In 2024, Normandy will commemorate and celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Normandy Landings and Battle.

As part of the celebrations, we will propose 10 cult films about the Second World War.

War films, history films, but also comedies or even cartoons, the Second World War, and particularly the D-Day landings, have inspired cinema. Here are ten cult films and series about D-Day to watch or review and learn more about World War II and June 6, 1944.

“The Longest Day” – director: Darryl Zanuck – 1962

The Longest Day traces the chronological progress of the Normandy landings. The year is 1944. The Allies are preparing for the major offensive planned in Normandy, which should rid Europe of Nazism. Every staff is in crisis, but General Eisenhower hesitates about the appointed date, June 6, due to bad weather.

Landing airborne troops and landing on beaches promises to be difficult. Diversions must be created to sow confusion among the enemy. Tranquillity reigns in the German camp.

And suddenly, the radio plays the second part of Verlaine’s verse that announces the start of the operation.

Note: The encrypted message of a poem by Verlaine would be the code to start the invasion.

“Saving Private Ryan” – director: Steven Spielberg – 1998

In June 1944, American forces set out, with heavy losses, to liberate French soil.

Survivor of the Normandy landings, Captain Miller receives a very special mission: a soldier named James Ryan lost his three brothers in combat and the American General Staff wants him safely repatriated to his family. But no one knows where to find him, not even if he’s still alive.

With his seven men, Miller sets out in search of Private Ryan, through fighting and rubble. Haunted by doubt and fear, everyone wonders if they should risk their lives for the benefit of just one…

“Band of Brothers” – 10-episode series directed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg – 2001

Television series that portrays the story of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army, during World War II.

It tells the story of an elite unit of American fighters in ten episodes. We follow these men from their training in Georgia, in the United States, until their arrival in Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, passing through England and the landings in Normandy.

Agony and Glory – The Big Red One director: Samuel Fuller – 1980

This film tells the odyssey of Zab, Vinci, Johnson and Griff, four young soldiers, members of the First American Infantry Division of the American army (The Bid Red One). Their sergeant, Possum, is haunted by the memory of the First World War.

Together, they landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Director Samuel Fuller himself was on Omaha Beach, with the first wave, on June 6, 1944, at 6:30 am, where he discovered and liberated the Falkenau concentration camp.

The film shows the violence of war and its victims.

“My Way” – director: Kang Je-kyu – 2011

MY Way is the story of two young Koreans. One was enlisted by the Japanese in 1938, the other, conversely, was a fierce Japanese nationalist. Enemy brothers, their destinies are, however, closely linked.

The two heroes of the film will cross more than 12,000 km together, to meet, on June 6, 1944, in Utah Beach, fighting alongside the Germans.

This film is inspired by a true story: that of an 18-year-old Korean, enlisted by the Japanese in 1938, then by the Soviets who captured him in 1939, and finally by the Germans in 1943. June 6, 1944, in Normandy, soldiers Americans discovered it among German prisoners. His story was discovered thanks to a photo.

“Patton” – director: Franklin J. Schaffner – 1970

This film portrays General Patton’s last years, since taking command in Tunisia in 1943. For almost three hours, the film focuses on the American general’s very particular personality: between heroic acts and missteps.

The film won seven Oscars in 1971, including Best Screenplay; a script co-written by the young Francis Ford Coppola.

Les Femmes de l’ombre – directed by: Jean-Paul Salomé – 2008

This film pays tribute to the remarkable role women played in the Resistance.

With, in the role of the women in question: Sophie Marceau, Julie Depardieu, Marie Gillain and Déborah François.

Their objective: to free a British man, a prisoner of the Germans, before he dies. ale about the Normandy Landing project.

“Un Singe En Hiver” – director: Henri Verneuil – 1962

The film, adapted from the novel of the same name, begins under the bombings of 1944 in a small Normandy village: Tigreville. Albert Quentin (portrayed by Jean Gabin) is a former marine from China. With his wife Suzanne (played by Suzanne Flon), they run the Stella hotel.

That night, he promises his partner that he would not drink again if he came out of these attacks alive. A promise fulfilled fifteen years later, young Gabriel Fouquet (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) leans against the counter of the Stella hotel to drink, forget and dream. The two men set off for two days of travel and adventure, without ever leaving Normandy.

This now cult film is celebrated every year in Villerville, a small village in Calvados, where it was filmed.

“The Atlantic Wall – Le mur de l’Atlantique” – directed by: Marcel Camus – 1970

Here’s a comedy, inspired by a true story. That of a Norman restorer, who we consider a painter of buildings.

In 1944, in Normandy, Léon Duchemin (played by Bourvil), must restore the table of a German commander. But he mistakenly takes the maps of the Atlantic Wall. He will, despite everything, become a hero of the Resistance.

“Valiant” – animated film directed by Gary Chapman – 2005

Children are also entitled to a film about the disembarkation. And for this we can count on the Vaillant fighting pigeon. In 1944, the Allies needed all available forces to defeat the Germans. Therefore, they also use fighting pigeons to transport messages of the greatest importance across the English Channel.

In England, the elite group is the Secret Pigeon Regiment of Honor, whose hero is James Courage. Vaillant, a very young and very fragile pigeon, dreams of being part of this company. His wish comes true, by chance, and he parachutes into Normandy.
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