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4.6 out of 5 stars621
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2015
I'm not one of those who think this film is great because it remarks the sacrifice for freedom etc..., nor I'm one of those who criticized it because of that.
I think that this film might have been even better without some patriotic rhetoric and if it kept the bitter mood and approach of the first half, also in the second half.
But still this film is, after 15 years, a masterpiece: it is the first to show battle scenes with a realistic and groundbreaking technique which taught and inspired all the action and war films since then. And it is the first great film (along with The Thin Red line, which is even better) in years to talk about war without focusing on VIetnam and other recent wars. And by doing it, the film manages to refresh the old style war movies (with true passion, action, friendship and honor) with a new sensibility made of violence and bitterness. So all the first half is striking because it really throws you into the battle, makes you suffer and heavily breathe, feel in peril and then relieved, but always keeps you on the edge. And while the story goes on, you enter a surreal world, made of ruins and solitude, where even the leader is not that solid and confident about what is going on. A mix of shocking scenes, of realism and some poetic and intimate moments (Tom Hanks look during the battle, his sudden cry, soldier missing their parents and the words they didn't said to them) which represent all the best part of Spielberg, and some surprising sides who were unknown to most people (but he was already a disenchanted and critical director in the seventies, and not just a reassuring master of happy-endings). In the second half you lose that and all that's left is mostly violence and a fantastic filming style. So the film is still superlative, and the blu ray is probsbly one of the best ever released, but at the end, although you can't hold your tears despite the retoric, because you've been led to it passing through a dramatic and emotional path, you get the feeling that, was it a little more unbiased (the capture of the german soldier seems to add and even more human and compassionate touch to the story, until it gets an unfair and incorrect twist), it would have be even more shocking, effective, impressive and mature. But Spielberg, despite his huge talent and humanity, is still a reckless kid who love playing with Hollywood, and needs to be loved by everyone: and this is what puts him in the elysium of great directors (able to speak to everyone and still not be merely mainstream), but it is not enough to promote him among those who really tried to say something different and even unpopular (except for Munich, which is what Private Ryan could have been to war, and it was not)
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on 14 November 2001
Spielberg has broken from the norm with this film and has the courage to depict war as it really is. Previous war films have been heavily sanitised to 'protect' the viewer, and Saving Private Ryan acts as a wake up call to the public, especially to myself and the younger generation, who have never experienced a major conflict in our lifetime. This film acts as an antidote to the traditional John Wayne style war movie. War is not fun, and this film removes the myth that when a soldier is shot, they fall to the floor quietly and lie still. Some of the injuries suffered by the soldiers are truly horrific but the level of violence is not gratuitous and is necessary as it adds to the level of realism.
Many people have argued that this film only portrays the American side of D-Day, neglecting the contribution of the troops from other Allied nations. Whilst this is true, Omaha beach and the areas featured in this film were areas attacked by predominantly American troops, and to feature the entire Normandy area of operations would overly complicate the story. The scene showing Omaha beach after the battle, with the sea flowing red with all the blood spilt, is particularly poignant and brings a lump to the throat of everyone who sees it.
I recently watched this film with my grandfather, who landed on the British 'Gold' beach in one of the first waves ashore on June 6th 1944. He watched the first 20 minutes of the film, which depicts the D-Day landings, with tears in his eyes as the memories of that day flooded back. While he got through that day unharmed, a number of his friends and comrades were not so fortunate. The film transported him back 57 years, and he said that this is the closest you can get to the reality of the landings without actually being in a landing craft and coming under fire.
Saving Private Ryan aptly demonstrates the horror and chaos of battle. After watching this film I found myself with a new found sense of respect for those young men who were thrust into the Hell of World War 2 and still carry those memories as pensioners. Stunning, moving, compelling, and deserving of all the accolades it gets.
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We begin on the beaches of Normandy on the 6th June 1945 where 'Capt Miller' (Tom Hanks) and his battalion have been
ordered to secure a beach-head.
During the bloody landing two brothers are killed on the beaches whilst at a similar point in time in 'New Guinea' a third
brother is killed, their mother will receive notification of her loss on the same day.
When the U.S War-Department realize the situation and become aware of a fourth brother serving in the invasion force
instructions that a squad is assembled to try and find him are issued.
'Capt Miller' and his squad are assigned to attempt the task which will take them through much of war-torn Europe on what
from the outset looks to be an impossible mission with little chance of success.
The squad on the mission include - 'Sgt Horvath' (Tom Sizemore) - 'Private Reiben' (Edward Burns) - 'Private Jackson' (Barry
Pepper) - 'Private Mellish' (Adam Goldberg) - 'Private Caparzo' (Vin Diesel) - 'T-4 Medic Wade' (Giovanni Ribisi) and 'Corp Upham'
(Jeremy Davies)
They will encounter many dangers along the way and have several encounters with the enemy as the mission looks increasingly
hopeless, however eventually they will find 'Private James Ryan' (Matt Damon) however the town in which they find him is under
enemy attack......will the mission be all in vain ?
The film graphically portrays the horror of battle from the outset with the well staged Normandy landings and the carnage of
the operation.
The squad become involved in many skirmishes with the enemy which are again well-staged and convincingly portrayed.
A brilliantly portrayed war-drama.
Well worthy of a re-visit or indeed first viewing.
Features -
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN with an introduction by Director Steven Spielberg
Looking into the past
Miller ad his Platoon
Boot Camp
Making Saving Private Ryan
Re-Creating Omaha Beach
Music and Sound
Parting Thoughts
Into the Breach - Saving Private Ryan
Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Re-Release Trailer
SHOOTING WAR - WWII Combat Photographers - Hosted by Tom Hanks
Special-Features are Presented in Standard Definition.
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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.
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on 9 June 2005
Saving Private Ryan finally gets the treatment it deserves with this superior DVD release, now complete with a DTS soundtrack. The special features on the discs are minimal, with only a few trailers and some notes; but there is an interesting, if not fascinating documentary on the making of the film which includes interviews with D-Day veterans.
However, you probably wouldn't buy a film like this for the features. You would buy it for the intense, unrivalled and spellbinding combat sequences - most notably the acclaimed D-Day landing recreation. But it doesn't stop there. Spielberg takes us into a debate about the war through the eyes of eight stereotypical soldiers (although nonetheless powerful or resonating for it). The soldiers lay the different views, reasons and arguments before the audience about the war that were shared by so many at the time.
The film climaxes in what can only be described as a brilliant battle between the platoon in peril and Nazi tanks and infantry. The film is improved with the DTS soundtrack, which completely immerses you into the experience. This is a great transfer onto DVD of a great film.
The extras too on this 2-disc release are good, documenting well each aspect of the making of the film. Altogether, a worthy treatment of what has been often called the greatest war film ever made!
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on 27 April 2010
Right let me just clear this up once and for all.
This is an excellent Blu Ray transfer and the Audio is absolutely amazing. The problem people are having when reviewing this picture quality is that Stephen Spielberg purposely filmed it in a grainy, smeared and soft way to try and make it more vintage and authentic. If you dont believe me then check the original DVD too as a comparison.
Do not expect the kind of picture you would get with Avatar!!!
Amazing film
Amazing Blu Ray

Here endeth the lesson :)
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on 20 November 2005
Saving Private Ryan starts with the depiction of the disaster that fell upon the landing United States troops on the 6th of June 1944 during D-Day at Omaha Beach. Under Steven Spielberg the scenes from Omaha Beach are powerful and deeply moving. That other famous D-Day film, The Longest Day, wrongly depicted the GIs landing at Omaha Beach and running to the enemy emplacements, but Saving Private Ryan shows it as it really happened. Unlike many of the other beaches on D-Day the pre-bombing of the German emplacements at Omaha Beach had failed to destroy the defenders, so they were able to rain down on the landing forces murderous fire. Getting across Omaha Beach is shown in all it's moving drama, with casualties mounting every second. Just watching it makes you wonder how anybody was able to reach the German positions at all. Yet they did and eventually they secured the beach. The depiction of realistic battle scenes from the start of Saving Private Ryan should make anyone aware that this film is not for those who are squeamish.
Following these landings the film takes up the story of finding Private Ryan. Tom Hanks leads a platoon of men, sent by the top brass to locate Ryan and bring him back safely. Tom Hanks is outstanding in this film, effectively presenting a man from a simple background thrown into the heat of battle, leading other men who have seen action in one theatre of war after another. Now they find themselves in France – veteran soldiers following orders and trying to stay alive. The second half of the film may be more sedate than the first frenetic scenes, but the gritty determination of these war veterans carrying out their orders is presented clinically and effectively. Steven Spielberg's direction throughout makes the viewer feel that they are right there witnessing the action beside the soldiers. Indeed you have to remind yourself sometimes that you are not there but safely away from the dangerous action.
The quality of this 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition DVD is very good indeed. The colour of the film is a cross between colour and black and white, which seems to suit the mood of the whole unfolding drama effectively. For me Saving Private Ryan changed forever the depiction of war, any war, on film. Now, when I see many other films depicting war, they look very shallow and unrealistic. Saving Private Ryan is a huge landmark film and one that touches you deep inside, filling you with a massive appreciation for the soldiers of all sides who bravely fought for our freedom.
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on 13 February 2001
Surely no film-maker has come as close as this to recreating actual combat. The hand held cam puts you face down on the beach, then up again zigzagging though obstacles. It actually looks like an old colour WW2 newsreel at times, such is the realism. Instead of perfect choreography and theatrical deaths seen in many older war films we see limbs and heads blown off,bodies dismembered, blood and intestines everywhere. This is quite shocking and exhausting to watch - and its only the first 20 minutes.
If you do get any pleasure out of the opening it has to be the best surround sound on any current film. Bullets zip past and ping off beach obstacles left to right; waves crash resoundingly against landing craft; other later highlights include the distant groaning of tiger tanks as they approach the village.
Hanks is again superb in this film and plays a respected leader secretly cracking under the strain. Other notables include Tom Sizemore as the "rock" of the platoon and Wimpy Uphum, whom I suspect most of us would identify more with if placed in the same circumstances.
Although an American film about American soldiers, anyone ignorant about D-Day would assume Uncle Sam flew the flag alone. This was one of the most important events in history and the other countries that took part do deserve some recognition. None is accorded here although Montgomery does get a spiteful and unneccesary attack. Apart from a few too many fluttering flags and over-the-top cemetery ending, this is a truly great film, hopefully showing the largely ignorant younger generation something of what their grandfathers had to go through.
This film was made for the DVD format and it doesn't disappoint, although a commentary from Spielberg would be appreciated.
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on 6 June 2011
I was familiar with the film having seen it in the Cinema and having a DVD, though I lent this out without it being returned so when I saw the Blu-Ray version was around I did'nt hesitate !
It is an excellent film and the initial D-Day Landings sequence are very graphic and show the pity and futility of war. The picture (as has been said before) is good quality though some
scenes are in washed-out colour with a grainy aspect, this is deliberate. If you know about this beforehand its ok ! The sound is good too and with the 5.1 DD benefits a decent Blu-Ray
system. This film does not glorify war - it is almost an anti-war film.
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In the late-90s there were two particular films that redefined their particular genres. Saving Private Ryan was one of them (the other, unfortunately, was The Matrix). Almost every war movie that followed SPR, right down to 2008's Rambo, seemed to be no more than a pastiche of Spielberg's hectic style.

SPR proves what an inconsistent filmmaker Spielberg can be. The man has had his fair share of misfires (Hook, anyone?) but this was his last truly great effort. War of the Worlds and Munich were good, though hardly as revolutionary, but The Terminal, Catch Me If You Can, and the movie that called itself Indy IV were all just too gutless and inoffensive. You'd never believe they were from the same director if you didn't know better.

A lot of critics have repeatedly praised SPR over the years, but they all praise the same things (the documentary style, the realism, etc.) Simultaneously, a lot of people have dismissed it as shallow, badly-written, and void of any thrills beyond the 30-minute mark. But look beneath the surface and you'll find that SPR does actually have a tight screenplay, despite going through the motions on few occasions. The wide and diverse cast (including Paul Giamatti, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, and Dale Dye) do good with the material. It's refreshing for a war movie to move beyond the 'point of view of one man' cliche.

Janusz Kaminski's desaturated, gritty, high-shutter-speed photography is full of deep blacks and high contrast. This look has been imitated to death over the years, but coupled with Spielberg's hurried, almost unscripted approach to the action it adds an element of authenticity to the film that the copycats have not been able to emulate.

You really have to feel for all those poor soldiers who were massacred on Omaha Beach (all men, I should point out). But what a badly planned mission. No flack jackets, no smoke screens to cover their landing...warfare has come so far in 65 years, it would be insane to send so many hundreds off to die like that now. Many of them were pure cannon fodder and the Military knew it. The film certainly does not hold back on the bloody carnage. Most WWII movies up until that point were sanitized and bloodless. Hardly realistic at all!

The 169 minute running time passes fairly quickly. The film certainly doesn't deserve the criticism that nothing interesting happens after the beach invasion. As it has been imitated many times since, some of then innovative moments (such as the silent 'war is hell' amid battle chaos - which this film does three times!) have become cliches, but don't judge SPR for it.

The film won 5 Oscars, but lost the Best Picture award to Shakespeare in Love, which is absolutely insane. I mean...what were they thinking??? SPR is most certainly a classic, and one of the most innovative and important war films of the past two decades, while Shakespeare in Love is largely forgotten.

The Blu Ray looks superb in 1.85:1 1080p. Janusz Kaminsi's photography looks just brilliant, and the sound design has to be heard (preferably at a high volume) to be believed. Loads of extras are included too.
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