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Combat - WWII

Saving Private Ryan (1998)


Duration 2h 49m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An idea developed from some anecdotal tales of brothers being killed in combat.
Director Steven Spielberg
Writers/Script Robert Rodet
Starring Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy davies, Matt Damon, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina, Bryan Cranston

Elevator Pitch: Having made it up Omaha beach on D-Day, Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) is tasked by high command, with the job of selecting eight soldiers to make up a team who will be dispatched into the interior of Normandy to find Private Ryan, the sole survivor of four brothers, who is part of an airborne force which has landed further inland. The intent is to make sure that he at least with make it through the war. But ironically, as they make their way into the interior they are forced into firefights with the Germans and they suffer casualties. Will they find Private Ryan and will he turn out to be worth the effort.

Content: An alarming 27 brutal and bloodsoaked minutes on the beach as Miller and his guys struggle up the sand and take on German machine guns. Thereafter they tramp through the countryside  coming across a German sniper who gives then  trouble until their own sniper takes him out, then further problems with an isolated fortified machine gun post. Thereafter they make it to Ryan’s location where he is one of a platoon guarding a bridge. When he refused to leave they have no option but to join in the defense. A futher intense battle takes place.

A View: The film was generally approved of by the critics and made a lot of money, but the events after the landing are unconvincing; the French family pinned down by a lone German sniper, the machine gun emplacement in the middle of nowhere, and therefore possibly not even requiring assault, and finally the battle for the bridge  which is ultimately unconvincing. What could be called the strategic failings of the final skirmish degrade the introductory battle, but despite the patriotic flag waving it is still worth a watch.

Additional info: The General who gives the order to save Ryan reads a letter from Abraham Lincoln to a widow who seemed to have lost five sons. In the event even though two were lost, one returned from a POW camp and two had deserted.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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