It has been almost sixty-three years since the British, American and Canadian armies stormed the beaches of Normandy, but the D-Day invasion and the weeks that followed continue to fascinate us. The events have provided fodder for countless books, movies, and video games. As time passes, fewer and fewer of the veterans of that day survive to give their first-hand testimonies. I am grateful that many people are now speaking to these men and recording their memories before they are lost to history.
Overlord: A Mighty Host is an hour-long documentary that was first shown on television and has recently become available on DVD. It provides reflections from veterans of D-Day with an emphasis on their religious beliefs. Because it is produced by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, one might think that this would focus on Christian testimonies. Unfortunately, it focuses on testimonies from all faiths (Protestant, Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Jewish) and much of the talk about God is generic, treating Him as “the man upstairs” who honors the terror-stricken faith of those who have rarely acknowledged Him before or since.
Despite treating God as a somewhat generic deity, the documentary is still well-done and very moving as it traces the actions of a small group of heroes. It always stirs the emotions to hear these men, now old and fragile, who were once so young and healthy and who were willing to trade their lives for those of others. Whether from the mouths of Christians or non-, testimonies about the past are worth recording and worth listening to.
The DVD includes quite a long list of extra scenes that did not make the final cut. Some of these, interestingly enough, contain information that speaks of God in a less-generic way. It is a shame that some of these were left out of the film.
Overlord: A Mighty Host is a deeply moving film, but still somewhat disappointing because of the generic God these men speak about. While I am still glad to recommend this one, those looking for testimony that is distinctly Christian might be better served by a film such as The League of Grateful Sons.