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Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004)

PG | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 31 May 2004
A dramatization of the 90 days leading up to Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, and how General Dwight Eisenhower, against all odds, brilliantly orchestrated the most important military maneuver in modern history.

Director:

Robert Harmon

Writer:

Lionel Chetwynd
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Nominated for 6 Primetime Emmys. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Selleck ... Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
James Remar ... Gen. Omar Bradley
Timothy Bottoms ... Walter Bedell "Beetle" Smith
Ian Mune ... Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Bruce Phillips ... Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery
John Bach ... Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory
Nick Blake Nick Blake ... Air Marshal Arthur W. Tedder
Kevin J. Wilson ... RAdm. Bert Ramsay
Gerald McRaney ... Patton
Christopher James Baker ... Group Cpt. Major James Stagg (as Christopher Baker)
George Shevtsov George Shevtsov ... General Charles DeGaulle
Gregor McLennan Gregor McLennan ... Captain Chapman
Paul Gittins Paul Gittins ... Major General Henry Miller
Bruce Hopkins ... U.S. Colonel at Savoy
Catherine Boniface ... Woman at Savoy
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Storyline

This is the story of the senior-level preparations for the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 from the time of Dwight D. Eisenhower's appointment as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, to the establishment of the beachhead in Normandy. The film recounts many of the trials and tribulation Ike had to face, not the least of which were the many prima donnas surrounding him (Patton, Montgomery and especially de Gaulle) and the need for tact and diplomacy to bring all sides together for what would be the largest amphibious assault ever attempted. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 May 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ike: Thunder in June See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Selleck, a non-smoker, temporarily took up the habit to play Dwight Eisenhower, who was, according to Selleck in the DVD's bonus feature, a four-pack-a-day smoker at the time. In 1949, Eisenhower was advised by his doctor and friend, Howard Snyder, to cut down on the cigarettes to one pack per day. Eisenhower initially did so, but after a few days, he decided that counting cigarettes was worse than smoking and quit permanently in 1949. He never smoked again. See more »

Goofs

When De Gaulle arrives for the meeting with Eisenhower, the Free France flags on the cars wings are shown flying with the red on the pole side. French flags, including Free France's, are always flown with the blue on the pole side. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Dearest Mamie...
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: ...at last the days grow longer and we will soon be in it. I face that with neither dread nor joy. How I wish this cruel business of war could be completed quickly. It leaves me heartsick to think of sending so many young men against Hitler's Atlantic wall. I admit to having developed a veneer of callousness, but counting the human cost is a terribly sad business, and no veneer of callousness allows me to escape the truth that back home the news brings anguish and suffering. So...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Good Performance by Tom Selleck in a Tough Role
9 July 2004 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the perfect choice for Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces that stormed French beaches on the one D-Day that indelibly evokes 6 June 1944. Having successfully commanded the forces that invaded North Africa and subsequently Sicily, Eisenhower was the right man at the right time, the indispensable molder of a coalition with perhaps too many headstrong generals and admirals. All these senior officers had combat command experience-Eisenhower never left the United States during World War I. He was a remarkably competent staff officer whose abilities were noted by, probably, the shrewdest judge of Army men in America, George Marshall. And Marshall elevated his protege from lieutenant colonel to General of the Army in a very short period.

The problem with portraying Eisenhower in the tense and confusing period before the actual invasion is that never-ending talk, not action - briefings, meetings, staff reports - were the basis for the Supreme Commander's decision to launch the invasion or postpone it. Weather issues were critical but The Weather Channel has much more excitement every night than that found in the calm, Scottish-accented reports RAF Group Captain Stagg, Eisenhower's meteorologist, delivered several times a day.

"Ike: Countdown to D-Day" has no battle sequences nor does it explore the emotional territory of the fighting men who would begin what Eisenhower termed "The Great Crusade," the title of his postwar bestselling memoir.

Tom Selleck, in an outstanding performance, captures the nuances of a general with high ideals and a simple but consummate love of his country. British generals and some American ones, including Patton, decried Eisenhower's lack of battlefield command experience and even his ability to grasp complex tactical situations. They were, to a certain degree, correct but what they missed was that his job was not to micro-manage combat but to hold together men of extreme temperaments and often mutual dislikes against the forces that might pull them apart and damage the coalition effort.

Selleck's Eisenhower is quiet, thoughtful and fully engaged in being an ALLIED leader and his gifts in that capacity are well reflected by this actor. Yes, some incidents are perhaps subject to challenge by the historically knowledgeable (including me) but in the main this is as accurate a movie dramatization of D-Day planning and decision-making as we're likely to get.

While Eisenhower's driver and confidant, Kay Summersby, an attractive Englishwoman in uniform, is present kudos go to the writers and director for not hyping up the film with an unnecessary romantic digression into the general's alleged extramarital affair with the winsome chauffeur.

This film might bore some but it's a fairly good capture of the tensions and issues preceding the issuance of one of the most momentous orders in the history of warfare: "Let's go!," Eisenhower simple command that translated years of preparation into a massive assault that presaged the liberation of Europe.

9/10


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