If war movies were filled with nothing but existential show staring that Dostoyevsky would have been proud of, or rather indifferent, the genre would’ve died out in a year. Keep your attention span happy as you bathe in manly men and womanly women doing battle in these five D-Day movies every action fan will love.
“Saving Private Ryan”
The line between overindulging in action and maintaining the historical significance and importance is often not just blurred in D-Day films, but shamefully dry-humped out of existence like a dog left alone with that giant teddy bear your Nana gave you when you started using the potty like a big girl. “Saving Private Ryan” manages to tell an intimate story with dignity while allowing the action to speak for itself without any obligatory glorification of the violence. Let Captain Miller’s revelation of his mysterious background sink in in a brilliant scene that adds humanity to the violence.
“The Longest Day”
Grabbing from all perspectives involved during the invasion, “The Longest Day” makes D-Day just as chaotic, heroic, frightening, and involving as you could imagine it was. The flick has action from the soldiers, the saboteurs, and the every day people leaving you completely satiated both with the visuals and the intertwined stories. As the French Resistance secures the American paratroopers, the train tracks become stage for a tense bit of great drama.
“D-Day the Sixth of June”
Seemingly capturing both the vitality of the men within the war as well as the dread and death that haunted them, “D-Day the Sixth of June” stands tall among action fans. Crafted in 1956 this film gives a closer perspective to World War II, which as romantic as some of the scenes might seem, is just as important as any other generation’s examination of this time. You can smell the gun smoke during the boot camp drill scene where it actively brings you into the action without you realizing how quickly you sunk into the story.
“Code Name: Emerald”
The 80's loved their spies and double agents and “Code Name: Emerald” has both in spades. Agent Lang is called upon to get a prisoner of the Nazis out, one with the knowledge to destroy the D-Day invasion, and he goes about it with a determination and a cool that makes James Bond look like he should be sitting at the kids’ table next Christmas. A few plot holes here and there but what good-guys-against-Nazis films don’t have a few of those? As Eric Stoltz returns to the cell he shares with Ed Harris, one of those intimate scenes unfolds that you tend to see only in manly action movies, making it okay for all you tough guys to snuggle up with your binky while watching this scene.
“The Big Red One”
Entering at the end of World War I and progressing though the Normandy invasion, “The Big Red One” provides enough D-Day action to satisfy any action fan. The characters wind up in a cycle of violence that the introduction observes as being cyclical but with a last-minute ending that attempts to break free of the past and forge something new from the bloodshed. The sniper attack from the ruins during the water crossing is all action and zero talking, making for a great scene.