- An overweight Wehrmacht sergeant (Gert Fröbe) is minding his own business delivering coffee to the bunkers, he then sees the huge allied invasion fleet steaming off the coast of Normandy just before the bombardment opens up. His reaction is understandable.
- Twinned with the Frenchman who watches Fröbe deliver the coffee every morning. He's ecstatically waving his tricolore flag from his window even as the naval bombardment is tearing his house down.
- Capt. Colin Maud (played by Kenneth More):
"Now move along! The sooner you get off this beach, the sooner the Germans will stop this blasted shelling! It's very bad for the dog!"
- A subtle one with Maud: his dog's name is Winston.
- Another Maud one - a shell hits near him causing everyone else to hit the deck, Maud just stands there with a look of mild irritation.
- A Bren-Carrier is having engine trouble.
"My old grandmother used to say, 'Anything mechanical, give it a good bash'." (whacks vehicle with shillelagh - engine starts, much to everyone's surprise)
- The Mayor of Colleville (Bourvil) welcomes the British soldiers at Sword Beach with a bottle of Champagne, wearing a fireman helmet on his head and speaking English with a thick French accent.
- A group of lost paratroopers and a German patrol run into each other in the dark and neither realizes they've met the enemy. Both groups walk past each other without concern except for the paratrooper at the end of the column who goes "Wait a second..."
- Actually, these two groups knew too well their respective counterparts were enemies. But they noticed too late, literally when they were beside each other. So they do the wisest thing anybody can do in this situation: to walk on and pretend nothing happened.
- "Those 5000 ships you say the Allies haven't got? WELL THEY'VE GOT THEM!"
- And a little before that: "Pluskat, where are those ships heading?" "STRAIGHT FOR ME!"
- Col. Josef 'Pips' Priller (to his commanding officer): "You were a lousy pilot when we flew into Russia. Now you're flying a desk and you're still a lousy pilot!"
- Later when ordered to attack the invasion force, he actually laughs at his commander, demanding "What the hell can I do with two planes?!"
- Everything out of Sean Connery's mouth. "The evil of it all, trying to drown a man before he's had a chance to fight! Ah, come on!"
- Adolf Hitler and his top brass carry the Idiot Ball.
- In the early scenes, one man discusses his wife's pregnancy with another: "... Oh, it's not mine."
- In the course of the widely scattered airborne drops, a number of paratroopers find themselves landing under rather embarrassing circumstances. Special mention goes to two British paras who landed in the courtyard of a German general's headquarters.
"Terribly sorry, old man. We simply landed here by accident."
- Earlier, Col. Vandervoort tells General Gavin about a similarly scattered practice drop. Where did the colonel end up? "In the courtyard of a convent!"
- In a footnote in the book, there is a story about the press landing on the beach and not being able to use the radio to send their stories in (apparently the person in charge of the cleared beach had not been told that this was acceptable) and were forced to use carrier pigeons. The pigeons, so overloaded with short news stories, had a difficult time getting off of the ground. A few that did flew straight into the German lines, causing one reporter to curse them as traitors.
First Reporter: "Not towards the Germans, you idiots! The other way!"Second Reporter: "Damn traitors!"
- This is shown in the film, though the overloaded part is not obvious.
- On Omaha Beach, General Cota ends up sharing cover with a nervous young soldier who dropped his rifle coming ashore. Much later, preparing to push off the beach, he meets that same young soldier:
Soldier: "I've got a rifle, sir."Cota: "Well, good for you, son!"
- The British drop "Ruperts:" dummy parachuters equipped with fireworks to distract the Germans. That's funny enough, but what really sells it is the English officer throwing the dummy out of the plane while bidding it "Remember your duty to God, King, and your country!"
- Crosses with both Awesome AND Heartwarming. General Cota is alone in the mess hall, pacing back and forth with a cup of coffee, waiting to hear whether the invasion's on or not. Offscreen, a subordinate answers the phone, then pokes his head in to announce that it's on. Cota unceremoniously throws his cup aside and runs out of the hall as fast as he can go.
- Early on we see one of the French Resistance members listening to a secret broadcast while eating dinner. When he hears the code-phrase indicating the invasion is coming ("John has a long mustache"), he's so happy that he first nearly runs out with an army helmet on, then almost forgets to put the radio away...then, after he's left, his wife realizes he didn't turn it off. And all the while he's deliriously repeating "John has a long mustache!"