Following the Normandy Landings, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. A group of soldiers are tasked with crossing enemy-lines to retrieve paratrooper, Private James Ryan.
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Possibly Spielberg's greatest directing achievement, and something of a paradox: what can we make of a film that sets out to capture the gravity of war, but by the end has turned into one of the most exhilarating action movies ever made? Which is to say, at its best, it reflects with a humble enough eye to please the ghost of John Ford. At its worst, thinking about it too hard leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
A really well-made film that is undeniably captivating. The camerawork is great and Spielberg's technical ability as a director is remarkable. The opening landing on Omaha Beach is an incredible cinematic achievement. Saving Private Ryan is occasionally overindulgent, especially when dramatic music floats in and out of scenes that are not in and of themselves evocative or emotional.
The films takes a lot of backlash for certain story elements, and I guess I can at least understand some of the complaints.. The actual filmmaking on display here, though, remains spectacular. This is one of those "guidepost" films in my early journey as a young film lover. Best war movie? Definitely not. But I defy to find anything in a war film more iconic or harrowing that the opening scene at Omaha beach.
Falls apart in the end and what Spielberg does to the audience with Upum is awful and repugnant. Taints what could have been a great one. And also, imagine how powerful it would have been if Private Ryan died and hanks lived. Really would have underscored the loss of war instead of the shit at the end with the old man and the family. I was seriously rolling my eyes at that. Really, Spielberg?
I have so much respect for Spielberg. This is one of his best films. It's so incredibly crafted. The performances were fantastic, the score was perfect, the story extremely touching and you couldn't ask for more when it comes to the visuals. Few directors make films that feel so polished like Spielberg does.
14 years after its release, "Saving Private Ryan" stands as one of Spielbergs grand achievements, and makes the overrated "The Hurt Locker" look like a little piece of shit. Truly one of the best, most harrowing, visceral war movies ever made. A+
The film is finally sunk by the apparently unresolvable tension between wanting to be a serious film about the horrors of war and the temptation to make a Really Bitchin’ War Movie with lots of planes and bombs and stuff. Spielberg panders to his audience’s survivor guilt and ends by wagging a finger in our collective face (“Earn This!”). War ultimately winds up being a handy guilt trip to spring on people.