Saving Private Ryan (1998)


Movie Review

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Edward Burns

Most parents would be troubled enough with having one son in the armed forces.  Try having four during World War II.  The four sons of the Ryan family had all gone to serve their country honorably.  Three of them died in combat, while Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon) was missing behind enemy lines.  Upon realizing that Mrs. Ryan would be receiving notices of the deaths of three of her sons, General George Marshall (Harve Presnell) thought it would be best to ensure she didn't get a fourth notice.  After arriving at Omaha Beach during the Normandy landings in 1944, General Marshall ordered a team of American troops to rescue their fellow comrade.  Led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), a team of eight troops crosses enemy lines and take on great danger in an awesome rescue effort.

When not directing or producing alien movies, Steven Spielberg has a knack for making films with WWI or WWII themes.  Just check out Schindler's List, War Horse, or even Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Arguably, his best films are thematically connected to either of these wars.  Saving Private Ryan is probably the ideal example of this.  It's one of the most visceral films ever made.  Each battle scene has a gritty, realistic feel to it.  The opening scene on Omaha Beach, for example, is downright sobering.  With Tom Hanks and a great cast, the acting was, of course, superb.  It's not a film that you'll particularly want to watch, but it is one you have to watch in order to understand the truly brutal and horrific nature of war.



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