One John Wayne Film Accidentally Discovered an Old Tank Before Using It in the Movie

by Megan Molseed
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A genuine World War II tank made an appearance in one of John Wayne’s many hit films. And, the origin of this tank is just as interesting as the fact it was featured in the film.

While filming the popular 1962 John Wayne film, The Longest Day, the crew members stumbled upon a very unique discovery. While filming a scene depicting the assault on Pointe du Hoc, the film crew was prepping the area. It was here that they stumbled upon quite an impressive find. An American tank was buried in the sand. This historical tank had been buried in the sand since D-Day.

Finding a tank that was part of the real events that occurred on D-Day while filming a movie about these same events is an exciting thing. And, the filmmakers behind The Longest Day decided to find a way to implement this impressive piece of World War II machinery into the film.

The Crew Prepping The Beaches For The Longest Day Makes An Impressive Find, Putting A Real WWII Tank Into The Film

After the crews discovered the D-Day tank while prepping the beach for filming, they decided to put some work into cleaning the excavated piece of history. Then, the filmmakers realized they had an impressive piece of history on their hands. A perfect addition to their WWII D-Day biopic film.

Crews decided to find a way to implement the D-Day tank into the John Wayne film. To do so, crews used the tank as part of a British tank column.

John Wayne Remembers His Favorite Film Role

John Wayne is an American legacy. His time in the film industry has created some iconic moments throughout Hollywood’s history. He’s the swashbuckling cowboy, the tireless soldier, the man depicting the character of some of our greatest American heroes.

However, when The Duke was asked to recall some of his favorite film moments, his favorite scene had little to do with a big cowboy moment headed into danger to save the innocent. Nor does it have anything to do with a tension-filled battle as a soldier on screen.

Instead, The Duke’s most treasured film moment is a break from his classic tough-guy character. It’s a very touching and vulnerable moment in one of his biggest films.

In 1969’s True Grit, John Wayne portrays the one-eyed federal marshal, Rooster Cogburn. He’s a once-proud man who has since let himself go, becoming a shadow of who he once was. In the scene that stands out the most to Wayne, his character gets vulnerable. Discussing some emotional moments within his past, such as his relationship with his son; his failed marriage; and his past as a bank robber.

“It’s sure as hell my first decent role in 20 years,” John Wayne has said of his True Grit character during a discussion with the late Roger Ebert.

“And my first chance to play a character role instead of John Wayne,” The Duke adds. “Ordinarily, they just stand me there and run everybody up against me.”

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