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A selection of books, films about or referencing Juno Beach and D-Day invasion

In this undated file photo, provided by DreamWorks, American forces storm Omaha Beach during the World War II D-Day landing in France in a scene from the 1998 film "Saving Private Ryan." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/DreamWorks, David James, File
June 02, 2019 - 7:05 AM

OTTAWA - A selection of films and books about the Normandy invasion:

FILMS

Storming Juno (2010): Movies mentioning Canada's role in the D-Day landings are hard enough to come by, let alone one actually focused on Juno Beach. Storming Juno attempts the feat, focusing on a group of Canadian soldiers who land in Normandy. Described more docudrama than feature film, it includes re-enactments and interviews with some of those who were there when the landing craft ramps dropped.

D-Day: The Sixth of June (1956): The biggest invasion in history isn't plot enough for this film, which uses it as merely the backdrop for one of those three-way wartime romances. Robert Taylor is the Yank and Richard Todd the Brit who are both in love with plucky Red Cross worker Dana Wynter. Both men end up part of the same British-American-Canadian operation that goes ashore ahead of the invasion to take out a big German gun, and only one comes back alive.

The Longest Day (1962): Arguably the most comprehensive and authentic film about the Normandy invasion. Darryl F. Zanuck's three-hour-plus, star-studded epic shows events from the German and French perspectives, but it is largely an American story featuring the likes of John Wayne, Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum. There are two brief references to the Canadian involvement, and a brief scene showing a pair of Luftwaffe fighters strafing Juno and Sword beaches. Apart from that Canada is represented by Paul Anka, who wrote the theme song.

Up From the Beach (1965): A sequel to The Longest Day but rather nondescript. It features some of the same cast as the original, including Red Buttons, as it tells the story of American GIs working their way up to the Normandy villages.

A Foreign Field (1994): Leo McKern and Alec Guinness star in this little-known, highly emotional BBC-produced drama about British and American veterans gathering for the 50th anniversary commemoration of D-Day.

Saving Private Ryan (1998): Steven Spielberg's seminal war epic hailed as opening with the most realistically brutal filmed depiction of the Normandy landing ever. But it's American all the way in its story of a squad of GIs assigned to find a private somewhere amid the chaos of the invasion and return him to America.

Band of Brothers (2001): This epic HBO miniseries is a sort of followup to Saving Private Ryan, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, with the same eye for bloody combat detail. The second chapter, entitled Day of Days, is quite visceral as members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne parachute into France on the eve of the invasion to take out some German shore guns.

Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004): A bald Tom Selleck stars as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower overseeing the Normandy invasion plans. Several brief references to the Canadians are made but no actual battle scenes. Filmed in Australia by veteran writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, a McGill University graduate who was also part of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

BOOKS

The Juno Beach Trilogy. By Mark Zuehlke. Douglas and McIntyre.

D-Day: Juno Beach, Canada’s 24 Hours of Destiny. By Lance Goddard. Dundurn.

Lena's Story: The D-Day Landings. By Patricia Sinclair. Driverworks Inc.

Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy. By Terry Copp. University of Toronto Press.

On Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Heroes. By Hugh Brewster. Scholastic/Madison Press.

Guns of Normandy: A Soldier's Eye View, France 1944. George G. Blackburn. McClelland and Stewart.

D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II. By Stephen Ambrose. Touchstone.

The D-Day Landing Beaches: The Guide. By Georges Bernage. Heimdal.

D-Day 1944, Vol. 4: Gold & Juno Beaches. By Ken Ford Oxford. Osprey.

D-Day: The First 24 Hours. By Will Fowler. Lewis.

Bloody Victory: Canadians and the D-Day Campaign. By J.L. Granatstein and Desmond Morton. Lester Publishing.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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