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Saving Private Ryan Reviews

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Mark W

Super Reviewer

May 24, 2013
When Steven Spielberg was finally handed a long overdue Oscar in 1993, he received it for tackling the harrowing genocides of World War II in "Schindler's List". So far, he's only received two Best Director Awards and the other was fittingly received when he tackled the battlefields of that very same war in "Saving Private Ryan". Two different film's but equally as powerful as the other.
During WWII, Chief of staff General Marshall (Harve Presnell) is informed of the death of three brothers in different conflicts and that their mother will receive the telegrams at the same time. A fourth brother, Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) is believed to be still alive, somewhere in the French countryside, and the decision is taken to locate him. Captain Miller (Tom Hanks), is given the rescue mission of leading his 2nd Ranger battalion through Nazi occupied territory to find Ryan and send him home.
Spielberg is, quite simply, one of the finest filmmakers that has ever graced the craft. He is, and will continue to be, heralded throughout generations of audiences and that's with very good reason, as he's instilled a sense of awe and unadulterated entertainment for over 40 years now. Despite an impressive backlog of movies that consists of such classics like "Jaws", "Close Encounters...", "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T", the opening 25 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" - where he thrusts us into the 1944 D-Day landings of Omaha Beach - is arguably his most impressive and certainly his most visceral work. It's absolutely exhausting in it's construction and sense of realism and the realisation soon sets in, that this cinematic autuer is not about to pull any punches in portraying a time in history that's very close to his heart. The opening is so commanding that some have criticised the film for not living up this grand and devastating scale but Spielberg has many more up his sleeve. He's just not able to deliver them too close together - otherwise, the film would be absolutely shattering and very difficult to get through. To bridge the gap between breathtaking battles scenes the film falls into a rather conventional storyline about men on a mission but it's only purpose is to keep the film flowing and allows Spielberg the ability to make the brutality of war more personal. Two scenes in particular, are as overwhelming as the opening to the film: the hand-to-hand combat between a German soldier and Private Mellish (played by Adam Goldberg) and the deeply emotional and ironic injuries of T-4 Medic Wade (played by Giovanni Ribisi). These moments in the film are the most difficult to watch but they only really work because we are allowed the time to bond with the characters beforehand and experience the combat with them. Each of them have a particular but very different appeal, making it harder to accept when some of them perish in savage and harrowing circumstances.
The cast also deserve the utmost praise for making the roles their own; the always reliable Hanks is solid in the central role and there are exceptional performances from the first rate support, namely, Barry Pepper and the aforementioned Goldberg and Ribisi, who are all outstanding.
Janusz Kaminski's magnificent cinematography is also starkly delivered; his images are both beautifully and horrifically captured and Spielberg's decision to desaturate the colour and adopt some handheld approaches, add an authenticity that's rarely been captured in the genre and brings another dimension to some of the finest and most realistic battle scenes ever committed to the screen.
There's not much in the way of criticism that I can throw at this near masterpiece, other than Robert Rodat's script; the conventional plot strays into cliche where the Germans are completely stereotypical and there is absolutely no sign of an Allied soldier anywhere. Rodat would have you believe that America fought the war singlehandedly, but despite these discrepancies, the film has so much power that these faults can be overlooked.
One of the darkest chapters in our history is viscerally captured in a raw and uncompromising piece of work from a virtuoso director, tapping into the highest of his abilities. Some may prefer the more fantastical and escapist nature of Spielberg, but for me, this is the finest film he's made.

Mark Walker
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

December 23, 2010
Technically exceptional and surprisingly unsentimental for Spielberg, this is a powerful and intense depiction of the brutality and horrors of war. A marvellous film that makes us deeply care about its characters and shows us that in war there is no honor, only death.
Market Man
Market Man

Super Reviewer

August 2, 2012
I don't think I've ever seen a war film as realistically portrayed as this one. There are scenes in "Saving Private Ryan" that still haunt me. It's filmed in a unique way that draws you into what's going on. You almost experience what the soldiers are going through, that's how powerful it is.
Matthew Samuel M

Super Reviewer

July 28, 2012
A powerful film. It's only misstep is the length; the plot drags a bit, but the impressive action sequences completely absorb the viewer.
Graham J

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2012
The opening beach scene is a shining moment in in war film history. Never has the violence and emotion been so real. With great performances from the entire ensemble, along with Schindler's List, Spielberg shows he reigns supreme when it comes to WWII films.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

October 13, 2010
I remember when "Saving Private Ryan" first hit theaters, some theaters banned children under 17 to go watch the movie, even with their parents. I still remember many of the stories of countless audience members walking out with shuddering and trembling hands as if they were enacted some part in the horrible battles of World War II. This is by far, the best portrayal of the realistic horrors of war ever.

Spielberg takes the war to the audiences through extremely gritty handheld camerawork, cinematography, and raw violence. "Saving Private Ryan" revolutionized the way to incorporate realistic camerawork which sparked a devout following for such impressive camerawork scenes like "Children of Men" and the horrible "Terminator Salvation". The skirmishes the soldiers face in the war is not something to behold as entertainment, but duties that are to be done for the sake of their mission. This movie set the bar for war films. I must warn everyone -- this is not for the faint of heart.

The only downside to this epic is the screenplay outside of these skirmishes; its not that its cheesy -- its just overly simple. Still "Saving Private Ryan" is an arresting spectacle that is to be experienced by any movie-goer due to its convincingly raw portrayal.
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

October 30, 2011
Saving Private Ryan. The best war film i've ever seen. Second only to Jurassic Park as my favorite of Spielberg's films. Tom Hanks plays his role excellently, and one I wouldn't expect him to do after watching Big. An amazing screenplay and realistic action sequences and one of the best ensemble casting i've ever seen. Saving Private Ryan changes the image of the war film genre undoubtedly for future anti war films and is an amazing emotional experience.
jamers2011
jamers2011

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2010
A masterpiece! One of the best war movies ever made.
c0up
c0up

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2012
'Saving Private Ryan'. A stunning portrait of war told from the front line through the beautiful direction of Steven Spielberg.

I've always like Spielberg, but in terms of technical skill in direction, he never stood out. My eyes have been opened. The 25 minute opening sequence is a gritty, arresting, cinematic wonder, portraying the sheer scale of lives lost and the futility of life in the senselessness of war.

I deeply regret not seeing this in a theatre!
KJ P

Super Reviewer

September 25, 2010
I have seen quite a few war films throughout my life, and I have been able to hold on to some of the as some of the best war films ever made. After viewing "Saving Private Ryan," I began to realize what has been missing in my favourites throughout the years, compelling characters that truly left an impact on me, well after the movie ended. As private Ryan's (Matt Damon) three brothers are murdered in the D-Day war, Tom Hanks leads a team of soldiers to tell Mr. Ryan about the tragic occurrence. The government is requesting that he come home and see the rest of his family, but what they don't realize is that his new family is right there with him. This has one of the most riveting stories that I have ever seen on screen, and it is probably the best war film of all time. "Saving Private Ryan" is the only film that I have ever seen, that takes real life situations, places them in a war, makes you believe every character, and dazzles you with war scenes that are maybe a little too realistic. This is one of the best films I've ever seen!
MANUGINO
MANUGINO

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2008
There was only one man left in the family, and the mission was to save him.

Saw it again! Great Film by the great Spielberg. Amazing cinematography, story, editing,acting, simply everything all-around! You need to see this film, the very first part and the end are simply mind-blowing!

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...
Joe M

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2011
How the hell did shakespeare in love beat this movie for the oscar? The academy is retarded.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

July 25, 2006
Very well shot. Very well written. Very well cast. Very well made all together. It's incredibly sad and just gives you a look into what these poor men went though. Either side of the field, these men were told to kill or be killed. The amazing beach invasion really takes you to that place, however my favourite and most shocking shot of the whole film is the aerial of all the white crosses in rows and rows - and that's only a small portion of the people killed. Imagining being in that situation is devastating and makes me thankful to not have to do that. This is all created by Spielberg's fantastic skills with a team that does the war heros justice. A must watch; even if you see it only once.
Jan Marc M

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2011
Raw and realistic, Saving Private Ryan is a violent depiction of World War II by Steven Spielberg enhanced by an outstanding performance by Tom Hanks. A haunting commemorative of the past, Saving Private Ryan incites an intimate inspection of history. Harrowing.
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2011
Saving Private Ryan is tied with Apocalypse Now as my favorite war film ever, and is to this day the best World War 2 film ever. What makes this film so tremendously amazing is the history, the realism, and the plot. After all three of his brothers die in combat the military wants Private James Ryan (matt damon sent home to his mother. They assign the mission to find him to Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men. On the way we learn more and more about these men, and the truth that they feel that this mission might be the most honorable thing they ever do before they die. Saving Private Ryan starts of on the island of Okinawa, and is considered (and I agree) the greatest and most realistic war scene ever made. Tom Hanks leads an amzing cast but Tom steals the show, he is so geniusly realistic and proves he can be emotionly great and can possibly play any role there is to play, and I also think Matt Damon shows near the end what a great actor he is and there is a story about his brothers that always makes me cry. The plot is simple, they must bring back Private Ryan to his mother, but the story is not simple, its a unit traveling and risking there lives for this boy, there pride, and there futures. The war scenes in this film are so realistic and cool that you will have much respect for the men who lost there lives in WW2. Many people have told me that this movie is too vulgar and blloody for them, and all I tell them is that saving Private Ryan is not about blood and culgarity, its about the emotions and the dramatic and heart felt moments, and its about the horrors of war, and of soldiers who had to leave there lives to serve not just there countries, but the world.
Eric A

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2011
Best war film ever made. Period.
Movie Monster
Movie Monster

Super Reviewer

August 10, 2011
Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war films ever made. Its emotional, powerful, intense, well shot, and amazingly realistic. Despite its long length and sickening violence, you will not regret your viewing experience.

In the film, Tom Hanks play Captain John H. Miller, a war captain who leads a group of soldiers on a mission to rescue Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), a survivor of the D-Day attacks. They must risk all to save them.

This is an easy and quick film to review. I'll just go over those things that I mentioned above. This is without a doubt a phenomenal and amazing movie. First, the performances. They are stellar. Tom Hanks is one of those actors who can take on anything. He can make us laugh and bawl. And to believehe got started on a sitcom where he would crossdress? He is just aweosme in this film. Same thing goes for Matt Damon as Private Ryan. Plus, look at some of the supporting cast. Vin Diesel, Bryan Cranston, Giovanni Ribisi, this film didn't get them wher they are now but its nice to see them in it. No bad performances. I love a film like that.

The direction and script work awesomely together. Stephen Spielberg's use of steady cam and epic lighing and sound mixing is one of the most unforgettable aspects of the film. This is the guy who did adventure films like Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and E.T.! Thirty minutes into Saving Private Ryan and we forget whos helming it. Amazing. Plus, Robert Rodat's script is flawless. Many of my favorite quotes came of Tom Hanks. Thanks for that, Rodat! I'm glad that its fiction, that way no historical errors aren't present. The D-Day scene was perfectly done.

The D-Day sequence is so epic, it deserves an entire paragraph in its honor. The scenes leading up to it are fantastic. For those who haven't seen this, I will warn you. This sequence is uneasy to watch. If you try to make edits to the film, the scene would suck. As a result, TNT plays the whole scene uncut and slaps a TV-MA rating on it. Spielberg and the actors create one of the most unforgettable and realisitc scenes in cinema. It is extremely violent and gory, but well done. From the lighting and sound, you will not forget it. I felt like I was there and the way the film illustrates it makes me think that thats how it really went down. It may have gone differently. Thanks, Spielberg.

Lastly, the pacing. The film is one of the longest I've ever seen but the film was set up well. Although, the way the story is told has become a cliche. Don't let that bring you down. Stellar performances, flawless script, and an astonishing shooting style, Saving Private Ryan fails to not fascinate the viewer.

"Picture a girl who took a nosedive from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."
Kase V

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2011
If anyone should have any reason to ever doubt Steven Spielberg and his ability to create movie magic, all you have to do is watch 'Saving Private Ryan'. His ability to create the most realistic and raw experience possible in the WWII setting proves his talent. A documentary couldn't get you closer to war than this. Thanks largely in part to a number of things, including absolutely terrific performances from Hanks, Sizemore, Burns, Damon, Goldberg, and Davies. Easily one of the best casts a movie can offer. Brilliant action pieces and completely convincing special effects make the movie turn into an experience, one like no other you've witnessed before on the big screen. Cinematography is also of the highest quality possible, creating scope and grit within the intensity of the film, as well as everything in between. The perfect film is not possible. But the perfect WWII film? Sure. The greatest war film? Time will tell.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2007
What every one says is true, the 1st 30 min. of this might be some of the greatest war footage ever shot, period: the murderously surreal D-Day landing by the Allies in 1944. The rest of the film's concerned with a group of men who decide to hold a little bridge somewhere in France AND to keep alive one man, no matter the cost, to see him home. A war movie they couldn't've made during the war or even right after it, because this war story was meticulously, surreptitiously crafted in the style of the Twilight Zone (or, more precisely, Spielberg's own Amazing Stories), being a postcard from the front delivered long after the war is over ... from those who died.
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