Saving Private Ryan (1998)

1998, DreamWorks/Amblin/Paramount. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Tom Hanks, Ed Burns, Matt Damon.

Decent Films Ratings

Entertainment Value
Value (+4/-4)
? +2

External Ratings


Content advisory: Graphic battlefield violence, some profanity and recurring rough language.

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Saving Private Ryan (DVD & Blu-ray)

By Steven D. Greydanus

(Pre-DecentFilms capsule) Steven Spielberg’s harrowing WWII drama opens with a horrifying recreation of the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach that has been called the most realistic war sequence ever shot. As with Schindler’s List and Amistad, Spielberg creates a documentary-like sense in this 20-minute segment by not cluttering it up with "characters."

Then the story takes a fictional and more personal turn, focusing on a politically motivated rescue operation aimed at bringing back an American soldier (Damon) whose three brothers had all been killed the week before. This mission provides an occasion for an exploration of war, authority, sacrifice, and the line between justifiable killing and murder. The remaining battle scenes are riveting, and in war as nowhere else difficult choices can have shattering consequences.

Tags: Drama, War

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