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Saving Private Ryan (Widescreen Edition) (1998)

A movie directed by Steven Spielberg

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A Military Epic from a Human Perspective

  • Sep 15, 2003
Rating:
+5
According to veterans of D-Day, this is one of very few films which come about as close as possible to portraying what it is like to be there. Director Spielberg and his crew recreate the arrival of Allied forces at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, by using water-level and then ground-level handheld cameras during a 24-minute sequence of especially graphic carnage. Later, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men are given an assignment to locate Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) and remove him from harm's way because he is the only remaining of several Ryan brothers. (The others have died in battle serving elsewhere.) Stephen Ambrose discusses this situation in his book D-Day: June 6, 1944. Spielberg's primary purpose is to examine how those entrusted with this assignment react to the dangers which it involves. Their questions are understandable: Why is Ryan so important? How are we going to find him? Is it worth risking all of our lives by trying to save his? As the search proceeds, Miller does his best to maintain the group's morale. He has his orders and is determined to follow them. It is important to keep in mind that Miller and his men have a special mission which is, in certain respects, is even more perilous because they face the same stiff resistance other Allied forces do but cannot be distracted from reaching their ultimate objective which is to find a human "needle" within the invasion "haystack." They cannot fall back, re-group, await reinforcements, call in air cover or artillery support, etc.

Nominated for eleven Academy Awards, this film received five (for direction, cinematography, editing, sound, and special effects editing) and each was deserved. Much as I admire Shakespeare in Love, I remain convinced that Saving Private Ryan should have received another Oscar as best film. For those of us who were not involved with D-Day and the period which immediately followed it, this film enables us to get a sense of what it was like. Obviously, heroic efforts to "save" Ryan provide the primary plot. However, I was (and am) most impressed by how Spielberg enables us to empathize with the legitimate concerns about what that "salvation" requires of those ordered to achieve it.

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More Saving Private Ryan reviews
review by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Command is a lonely place
As a retired army officer and an adjunct history professor I thought it was important to review what I consider the best war movies depicting the challenges of leadership and the command of men.       This is the best movie depicting the “lonely place” command can be, especially when you do not believe in the mission!  “Saving Private Ryan” is the greatest Hollywood movie showing the reality of infantry combat ever made.  The first 30 minutes …
Quick Tip by . August 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Command is a lonely place As a retired army officer and an adjunct history professor I thought it was important to review what I consider the best war movies depicting the challenges of leadership and the command of men. This is the best movie depicting the "lonely place" command can be, especially when you do not believe in the mission! "Saving Private Ryan" is the greatest Hollywood movie showing the reality of infantry combat ever made. The first 30 minutes showing the D-Day invasion was only …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Speilbergs great film to date. The second greatest war film to Apolycapse Now.
review by . February 10, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I guess with the age of video games and virtual reality upon us, it was only a matter of time for someone to capture the most realistic war scenes that have ever been depicted in film. The landing and ground fighting shown in the Normandy invasion literally makes the viewer feel like they were transported in time and are actually experiencing the real thing!    Tom Hanks is brilliant as a shell-shocked veteran who is asked to perform a special service. That is to go through enemy …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #75
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Wiki

With 1998 production standards, Spielberg has been able to create a stunning, unparalleled view of war as hell. We are at Omaha Beach as troops are slaughtered by Germans yet overcome the almost insurmountable odds.

A stalwart Tom Hanks plays Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier, who takes a small band of troops behind enemy lines to retrieve a private whose three brothers have recently been killed in action. It's a public relations move for the Army, but it has historical precedent dating back to the Civil War. Some critics of the film have labeled the central characters stereotypes. If that is so, this movie gives stereotypes a good name: Tom Sizemore as the deft sergeant, Edward Burns as the hotheaded Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as the religious sniper, Adam Goldberg as the lone Jew, Vin Diesel as the oversize Private Caparzo, Giovanni Ribisi as the soulful medic, and Jeremy Davies, who as a meek corporal gives the film its most memorable performance.

The movie is as heavy and realistic as Spielberg's Oscar-winning Schindler's List, but it's more kinetic. Spielberg and his ace technicians (the film won five Oscars:Saving Private Ryan touches us deeper than Schindler because it succinctly links the past with how we should feel today. It's the film Spielberg was destined to make. --Doug Thomas

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Details

Director: Steven Spielberg
Screen Writer: Robert Rodat
DVD Release Date: November 2, 1999
Runtime: 197 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Video
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