Surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories, as veterans and world leaders prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day next week.

They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.

Following Allied troops through Europe, Stevens made black-and-white films for General Dwight Eisenhower that are central to Americans’ historical memory of World War II, and were even used as evidence in Nazi war crimes trials.

Hollywood director George Stevens stands on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens stands on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)

But Stevens also shot 16-millimeter color film for himself of the same events, creating a kind of personal video journal of his experiences.

His son described to The Associated Press the shock of discovering the reels, which serve as a powerful reminder of the war’s impact and its heroes as those who witnessed the war are dying out.

Charles de Gaulle, right, speaks to a French citizen, center, and another French officer after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Charles de Gaulle, right, speaks to a French citizen, center, and another French officer after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Soliders sit on a tank holding a sign about a mine field during World War II in France on June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Soliders sit on a tank holding a sign about a mine field during World War II in France on June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
French women smile at U.S. soldiers after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
French women smile at U.S. soldiers after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. troops drive through a town by a sign for the Hotel du Lion during World War II in France. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. troops drive through a town by a sign for the Hotel du Lion during World War II in France. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
French women cheer U.S. soldiers after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
French women cheer U.S. soldiers after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Empty shells on the deck of a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Empty shells on the deck of a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. troops drive through a town during World War II in France.  Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. troops drive through a town during World War II in France. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
View from a ship on D-Day off the coast of France on June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
View from a ship on D-Day off the coast of France on June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
A French girl holding a weapon watches U.S. troops drive past after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
A French girl holding a weapon watches U.S. troops drive past after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. soldiers in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background during World War II after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. soldiers in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background during World War II after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Gen. Phillippe Leclerc, foreground second right, stands with a captured German officer, left, after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II.  Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Gen. Phillippe Leclerc, foreground second right, stands with a captured German officer, left, after the liberation of Paris in 1944 during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Gen. George Patton, with a pearl-handled pistol, talks to French officers in France during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Gen. George Patton, with a pearl-handled pistol, talks to French officers in France during World War II. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Charles de Gaulle, arrives for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Charles de Gaulle, arrives for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
In this image from video, George Stevens Jr. speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. George Stevens Jr., now 87, was a child when his Dad left to cover the war. Only after his father’s death, decades later, did he discover reels of the color film in storage. “I was sitting alone, and on the screen came images of a gray day and rough seas and a large ship and barrage balloons up in the sky. And I realized it was D-Day. (AP Photo)
In this image from video, George Stevens Jr. speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. George Stevens Jr., now 87, was a child when his Dad left to cover the war. Only after his father’s death, decades later, did he discover reels of the color film in storage. “I was sitting alone, and on the screen came images of a gray day and rough seas and a large ship and barrage balloons up in the sky. And I realized it was D-Day. (AP Photo)
Hollywood director George Stevens, center, talks after a military parade in Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens, center, talks after a military parade in Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower attends a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower attends a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley salutes as Charles de Gaulle, background left, speaks before for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley salutes as Charles de Gaulle, background left, speaks before for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Ships and blimps sit off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Ships and blimps sit off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens looks through a camera on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stevens was assigned to to head up the combat motion-picture coverage, but he was also using 16-millimeter color film for himself of the same events, creating a kind of personal video journal of his experiences. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens looks through a camera on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stevens was assigned to to head up the combat motion-picture coverage, but he was also using 16-millimeter color film for himself of the same events, creating a kind of personal video journal of his experiences. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. military vehicles and soldiers march down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. military vehicles and soldiers march down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens looks through a camera on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stevens was assigned to to head up the combat motion-picture coverage, but he was also using 16-millimeter color film for himself of the same events, creating a kind of personal video journal of his experiences. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Hollywood director George Stevens looks through a camera on a ship off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Stevens was assigned to to head up the combat motion-picture coverage, but he was also using 16-millimeter color film for himself of the same events, creating a kind of personal video journal of his experiences. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Ships and blimps sit off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
Ships and blimps sit off the coast of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley salutes as Charles de Gaulle, background left, speaks before for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley salutes as Charles de Gaulle, background left, speaks before for a military parade down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. military vehicles and soldiers march down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death.  (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)
U.S. military vehicles and soldiers march down the Champs-Elysees after the liberation of Paris. Seventy-five years later, surprising color images of the D-Day invasion and aftermath bring an immediacy to wartime memories. They were filmed by Hollywood director George Stevens and rediscovered years after his death. (War Footage From the George Stevens Collection at the Library of Congress via AP)