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on 9 January 2017
Glad to have this back in my collection.
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on 27 February 2017
Excellent movie -Condition was excellent
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on 25 February 2001
When I tell someone I do not like this film the usual response is 'How can you say that? Think of all the poor people who dies in the second world war, this really happened'. That about sums up why I hate this film, a shallow and unbelievable storyline which is covered up by so much realism. Just because a film is realistic does not make it good.
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on 14 November 2013
This was a present for my son who is very interested in WW2 and watches a lot of documentaries and this is his favourite film around the subject. It arrived very quickly and well packaged. Very pleased.
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on 9 February 2014
Steven Spielberg’s fourth, and to date final, World War II set film came in 1998 in the form of Saving Private Ryan. While his previous films had used the war as a backdrop and examined some of the social upheavals that came with it, with Saving Private Ryan the Director finally chose to use his name and talents to show to an unsuspecting world just how horrific the fighting was.

Bookended by an old man standing amidst a sea of gravestones at Normandy in the present day, Spielberg wastes no time in showing us why the stones are there. Minutes into the film we’re viewing the US military storming Omaha beach and a company under Captain John Phillips attempting to take out a German machine gun emplacement to open a route for the Americans to take the beach. When three brothers die in the invasion US officials attempt a PR coup by sending Phillips and a small company behind enemy lines to locate and recover a fourth brother missing after a botched paratrooper drop.

The first 25 minutes or so is a relentless barrage of noise, confusion, and horrifying imagery as waves of soldiers are sent to their deaths on a beach. People talk about the “realism” of these scenes but you can’t really apprehend what that means until you see it. Spielberg demonstrates what has made him one of the most respected masters of his craft ever as he drags you kicking and screaming into the fighting and its impossible not to be moved and horrified as young men fall dead all around and the mortally wounded cry for their mothers on a bloody beach thousands of miles from home. The final 40 minutes of the movie are similarly harrowing as a small group of soldiers attempt to hold a strategically important bridge as German tanks advance unyieldingly toward them.

People have criticized Saving Private Ryan for ignoring the contributions of other nations during the war. Indeed, aside from Americans and Germans the only other nationality we see is a small French family screaming in horror as all control of their destiny is taken from them. There are also complaints that the Germans are two dimensional villains, little more than the faceless Stormtroopers from Star Wars when they die. While both those criticisms are grounded in truth its safe to say that its how the movie was meant to be. This is an American war movie about a band of American troops and it demonstrates the American war effort both in its successes and its failures. Spielberg’s not trying to humanise the German soldiers because his cast of characters don’t see them as men – only as murderous obstacles to their chances of one day making it home.

The small group sent to save Ryan are a movie stereotype war band with the stoic Captain and the loyal Sarge, the gobby private, and the god fearing good old boy, as well as the naïve young cartographer co-opted despite his lack of combat experience because he speaks French and German. Such broad stereotypes could have been the film’s undoing except that the actors are absolutely spot on. No-one lets the side down and as they bicker, reminisce, or engage in gallows humour you’re with them. In the calm of the storm is Captain Phillips, a man of duty who just wants to get home to his wife. Tom Hanks, a paragon of Hollywood Everyman decency is perfectly cast as this man, and Phillips is a man not a superman, trying to control both his shaky hand and at times equally shaky company in the face of the horror.

Saving Private Ryan’s a real flaw its that, aside from the horrifying virtuosity of the battle scenes and the sometimes moving moments of quiet between them, the film lacks a real narrative. The characters lurch along in a meandering search for their quarry (“its like finding a needle in a stack of needles” one observes) which occasionally encountering death and appalling violence. At two and a half hours long and with almost half that running time being devoted to battle scenes there isn’t much room for a plot but that lets the film down somewhat.

There will be arguments made over whether this is the greatest war movie ever made. For my part I can’t see it being the greatest movie about war – the view is too small and narrow and aside from death the consequences aren’t explored. In terms of the greatest depiction of warfare as a dirty, nasty and often de-humanising experience Saving Private Ryan has set a benchmark however and its arguable that it’s not been bettered yet.
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on 15 April 2010
I have actually seen this film in HD on Sky and the difference between that and the normal version is simply phenomenal. If you run this film at Standard Def as well, you will see that the uniforms are extremely crisp and most badges on the uniforms are viewable in HD. Even in the town with the bell tower when they wait for the Germans to attack, you can see literally for miles and all the shop signs are clear. This review may sound crazy but sometimes you really do not appreciate the difference between standard and high def but in my opinion this film makes those differences very clear. Therefore the Blu-Ray is a must buy for any Saving Private Ryan fan.
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on 8 April 2016
excellent film enjoyed it a lot thanks
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on 4 February 2011
After watching 'We were soldiers', I wanted to check this one out. Tom Hanks is one of my favourite actors. Not a bad film if your a Spielberg fan but I think we were soldiers was better.
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2013
Saving Private Ryan is a film with a massive reputation which I'd somehow managed not to get round to watching, it's always slightly difficult watch such films as you go in with high expectations.

After a brief intro you are thrown straight into the action on Omaha beach, it's the part of the film most written about, and often described as one of the most accurate depictions of those events. Who am I to argue, it's visceral and shocking and at times hard to watch.

After that the main body of film is Tom Hanks leading a small group of soldiers in search of the titular Private Ryan, that last survivor of 4 brothers. This part is more problematic, the mission itself is fictional and unbelievable and draped in sentiment. While members of Hanks group rarely rise above stock character. All of which makes it slight difficult to engage or care too much about any of them. This isn't helped by the lack of a bigger picture of either the landings themselves, or of the context; Germans are cannon fodder the French absent. With exception of one German 'character' whose subplot provides the weakest part of the story.

Despite these failings the quality of the direction and acting in general makes for a very watchable and moving film. In the end I think Ryan is symbolic all of us who benefited from the sacrifices made by that generation, and we should all be asking ourselves, have we earned it?
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on 12 July 2016
One of the best war movies ever made.
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