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... Written by
When the machine gunner in the bell tower runs out of ammo, Jackson takes over sniping. The first German he kills is on the self propelled gun and he falls off the side. The second one he kills falls near a big rectangular shaped piece of wood from one of the destroyed buildings. The third soldier he kills falls on top of the piece of wood, but there is no sign of the soldier who had fallen there right before he did. See more »
[running to comfort his father]
[flashback to D-Day]
[shouting out the soldiers on the raft]
CLEAR THE RAMP! THIRTY SECONDS! GOD BE WITH YA!
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There are no opening credits after the title is shown. See more »
I went to see Saving Private Ryan twice in the theatre. I was very impressed the first time I saw it, and the battle scenes were so haunting that I felt it would be worthwhile going again. While I again enjoyed them, they obviously did not have the same impact as when seen for the first time and this caused me to give greater attention to the remainder of the film. It didn't hold up well.
I feel it would have been best for Spielberg to have begun this film right off in the boat. No advance warning, no sentimentality. It would have been perhaps the most amazing first scene in cinematic history. But he had to overdo it. The first graveyard scene can be accepted, though it is undesirable. But the second was insulting, not just to me, but to the film itself and the message it had attempted to convey. He can understate well, as the scene in which Mrs. Ryan is told of the fate of her sons proves.
(The rule which is so often broken by film makers today is don't tell, show. But they are so used to talking down to the audience that it is seen as desirable and normal. I see it as manipulative and condescending).
It also seemed as if I could actually see the seams in the movie, the transition from one scene to the next. It was obvious that it was _written_. Yes, of course, all screenplays are written. But a truly good film can draw you in to the point where it IS reality. SPR did not do that for me. I'm sure there has already been sufficient comment on the stereotypicality of the characters. And of course the scene in which there is an argument over whether or not to take the child along with them.
There is a sense in which films like this are protected from artistic judgment because it is felt that the message they are conveying is so important. I believe this is part of the reason it has received as much praise as it has. While the battle scenes and cinematography are truly magnificent, those things alone are not enough for a film to be considered the greatest film of all time, nor even the greatest war film of all time.
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