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 26/01/2001 | Squidget
Member since : 29/11/2000
Reviews : 106
Members who trust : 81
About me :
Pro Some outstanding cinematography excellent actors including the almighty Tom Hanks
Cons Some very graphic and gory scenes
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"The Mission is a man"

World War 2 or ‘The Last Great War’ shifted borders all over the globe; it was the pivotal event of the 20th Century and a truly defining moment for Britain, America and the world. It forever changed all of those who lived through it, and shaped many generations to come.

Saving Private Ryan is a spectacular epic that revolves around ‘The Last Great War’.

The film is the genius work of the almighty Spielberg who is Director and producer of this classic. Spielberg has directed, produced or executive produced 7 of the top 20 grossing films of all time, these include E. T. and Jurassic Park.

Spielberg is more known for his Sci-fi classics such as E.T., Close Encounters and Batteries Not Included, however, in 1994 Spielberg moved to a new dimension with his internationally lauded ‘Schindler’s List’, his work on this film gained him 7 Oscars, A Golden Globe and 7 British Academy Awards to name but a few.

It was no surprise that when he decided to produce and direct ‘Saving Private Ryan’ that another classic was to unfold, the film gained Spielberg another 5 Academy Awards.

For an outstanding film you need outstanding actors, who else can you choose for the lead role? None other than the fantastic ‘Tom Hanks’

‘Hanks’ is Captain John Miller and he leads his troops onto Omaha beach for which is to be the most outstanding work of the film. What proceeds is a battle that not one of these soldiers could ever have waged they would be part of, filled with hope and resolve, not one of these young me knows if they are to survive the battle that lies ahead on Omaha Beach.

Miller is faced with many great challenges throughout this war and one of them is to get his men past the gauntlet at Omaha, Miller believes this was the greatest challenge that he faced during this war.

The troops arrive at Omaha on a sea that suits the mood, what you are about to witness is real!

Men are vomiting with seasickness as the extra large bathtubs that carry them chop through the stormy waters, the Germans attack with open fire and the battle commences.

Young men are killed fighting, for their countries in scenes of tragedy and devastation. Spielberg creates a masterpiece to depict what happened on the fateful day. If you are faint hearted and do not like the sight of blood look away.

The greatest attention to details is adhered to in these opening scenes with everything you would expect from a frontline battle. We see young men loose limbs and praying to God that they will survive the turmoil they have become. Graphic scenes show a young man losing his arm and walking back to pick it up after it has happened, the harrowing effects this war would have had on these men only they will know.

Miller and his men’s skills see them over come the Germans at the gauntlet to claim victory at Omaha beach; Miller’s challenge is complete.

Miller is faced with his next challenge, which is to find a young man who belongs to the Ryan family. Four young men from the same family have all left home to fight for their country; three of them so far have died in service. The story evolves, as a clerk who prepares the telegrams to send to families of the young men who have died in battle, notices that three young men from the same family have died; the family is the Ryan family. As this is such a tragedy the General himself requests to deliver the telegram he is accompanied by the family priest.

The scenes are brief yet hard hitting, we do not here the conversation that is held by the General and Mrs Ryan you only feel her grief, Spielberg captures the mood very well.

After making it across the beach at Omaha and after receiving his orders to find this man alive, Miller handpicks his team to carry out this unique mission. Miller takes his team into the French countryside to retrieve the last remaining ‘Ryan’ Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). The single moral dilemma of the movie, apart from the brutality of war itself, it is the skewed reasoning of why send eight men through highly dangerous enemy territory to save one man.

As the squad push deeper into enemy territory into scenes of destruction heading for Cherbourg, they begin to question their orders and begin to think ‘why is the life of one private worth more than their own?’

Throughout their mission they realise that skirmishes in small towns can be just as deadly as the attacks we witnessed on Omaha Beach.

Private James Ryan becomes a symbol for Captain Miller and his men, because his going home would represent them all going home.

This is about as complex as ‘Saving Private Ryan’ actually gets, it is book ended by two massive battle scenes. In between we witness smaller fights alternate with quiet, setting the mood throughout the film, giving the audience time to know the characters, Spielberg ensures that each character is portrayed as an individual for whom we can grieve if and when they die.

Along the way we see some impressive scenery as Spielberg recreates the French countryside with what once used to be impressive structures are merely husks of what they once were.

The weapons the men use in the film are authentic period pieces bought from collectors.

We also see some spectacular cinematography at the aftermath of Omaha, we see a stunning panoramic view of the beach, with a variety of mighty ships anchored offshore and the sky is loaded with blimps.

Spielberg has pulled out all the stops with this film and although it is from the same period of ‘Schindler’s List’, both films focus on different ideas. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ has no human villains, and the enemy is not so much the Germans but war itself.

The film’s central question ‘when is one life important than another?’ is never really answered. For those of you who are willing to brave the movie’s shocking and unforgettable images, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ offers a spectacular motion picture experience a must see for all.

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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
  • Boris published 06/08/2001
    great op!, you really caught the tone of this film - Matt
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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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