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Customer Review

265 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable. The best war film ever made., April 2, 2004
This review is from: Saving Private Ryan (Single-Disc Special Limited Edition) (DVD)
Some people advise others to close their eyes during the loooong opening scene of Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. That would be a mistake. Yes, it's carnage, it's horrible, it's relentless, it's bloody, it's random death, it's a portrayal of fear and courage and raw coincidence. But it's also one of the most powerful pieces of cinematography ever filmed.
There are many other scenes that have stayed with me during the years since I last saw this unforgettable film, perhaps Spielberg's best ever. Perhaps the most poignant one that comes immediately to mind is the woman whose sons are all away at war. She's on a remote farm, washing dishes, and thru her window she sees the dust of approaching cars. She goes outside to meet the visitors, tenses as she sees military brass and a chaplain step from the cars, then crumples wordlessly to the worn boards of her front porch as she tries to take in the news: all her boys have been killed, except for one: Private Ryan.
Another related scene, the one that came just before this one, is equally gut-wrenching (and in both scenes, there is no dialogue, just heart-stabbing visuals that are more powerful than any words could have been) as a woman charged with sending out letters of the We Regret to Inform You variety realizes that she's seen three letters with the same address within the past few days, and she takes this terrible proof to her supervisor - and thus is born the search for the surviving son, to bring him home to his momma.
Tom Hanks, with his own persona of morality and honesty, is perfectly cast as the good Captain Miller, a soldier's soldier charged with this onerous task, and of course there is terrible cost.
Saving Private Ryan is the film Spielberg HAD to make. Outstanding, in every possible way.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2008 10:27:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 17, 2008 10:45:15 PM PST
Alaric says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2009 2:31:17 PM PST
Mr. Me says:
grow up

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 11:26:12 AM PDT
SuperCourier says:
While I agree wholeheartedly on the powerful impact of all of these scenes, this movie is so great that even at this late date you should post a SPOILER ALERT at the top of your review. This should be as fresh and inspiring an experience for newcomers as it was for those who saw it at the first release. Thanks for commenting.

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 1:07:06 AM PDT
A. Holliday says:
This film has some of the best 'scenes' Spielberg (or anyone) has made - and that's generally what we remember from films - particular moments and scenes - rather than whole films.

Which is just as well, because the plot is ridiculous, the storytelling banal, the characters 2 dimensional (Hanks does very well with very little) and the pacing between the two bookends of violence tedious.

However, the brilliant bits almost make up for the rest - just like every film Spielberg's made since 1984 - so at least he's consistent.

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 1:12:27 AM PDT
A. Holliday says:
While certainly unforgettable, and indeed brilliant in places this is by no means the best war film ever made. Not that I know what it is (there's a lot of war films I haven't seen), but 'The Human Condition' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front' would both have to rank higher. An Australian film, 'Gallipoli' is another very good example. If you haven't seen them, give them a go...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2010 1:18:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2010 1:18:59 AM PDT
A. Holliday says:
Regarding Alaric's post: while the views Alaric expresses are a 'little' (!) over the top, and certainly incomplete inasmuch as there's a lot of good things to say about this film as well, its pretty hard to disagree with the points he makes about the characters, plot and script. It's an example of Spielberg's strengths as a director (but not as an editor) that many of these points can be glossed over while watching the film (first viewing anyway), only to occur to us afterwards.
So, while I can see that Alaric is going to annoy people, I think the views are a useful balance to some of the overly enthusiastic reviews on offer.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2010 12:32:40 PM PDT
Alaric's post might have been worth reading, once, for devil's advocate perspective, but it certainly hasn't changed my mind about the greatness of the film. Alaric's perspective is a stark reminder of the luxury we've had as a nation, to sit back in comfort for so long, and make such self-satisfied, grandiose statements. The perspectives from the movie, reflect the mind-set and one could strongly argue, the reality people lived in during the era and conditions portrayed. There was nothing "alleged" about the enemy at hand. Perhaps Aleric, and the rest of us, will be fortunate enough not to have to enter into the reality portrayed in the film...but the way things are going, we're scarcely more than a moment, or a scattering of circumstances, away from entering that stark, defining development where everything changes.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2010 2:04:29 PM PDT

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2010 8:51:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 21, 2010 8:53:50 PM PDT
"-What about his moral fanaticism and mulish devotion to "total victory"? "OUR MISSION IS TO WIN THE WAR(!!!: stares menacingly, rabidly). One man more at the bridge could have made the difference at the end of the film, and it was THAT bridge, and NOT the stupid Wehrmacht outpost was ACTUALLY significant in the operational-strategic situation."

Of course at the time the decision was made to attack the German machine gun no one knew that the squad would be needed to hold the bridge because they hadn't located Ryan yet.

The rest of your analysis is just as flawed, because you so obviously don't understand the most basic aspects of the story line.

Posted on May 20, 2010 6:00:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2010 8:02:50 AM PDT
Thomas Myers says:
I agree that it is one of the best war films of all time and even D-Day scene was great and realistic and I don't agree with the negative reviews and it is unforgetable and I got the vhs version and the special limited edition DVD and I agree with people who call it the best.
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