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
The Battle of Ramelle at the end of the film was based on a battle that actually took place 3 days after the Normandy Invasion on June 9th, 1944. The intense battle between the 82nd and 101st US Airborne Divisions and 1057th Panzergrenadier Regiment of the German 91st Division approaching from the west happened at the La Fiere Causeway (Bridge in the film). Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) was based off of Captain John Sauls who led the American troops. Confronted by a line of French-built Renault light tanks and a large number of heavily armed infantrymen, the Americans wasted no time going into action. Using any weapon available-bazooka, machine gun or hand grenade Saul's men disabled one tank after another, sometimes from only a few yards away. At last out of ammunition, the men regrouped and retreated toward the orchard where the remaining American soldiers would spend the next crucial 48 hours cut off from the causeway battle. The Germans now held the western end of the causeway in force. A heavy German counterattack threatened to push the still disorganized Americans back across the river the next day, but the assault was repulsed by the US Airforce. By mid-afternoon, a linkup was finally achieved with Timmes men, who were still defending their orchard. Thus ended the fight for the causeway at La Fiére. See more »
While they are preparing to defend the bridge towards the end, Mellish tells Upham to be "Johnny on the spot with the ammo." and proceeds to put 2 30 cal. belts around Upham's neck. In the first shot the bullets are pointed down, when the shot changes the bullets are pointed up. 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 »
Originally, when the US broadcasting rights were acquired by TNT, they were required to broadcast the film uncensored, with all violence and language intact. Although recent (2008) airings have kept all the violence and gore, at least one dubbed all uses of 'fuck' with the word 'friggin'' or 'freakin''. All broadcasts carry the "TV-MA LV" rating and carry a lead-in disclaimer after every commercial break. See also: . See more »
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.
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