My Favorite Movies #54 – Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan - PosterSaving Private Ryan

1998

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Quick Synopsis… As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger Capt. John Miller and seven of his men are ordered to penetrate German-held territory and bring the man home.

  • I’m pretty sure Saving Private Ryan is the first film in what has become a long tradition of Hollywood attempting to rescue Matt Damon from various circumstances.
  • These circumstances include, but are not limited to: The MartianIntersteller, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • I first saw this when it was released in the theater. On a blind date.
  • There was no second date.
  • It wasn’t because of the movie. Let’s just say I liked the movie a lot more than I liked the girl.
  • If you’ve never seen this classic World War II film (can we call a movie from the late-90s a classic already?), then you need to prepare yourself for the first 20 minutes.
  • I’ve heard it said that it’s the most gritty and realistic depiction of war put to film.
  • At least, it was at the time it was released.
  • It certainly is gruesome…
  • It opens in the present day, but quickly flashes back to D-Day, as American forces approach Omaha Beach.
  • And we see every bit of them taking that beach.
  • Tom Hanks plays Captain John Miller, who leads his battalion in a breakout from the beach.
  • When the fighting ceases, the camera moves down the beach, focusing on the pack of a soldier, labeled “RYAN, S.”
  • Stateside, it’s discovered that three out of four sons in the Ryan family were killed in action. The fourth, Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), is somewhere in Normandy after parachuting in.
  • It becomes Captain Miller’s mission to find Ryan and make sure he gets home alive.
  • I won’t go through each of the details that lead up to Miller and his select team of soldiers finding Private Ryan.
  • But I will say that, if you haven’t seen this movie and can stomach the gruesome realism involved, this is a movie that must be seen.
  • It’s number 71 on the AFI list. Number 54 on mine.
  • The cinematography is beautiful.
  • And it’s incredible to watch and see how each of the men deals with the war, their mission, their situation, in their own way.
  • Find it, watch it. You won’t be sorry.
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