Review: Saving Private Ryan

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Saving Private Ryan opened wide in theaters on this date in 1998. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Tom Hanks.


A small group of U.S. soldiers are assigned to go behind enemy lines to retrieve a soldier during WWII. The soldier, Private Ryan, has lost all of his brothers in combat. The group has to find Ryan so he can go home and must also deal with German soldiers & their own questions about the importance of their mission.


  • The combat/war scenes in Saving Private Ryan are some of the greatest ever filmed. Spielberg puts you in the middle of the chaos and violence in a visceral way.


  • The performances, especially by Hanks, feel authentic and true to the era of WWII.


  • The questions the film raises about the value of life and the importance of morality during war resonate and inspire.


  • The film begins and ends with a flash forward. The scenes are well done, but feel like they should be in a different film.


  • The film never quite lives up to the high bar it sets in the opening Normandy battle.

In Closing:

Saving Private Ryan is one of the finest war films ever made. The battles feel real and authentic to WWII. The performances and script keep you interested in the film when its not focused on the warfare. Saving Private Ryan is one of Steven Spielberg’s best films.

Rating: A