Paul Anka as well as actors like Sean Connery, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowall and John Wayne. The story of the events of D-Day, told from both the Allied and German points of view, won Oscars for cinematography and special effects (and was nominated for Best Picture). The movie glosses over the Canadian army’s landing on Juno Beach — it’s mentioned but not depicted.
Red Ball Express (1952)
This movie tells the story of the real Red Ball Express convoys that supplied the allied forces after the landings on D-Day. The convoy faces German resistance, minefields and more obstacles as it delivered essentials to the army that was moving deeper into France. It stars Jeff Chandler and Alex Nicol — and features a young Sidney Poitier.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this story about the search for a paratrooper (Matt Damon) is set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. Nominated for Best Picture, it won five other Oscars — and remains notable for its graphic 27-minute opening sequence. Watch for Canadian actors Barry Pepper and Nathan Fillion.
Where Eagles Dare (1969)
This 1969 film starring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton offers a unique look at D-Day. It focuses on a raid by Allied agents on a castle where an American general is being held captive by the Nazis in hopes he won’t be forced to reveal plans for the Normandy invasion.
Band of Brothers (2001)
This acclaimed TV mini-series, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, follows “Easy Company” of the U.S. Army from jump training at home to the landings in Normandy and on to the war’s end.
D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
This romantic drama, set around the time of D-Day stars Robert Taylor as a American paratrooper who falls for a British woman (Dana Wynter). It is based on the novel The Sixth of June by Canadian Lionel Shapiro, a war correspondent for the Montreal Gazette.
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