56 Movie Mistakes: The Longest Day

Jack Knight

The Longest Day, which was made in black and white, features a large ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More,Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Bourvil, Curt Jürgens, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka and Arletty.

Many of these actors played roles that were virtually cameo appearances and several cast members such as Fonda, Genn, More, Steiger and Todd saw action as servicemen during the war, with Todd being among the first British officers to land in Normandy in Operation Overlord and participated in the assault on Pegasus Bridge. So just for some fun here are some of the movie mistakes – we expect you spotted most of them anyway 🙂

When the ships are about to begin bombarding the beaches you see a group of planes fly by the camera these are Douglas Sky Raiders which did not see service until the late 1940s.

The currency notes in Schultz’s winnings are of a later issue than was in circulation in 1944.

Features LCM-8s, which weren’t built until 1954.

German General Max Pemsel says: “Wir haben starke RADAR-störungen” (We have strong radar interference). The word “radar” was not used, perhaps even not known in Germany in 1944. They used a somewhat similar system, but called it “Funkmeßgeräte” (radio measuring equipment).


General Gavin is wearing a Senior Parachutist badge in 1944.The Parachutist Badge was formally approved on 10 March 1941. The senior and master parachutists badges were authorized by Headquarters, Department of the Army in 1949 and were announced by Change 4, Army Regulation 600-70, dated 24 January 1950.

During the go/no go sequence, a jet can be heard flying overhead as the naval representative is speaking.

During a very early scene in France, the back end of a Citroen 2CV can be seen parked at the side of the street as the German soldiers march down it.

When FO David Campbell is sitting, drinking a beer, we see someone standing and playing the piano in the background. The music heard is a slow rendition of the main theme of the movie, but the player is playing several notes with his right hand at the time only one note is heard in the soundtrack.


When Lovat’s commandos land, the piper is playing “Black Bear,” however, when we see the piper he is still trying to inflate the bagpipe using one hand.

During the British glider assault on the bridge, the same glider lands three times.

When the coded radio messages are read out in French, the awaited second line of the poem by Verlaine, “Blesse mon coeur d’une langueur monotone” (“Wounds my heart with a monotonous languor”) sets the French resistance group in motion. They leave the hiding Allied pilots and take up rifles. The next line heard on the radio before it is shut off is “J’aime les chats siamois” (“I like Siamese cats”) But when the Germans hear and are recording the identical broadcast and hear the line of poetry, the coded message after that is a message heard before the French resistance fighters heard the poetry line: “Daphné à Monique: Il y a le feu à l’agence de voyage. Inutile de s’y rendre.” (“Daphne to Monique: There is a fire at the travel agency. It is no use to get there”).


In the scene where Brig. Gen. Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. (Henry Fonda) lands at Utah Beach he can be clearly seen completely falling in the water as he steps of the landing craft (look for Fonda holding the walking stick), and with clothes completely soaked running up the beach. As the scene continues, he crouches behind a beach obstacle with other officers. As the scene cuts to a closeup, his clothing is suddenly dry.

Early on, three German officers are talking with the coastline as a backdrop. One of the officers moves from right to left on the screen and when he is half way across he disappears (though he is still talking and can be heard). The ocean in the background repeats itself in the first second.

When Sal Mineo is shot dead, we hear two shots, but we only hear the bolt action rifle cycled once.

At the beginning of the movie when the German sergeant is taking coffee to the beach gunners we see his horse walking on the supposedly muddy ground, yet the shoes of the horses are not muddy and remain shiny throughout the length of the shot.


When the French first attack the casino, there is barbed wire, but when they run from the hotel to the casino there is none.

When General Cota meets up with General Thompson on the beach, he holds his cigar in his hand. After Cota says, “Think?” there is a quick cut to another angle, and the cigar is back in his mouth. Also, during this cut he uses both hands to take off his helmet, so where did the cigar go during this process?


When the French Commando Commanding Officer, Keiffer goes to get a tank he jumps out a window and is followed by another commando. This man is armed with a STEN Mk V (version with a wooden butt-stock and grips) when he jumps out the window, but when he runs across the street and takes cover with Keiffer before going to the bridge, he is armed with a STEN Mk II (version with steel skeleton butt-stock).

During the shelling at the beginning of the invasion the French farmers mirror breaks and its position shifts. In doing so a stage light is clearly seen.

After General Cota (Robert Mitchum) yells “Get off the beach! Let’s go!” and leads the soldiers up Omaha Beach, the shadow of the camera can be seen in the foreground.

During the final scenes of the movie, when an American general is taken up “Omaha” beach, it’s actually Juno Beach, where the Canadians landed.