Saving Private Ryan

1998, War/Drama, 2h 49m

145 Reviews 250,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.

Cast & Crew

Tom Hanks
Captain John H. Miller
Edward Burns
Private Richard Reiben
Tom Sizemore
Sergeant Michael Horvath
Jeremy Davies
Corporal Timothy E. Upham
Vin Diesel
Private Adrian Caparzo
Adam Goldberg
Private Mellish
Barry Pepper
Private Jackson
Giovanni Ribisi
T, 4 Medic Irwin Wade
Matt Damon
Private James Francis Ryan
Dennis Farina
Lieutenant Colonel Anderson
Ted Danson
Captain Fred Hamill
Harve Presnell
General Marshall
Dale Dye
War Department Colonel
Bryan Cranston
Colonel Malcolm's Father
David Wohl
War Department Captain
Paul Giamatti
Sergeant Hill
Ryan Hurst
Paratrooper Mandelsohn
Harrison Young
Ryan (as Old Man)
Ian Bryce
Producer
Bonnie Curtis
Co-Producer
Kevin De La Noy
Associate Producer
Mark Huffam
Associate Producer
John Williams
Original Music
Janusz Kaminski
Cinematographer
Michael Kahn
Film Editor
Thomas E. Sanders
Production Designer
Joanna Johnston
Costume Designer
Tom Brown
Art Direction
Ricky Eyres
Art Direction
Chris Seagers
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for Saving Private Ryan

Audience Reviews for Saving Private Ryan

  • Nov 19, 2015
    "This time the mission is a man." Saving Private Ryan is a powerful and evocative World War II epic from director Steven Spielberg. Dealing with the value of life and the personal toll that war takes on one's humanity, the film addresses some compelling issues. The story follows an American Army unit that's sent to find a paratrooper whose brothers were killed in the Normandy invasion. Starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, and Matt Damon, the film features an all-star cast that gives some incredible performances. And the production values, from the costumes, to the make-up effects, to the cinematography, are extraordinarily well-done. Additionally, John Williams crafts a magnificent score that accentuates the visceral imagery. Delivering a raw and uncompromising depiction of warfare, Saving Private Ryan is a cinematic masterpiece.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 14, 2013
    Easily one of the best war films of all time, Steven Spielberg brings to the screen a representation of WWII's D-day that overwhelms and captivates in the most emotional, realistic, and unforgettable 24-minute opening sequence that blows you away while opening your eyes to the loss of war. "Saving Private Ryan" brings an all-star cast to the screen, led by the terrific Tom Hanks, who embodies Capt. John Miller in a dynamic and breath-taking way. Leading his men on a mission to find a missing private who is set to be sent home after his three brothers have been killed, Miller (Hanks) fights his way through questioning GIs and approaching dangers, in set piece after memorable set piece, revealing more and more about a war over seven decades ago. Every actor plays their part wonderfully, bringing the camaraderie of war to never heights, and opening the door for mini-series like "Band Of Brothers". The writing, especially in dialogue, helps develop this enormous cast of characters in one of the most natural and impressive feats in screenwriting history. Spielberg and his cinematographer encapsulate the unease and unforgiving nature of war and with beautiful landscapes and constant close-ups of the characters, the film will never lose it's antiquity, standing the test of time over decades to come. One of the most memorable achievements in film-making history, to take on the gigantic task of producing this epic for the screen is enough to place Spielberg in the annals of best director of all-time, even on top of his already outstanding work. Never before and not since has there been a more entertaining and thoughtful representation of the war and for that "Saving Private Ryan" remains one of my all-time favorite films and one of the best ever made.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2013
    A classic. My all-time favourite war film. I must have watched this at least ten times now, and I never tire of the strength and emotional depth of this incredibly well made film. Totally awesome.
    Chrisanne C 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
    Mark W Super Reviewer

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