on June 8, 2014
Had it at home in VHS format, many years ago. Bought it to replace that aging media.
Title of the review says: One of the best wwII movies. I'd add a realistic war movie. Realistic as far as D Day can be depicted. Realistic as far as any war is horrible and conveyes undescribable harm and suffering to those involved and to family far away.
Consider BLACK HAWK DOWN (Somalia) more of a documentary, yet depicting war like psychology and resilient leadership.
How to avoid such destructive events? I don't know. Would you want Hitler, or Boko Haram, to have their ways?
And would they want our destructive megalopolists industrials to have theirs ?
on March 15, 2011
The first and last time I watched Saving Private Ryan was in the theatre when it was released. I remember it being quite the experience. But the passage of time had dulled some of the finer points of why this movie is so spectacular. Thankfully, Saving Private Ryan on Blu Ray does a fine point of recreating the movie experience of some years ago. Though the colours are meant to be somewhat muted to create the realism, this film looks superb. However, what really stands out in this Blu Ray is the sound. On my 5.1 surround system, in the battle scenes, the battles were brought right into my living room -- or rather -- my living room was taken out to battle. I could feel the explosions rocking the floor and bullets flying by my head. Battles aside (and they are some of the best ever put on film), this is an emotionally involving story that left a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as the credits rolled at the end. Saving Private Ryan, along with The Deer Hunter, Platoon, and Apocalypse Now, is one of the great war films. Speilberg created a great piece of cinema and this blu ray showcases it in its full glory.
on November 23, 2013
For a recognition that war is hell, this film shows it. The dilemmas faced by men where no matter which way is chosen, it can be argued that the decision is both right in some ways and equally wrong in its other effects, and sometimes there is no totally right answer, no matter how serious the dilemma.
on May 9, 2010
This blu ray edition makes a great movie even greater. The film is supposed to maintain the directors intended wash out look but I find it slighlty more colorful than previous dvd editions ( this is not a bad thing). The picture is crisp and detailed and the audio is superb. Definitely worth the upgrade if you are a fan.
on March 26, 2004
Beautifully shot, especially the opening sequence on D-Day, but ultimately, there's one glaring flaw in this movie. Steven Spielberg just doesn't understand the army. If the Chief of Staff wanted to pull a private out of a line unit in another theater of operations, he wouldn't dispatch a squad of rangers to go traipsing around the French countryside to find him. The C-of-S would contact the theater commander, who would then contact the corps commander, who would contact the division commander, the brigade commander, the battalion commander and finally, the company commander, who would send his first sergeant to find the soldier and get him out of the Area of Operations, or AO. In fact, this is how it happened to the real private Ryan (it's documented in the book, "Band of Brothers"). Why does this matter? Because the rangers spend most of the movie complaining about how the army clearly values this Private Ryan's life over theirs, and if a commander ordered them on a mission like this, they'd be right, but no commander with half a brain would do it.
It's important to remember that when he was first promoting it, Spielberg tried to sell Private Ryan as an antiwar movie, and in antiwar epics, American officers do blown-brain things like wasting lives for no reason. The reality is that most commanders won't send their men out on pointless missions, but don't try to sell that in Hollywood.
on July 11, 2004
Most of us expect a low-rate, pointless and overall tacky war movie from today's money-hungry industry, but SPR has done well in distancing itself from our presumptions. If you've never seen it before, than you'll be surprised at how well the movie is puit together. Aside from the usual modern-day method of pumping a movie full of A-List actors, a predictable script, less-than-impressive direction, irrelevent acting, and the overall novelty that one can come to expect of supposed dramas of today's glamour industry.
The story follows Captain John H. Miller and his team, including a sniper, a medic, an Arab, a surly private, and an acceptable Vin Diesel, to rescue James F. Ryan, a private in a paratrooper squad whose three brothers have been killed in action. A mission susceptible to much protest, and ultimately one that will cost many lives.
Everything about the movies feels as if it was done right. The overall atmosphere feels right, and it makes you feel as if you're sitting inside the movie--you can almost feel the moisture of the air seething through your clothes or the subtle sunshine warm your shoulders and forehead. The acting is very good as well, although you can spot some parts where improvement wouldn't hurt and it at times feels tacky and stunted. The direction is done well, as the actors can easily pass as soldiers, but the aforementioned cut corners could bring you away from the total immersion and feeling.
Saving Private Ryan is very worthwhile, and any war movie buff in his right mind would praise it as innovative and a revival of the genre.
on June 26, 2004
First off, I think this is a great movie. Tom Hanks is awesome and so is Tom Sizemore. The production shots are memorable and even, at one point, include a beach scene viewed through blood on the camera lens. The first 20 minutes are absolutely hypnotizing. However, I take exception with the portrayal of Americans shooting those Germans who wished to surrender. This undoubtedly occurred but it was a very rare circumstance. Here it happened three times within a company of 200 men.
Guy Sager, in his "Forgotten Soldier," documented that Wermacht soldiers like himself intentionally sought out Americans for the purposes of surrender. To suggest otherwise is fallacious. Also, Edward Burns character seems more suited to the post-sixties "question authority" environment than to WW II. America was different at that time. This was the Greatest Generation. Not the "me" generation. Burns is misplaced. I also thought the cowardice of Ryan at the end was contrived. He was an experienced soldier by June of 1944 and was unlikely to behave as he did, but, even with my misgivings, I'd be a fool not to recommend this film.
on April 17, 2004
The opening sequence of this film alone is worth the purchase price. Without doubt it is the most wrenching, realistic combat sequence ever filmed. Many of the incidents associated with the landing are lifted from Steven Ambrose's excellent book, D Day, since he was a technical advisor to Speilberg. However, to a military man what gives the landing scene amazing verisimilitude is the professionalism of the company commander and his first sergeant, each in separate landing craft. Hanks, who plays the Ranger company commander, is shaking from accumulated combat stress to the point that he is barely able to drink from a canteen. Yet he maintains his composure, cares for his men, and most importantly focuses on accomplishment of his mission despite a landing degenerated into chaos.
Next to a parachute drop the most confusing entry into a battlefield is across a hostile beach. No where is this better portrayed than in Saving Private Ryan. Throughout the film the character, courage and depth of American fighting men is exemplified and respected.
The plot is taken from fact. A soldier in the 101st Airborne lost a brother in the China-Burma-India Theater, another on Utah Beach and a third with the 82nd. In reality a message was sent to the commander of the 101st, General Max Taylor, and the soldier was evacuated across the beach. In Saving Private Ryan, the story becomes a metaphor for the war itself. In what seems a confusing statement Hank's sergeant says 'This could be the best thing we've ever done.' The viewer is uncertain if he is referring to the last, frantic battle to defend a bridge - a critical invasion choke point - or saving Ryan. Or both. That is just one of several mysterious facets that keeps you coming back to the film. What does he really mean here? It is much more than simply an adventure story though as such it can hardly be equalled.
Speilberg has said that he intended this to be an anti-war film. That is also confusing in that his Jewish prisoners were rescued by an Allied advance in Shindler's List and would have died without victory in the war. Perhaps he is caught up in some PC. Nonetheless, these are nits and do not detract from the overall impact of the film.
You will want to see this again, so you need to own it.
on April 14, 2004
"Saving Private Ryan" is a 5 star movie but this DVD version is substandard. There are a few instances during the heavy fighting after the guys get past the beach and start fighting the Germans and the fire sequences STREAK and have STRIPES, LINES and BANDS on the screen while watching the movie. It is a poor quality and shoddy transfer of the film - I'm sure that there was a huge batch of these DVDs that got past quality control and I was just very unlucky because I bought this in October, 2003, sent it back for replacement, and the second one is as bad as the first - It was exactly the same with all the same imperfections. So, I just gave up and kept it. I saw the movie at the theater and on TV and never remember these flaws in the movie. It's very noticeable and irritating but once those scenes are over, the DVD is OK and the quality is great. I would like to know if I'm the only person that received a poor transfer of this DVD because it's really strange to receive 2 separate DVDs with the same defect. So, because of my experience with this movie, I recommend you wait and buy the new version coming out on May 25, 2004 called: "Saving Private Ryan (D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition)". I wish I had waited but never knew this newer version was coming out.
on April 2, 2004
Some people advise others to close their eyes during the loooong opening scene of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. That would be a mistake. Yes, it's carnage, it's horrible, it's relentless, it's bloody, it's random death, it's a portrayal of fear and courage and raw coincidence. But it's also one of the most powerful pieces of cinematography ever filmed.
There are many other scenes that have stayed with me during the years since I last saw this unforgettable film, perhaps Spielberg's best ever. Perhaps the most poignant one that comes immediately to mind is the woman whose sons are all away at war. She's on a remote farm, washing dishes, and thru her window she sees the dust of approaching cars. She goes outside to meet the visitors, tenses as she sees military brass and a chaplain step from the cars, then crumples wordlessly to the worn boards of her front porch as she tries to take in the news: all her boys have been killed, except for one: Private Ryan.
Another related scene, the one that came just before this one, is equally gut-wrenching (and in both scenes, there is no dialogue, just heart-stabbing visuals that are more powerful than any words could have been) as a woman charged with sending out letters of the We Regret to Inform You variety realizes that she's seen three letters with the same address within the past few days, and she takes this terrible proof to her supervisor - and thus is born the search for the surviving son, to bring him home to his momma.
Tom Hanks, with his own persona of morality and honesty, is perfectly cast as the good Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier charged with this onerous task, and of course there is terrible cost.
Saving Private Ryan is the film Spielberg HAD to make. Outstanding, in every possible way.