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Saving Private Ryan
Year:
1998
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Action, History, War
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
Steven Spielberg
Tom Hanks as Capt. John H. Miller
Tom Sizemore as Sgt. Mike Horvath
Edward Burns as Pvt. Richard Reiben
Barry Pepper as Pvt. Daniel Jackson
Adam Goldberg as Pvt. Stanley Mellish
Vin Diesel as Pvt. Adrian Caparzo
Giovanni Ribisi as T-5 Medic Irwin Wade
Jeremy Davies as Cpl. Timothy P. Upham
Matt Damon as Pvt. James Francis Ryan
Ted Danson as Capt. Fred Hamill
Paul Giamatti as Sgt. Hill
Dennis Farina as Lt. Col. Anderson
Joerg Stadler as Steamboat Willie
Max Martini as Cpl. Henderson (as Maximilian Martini)
Storyline: Opening with the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Cpt. Miller fight ashore to secure a beachhead. Amidst the fighting, two brothers are killed in action. Earlier in New Guinea, a third brother is KIA. Their mother, Mrs. Ryan, is to receive all three of the grave telegrams on the same day. The United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, is given an opportunity to alleviate some of her grief when he learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, and decides to send out 8 men (Cpt. Miller and select members from 2nd Rangers) to find him and bring him back home to his mother...
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Reviews
I have some things to say here.


Before I saw the film, I have read the comments. Many of You liked Spielberg's new movie. But some of You, mostly from the U.S., write things like "proud to be an American" or "part of American History" or "every American should see this movie".

First of all, I want to say that this war must have been pure terror. National Socialism was an indescribably evil disgrace to humanity. Many of You have grandparents who fought proudly against the Germans in World War II, but I (as a 25-year old German) and others have Grandparents who were bombed out of their homes at night and could not get a whole night's sleep ever since. My parents were born during the war, their first baby-impressions were gunshots and explosions - for years! Nowadays, in Germany it still is common to find old, still explodable bombs when building a new house.

Second, this is not American history, it is not German history, it is World history - Our history. It is the blackest spot ever to be found in the history of the human race.

Third: I don't mean to be rude, but I think that many people have lost the connection to reality. In the first place, making a war movie has two major aspects: Making money (bad) and Reviving History for educational purposes (respectable). But then, feeling history is completely different. In my very neighbourhood, there was a Concentration Camp, only some 53 years ago. I have been to that beach in France, and let me tell You: Just seeing the sea, the sand, the dunes really scared me rigid. Talking with my grandma (she led a baby nursing home in that time), that's history. Just sitting in a movie theatre, listening to SDDS and watching Tom Hanks cry is a different experience.

What I want to state here is that there is quite a difference between a movie (may it be as realistic as possible) and real history. This really happened! Millions of people were slaughtered in the most cruel ways! By other people! When I go to my University building, I see the holes in the wall which have been there since the war. They have never been repaired in order to give people something to think about. From exactly that building, Sophie Scholl and her friends threw Anit-Nazi papers into the crowd and got executed only a short time later.

I think the film is quite accurate, actually. It is not the most impressive war film I have ever seen (that's "The Bridge" from 1959), but it shows how the war was like. In all aspects. Anyway, how can war films be "good" or "best"? "Saving Private Ryan" is an exceptional educational masterpiece, it should be recommended together with "Schindler's List", but it is only a movie. It cannot replace reality.

So, I recommend this: Watch the movie, everyone! But also think about the real people of any nation that were cruelly murdered in those years, and think about those who lived through it. Even think of those who were with the regime and still walk the earth. Then, book a ticket for Europe, see the Normandie for yourself, see Berlin, see Dresden, see Munich, see the wounds of history. And see that being German is not the same as being a Nazi. After You get home to wherever You come from, I promise, You then will have a different view of reality.
1998-10-11
Earn this...
In reading through the comments made on this page, I realize that people had several interpretations and opinions of what this movie was supposed to be (as people often do). However, here's how I feel the movie was intended, and why I say that this is by far the greatest war movie, and one of the greatest movies of any genre. The prevailing comments among nay-sayers is that the characters were too stereo-typical, and that a plot of one man being important enough to risk the lives of 8 was unbelievable. That's exactly what Spielberg wanted. First, the characters. They were _intended_ to be stereotypical. How could you represent every man that ever fought in this, and other, wars without being stereotypical? Unless, of course you wanted to have a cast of several million people. The point was to show the trevails that every man went through in the war, NOT to give a unique face to each. And it seems he did this with his usual mastery.

Second, the plot. The mistake that most are making is that they're thinking of Private Ryan as one man. He wasn't. He was everyone. Every person that was sitting in that theater. Every person that has ever been a part of this country. When he tells Ryan to "Earn this", he is talking to YOU. He is saying that we're not here today by accident. It took normal men (a school-teacher, for instance) to make sure that we could someday go on IMDB after seeing a movie and spout our opinions. He is telling you not to waste the precious life you've been given. So, yes, this is perhaps the greatest movie of all time, shaky camera or not. And they fought so that I could sit here on my soapbox and give my opinion. Thank God.
1998-08-02
I Agree: This Is The Best War Movie Ever Made
Without looking, I am sure other reviewers here have headlined their article "Best War Movie Ever Made"" and I agree. However, before briefly discussing the film, let me just say if you don't have a decent 5.1 surround sound system, you aren't going to fully appreciate this movie (DVD).

It's a great film to start with, and sitting in a room surrounded by five speakers with bullets flying from all directions around you - as in that spectacular 22- minute opening scene or in the final 45 minutes of action against the Germans in tanks - is an astounding movie experience. The sound in this film elevates it even higher.

The visuals are outstanding, too. I've never seen so many grays, beiges and olive-greens look this good: perfect colors for the bombed-out French city where the last hour takes place, perfect for the faces and uniforms of the gritty soldiers, for the machinery, the smoke-filled skies, etc.

My only complaint is the usage of Lord's name in vain 25-30 times, but, hey, when you consider it's tough men in tough times, that's what you are going to hear. In real life, the profanity probably was worse than the film.

It's hard to picture the brutality of war being any worse than you see here, but it probably was. This is about as graphic as it gets. The violence and gore was shocking when this film came out in 1997 and still is when watched almost a decade later. It's unbelievable what some of the WWII soldiers went through, but that can be said for any war. I believe the purpose of this film was to pay tribute to the sacrifices these men made, and it succeeds wonderfully. Hats off to Steven Spielberg and to Tom Hanks, the leading actor in here, both of whom have worked hard for WWII vets to get the recognition they deserve, not just on film but in a national memorial.

Anyway, language or blood and guts aside, this is still an incredible portrait of WWII. The almost-three hour film is riveting start-to-finish, especially with that memorable beginning action scene, probably the most dramatic in the history of film.

As "entertaining" as those action scenes were, I found the lulls, if you will, to be even better. Listening to Hanks and his men discuss various things as they look for Private Ryan, was fascinating to me. Hanks is just superb in here and once again shows why he is considered one of the best actors in his generation.

The most memorable and powerful moment among the "lulls," is the shot early on of the Ryan mother sinking to her knees on her front porch as she realizes she is about to get disastrous news from the war. Moments later, Harve Presenell, playing Gen. MacArthur, eloquently reads a letter by Abraham Lincoln that is so beautifully written, so profound that it is quoted near the end of the film, too, and I never get tired of hearing it.

This is a man's movie, and shows the horrors of war as few others ever have. To say it is "memorable," just doesn't do it justice. It is the greatest war movie ever made....period.
2006-02-27
Numbing experience of SPR redeems baby boomers...
It's been over a year since first seeing Saving Private Ryan -- it's a worthy effort by Speilberg--his best since Shindler's List by far. You've probably heard about the amount of violence, blood, and gore and that's all true--it's got the Viet Nam movie style violence (and then some) but it's not gratuitous. Were it sanitized like early WWII movies, modern audiences probably wouldn't take it as seriously.

The movie has that trademark Speilberg style--the structure is all tied up and unified from beginning to end, the emotional symbols abound, the music swelling when he's working at your emotions, the hand held camera that worked so well in Shindler's List to give you a feeling of participation, camera angles and periods of silence to disorient you (like Shindler), suspense techniques learned from Hitch... It's a movie that stays with you for a period afterwards.

Hanks will be the early front runner for Oscar after this flick--Academy members like him AND it IS his best acting job ever. While Speilberg will likely be criticized for attempting to manipulate the audience's emotions while keeping a distance from the inner core of his characters, Tom Hanks reveals a really complex military leader in this story, and does so without overacting--somehow it comes from within. While you may not empathize deeply with many of the platoon, you will still feel something because of the relationship that is formed with Hanks.

After the initial set-up, you will have the opportunity to participate in the D-Day operation and experience the horror of it. Those who have been in a real war can comment about how realistic or not Speilberg captures its chaotic horror in this scene.

In my case I again feel very lucky that my draft number was high, so I never had to face Nam like many of my classmates. Speilberg reminds us brutally in "Saving Private Ryan" that we All have a debt to pay to the brave souls who have sacrificed so much for us. What Tom Hanks does with his performance is to remind us of this debt in a very personal way.
2000-01-25
An undisputed classic of the war genre
It'd be implausible to think that anyone who wasn't involved in World War 2 could ever understand the true horrors or hardship the men and women of the time went through in that terrible time. Over the years we've had countless documentaries, novels, movies, games and TV series that have looked to offer an insight into what it felt like to be a part of the World War that claimed millions upon millions of lives, and arguably the most visceral and heart pounding take of them all is Steven Spielberg's incredible Saving Private Ryan.

A film unlike anything Spielberg had made before or has made since, Ryan, with it's as close to real opening stanza on the beaches of Normandy and journey culminating in a speaker shattering finale in the crumbled ruins of the city of Ramelle, is a downright masterstroke of movie making craft that to this day near 20 years on from its initial release has lost none of its impressive and heartfelt power.

Spielberg accomplished his impressive feat by surrounding himself with the cream of the crop of film-making wizards. Employing the services of now famed cinematographer Janusz Kaminski who single-handedly reinvented the way in which war films and action in particular was shot, the keen eye of long standing editor Michael Kahn, the screen writing abilities of The Patriot scribe Robert Rodat and of course the musical accompaniment of a John Williams score, Ryan had at its disposal the A-team of Hollywood and it shows.

All around Saving Private Ryan is quality, pure unbridled grace and confidence that fills the film's every frame and it extends to its eclectic cast of established and at-the-time up and comers which was led by the almost never better Tom Hanks. After Hanks' leading man Captain Miller we have Ed Burns's cocky Reiban, Barry Pepper's religiously inclined sharpshooter Jackson, the late Tom Sizemore's gruff Horvath, Adam Goldberg's wisecracking Mellish and Jeremy Davis's jittery language expert Upham. It's a great team and when you throw in Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and of course cinemas most rescued, Matt Damon with added bit parts by a one armed Walter White in the form of Bryan Cranston, a slim lined Paul Giamatti, a non-CSI Ted Danson and even a baby faced Nathan Fillion, Ryan acts as a who's who of recognizable actors that each for a small period or large period made sure the film was one of the most well-acted of the modern era.

Filled with heart, stunningly filmed sequences of confronting warfare and a cast of memorable personnel, Saving Private Ryan is one of a handful of quintessential war films that have managed to somehow in various states capture what it may have been like to be among the countless wars that have raged over our planet in years gone by.

A deserving Oscar winner that in many ways can be seen as a faultless exercise in big budget film-making and the perfect example of a men on a mission movie done well, Saving Private Ryan is one of, if not the greatest film in Steven Spielberg's outstanding and loaded filmography.

5 greased up socks out of 5
2015-11-10
This is one of the greatest movies ever made.
To think that this movie did not win Best Picture is a crime. Director Steven Spielberg uses all of his talent and resources to give to the world the greatest war film ever made.

Though it's true that this is not the type of movie you want to sit down with the family and eat popcorn, the emotional drive of the picture, the story's poignant messages, and the fantastic acting of the cast draws you into a world that is both dangerous and unpredictable.

Spielberg is able to take you into action and make you feel as if you are a participant in the movie and not just a viewer. This is Tom Hanks' best movie he ever did. Forget his performances in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump (though they were also good); he should have received another Oscar for the role of Capt. John Miller, a leader who must act strong in front of his men, but must also hide his emotions from them. It would have been well-deserved if he won again.

I give this movie my highest recommendation. Saving Private Ryan is a movie that makes you realize how life is precious and how honor and duty, though they are deep philosophical concepts that are praised in war, can put you in jeopardy of losing your life for something you may not believe in.
2000-05-17
Breathtaking
I have never been affected by a movie the way Saving Private Ryan affected me. That movie really took me out of my seat in the movie theater and practically had me believing I was really in the battle with John Miller. When somebody was dying in that movie, it felt as if you could almost feel their pain. Speilberg did an unbelievable job of putting realism into this movie with the camera-work and everything else. Simply amazing. An all time great.
1999-11-17
Great film!
I can not understand those who view it as an 'America win the War' movie. That is not the point of most of the war movies out there. Yes, they may use American actors and show American fighting, but look past that and see the terrifying experiences of war and the fear of the people back home who suffer the emotional trauma. 'Saving Private Ryan' I felt gave a visual look at war, it gave the best feeling of what war would be like that any movies have given, but I don't think that any movie ever will be able to to give the exact fear that is within the people when they are in the middle of a battlefield.

An excellent movie, dignified, moving and intelligent (not a word used with many Hollywood movies) acting with a director that has shown everyone how it SHOULD be done.
2005-08-09
wow ... if all the movies were showing the war that way, it would be great !
I really liked this movie ! the realism was extreme, what is, I think a good thing. I do not like Spielberg (since i was 14-15 yrs old anyway). I think this guy would be better in doing commercials for TV than making movie - just my humble opinion. But if we forget some flaws the movie is pretty good ! T. Hanks was also very good in it ! he got my respect.

now, some stuff was bothering :

- near the beginning, why spielberg was making the little french girl say " i don't like those american soldiers ! -sob- " Are those US dudes will stop one day to think that the french are genetically antiamerican ? that's ridiculous ! I hate set ideas !

- The german soldiers look dumb and wanting very eagerly take some US slug in the map ! Come on, guys ! The germans are just there to be shooted, they act stupidly what cost them their life, they have no survivng instinct ... i don't buy it !

- The landing scene seemed ended a little too fast and easily to match the reality i think (IMHO)

Of course, there may be a little too much US patriotism for the average european viewer, we are not used to it anymore in our countries (self-glorification, i mean) but after all it's an american movie and they did change the fate of Europe and the world, so ... let them do it.

anyway good movie, i give it a 8/10.

= you should at least see it once ! >
2004-01-23
Saving Mister Spielberg
Visually, the best WW2 movie. In other ways, far from the best. The movie is loaded with errors and falls into demonizing the German soldier and praising the American. A few examples, far from the reality the combat scenes show the Germans acting like cattle without ANY strategy at all they just run and shout, one funny part is the behavior of the German tankers, they drive in a ruined village in a VERY narrow street, like they have never heard of ambush! -One starts to think if the script writer has ever heard of

the capabilities of the German panzer crews, SS-Captain Michael Wittmann attacked and destroyed 48 armored fighting vehicles alone in a single action! The most absurd part is the -"Macgyver/Rambo scene"-when Capt. Miller and friends start to throw the mortar grenades slaughtering a few dozen Germans. The most unforgivable error is that there were NO SS-units with Tiger tanks operational in Normandy at this point of time. This movie is way overestimated.
1999-08-31
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