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First film documentary of the events of D-day

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.1098 | Film ID: 2997

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    First film documentary of the events of D-day


    A compilation of the first four days of the D-Day assault prepared by SHAEF [Supreme Headquarter Allied Expeditionary Forces] Public Relations Division for the civilian and military leadership. This film report was compiled within days of the invasion on June 11, 1944. Both John Ford's Field Photographic Branch (OSS) and George Steven's Special Coverage Unit were assigned to filming this combat camera footage of the invasion.
    Film Title
    D-Day D plus 3
    Event:  June 6-9, 1944
    Normandy, France
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
    Producer: Office of Strategic Services, Field Photographic Branch
    Producer: Supreme Headquarter Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF)
    Collector: George C. Stevens
    Executive Producer: John Ford
    Producer: Frederick A. Spencer Jr.
    George Stevens (December 18, 1904 – March 8, 1975) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer. During World War II, Stevens joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and headed a film unit from 1943 to 1946 under General Eisenhower. His unit shot footage documenting D-Day — including the only Allied European Front color film of the war — the liberation of Paris and the meeting of American and Soviet forces at the Elbe River, as well as horrific scenes from the Duben labor camp and the Dachau concentration camp. Stevens also helped prepare the Duben and Dachau footage and other material for presentation during the Nuremberg Trials. In 2008, his footage was entered into the U.S. National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress as an "essential visual record" of World War II.
    John Ford was an iconic American film director, best known for his westerns. Because of their popularity and the skill he brought to their creation, Ford's films had a powerful influence on Americans’ conception of their own history and values. During World War II, Ford served as head of the photographic unit for the Office of Strategic Services and made documentaries for the Navy Department. He was commissioned as a commander in the United States Navy Reserve. He won two Academy Awards during this time, one for the semi-documentary "The Battle of Midway" (1942), and one for the propaganda film "December 7th: The Movie" (1943). Ford filmed the Japanese attack on Midway from the power plant of Sand Island and was wounded in the arm. Ford was also present on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He crossed the English Channel on the USS Plunkett (DD-431), which anchored off Omaha Beach at 0600. He observed the first wave land on the beach from the ship, landing on the beach himself later with a team of Coast Guard cameramen who filmed the battle from behind the beach obstacles, with Ford directing operations.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:01:19 to 00:31:52
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2997 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - HD
      Master 2997 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - HD
      Master 2997 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - HD
      Master 2997 Digital: ProRes HD HQ 422 - HD

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Public Domain
    Conditions on Use
    To the best of the Museum's knowledge, this material is in the public domain. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this material.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased these film segments as HD digital video files from the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress in February 2013 in order to replace the videotape elements we purchased in February 1992.
    For more information about this film, consult the National Archives blog post, "The First D-Day Documentary" by Steve Greene posted on September 9, 2014 According to the blog, this film was "assembled under [John Ford's] directions, and an overall D-Day report, complete with sound, was competed on D plus 5, and was shown to Mr. Winston Churchill. Copies were also flown to President Roosevelt and Mr. Stalin.”
    Copied From
    transfer from b/w HDCam master
    Film Source
    Library of Congress - Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS)
    File Number
    Source Archive Number: 50912-2-5
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:51:43
    This page:

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