Saving Private Ryan Reviews

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Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune
June 8, 2015
[Saving Private Ryan] accomplishes something I had been taught was most difficult -- making an action-filled anti-war film or, at least, one that doesn't in some way glorify or lie about combat.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 8, 2015
Saving Private Ryan is a masterpiece. It cements Steven Spielberg's reputation as one of the seminal filmmakers of the era.
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 19, 2014
The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, and breaks new ground in content and style. It merges some of the most realistically disturbing battle footage ever included in a feature film with a touching human story.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
August 19, 2014
If Steven Spielberg's emotional intelligence matched his visual genius, his harrowing, passionately felt and honorably flawed new film might qualify for one of the greatest American movies ever made about World War II.
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Peter Rainer
New Times
August 19, 2014
Spielberg puts us through the hair-trigger terrors of combat in a way no other filmmaker has ever dared, and yet there's a gentleness to his enterprise. He's interested in the humaneness that comes through the horror.
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Paul Tatara
CNN.com
August 2, 2013
Spielberg accomplishes these goals with a technical virtuosity that no other director, arguably in the history of the cinema, can even approach.
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Jay Carr
Boston Globe
August 2, 2013
Saving Private Ryan is the war movie to end all war movies. It's the ultimate combat film, far outdistancing what until now had been the genre's World War II classics.
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 2, 2013
The cast functions as an effective and believable unit. And Hanks gives a strong, increasingly solemn performance as its mysterious leader.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
August 2, 2013
Dramatic lapses notwithstanding, Saving Private Ryan goes beyond technical dazzlement to put a new, indelibly terrible face on war.
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
August 2, 2013
Calling it the greatest war movie ever made does a disservice to other, equally worthwhile, lower-profile films. But it's still an excellent movie, as effective in battle scenes as it is in that of soldiers ruminating on an Edith Piaf song.
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Desmond Ryan
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 2, 2013
Anyone who would like to know what superb filmmaking is all about need look no further than this overpowering movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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August 2, 2013
What Steven Spielberg has accomplished in Saving Private Ryan is to make violence terrible again. Nothing in the movie's melodramatic narrative can diminish the shocking immediacy of its combat scenes.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
August 2, 2013
Searing, heartbreaking, so intense it turns your body into a single tube of clenched muscle, this is simply the greatest war movie ever made, and one of the great American movies.
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
August 2, 2013
Spielberg goes a long, long way toward overcoming his tendencies toward the shallow, but the visceral punch of his not-quite-masterful film is softened by an almost neurotic slickness that keeps getting in the way of the [issues it raises].
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 2, 2013
Spielberg obviously decided that blood and guts meant just that, and so he arranged his violence into a semblance of pure disorder. The illusion holds, complete with severed limbs and wellsprings of blood, and it feels honorable.
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Dave Kehr
New York Daily News
August 2, 2013
Saving Private Ryan is Steven Spielberg's best war film and one of the two or three best movies the director has made.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
August 2, 2013
The great Hollywood battle films have told us repeatedly that war is hell. Saving Private Ryan, more than any other, is the one that shows it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Hillel Italie
Associated Press
August 2, 2013
War may be a faceless affair, but war movies shouldn't be.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 9, 2008
No further commentary is needed when the raw brutality of combat is presented as indelibly as it is here.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
April 27, 2007
I found it tediously manipulative despite its Herculean energy.
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Why did Spielberg make it? He wants us to imagine we can feel the terror of being there, but does that make us any wiser about this or any other conflict? Probably not.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
July 12, 2002
The greatest Steven Spielberg movie since the last great one? Sure.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2001
A powerful and impressive milestone in the realistic depiction of combat, Saving Private Ryan is as much an experience we live through as a film we watch on screen.
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
January 1, 2000
A war film that, entirely aware of its genre's conventions, transcends them as it transcends the simplistic moralities that inform its predecessors, to take the high, morally haunting ground.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
January 1, 2000
It has a few pretty good action moments, a lot of spilled guts, a few moments of drama that don't seem phony or hollow, some fairly strained period ambience, and a bit of sentimental morphing that reminds me of Forrest Gump.
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Ted Fry
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Gripping and satisfying in a way that no mere summer event movie could ever be.
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Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
Launches and climaxes with two of the greatest extended battle sequences ever put on film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Gary Kamiya
Salon.com
January 1, 2000
Using the overpowering techniques of modern film, Steven Spielberg has cut through the glory-tinged gauze that shrouds World War II to reveal its brutal reality, creating a phenomenology of violence unsurpassed in the history of cinema.
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
January 1, 2000
As compelling, intimate and brutally realistic an account of men at war as you've ever seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Robert Horton
Film.com
January 1, 2000
Has 'masterpiece' written all over it.
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Peter Brunette
Film.com
January 1, 2000
A flawed but masterful film.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
January 1, 2000
Spielberg opens in flashback with a half-hour set piece brilliant enough to climax any other masterpiece.
| Original Score: 4/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
For those who are willing to brave the movie's shocking and unforgettable images, Saving Private Ryan offers a singular motion picture experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
January 1, 2000
Despite nearly six decades of filmmakers trying to come to grips with [World War II, Saving Private Ryan] feels like the first truly honest attempt to deal with the horrors of combat -- and the terrible responsibility shared by all survivors.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 1, 2000
Spielberg has captured the hair-trigger instability of modern combat.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Janet Maslin
New York Times
January 1, 2000
A soberly magnificent new war film.
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David Denby
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 1, 2000
Spielberg has taken us back to basics -- back to art, back to amazement at the film medium itself.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
A powerful experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4