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D Day - Down to Earth - Return of the 507

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

As the population of World War II veterans continues to dwindle, D-Day: Down to Earth pays overdue tribute to some of the war's greatest unsung heroes. While Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers powerfully dramatized the events surrounding D-Day in a broader context, this moving one-hour documentary focuses specifically on the historic bravery of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which dropped into Normandy in June of 1944 and triumphed through some of the bloodiest small-unit battles in the history of American military combat. The worst of these was the battle of La Fiere in France, where the defense of a crucial bridge resulted in corpses piled so thick that soldiers could walk over them without touching the ground. Equally impressive--especially when you consider that these widely scattered soldiers landed as far as 20 miles from their intended drop zone--is the battle of Graignes, where French villagers valiantly supported the 507th liberators, only to be tragically executed by invading Nazis. Along with historical consultant Martin K.A. Morgan (who chronicled the 507th in his acclaimed book Down to Earth), several 507th survivors recall their dramatic missions, and the film culminates with their return to Normandy in 2002, for the richly satisfying, deeply emotional unveiling of a memorial to their fallen comrades. Given the fact that some of the most prominent 507th veterans died shortly after this film was completed, D-Day: Down to Earth is a well-timed tribute, honoring men who faced seemingly insurmountable odds and lived to tell the tale. --Jeff Shannon

From the Back Cover

"D Day: Down to Earth - Return of the 507" recounts the history of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment through the remarkable battles in World War II, long years of historical obscurity and the inspiring culmination of its story 60 years later. In the summer of 2002--60 years after its inception--surviving members of the 507th returned to Normandy in take part in a moving series of events that gave completion to their story.


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wilbur Fitzgerald
  • Directors: David Druckenmiller, Phil Walker
  • Producers: David Druckenmiller, Phil Walker
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: May 11, 2004
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001L3MIK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "D Day - Down to Earth - Return of the 507" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robert Parker on May 9, 2004
Format: DVD
Moving account of one of the most important parachute infantry regiments, the 507th- whose fanfare has had to wait 60 years to arrive with the degree of respect and notoriety that it deserves. I have watched this film more than a few times and still cannot get through it without shedding a tear.
The real life band of brothers telling their stories in their own words when brought together for the first time in 60 years to the small town in the South of France into which they all jumped out of perfectly good aircrafts to liberate. WHEW!
I'm 28 and loved this documentary. It is especially important and relevent for people of my generation to look back on the history, which the men in this film helped to create, in order to gather perspective on the current liberation going on in Iraq.
A wise man once told me it is very easy to sit in the back of a coffee shop and preach "war is not the answer"- but when the question centers around a Hilter storming in, hell bent on genocide- how else will he be stopped? With a Mochachino Latte.
This film captures in a vivid, beautiful way the determination, courage and deep belief in freedom and liberty that each of these soldiers carried with them into battle- and for many it was this strong belief which got them through the hardest times and delivered them back home to a grateful nation.
I am proud to say my Grandfather whose name I was given shared those common beliefs with the men in this film- and as a result was alive years later to try and share them with me. For this I am forever blessed.
Wonderfully entertaining, this film is truly a historical treasure. Check it out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christian McCall on August 26, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD provides plenty of relevant footage of the combat areas the documentary focuses on. Unlike some WWII DVD's where the viewer is shown footage of scenes in no way related to the subject at hand, this documentary offers some nice shots of the actual areas of interest. The updated footage taken in the late 1990's of the La Fiere area and the rebuilt Cauquiny church were especially of interest to me. The maps used throughout are helpful in understanding the placement of the actual battles. Also of interest were the before and after shots of the flooded Normandy landscape - it definitely helped to visualize the difficulties the paratroopers faced as a result of the flooding.

This documentary not only does a great job in bringing some much needed attention to the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and it's accomplishments during WWII, it also makes an excellent companion to the book No Better Place To Die by Robert M. Murphy. If you want to understand the battle for the La Fiere bridge and causeway, these two resources are an excellent place to start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Thomas Stovall on September 6, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been very interested in the events that lead up to WWII, and the history of the battles fought. This video was one that I did not know about, but one which should be a part of anyone's WWII library. The individual stories and revisiting the sites of some of these battles put a human spin on the tragedy of war from the view of the soldiers and the townspeople who suffered through these battles. It's good to know that there remains an appreciation on the part of these French citizens for what the cost was in terms of human sacrifice. The personal stories and memories captured in this video are priceless!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie G. on August 31, 2004
Format: DVD
This is an excellent documentary of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment's experiences on and around D-Day. The film contains moving interviews with veterans, whose stories are laced together and elaborated on by historian Martin K.A. Morgan (who also wrote a book on the subject). The documentary deals specifically with the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, but speaks to a much larger audience. I recommend it to anyone with a general interest in World War II and D-Day, as well those who desire a better understanding of the experiences of veterans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Myrna Minkoff on June 5, 2009
Format: DVD
This is an excellent DVD, which is very informative about the fierce combat engaged in by the 507th PIR on D-Day and in the days following. A bit more than half is in a standard documentary format while the remainder focuses on the veterans of the unit during a return to Normandy for a commemoration of those events. These men fought with tremendous courage and suffered terrible casualties. We are fortunate to have this DVD to help us to remember.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brad Byers on June 6, 2010
Format: DVD
This is really the only WWII documentary that reminds you what these men did for us. Instead of old b/w footage of some soldiers you can't relate to, some of these men are still living, breathing, human beings. It's a touching story of the miraculous things they accomplished on D-Day and during the Battle of the Bulge without receiving any recognition - until a memorial was sculpted in their honor 58 years later. The French who died at the hands of the Germans helping these men is also very emotional. I loved this documentary, and will honor these men forever.
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