Saving Private Ryan

User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 817 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 817

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Aug 5, 2016
    10
    Прекрасный,интересный,крутой,замечательный фильм,кхм что ж начнём,актерская одна их самых лучших что я видел,спецэффекты на высоте,интересный сюжет,как не посмотри этот фильм просто прекрасен,смысла рассказывать о всех плюсах нет,так-как все уже давно сказано 10/10Прекрасный,интересный,крутой,замечательный фильм,кхм что ж начнём,актерская одна их самых лучших что я видел,спецэффекты на высоте,интересный сюжет,как не посмотри этот фильм просто прекрасен,смысла рассказывать о всех плюсах нет,так-как все уже давно сказано 10/10
  2. Jul 28, 2016
    10
    Saving Private Ryan does an incredible job at depicting what WW2 was like and the effects it had. The movie beautifully immerses you into each battle through its cinematography, great performances, practical sets and effects, and production design. The direction, writing, and music are all top notch as well. This is a must see movie for all.
  3. Apr 4, 2016
    9
    'Saving Private Ryan': A Soberly Magnificent New War Film.

    When soldiers are killed in "Saving Private Ryan," their comrades carefully preserve any message he left behind. Removed from the corpses of the newly dead, sometimes copied over to hide bloodstains, these writings surely describe some of the fury of combat, the essence of spontaneous courage, the craving for solace, the bizarre
    'Saving Private Ryan': A Soberly Magnificent New War Film.

    When soldiers are killed in "Saving Private Ryan," their comrades carefully preserve any message he left behind. Removed from the corpses of the newly dead, sometimes copied over to hide bloodstains, these writings surely describe some of the fury of combat, the essence of spontaneous courage, the craving for solace, the bizarre routines of wartime existence, the deep loneliness of life on the brink.

    Steven Spielberg's soberly magnificent new war film, the second such pinnacle in a career of magical versatility, has been made in the same spirit of urgent communication. It is the ultimate devastating letter home.

    Since the end of World War II and the virtual death of the western, the combat film has disintegrated into a showcase for swagger, cynicism, obscenely overblown violence and hollow, self-serving victories. Now, with stunning efficacy, Spielberg turns back the clock. He restores passion and meaning to the genre with such whirlwind force that he seems to reimagine it entirely, dazzling with the breadth and intensity of that imagination. No received notions, dramatic or ideological, intrude on this achievement. This film simply looks at war as if war had not been looked at before.

    Though the experience it recounts is grueling, the viscerally enthralling "Saving Private Ryan" is anything but. As he did in "Schindler's List," Spielberg uses his preternatural storytelling gifts to personalize the unimaginable, to create instantly empathetic characters and to hold an audience spellbound from the moment the action starts. Though the film essentially begins and ends with staggering, phenomenally agile battle sequences and contains isolated violent tragedies in between, its vision of combat is never allowed to grow numbing. Like the soldiers, viewers are made furiously alive to each new crisis and never free to rest.

    The film's immense dignity is its signal characteristic, and some of it is achieved though deliberate elision. We don't know anything about these men as they prepare to land at Omaha Beach on D-Day, which might make them featureless in the hands of a less intuitive filmmaker. Here, it means that any filter between audience and cataclysm has effectively been taken away.

    The one glimmer of auxiliary information is the image of an elderly visitor at a military cemetery, which opens and closes the film (though these brief sequences lack the film's otherwise shattering verisimilitude). Whoever the man is, he sees the gravestones and drifts into D-Day memories. On the evidence of what follows, he can hardly have gone to sleep since June 6, 1944, without reliving these horrors in his dreams.

    Though "Saving Private Ryan" is liable to be described as extremely violent for its battle re-enactments, that is not quite the case. The battle scenes avoid conventional suspense and sensationalism; they disturb not by being manipulative but by being hellishly frank. Imagine Hieronymus Bosch with a Steadicam (instead of the immensely talented Janusz Kaminski), and you have some idea of the tableaux to emerge here, as the film explodes into panoramic yet intimate visions of bloodshed.

    What's unusual about this, in both the D-Day sequence and the closing struggle, is its terrifying reportorial candor. These scenes have a sensory fullness (the soundtrack is boomingly chaotic yet astonishingly detailed), a realistic yet breakneck pace, a ceaseless momentum and a vast visual scope. Artful, tumultuous warfare choreography heightens the intensity. So do editing decisions that balance the ordeal of the individual with the mass attack under way.

    In another beautifully choreographed sequence, shot with obvious freshness and alacrity, the soldiers talk while marching though the French countryside. On the way, they establish strong individual identities and raise the film's underlying questions about the meaning of sacrifice. Spielberg and screenwriter Robert Rodat have a way of taking these standard-issue characters and making them unaccountably compelling.

    The sparing use of John Williams' music sustains the tension in scenes, like these, that need no extra emphasis. But "Saving Private Ryan" does have a very few false notes. Like the cemetery scenes, the capture of a German soldier takes a turn for the artificial, especially when the man expresses his desperation through broad clowning. But in context, such a jarring touch is actually a relief. It's a reminder that, after all, "Saving Private Ryan" is only a movie. Only the finest war movie of our time.
    Expand
  4. Mar 31, 2016
    9
    What a stunning piece of film by Spielberg who pulled yet another show-stopper with this one, and although I'm very much late to the crowd, that matter certainly did not take away from how breathtaking this film really is. From the opening scenes to the final scenes, from start to finish you're enthralled in this battlefield full of non-stop action and guns and despite the continuousWhat a stunning piece of film by Spielberg who pulled yet another show-stopper with this one, and although I'm very much late to the crowd, that matter certainly did not take away from how breathtaking this film really is. From the opening scenes to the final scenes, from start to finish you're enthralled in this battlefield full of non-stop action and guns and despite the continuous carnage, you remain engaged and that comes down to the phenomenal cast list, which features the talents of Hanks, Damon, Cranston, Vin Diesel and many, many more that tie together to form such a chemistry that you feel a connection, a sense of empowerment and togetherness about it all. Not only this, but you have the dynamic techniques used in the way that this is film and the epanalepsis of this blurred vision for Miller when it seems as though all is lost. It's a film that really has you on the edge of your seat and despite it all being for one mere soldier, who's family have looked death right in the eye, it keeps you going and wanting to know how this will all unravel. There's only so much I can say, and that certainly doesn't imply that that is a bad thing because this movie has quickly become one of my favourites of all time.

    So, if you're a late viewer like me and your yet to watch this marvel of film by Spielberg then be sure to free a night and sit back and enjoy a masterclass in film-making because it is something to behold, that's for sure.
    Expand
  5. Mar 27, 2016
    9
    Saving Private Ryan” relates the kind of wartime stories that fathers never tell their families. A searingly visceral combat picture, Steven Spielberg’s third World War II drama is arguably second to none as a vivid, realistic and bloody portrait of armed conflict, as well as a generally effective intimate drama about a handful of men on a mission of debatable value in the middle of theSaving Private Ryan” relates the kind of wartime stories that fathers never tell their families. A searingly visceral combat picture, Steven Spielberg’s third World War II drama is arguably second to none as a vivid, realistic and bloody portrait of armed conflict, as well as a generally effective intimate drama about a handful of men on a mission of debatable value in the middle of the war’s decisive action.

    Plunging the viewer headlong into battle in a manner akin to some of the more intense Vietnam films, such as “Platoon,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Hamburger Hill,” but quite rare for a World War II drama, Spielberg wrenchingly presents combat from the grunt’s p.o.v. as it is fought inch by inch, bullet by bullet, in all its arbitrariness and surreality. Whatever else there is to say about the picture, what remains in the mind is the transforming fear, the sound of ammunition ripping into flesh and metal, the sight of bodies being blown apart, the relentlessness of the pressure and tension, the immense suffering, the feeling of always being on the brink. In retrospect, qualities such as heroism and bravery can be ascribed to the actions of soldiers, the film suggests, but in the moment there is only necessity.

    After a brief prologue featuring an older man silently leading his family into the vast military cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, pic drops the audience onto a U.S. landing craft getting ready to unload the first GIs to hit the beach on June 6, 1944. From the opening moments, the anxiety and fiercely discomforting conditions are underlined, and as soon as the gate opens, the German artillery comes raining down.

    Many men are mowed down before they can take three steps, but Capt. John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad — Sgt. Horvath (Tom Sizemore), Pvts. Reiben (Edward Burns), Jackson (Barry Pepper), Mellish (Adam Goldberg) and Caparzo (Vin Diesel) and Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi) — painstakingly make it past the many obstacles and are finally able to take one of the enemy’s concrete pillboxes on top of the bluff. Nonstop action lasts 24 minutes, and every one of them is infinitely more intense than anything in the standard work on D-Day, “The Longest Day.”

    Robert Rodat’s original screenplay thus transforms to a mission format. Taking on a skinny, timid translator, Cpl. Upham (Jeremy Davies), who has never seen combat, the group, which has previously seen action in North Africa and Italy, treads gingerly through territory that is still riddled with Nazis, as they discover when they come upon a bombed-out village and the first of them is killed.

    Such tentative attempts at philosophizing and stabs at profundity succeed in raising some issues that aren’t often considered these days, but they still don’t begin to lend the film the kind of weight in the intellectual arena that would match the action of its purely physical sequences.

    Unquestionably, the picture strives to delineate a morality of decency and righteousness in a context defined by hate and inhumanity, but the speechifying here can’t compare in power to the brute force of warfare, which is sufficient commentary by itself.

    Finally, nearly two hours in, the squad locates Pvt. Ryan (Matt Damon), who complicates the mission even further by refusing to return, insisting that he has orders of his own to continue fighting. As it happens, a devastated village nearby contains a bridge that must be held, and Miller orders Ryan to stay by him as they try to prevent the Nazis from taking it. What follows is yet another ferocious and protracted battle sequence, small in scale and numbers but gripping in its details, surprises and the way the chaos of fighting is strikingly conveyed. Epilogue connects once again to the personal tribute being paid by the contemporary visitor to Normandy.

    Using his technical virtuosity to the utmost, Spielberg is pushing here to claim new ground for himself and for a revival of the World War II film, and scores strongly on both counts. Opting out of the black-and-white of “Schindler’s List” and the longstanding images of the war, Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski have desaturated the color in a way that strikingly emphasizes the pale greens of the uniforms and landscapes, blue-grays of the water and skies, and flesh tones; in this context, the red of the blood always jumps out. Frequent hand-held shots add to the intimacy and impact, while a shuttering device makes some of the action appear a bit jumpy, even pixilated, creating an effect that is both ultra-vivid and somewhat jarring.

    John Williams’ score is sparing, with music avoided entirely for long stretches but coming into its own elsewhere, notably over the final credits.

    Essentially, Spielberg has made an amazing piece of pure, visceral cinema, akin to a great silent film, in which the words are basically superfluous. No further commentary is needed when the raw brutality of combat is presented as indelibly as it is here.
    Expand
  6. Mar 22, 2016
    9
    You can forget both the creepy "The Last Great Invasion Of The Last Great War" tagline and the slow-motion, feel-good trailers created for Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. They're advertising a different movie. Saving Private Ryan is a brutal film, free of the gooey-eyed romanticism suggested by its promotional campaign. In fact, large portions of Saving Private Ryan are given toYou can forget both the creepy "The Last Great Invasion Of The Last Great War" tagline and the slow-motion, feel-good trailers created for Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. They're advertising a different movie. Saving Private Ryan is a brutal film, free of the gooey-eyed romanticism suggested by its promotional campaign. In fact, large portions of Saving Private Ryan are given to calling into question the attitudes played upon by its ads. Tom Hanks plays an American army captain who, after taking part in the invasion of Normandy—portrayed here in what are likely some of the most viscerally affecting scenes ever put to film—is ordered to find the titular Private Ryan (Matt Damon), a paratrooper whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose three brothers have died in the war. As they travel deeper into the war zone, the soldiers Hanks leads on the mission (Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, and others) question their public-relations-oriented task. Packed with about as many moral ambiguities as a Spielberg movie can handle, Saving Private Ryan provides a startling grunt's-eye view of war, refusing to subscribe to simplistic, blindly patriotic notions of honor and duty while working toward an understanding of what those words really mean. Of the many fine supporting performances, Davies (Spanking The Monkey, Going All The Way) is particularly notable as a dangerously innocent translator. By the time Saving Private Ryan wins the Best Picture Oscar next year, it will probably be smothered in the sort of overstated, reverent praise that can obscure any movie, no matter how good. Calling it the greatest war movie ever made does a disservice to other, equally worthwhile, lower-profile films (Sam Fuller's The Big Red One, for instance). But it's still an excellent movie, as effective in battle scenes as it is in that of soldiers ruminating on an Edith Piaf song. It should be seen for what it is while it still can be. Expand
  7. Mar 16, 2016
    9
    EXCELLENT
    The Best World War II movie I've seen yet and one of Spielberg's best.
    It' just a great and realistic war epic that will be remembered forever.
  8. Jan 19, 2016
    9
    It doesn't take completely like almost hours for the movie to finish up without hating on it or being bored of it. Likely, Saving Private Ryan is a success that lives up the name of war.
  9. Jan 12, 2016
    7
    One of Spielberg’s longest and finest, and that first part might be its major disadvantage. ’Saving Private Ryan’ captures the realistic darkness of humanity and its struggle against the basic morality of right and wrong. Spielberg portrayals death through his smart directing, and never stops to seize the audience through these never ending up-growing characters, due to the fact that weOne of Spielberg’s longest and finest, and that first part might be its major disadvantage. ’Saving Private Ryan’ captures the realistic darkness of humanity and its struggle against the basic morality of right and wrong. Spielberg portrayals death through his smart directing, and never stops to seize the audience through these never ending up-growing characters, due to the fact that we barely understand what they’re going through, but somehow never stop to relate to them. It definitely is Oscar-worthy, but it got much more to tell about the dark side of humanity rather than on the war itself; so don’t expect a Michael Bay flick, and it sure isn’t flawless. The motivation why to save Ryan isn't perfect, and the vast amount of characters drags the depth of the main & excellent ones down. But it’s both a major technical & moral achievement.

    Personal rating: 74/100
    Critical rating: 92/100
    Expand
  10. Jan 7, 2016
    10
    Another masterpiece from Steven Spielberg! He shows the true face war, humanity and veterans! Amazing acting, superb story and great soundtrack from John Williams makes this movie a MUST WATCH!
  11. Jan 4, 2016
    9
    Despite receiving universal critical praise in the US, Saving Private Ryan is not as perfect as everyone's claiming. Yet Spielberg's fourth foray into World War Two does deserve much of the hype, as it contains the most believably shocking combat sequences ever seen. It's also the kind of movie that attracts review quotes which pant: "Powerful, honest, moving..." But is this descriptionDespite receiving universal critical praise in the US, Saving Private Ryan is not as perfect as everyone's claiming. Yet Spielberg's fourth foray into World War Two does deserve much of the hype, as it contains the most believably shocking combat sequences ever seen. It's also the kind of movie that attracts review quotes which pant: "Powerful, honest, moving..." But is this description accurate?

    Without doubt, the intensity, attention to detail and sheer volume of combat footage make it a powerful and disturbing experience. The opening 25-minute Omaha Beach battle may be the largest in scale, but it's a blip compared with the closing conflict, which rages for 50 minutes. Around half the total running-time is combat.

    And what combat it is, with the visceral madness of warfare highlighted by a jittery hand-held documentary style. Shots of wildly differing exposures are cut together as the viewpoint trips and stumbles across the battlefield without pause to wipe mud, blood and water off the lens. The way each dismemberment and explosion is almost missed gives the impression that Spielberg is capturing only a fraction of the carnage.

    Omaha Beach is a shambolic strip of misery bordered on one side by barbed wire and on the other by red waves and dead fish. Soldiers are burned up or chopped into meaty slabs rather than being punched by neat Hollywood holes. Ryan's war is relentless and breathtaking, its battle scenes an exemplary example of faultless movie-making.

    But whether or not this is an honest account of World War Two is some-thing the glowing American reviews have ignored. And although the combat realism and period authenticity can't be questioned, other things will stick in the throats of non-American audiences.

    Take the no-show of any Allies. While this is forgivable for Omaha Beach (a uniquely American cock-up), it's harder to explain as Captain Miller's eight-man unit move inland. Where are the British, the French, the Polish or the Canadians?

    German audiences will likewise be weary at the continuing portrayal of the `master race'. The Americans are a likable blend of doe-eyed teenagers, corn-fed midwesterners and Deep South good ol' boys. When they're killed it's tragic, when they're wounded they cry out for water, morphine or their mothers. But when a German's killed, it's just another dead Nazi, shot down despite his shaven-head, jutting square jaw and piercing, blue eyes. An unbiased historical document? Yeah, right.

    Is Saving Private Ryan moving? Unaccountably, no. Beyond the horror of the visuals, the intervening hours fail to tug the heart strings. We're given a single defined sympathetic character, Hanks' Captain Miller. His inner torment is etched on Hanks' face in what must be another Oscar nominee role. But his unit are presented as a sketchy band of combat clichés: a cocky New Yorker, the dependable Sarge, a whining Jewish kid and a cowardly translator. As Ryan, Damon has barely a scene to act before he's plunged into the fighting.

    The 'plot' is nothing more than a sequence of events glued together. Between the opening and closing mini-apocalypses, there's a slow-paced, occasionally dull and average meander that pales in comparison with many older war movies. That Edward Zwick's brilliant Glory packs a dozen rounded characters, three massive battles and heart-swelling scenes of horror, courage and sacrifice into two hours really does expose Saving Private Ryan as a bloated and frequently empty experience.

    The end result is frustratingly patchy, equally brilliant and lacklustre, and delivers a profoundly mixed message. Are we meant to think that war is an impersonal meat-grinder as in the opening battle, or that a few good men can make a difference, as in the climax? Spielberg set out to make the definitive war movie. He ended up making a grown-up Indiana Jones film with several must-see combat scenes.

    Spielberg's triumph is to confront a blood-lust audience and make them flinch at the horror of non-Hollywood reality. But this is no Schindler's List. Technically, it may be the best-made war movie yet, but dramatically, it barely delivers.
    Expand
  12. Nov 30, 2015
    10
    BEST.FILM./MOVIE.EVER.

    Seriously. It's like you need great example of 11/10 film. And, of course II World War was one of my favorite topics in school. You will love moments, when from Idyllic calm action goes to shooting. In my opinion it is great.
  13. Nov 29, 2015
    10
    An anti-war movie showing the needless deaths of a squad of soldiers trying to save one soldier whose other brothers have all been killed. I didn't know things like this happened during WW2. We see a humanitarian gesture repaid by death. Who said "War is Hell"? I don't have many DVDs but this one is in my collection.
  14. Sep 28, 2015
    10
    Saving Private Ryan is the best war movie ever made and one of the best in general in the movie history.
    This movie is very realistic and shows how the war is very ugly and there's nothing heroic about it.It shows the sufferings of the characters and the way they deal with certain real situations.It is also perfectly shot and directed,as Spielberg did an incredible job here.Even the hand
    Saving Private Ryan is the best war movie ever made and one of the best in general in the movie history.
    This movie is very realistic and shows how the war is very ugly and there's nothing heroic about it.It shows the sufferings of the characters and the way they deal with certain real situations.It is also perfectly shot and directed,as Spielberg did an incredible job here.Even the hand held camera work is believable and it takes it to a whole new level of realism.It truly gets ugly,with deaths all over the place and by the end you are very invested on some of the characters,especially the main one played by the awesome Tom Hanks,Captain Miller.This characters is so well developed and interesting that it makes you root for him all the way through,and that is a great thing.
    The effects are really good and realistic,as everything else in the movie,and also the movie does change directions a couple of times,but each time is a smart change and an interesting one.
    The actors do an amazing job here,besides Tom Hanks,there's also Tom Sizemore who impressed me so much,and I loved him on the role.Matt Damon is also very good,and so is every single one else.
    This movie succeeds at every level and everything it was going for,it is a near perfect movie with realistic portrayal of the war and its ugliness.I really love this movie,it is one of my all time favorites.
    Expand
  15. May 9, 2015
    10
    Devastating. If, for some reason, I was asked to write a one-word review of Saving Private Ryan, that would be the term I would use. As was true of director Steven Spielberg's other masterpiece, Schindler's List, the impact of this motion picture must be experienced; it cannot be adequately described. No film since last year's The Sweet Hereafter has left such a searing and indelibleDevastating. If, for some reason, I was asked to write a one-word review of Saving Private Ryan, that would be the term I would use. As was true of director Steven Spielberg's other masterpiece, Schindler's List, the impact of this motion picture must be experienced; it cannot be adequately described. No film since last year's The Sweet Hereafter has left such a searing and indelible imprint on my mind and soul. This movie did not need to be released at the end of the year to be considered for a flood of Oscar nominations; it's so forceful that no one who sees it will be able to forget it -- not even Academy members with two-month memory spans.

    Saving Private Ryan opens with a 30-minute cinematic tour de force that is without a doubt one of the finest half-hours ever committed to film. This sequence, a soldier's-eye view of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, is brilliant not only in terms of technique but in the depth of viewer reaction it generates. It is certainly the most violent, gory, visceral depiction of war that I have ever witnessed on screen. Spielberg spares the viewer nothing of the horrors of battle, using every tactic at his disposal to convey the chaos and senseless waste that lies at the core of any engagement. We are presented with unforgettable, bloody images of bodies being cut to pieces by bullets, limbs blown off, entrails spilling out, and a variety of other assorted examples of carnage. And, when the tide comes in with the waves breaking on the body-strewn beach, the water is crimson. Those who are at all squeamish will find the opening of Saving Private Ryan unbearable. This aspect of the film almost earned it an NC-17 rating; only the fact that Spielberg rigorously avoids even a hint of exploitation convinced the MPAA to award an R.

    In addition to showing what happens when projectiles rip into the soft flesh of the human body, the director employs other methods to capture the essence of battle - hand-held cameras, a slight speeding up of the images, muted colors, and several different kinds of film stock. Put it all together, and it adds up to a dizzying, exhausting assault on the senses. As good as the rest of Saving Private Ryan is, and it's very good, the D-Day attack on Omaha Beach is the sequence that everyone will remember most clearly.

    Most World War II movies fall into one of two categories: heroic tales of glory and valor or biopics (my all-time favorite film, Patton, falls in the latter camp). Saving Private Ryan is neither. Instead, it's a condemnation of war wrapped in a tale of human courage and sacrifice. In many ways, the picture painted by this movie is more grim than the one Oliver Stone presented in Platoon, which has often been cited as the most daring anti-war film to come out of Hollywood. Saving Private Ryan quickly and brutally dispels the notion that war is anything but vicious, demoralizing violence that makes a cruel joke out of the human body and spirit. Although the film is only loosely based on a true incident, it's hard not to accept these characters and events as real.

    With Saving Private Ryan set alongside Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg, once known as a purveyor of well-crafted-but-lightweight feel-good fare, has given us two of the decade's most gripping, disturbing, and powerful motion pictures. I consider Schindler's List to be one of the most amazing movies I have ever experienced, and, in many ways, Saving Private Ryan is its equal. Although both films take place during the same time period, they focus on different ideas. Schindler's List personifies good (Schindler) and evil (Amon Goeth), and plays out the struggle against a tragic backdrop. In Saving Private Ryan, there are no human villains, and the enemy isn't so much the Germans as it is the implacable, destructive specter of war. The film's central question (When is one life more important than another?) is never really answered. For those who are willing to brave the movie's shocking and unforgettable images, Saving Private Ryan offers a singular motion picture experience. I will be surprised if another film tops it for the best of 1998.
    Expand
  16. May 4, 2015
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Throughout film history, there’s been a constant fascination with war. As new documentaries on the two great World Wars appear every year, so do films on similar events. From All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) to the recently released Fury (2014), Hollywood’s interest in depicting war shows no signs of slowing down. Spielberg’s 1998 epic Saving Private Ryan fits in a long line of war epics attempting to depict the horrors of war in a realistic manner. SPR does this exceptionally well…for the duration of roughly 20 minutes.

    The film starts with an old man visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial with his family. He stops at a specific gravestone and collapses in tears. The camera focuses on his eyes and the film flashes back to D-Day with a depiction of the Omaha Beach landing that has to be seen to be believed. This prolonged sequence is the film’s and Spielberg’s crowning achievement. After the allied forces break through, the film cuts back to events on American soil. At the War Department of the United States it becomes apparent that three of four sons of the Ryan family have been killed. The mother is about to receive this tragic news in the form of three letters being sent simultaneously. A General has this brought to his attention and – remembering how Abraham Lincoln offered his heartfelt condolences to a mother in similar circumstances – orders his officers to find the remaining son (Matt Damon), who’s somewhere in Normandy, and bring him home. Enter Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) who, having just survived the beach landing, is given the mission, gathers a small group of soldiers and – with some reservations about the importance of the mission when juxtaposed with the big picture – they all head further into Normandy in search of a single soldier.

    As I suggested in the beginning, the extensive Omaha Beach sequence is (unsurprisingly) the reason why we're still talking about this film. The amount of planning required for this scene must have been incredible and yet the entire scene still feels ‘unplanned’ and appropriately chaotic. It wouldn’t be a stretch to name this sequence the reason the film’s been showered with Academy Awards. Other aspects like acting and especially the cinematography and production design are also praiseworthy, but that’s pretty much where it ends for me.

    I find the rest of the film to be something of a mixed bag. It chronicles Miller and co’s search for Private Ryan and all the hardships they endure along the way. The main problem I have with the rest of the film is that it feels contrived. The Omaha Beach sequence is at once the film’s saving grace and the reason the rest of the film pales by comparison. Not that the rest of the film has nothing to offer dramatically, it does, but it all feels too calculated, too contrived and convenient as opposed to the radical and chaotic opening scene. For instance, you expect the soldiers to bond over the course of their journey before some of them die and how this is all supposed to elicit our sympathy. You see this coming long before it happens and it’s thus not as impactful as it should be. And what about the oh-so dramatic pause right before the sniper in the tower is shot by a tank’s cannon, designed so that we can symbolically say goodbye; Miller’s clichéd reference to his wife gardening with his gloves (all that’s missing are the images of white-picket fences); Ryan’s two-minute monologue – supposed to elicit our sympathy – which comes across as incredibly awkward; the fact that Miller is shot by the same German whom he showed mercy to several scenes ago and that it’s the bookish Upham (of all people) who ‘earns his stripes’ by conveniently killing him; old Ryan saluting Miller’s grave while trumpets hum patriotically in the background; the fact that the filmmakers did the oh-so (for lack of a better word) ‘American’ thing by bookending the film with shots of the American flag softly lit by the afternoon sun, etc, etc. All these scenes and more reveal a script purposefully crafted to the point of dramatic perfection…and that’s not a compliment. Why does the Omaha Beach sequence still amaze after all these years? Because it represents the horrors of war in purely visual terms. There is no dramatic logic, only chaos; bodies and limbs flying everywhere, soldiers whimpering and screaming. There are no allied soldiers and Nazis, just people trying to survive. The rest of the film with all its carefully calculated drama doesn’t come within a country mile of effectively conveying the same sense of horror.

    Lucas Versantvoort
    http://deepfocusreviews.blogspot.nl
    Expand
  17. Apr 24, 2015
    10
    Devastating. If, for some reason, I was asked to write a one-word review of Saving Private Ryan, that would be the term I would use. As was true of director Steven Spielberg's other masterpiece, Schindler's List, the impact of this motion picture must be experienced; it cannot be adequately described. No film since last year's The Sweet Hereafter has left such a searing and indelibleDevastating. If, for some reason, I was asked to write a one-word review of Saving Private Ryan, that would be the term I would use. As was true of director Steven Spielberg's other masterpiece, Schindler's List, the impact of this motion picture must be experienced; it cannot be adequately described. No film since last year's The Sweet Hereafter has left such a searing and indelible imprint on my mind and soul. This movie did not need to be released at the end of the year to be considered for a flood of Oscar nominations; it's so forceful that no one who sees it will be able to forget it -- not even Academy members with two-month memory spans.

    Saving Private Ryan opens with a 30-minute cinematic tour de force that is without a doubt one of the finest half-hours ever committed to film. This sequence, a soldier's-eye view of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, is brilliant not only in terms of technique but in the depth of viewer reaction it generates. It is certainly the most violent, gory, visceral depiction of war that I have ever witnessed on screen. Spielberg spares the viewer nothing of the horrors of battle, using every tactic at his disposal to convey the chaos and senseless waste that lies at the core of any engagement. We are presented with unforgettable, bloody images of bodies being cut to pieces by bullets, limbs blown off, entrails spilling out, and a variety of other assorted examples of carnage. And, when the tide comes in with the waves breaking on the body-strewn beach, the water is crimson. Those who are at all squeamish will find the opening of Saving Private Ryan unbearable. This aspect of the film almost earned it an NC-17 rating; only the fact that Spielberg rigorously avoids even a hint of exploitation convinced the MPAA to award an R.

    In addition to showing what happens when projectiles rip into the soft flesh of the human body, the director employs other methods to capture the essence of battle - hand-held cameras, a slight speeding up of the images, muted colors, and several different kinds of film stock. Put it all together, and it adds up to a dizzying, exhausting assault on the senses. As good as the rest of Saving Private Ryan is, and it's very good, the D-Day attack on Omaha Beach is the sequence that everyone will remember most clearly.

    Most World War II movies fall into one of two categories: heroic tales of glory and valor or biopics (my all-time favorite film, Patton, falls in the latter camp). Saving Private Ryan is neither. Instead, it's a condemnation of war wrapped in a tale of human courage and sacrifice. In many ways, the picture painted by this movie is more grim than the one Oliver Stone presented in Platoon, which has often been cited as the most daring anti-war film to come out of Hollywood. Saving Private Ryan quickly and brutally dispels the notion that war is anything but vicious, demoralizing violence that makes a cruel joke out of the human body and spirit. Although the film is only loosely based on a true incident, it's hard not to accept these characters and events as real.

    There's nothing especially complex about the structure of Saving Private Ryan. The film, which runs nearly three hours, is bookended by two major battle scenes. In between, smaller fights alternate with quiet, character-building moments that flesh out the soldiers, allowing them to escape the threat of stereotyping. Spielberg, along with writer Robert Rodat and the actors, ensures that everyone in the movie is developed into a multi-dimensional individual for whom we can grieve if and when they die. They are "citizen soldiers" -- ordinary men caught in the teeth of extraordinary circumstances. With the exception of a little manipulation at the end (when tears are actually a welcome source of relief from the film's intensity), Saving Private Ryan rigorously avoids toying with our emotions.

    With Saving Private Ryan set alongside Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg, once known as a purveyor of well-crafted-but-lightweight feel-good fare, has given us two of the decade's most gripping, disturbing, and powerful motion pictures. I consider Schindler's List to be one of the most amazing movies I have ever experienced, and, in many ways, Saving Private Ryan is its equal. Although both films take place during the same time period, they focus on different ideas. Schindler's List personifies good (Schindler) and evil (Amon Goeth), and plays out the struggle against a tragic backdrop. In Saving Private Ryan, there are no human villains, and the enemy isn't so much the Germans as it is the implacable, destructive specter of war. The film's central question (When is one life more important than another?) is never really answered. For those who are willing to brave the movie's shocking and unforgettable images, Saving Private Ryan offers a singular motion picture experience. I will be surprised if another film tops it for the best of 1998.
    Expand
  18. Apr 20, 2015
    10
    Based on the story of Frederic Niland, who was pulled out of frontline duty after his mother had received three MIA telegrams on the same day regarding his brothers, this is based on that mission - to find and rescue Private Ryan in the midst of the French landings.

    Bookended by the most shocking, searing battle sequences in film history, Saving Private Ryan is as powerful, devastating,
    Based on the story of Frederic Niland, who was pulled out of frontline duty after his mother had received three MIA telegrams on the same day regarding his brothers, this is based on that mission - to find and rescue Private Ryan in the midst of the French landings.

    Bookended by the most shocking, searing battle sequences in film history, Saving Private Ryan is as powerful, devastating, memorable and moving as movies get. Steven Spielberg's riveting infantryman's-eye-view of World War II will change the way war movies are perceived. Hymns to brazen heroism and gung ho guts'n'glory will be impossible, impertinent even, in its wake. Going far beyond simplistic War Is Hell platitudes, never before has the fear and flux of fighting been so vividly realised on celluloid.

    Yet, for all the bravura cinematic virtuosity, this is by no means an exhilarating spectacle - subsumed by the sickening minutiae of combat, the overriding effect is exhausting, numbing visual viscera that leaves you shaken to your very core.

    n route, there are minor quibbles - the middle section could be pruned, a closing coda distils the complexity all too neatly - but such nit-picking pales in the face of the ambition and achievement on offer. Indeed, just as the blitzkrieg on the senses appears to have petered out, Spielberg unleashes a near hour-long battle as the rescue outfit teams up with Ryan's own to hold a bridge against four German tanks; the manipulation of suspense - offscreen Panzers approach with the malevolent rumble of marauding dinos - the lucidity of the furious imagery and a heartstopping finale is evidence of a filmmaker approaching the top of his game. A modern masterpiece.

    Uncompromising, powerful war movie that does not pull any punches. Perfectly balances the inhumanity of war and the humanity of its protagonists. Devastating and essential viewing.

    To put this film into a single word: Masterpiece.
    Expand
  19. Mar 21, 2015
    9
    "Saving Private Ryan" is a realistic war film that proves itself to be worthy of its own genre, thanks to richly directed performances and tension setup.
  20. Mar 11, 2015
    10
    Tom Hanks is phenomenal in his depiction as Captain Miller in this sobering and emotional film. The action is raw, riveting, abd at times may be unbearably graphic for the squeamish. Contains enough historical inspiration and basis to appease WWII buffs, but overall, this movie is about the men who fought WWII and its lasting effects. A must see.
  21. Feb 27, 2015
    10
    There is not one dull moment in this film. Saving Private Ryan will keep you hooked until the very end, its paced very well and the characters are done well. One of the greatest war movies I have ever seen.
  22. Jan 15, 2015
    10
    This is by far the greatest movie ever. The story is emotional and gripping. The only issue might be showing it to young kids. It should have won the Oscar the the whole world knows it.
  23. Jan 5, 2015
    9
    For the year t came out (1998) I think it is/was one of the most realistic war movies. The plot was something that was greatly thought of by a mastermind. I think at times the story overtook some action that a typical war movie would have. But overall one of the best movies that are certainly on my top 25 list of movies, (Which I don't have something dedicated as a list.)
  24. Nov 7, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Saving Private Ryan is nothing short of the greatest war movie ever made (to this point). The only other media that comes close is Band of Brothers (also involving Hanks and Spielberg), but as a miniseries it's in another category.

    When this movie came out, we all knew that the opening battle sequence changed war films forever. There simply had never and hasn't since been such a visceral, overwhelming, intense depiction of warfare anywhere else. Movies and video games since have tried to imitate it and don't come close.

    If The Thin Red Line and Life Is Beautiful hadn't come out in the same year, I don't think there's any way this film would not have taken Best Picture. I never have seen Shakespeare in Love, so I won't criticize it as if I had, but it must have been remarkable to beat this genre-redefining movie. If it wasn't remarkable, then this might be the biggest snub in Oscar history.

    Tom Hanks is at his best in SPR. I don't think he was better in either Philadelphia or The Green Mile. It's not just Hanks, though. All of the supporting actors, even Vin Diesel and Tom Sizemore, are impeccable.

    The scene at the end of the movie when Hanks dies is one I still can't watch 16 years later without tearing up. When he looks at Ryan (and the camera is just over his should, so he is basically looking right at the camera) and says "Earn this," he is saying that to all of us. Earn the sacrifice that a whole generation paid in blood for all of us. That's what turns this movie into something far more profound and important than any myriad of other WWII and war films in general.
    Expand
  25. Aug 24, 2014
    10
    I am one of the greatest fans of Steven Spielberg and Saving Private Ryan does not have that perfect 3hrs runtime. But for sure, it is an authentic representation of war which makes me show a lot of respect for this motion picture.
  26. Aug 13, 2014
    10
    Probably the best(with Full metal jacket) war movie ever made.Realistic action scenes,credible actors and awesome script.This movie has everything you ever wanted in a war movie.
  27. chw
    Jul 19, 2014
    10
    Saving Private Ryan was such an amazing movie. This definitely would have won the Academy's Best Picture Award if Shakespeare in Love wasn't an option.
  28. May 4, 2014
    8
    The movie has some cool battle scenes but it starts off a ridiculous premise that people would stop in the middle of a World War and send men in danger to "save a private" that they don't even know if he's alive or dead, just because his brothers died in the war(which was a very common thing back then). It also has the stereotypical stupid American that becomes a brave (stupid) American atThe movie has some cool battle scenes but it starts off a ridiculous premise that people would stop in the middle of a World War and send men in danger to "save a private" that they don't even know if he's alive or dead, just because his brothers died in the war(which was a very common thing back then). It also has the stereotypical stupid American that becomes a brave (stupid) American at the end and takes out the "bad guy"(and lets the other go free). Despite the constant logic fails with the story, the battles are very realistic and the movie is worth watching. Expand
  29. Mar 8, 2014
    9
    What a masterpiece. The depiction of fighting in World War II is incredible to watch and feels very realistic. The set decoration is amazing and with Tom Cruise as lead actor it is tough to go wrong here. However, the movie is almost three hours and does drag on a bit but it has many really terrific scenes. This is a must see and I give it an 89.9 out of 100.
  30. Feb 21, 2014
    10
    Best movie ever, literally... Of all the movies I have ever seen, this one gets me the most. This action packed film is thrilling, well acted, and overall amazeballs.
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Nothing that suggests an independent vision, unless you count seeing more limbs blown off than usual.
  2. 89
    A bitter, bloody masterpiece with adrenalized emotions and hyper-realized images, this is perhaps as close to battle as any sane human being should ever hope to tread.
  3. The movie's greatest strength lies in phenomenal performances that reach from the leads right down to the smallest supporting roles.