Saving Private Ryan (DVD)

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Saving Private Ryan (DVD)

Director Steven Spielberg's World War II tour de force chronicles the journey of a GI squad on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. Led by Captain ...

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Review of "Saving Private Ryan (DVD)"

published 11/01/2001 | dadmancat
Member since : 27/07/2000
Reviews : 170
Members who trust : 50
About me :
Pro starts strongly and ends superbly
Cons sentimentality creeps in once too often
very helpful
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"into the breach"

there are so many things i love about this film and yet so many things that i don't, i'm really undecided as to quite how i feel about it.

it captures the horrors of war unlike any other war film since the brutally honest 'A Bridge Too Far', and yet it's moments of flag waving sicken me to the stomach. i felt insulted each time that spielberg tried to pull the heart strings, and push the 'we owe it all to these men' sign in my face. anyone who doesn't feel that, already doesn't deserve to live in the world we do, there isn't a day i don't wake up and think of the horrors these men went through to save and secure our freedom. and whilst spielberg goes to great pains to show us these horrors, we also have to suffer his clumsy emoting.

we witness the landing at omaha beach, briefly hear about utah, but what of sword, juno, gold.....? the americans storm the beach amidst carnage, finally securing it before Tom Hanks' captain is assigned the task of bringing back private ryan, a soldier who's 3 brothers have all been killed in combat. no one knows where ryan is, he is part of unit that has become detached and isolated. he is to be returned home to his mother, before she is left with no sons. and here the film grates again, as hanks' particularly unlikeable squad sets out to find him whilst encountering no other allied soldiers. okay, so this is a film essentially about a small group of american soldiers and their small mission, but it is played against such a huge backdrop, and we meet no other allied troops? that is another insult, that we should be asked so forcefully to thank the men involved in such operations and yet leave out acknowledgements for the rest of the entire allied forces.

well, that is my gripe, along with some efforts to get us to identify with this ragbag collection of misfits.

the opening is superb, as is the slightly 'dirty dozen' type heroics at the end. the adrenalin flows thick and fast, and there are moments when you just feel like a rest from the terrifying action.

it has some outstanding moments, but also moments that seem out of place in this film and more likely to fit into a propaganda short. in places it is brutally honest and yet in others it has the feel of a john wayne actioner.

shot in a largely cinema verite style on grainy stock, it looks great. the cast all go through their paces, with hanks standing out amongst a sea of stereotypes. the score is john williams at his most unimaginitive, and the best moments in the film are those that remain unscored. the production design is simply outstanding, the highlight being the semi-destroyed french town that provides the location for the climax. the sound design is excellent too, and the sound of the tanks approaching the town at the finale will live with me forever. chills down my spine.

a real mixed bag of a film, so much to commend it, but also some misjudged sections.

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Comments on this review

  • yilllllllled published 29/07/2006
    great film indeed
  • MAFARRIMOND published 23/12/2005
    A well-directed and acted film. Maureen
  • Squidget published 19/03/2001
    This is an excellent film one of the best I have ever seen, I also love Tom Hanks as an actor and he was amazing in this! thank you Squidget :o)
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Product Information : Saving Private Ryan (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Director Steven Spielberg's World War II tour de force chronicles the journey of a GI squad on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. Led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), the unit is under orders to track down a soldier, Private Ryan (Matt Damon), so he might return home to his mother in America, where she is grieving the unimaginable loss of her three other sons to the war. The first unforgettable 20 minutes of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN realistically and horrifically depicts the Normandy invasion as Miller. his second-in-command, Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore), and the others in the unit land at Omaha Beach. Before the film began shooting, Hanks and the actors in his squad went through a one-week boot camp in the woods. All the actors, except Hanks, wanted to quit, but Hanks rallied their spirits by reminding them of the incredible tribulations endured by the real veterans of World War II. Production designer Tom Sanders found a beach in Ireland that perfectly matched the landscape of Normandy's. Spielberg gave great credit to the Irish army who helped re-create the Omaha Beach scenes.

Product Details

Video Category: Feature Film

Production Year: 1998

Plot: A war epic which tells the story of four brothers from the same family who are all fighting in the Second World War. On Washington's orders Captain Miller is sent behind enemy lines to bring back the sole surviving brother, Private Ryan. Winner of five Academy Awards.

Country Of Origin: United States of America

Classification: 15 years and over

Genre: War

Colour: Colour

Director(s): Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg

Actor(s): Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Edward Burns, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Edward Burns, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies, Paul Giamatti

Release Details

DVD Region: DVD


Catalogue No: PHE 8600, PHE 8362, PHE 8040

Barcode: 5014437860033, 5014437836236, 5014437804037

No of Discs: 2, 1

Release date: 01/11/2004, 01/09/2003, 06/11/2000

Executive Producer: Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg

Featured: Steven Spielberg

Editor: Michael Kahn, Michael Kahn

Screenwriter: Robert Rodat, Steven Spielberg, Robert Rodat

Producer: Mark Gordon, Ian Bryce, Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg, Mark Gordon, Ian Bryce, Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg

Production Designer: Thomas Sanders, Thomas Sanders

Director of Photography: Janusz Kaminski, Janusz Kaminski

Composer: John Williams, John Williams, John Williams

Special Effects: Neil Corbould, Stefen Fangmeier, Roger Guyett


Main Language: English

Subtitle Language: English

Hearing Impaired Language: English

Technical Information

Dubbing Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1<br>Dolby Digital Surround<br>DTS, DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 English

Special Features: An Inside Look With The Filmmakers, Looking Into The Past The research The Screenplay And The Vision, The Making Of A Platoon, Boot Camp For The Cast, Recreating DDay Omaha Beach

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Surround, DTS

Aspect Ratio: 1.78 Anamorphic Wide Screen, 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Award Information

OSCAR: Best Director 1999 (Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg)

BAFTA: Best Achievement In Special Effects 1998 (Stefen Fangmeier, Roger Guyett, Neil Corbould)

Professional Reviews

Review: Ranked #3 in Entertainment Weekly's "10 Favorite Films of the '90s" -- "...[A] masterpiece....One soul-shattering experience..." (Entertainment Weekly, 2000-04-01)<br><br>Ranked #3 in Entertainment Weekly's "10 Favorite Films of the '90s" -- "...[A] masterpiece....One soul-shattering experience..." (Entertainment Weekly, pp.159-60, 01/04/2000)<br><br>...Unprecedented immediacy [in] the battle scenes....Uniformly superb performances... (Movieline, 1999-06-01)<br><br>"...Unprecedented immediacy [in] the battle scenes....Uniformly superb performances..." (Movieline, p.91, 01/06/1999)<br><br>...Soberly magnificent....It is the ultimate devastating letter home... (New York Times, 1998-07-24)<br><br>"...Soberly magnificent....It is the ultimate devastating letter home..." (New York Times, p.E14, 24/07/1998)<br><br>...Sheer gut-wrenching immediacy....[Spielberg] has come of age as an artist... (Sight and Sound, 1998-09-01)<br><br>"...Sheer gut-wrenching immediacy....[Spielberg] has come of age as an artist..." (Sight and Sound, p.34-52, 01/09/1998)<br><br>


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