Saving Private Ryan
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Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic war film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat. Set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II, the film is known for its graphic portrayal of war and for the intensity of its second scene of 23 minutes, a depiction of the Omaha Beach assault during the Normandy landings. The film follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, and Jeremy Davies) as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), the last surviving brother of a family of four, with his three other brothers having been killed in action. The film was a co-production between DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Mutual Film Company, with DreamWorks distributing the film in North America while Paramount released the film internationally. The film was released on July 24, 1998.
The film has been preserved in the National Film Registry since 2014.
During the invasion of Normandy, US Army Ranger 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, (Tom Hanks) has been ordered to find 101st Airborne paratrooper Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon) so he could be brought back home; Ryan is the only survivor of four brothers, three of which have been killed in action. He brings six of his fellow Rangers and a 29th Infantry soldier, Corporal Timothy Upham (Jeremy Davies) along with him for the mission. each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
Why It Rocks
- Resurged American interest in World War II history.
- Dramatic scenes and performances.
- Big scale yet frantic, disturbing, and very bloody battle scenes. The Omaha Beach and Ramelle battle scenes are great examples.
- Incredible soundtrack by John Williams.
- A lot of the scenes are very realistic and authentically replicated on what really happened in WWII.
- The uniforms used are all authentic, along with most of the vehicles barring a few German armored vehicles.
- Seeing Ryan as an old man at the beginning (and ending) and when he was younger in the flashback.
- The opening and closing scenes with the American flag blowing in the wind.
- Lots and lots of shaky cam and desaturated colors that have since been imitated in many films and video games.
- Has been criticized for making plenty of historical liberties.
Saving Private Ryan received acclaim from critics and audiences for its performances (particularly from Hanks), realism, cinematography, score, screenplay, and Spielberg's direction, and was placed on many film critics' 1998 top ten lists. The film has a 'certified fresh' rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 139 reviews with an average score of 8.64/10. The consensus states "Anchored by another winning performance from Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg's unflinchingly realistic war film virtually redefines the genre.". Metacritic scores the film a 91/100 "universal acclaim". Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars and described the film as "a powerful experience". Gene Siskel also awarded the film a four stars and stated in his review "In a summer of films with lot of explosions and firepower, "Saving Private Ryan" is the only one with ideas."
The movie is also a commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1998 in the United States with $216.8 million domestically and the second-highest-grossing film of 1998 worldwide with $481.8 million worldwide against its $70 million budget. Additionally, it grossed $44 million from its release on home video in May 1999.
Awards and nominations
The film has won five Academy Awards (Best Director for Spielberg, Best Cinematography for Janusz Kamiński, Best Sound Mixing for Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, and Ron Judkins, Best Film Editing for Michael Kahn, and Best Sound Effects Editing for Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymns); it losing the Best Picture Award to Shakespeare in Love has been criticized.
The film has also won the Saturn Award for Best Action or Adventure Film, the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Director for Spielberg, the BAFTA Awards for Best Special Visual Effects and Best Sound, the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written For a Motion Picture for John Williams, and the Empire Awards for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Director (Spielberg), among many others.
- Quentin Tarantino admired the film and cited it as an inspiration for Inglourious Basterds.