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 02/01/2017 | IzzyS
Member since : 27/07/2006
Reviews : 809
Members who trust : 198
About me :
Thanks for all the rates through the years. Its the end of an era - im thankful to all who talked to me. Apologies for the mass postings but I have a ton of film reviews in drafts! ill try to re-rate as many ppl as I can.
Pro Immersive/atmospheric/gripping, thought provoking,
Cons Dialogue fast paced & hard to follow at times (near start of the film) 1-2 unlikely plot details
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"A Gripping & Grimly Realistic War Film"

- Story -

This film starts in 1944, during the invasion of Normandy in France, where US soldiers fight to get ashore without being shot down. Two victims are later named as brothers of a Private James Ryan and when it becomes clear that said Ryan is not known to have been killed in combat, its decided for a search mission to be sent out, headed by Captain Miller and his various fellow men, to try and track down James, as he's allowed to be sent home from warfare to join his mother, having lost all his siblings to the war.

Will Captain Miller manage to find his man - will it be too late or will they manage to track him down in time and how will he cope, being told of the fate of his siblings? you'll have to watch the film to find out, of course.

- More Info., Thoughts & Opinions -

*This section contains some potentially minor spoilers, although nothing that should completely give away how the full plot pans out but if you hate to read anything that might give a slight clue as to how the plot plays out then you might want to cut to the next 'Would I Recommend It?' section*
Saving Private Ryan is an American historical war based drama film, which covers themes including camaraderie, grit and determination.

One of the first things I noticed about this film was that the dialogue was hard to follow in parts - it was quite fast paced for most of the film and I found that, particularly during frantic fight scenes, it was hard to fully follow what was said, with the camerawork being such as it would flit from angle to another fairly quickly, making me slightly more disorientated - if this can be much of an issue for you, then I'd suggest its worth switching on the subtitles, as I found that helped me from time to time.

I felt it was quite an atmospheric film, with the weather often matching the grim, tense mood of the relevant scenes - its frequently set during downpours, almost as if those who had been killed in combat were shedding their tears back down on their where they'd lost their life. Ok, pardon the cheese there but I did feel it was quite an immersive watch, with the grim and sombre tone well depicted. As previously mentioned, the camerawork isn't particularly smooth, with it cutting from one angle, or one soldiers perspective, to anothers. It is fairly jerky at times although overall I felt it was a good thing, rather than an annoying nuisance but all the same, if your particularly prone to motion sickness then this may not be a good film for you to watch, put it that way.

That aside, I felt it helped me imagine what it may have been like to be stuck in the various shoot outs, trying to stay calm in a quickly developing pressure cooker type situation and carefully judge what your next move may be, hoping it not to be your last of course.

Cast wise, I felt that Tom Hanks gave a particularly good performance as the main character, Captain Miller. He is quite a stoical character, who talks about his moral viewpoints, his belief in his job and the importance of what him and his team are tasked to do. The film features some quieter scenes which are quite emotional, in that they clearly show how the various soldiers struggled to fully take in what they'd seen and what was going on - which is certainly understandable given it was obviously set in 1944. Tom Hanks comes across as quite philosophical but also determined and clearly caring when it comes to his men. Other cast members include Tom Sizemore as Sergeant Horvath, Edward Burns as Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as Private Jackon, Vin Diesel as Private Caparzo and Ted Danson as Captain Hamill, among (of course) others. The cast all seemed to portray their various characters quite convincingly, with some clearly displaying signs of shell shock (a sign of forthcoming PTSD), with shaking muscles and the like. The pure devastation that undoubtedly happened was well portrayed, although of course its a tragedy that such a thing as any World War would happen at all.

I could feel the various characters resolve slowly ebbing away at points, with doubt appearing to creep in given their less than certain facial expressions and the like, after almost inevitable setbacks. The main exception to this being Captain Miller, of course, who would have, no doubt, regarded himself as a father figure needing to show the others the way. One things for sure - you clearly had to be made of very strong stuff (psychologically speaking) to see such things through.

This film absolutely does not shy away from the grim realities of war - something that I'm glad of, as I don't believe there should ever be any glamorising when it comes to depictions of war or violence. Of course it isn't a particularly easy watch due to this, there is plenty of blood and injury detail shown, with blood spattered remains and the like clearly visible.

As far as the plot is concerned, I did find myself wondering how likely some aspects were, with the Americans apparently, somehow shooting out their enemies after they (the Americans) were discovered by the others. Of course, such war movies made in America are almost always accused of being somewhat one-sided, to put it one way and I wouldn't say that this film is necessarily unbiased as such - for its type of film (films of this genre) its pretty decent, particularly at bringing home the both physical and psychological toll of such grim times. The music used during this film is quite sombre, orchestral type pieces which add to the overall tone of the scenes featured.

Content wise, violence aside (which I've already mentioned is understandably featured throughout although not in an unnecessary overly gory sense but in a what I'd imagine realistic sense), this film contains some strong language including sex references, plus some characters are shown smoking tobacco (no illegal substances are shown). Otherwise, obviously the film is quite intense in terms of the overall war setting. It carries a 15 rating due to this.

I felt this was a well made film - a thought provoking one with some scenes that are hard to watch but seemed quite realistic and well handled. It is quite emotional, reasonably so, I wouldn't say its in any way ruined by Hollywood saccarine sap and its quite gripping but to me it was both the particularly good casting of Tom Hanks and the immersive atmosphere depicted in this film that made it a decent, memorable watch.

- Would I Recommend It? -

Yes, I would recommend this film. I felt it was very well made, with a good cast, good use of music and a very atmospheric feel to it. It is grim but it didn't seem gratuitous in terms of the violence and it was relatively thought provoking and on that basis, I'd recommend it.

- Availability -

If your interested in seeing this, you can buy it on DVD for £4.48 at Amazon UK, at time of publishing this review.

- Final Note / Thank You -

Thank you for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks, as ever, for any and all rates and comments.

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Comments on this review

  • skyelightsmoke published 20/01/2017
    I am always dubious when the grand master of kitchy schmaltz spectacles turns to seriously serious subjects, eg Munich or Schindler's List or this. I think SL was the only one with some subtlety. But then Spielberg is Spielberg. I will never forgive his awful, awful ending to the Minority Report ;)
  • Sleepflower1987 published 05/01/2017
    Great review :)
  • olvfrncsc published 05/01/2017
    E :)
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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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