Directed by Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, Gerd Oswald and Darryl F. Zanuck. Written by Cornelius Ryan, Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall and Jack Seddon. Based from a book by Cornelius Ryan.
This is the day that changed the world... When history held its breath.
NOTE: The German/French dialogue are translations of the spoken text
Lt-Col Benjamin Vandervoort: [addressing soldiers before embarkation] You can't give the enemy a break. Send him to hell.
Father Louis Rolland: [addressing congregation] In the heart of the darkness, in the deepest of the night, we must never lose hope. Let us keep our faith intact, steadfast! For each of us, deliverance is coming.
Gen. Günther Blumentritt: [to aide about a lack of response on the release of panzer reserves to counter the impending invasion] We are living an historical moment. We are going to lose the war because the glorious Fuhrer has taken a sleeping pill... [smirks and raises a finger]... and is not to be awakened. It's unbelievable. Think of it Kurt, don't ever forget it. We are witnessing something which historians will always say is completely improbable... and yet it is true. [fumes] The Fuhrer is not to be awakened!!! I sometimes wonder which side God is on.
Flight Officer David Campbell: He's dead. I'm crippled. You're lost. Suppose it's always like that? I mean war.
[Field Marshal Rommel addresses his commanding officers at the Atlantic Wall in Normandy]
Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel: We need mines and obstacles along the whole coast. On every beach, in every dune, on every cliff. How many have been installed so far? Adjutant Lang: Approximately four million, Herr Feldmarschall. Feldmarschall Rommel: Until May it must be six! Six million! Oberstleutnant Hans von Salmuth: Our men have been operating without a pause, Herr Feldmarschall. There can be no talk about sufficient rest. The troop is completely exhausted. Rommel: My dear Herr von Salmuth, what would your men rather like to be: exhausted or dead? [marches in front of the coastline] Just have a look at this, gentlemen ... how calm, how peaceful this is. A small strip of water between England and the continent, between the Allies and us. - But behind that peaceful horizon ... a monster! A solid mass of men, ships and planes which is lying in wait to be released upon us. But gentlemen, not one man of the Allies shall set foot upon the beach. Not one soldier of the Allies will ever reach the shore. This invasion, gentlemen, wherever and whenever it may come, there! - right at the water's edge - right there I will break it up! Believe me, gentlemen, the first twenty-four hours of the invasion will be decisive! For the Allies, but also for the Germans, it will be the longest day ... the longest day.
[General Erich Marcks, commander of the 84th Army Corps, prepares to leave for war games]
Adjutant: Have you finished the plan, Herr General?
Gen. Erich Marcks: Yes, quite. Quite finished. [puts compass on map] War games! Theoretical invasions! To go all the way to Rennes, just to push little flags around a table with other generals. The invasion in a sandbox!
Adjutant: Winning or losing, Herr General?
Marcks: Have I ever lost?
Adjutant: It's just that Herr General will be playing the role of Eisenhower this time.
Marcks: I will win because I go against the rules, Schiller! [shines light at map] We expect them to attack at Pas-de-Calais, at the narrowest point of the Channel, don't we! And in good weather, too! But that's too simple, my dear. It's far too obvious. I choose the farthest distance, and when the weather is at its worst! I'll attack here!... In Normandy. And in bad weather! Like now... In bad weather!
Adjutant: A brilliant plan, Herr General. Unorthodox, but brilliant.
Gen. Erich Marcks: Well, fortunately it's just a game. I don't think we need to worry too much. Eisenhower would never risk such a gambit. Never!
[Maj-Gen Raymond Barton, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, argues with assistant division chief Brig-Gen Theodore Roosevelt Jr. over the latter insisting on landing ashore with the division at Utah Beach]
MG Raymond Barton: You're putting me on the spot.
BG Teddy Roosevelt Jr: I didn't mean to, Tubby.
Barton: The hell you didn't. You put that request in writing, made it official. You're the assistant division commander.
Roosevelt: And that's why I'm supposed to go ashore in the first wave. That's where I'm supposed to be. You know that.
Barton: You're important to this operation. We can't have you knocked off on the first day.
Roosevelt: But that's not the real reason. Isn't it because my father was president of the United States?
Barton: And a great president. And a great soldier. He led the charge of the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill. So now you've got to be the first man ashore on Utah Beach.
Roosevelt: But that's where I'm supposed to be, Tubby. That's my job. Also, I've been there side by side with the men all through training. They're used to seeing where I belong. They have a right to expect me there. President's son or not. Is my request denied?
Barton: No, you know it's not. Request reluctantly approved.
Roosevelt: Thanks, Tubby. Thanks a lot.
Adjutant: [to the phone] Just a moment, Herr Oberst. [to his superior] I wonder why he hasn't been court-martialled yet. General Wolfgang Häger: First of all, he has shot down 132 planes. [into the phone, jovially] Hello, Pips, my old boy! Oberst Josef Priller: [sarcastically, irritably] Now don't try to get me this way: "Pips, my old boy!" My dear Hart, you were an abysmal pilot when we were in Russia together. Now you're directing from a desk - BUT YOU'RE STILL AN ABYSMAL PILOT! Häger: [with strained amusement] Excuse me? What are you talking about? Priller: I'm just talking about me sitting on this empty, God-forsaken airfield near Lille, with only two planes left ... two pathetic bangers! - [takes a drink; sarcastically] Yes, yes - your orders were followed to the letter, that means that my three squadrons are flitting around God-knows-where! Ground crews, supplies, everything is ferried around by truck. So can you tell me what I'm still supposed to do here?! Häger: [irritably] Now listen up, Pips! We had to spread out our combat squadrons - we had to! Just look at what's been happening at the airfields near Pas-de-Calais for the past two nights now! Priller: But this whole idea is pure madness! Madness, I'm telling you!! You're placing all the detachments to the rear instead of the front! - Yeah, yeah, I know myself that the weather is dreadful and that they will hardly come over here with their invasion in all this muck ... but what happens if they do? Will we relocate then, eh? - You know damn well that I can't contact my supply units within the space of tomorrow or the day after! Oh man, you're all just crazy. YOU'RE TOTALLY NUTS, MAN!! [slams down the receiver]
[Taking one last look at the horizon before going for breakfast, Major Werner Pluskat is stunned to see the Allied invasion fleet appearing]
Major Pluskat: My God! [focuses binoculars and looks back at his men] The invasion! They're coming!
Wehrmacht Officer: [to soldiers] Alarm!!!
Pluskat: [calls higher command in a panic] Herr Oberstleutnant! The invasion has come! Five thousand ships, there - there must be over five thousand ships out there!! Oberstleutnant Ocker: [ignorantly confident] Now get a hold of yourself, Pluskat. [sips coffee] The Americans and the British don't have half as that many ships all together. Pluskat: DAMMIT, IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME, COME UP HERE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!! - That's fantastic! That's unbelievable! I-I just can't believe it! Ocker: [chuckles] My dear Pluskat, what course are these ships heading for? Pluskat: STRAIGHT FOR ME!!!
[Aboard the Free French Navy battleship Richelieu]
RADM Robert Jaujard: [addressing Free French forces] Soon we shall engage in combat. In order to defeat the enemy, we must fire on our homeland. This is the price of liberty. Vive le France!
[the Overlord invasion forces begin a heavy bombardment]
Oberstleutnant Ocker: Pluskat? Pluskat, can you hear me?! What's the matter with you?? Pluskat, what's going on there?? Major Pluskat: Are you deaf?! Can't you - [a blast holes the bunker roof] - Dammit, can't you hear for yourself?!? Yes! We're under fire! Yeah - under fire!! Those five thousand ships the Allies couldn't possibly have, as you say - they've got 'em! Yeah, they've got 'em!!
[the 29th Infantry Division is trapped at Omaha Beach and Brig-Gen. Norm Cota has briefed his deputy about marshalling engineers to blast a certain section of the wall]
BG Norm Cota: [walks alongside troopers] Now listen to me, all of you. You guys got to snap out of it. We're getting off of here, and we're going inland.
Soldier: What about weapons, General? My men lost everything. They're not afraid to fight, but they gotta have something to fight with!
Cota: Strip the dead and the wounded. Pick up anything that'll shoot. I don't have to tell you the score, you all know it. Only two kinds of people are gonna stay on this beach: Those that are already dead and those that are gonna die. Get off your butts! You guys are the Fighting 29th!