Saving Private Ryan
Overview
 
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was directed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

, with a screenplay by Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat Robert Rodat Robert Rodat (born Keene, New Hampshire, 1953 is an American screenwriter. Best known for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Rodat also wrote The Comrades of Summer (1992), Tall Tale (1995), Fly Away Home with Vince McKewin (1996), and The Patriot (2000). He recently worked on...

. The film is notable for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depicts the Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

 assault of June 6, 1944. Afterwards, it follows Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

 as U.S. Army Captain John H. Miller and seven men (Tom Sizemore
Tom Sizemore
Thomas Edward "Tom" Sizemore, Jr. is an American film and television actor and producer. He is known for his roles in films such as Saving Private Ryan, Strange Days, Pearl Harbor, Heat and Black Hawk Down....

, Edward Burns
Edward Burns
Edward Fitzgerald Burns is an American actor, film producer, writer and director.-Early life:Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, New York, the son of Molly , a federal agency manager, and Edward J. Burns, a public relations spokesman and police officer. He was raised a Roman Catholic...

, Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

, Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and xXx...

, Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

, Adam Goldberg
Adam Goldberg
Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

, and Jeremy Davies
Jeremy Davies (actor)
Jeremy Davies is an American film and television actor. He is known for portraying the interpreter Cpl. Timothy E. Upham in the film Saving Private Ryan and the physicist Daniel Faraday on the television series Lost. He most recently appeared in the FX series, Justified, as Dickie Bennett.-Early...

), as they search for a paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

, Private First Class
Private First Class
Private First Class is a military rank held by junior enlisted persons.- Singapore :The rank of Private First Class in the Singapore Armed Forces lies between the ranks of Private and Lance-Corporal . It is usually held by conscript soldiers midway through their national service term...

 James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting , from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck...

), who is the last surviving brother
Sole Survivor Policy
The Sole Survivor Policy or DoD Directive 1315.15 "Special Separation Policies for Survivorship" describes a set of regulations in the U.S. military that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military...

 of four servicemen.

Rodat conceived the film's story in 1994 when he saw a monument dedicated to eight siblings killed in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.
Quotations

This Ryan better be worth it. He better go home and cure some disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb, or something. Because to tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade ten Ryans for one Vecchio or one Caparzo.

Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much, my wife is even gonna recognize me whenever it is I get back to her, and how I'll ever be able to tell about days like today. Aw, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan, I don't care. The man means nothing to me; he's just a name. But if, you know, if going to Ramelle, and finding him so he can go home, if that earns me the right to get back to my wife, well then, then that's my mission.

With every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel.

[Dying words, to Private Ryan] James... earn this. Earn it.

I don't know. Part of me thinks the kid's right. What's he done to deserve this? He wants to stay here, fine. Let's leave him and go home. But another part of me thinks, what if we stay, and by some miracle we actually make it out of here alive? Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, shitty mess.

The mission is a man.

In the Last Great Invasion of the Last Great War, The Greatest Challenge for Eight Men…was Saving One.

There was only one man left in the family, and the mission was to save him.

Encyclopedia
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film
War film
War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training or other related subjects. At times war films focus on daily military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles...

 set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was directed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

, with a screenplay by Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat Robert Rodat Robert Rodat (born Keene, New Hampshire, 1953 is an American screenwriter. Best known for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Rodat also wrote The Comrades of Summer (1992), Tall Tale (1995), Fly Away Home with Vince McKewin (1996), and The Patriot (2000). He recently worked on...

. The film is notable for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depicts the Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

 assault of June 6, 1944. Afterwards, it follows Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

 as U.S. Army Captain John H. Miller and seven men (Tom Sizemore
Tom Sizemore
Thomas Edward "Tom" Sizemore, Jr. is an American film and television actor and producer. He is known for his roles in films such as Saving Private Ryan, Strange Days, Pearl Harbor, Heat and Black Hawk Down....

, Edward Burns
Edward Burns
Edward Fitzgerald Burns is an American actor, film producer, writer and director.-Early life:Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, New York, the son of Molly , a federal agency manager, and Edward J. Burns, a public relations spokesman and police officer. He was raised a Roman Catholic...

, Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

, Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and xXx...

, Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

, Adam Goldberg
Adam Goldberg
Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

, and Jeremy Davies
Jeremy Davies (actor)
Jeremy Davies is an American film and television actor. He is known for portraying the interpreter Cpl. Timothy E. Upham in the film Saving Private Ryan and the physicist Daniel Faraday on the television series Lost. He most recently appeared in the FX series, Justified, as Dickie Bennett.-Early...

), as they search for a paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

, Private First Class
Private First Class
Private First Class is a military rank held by junior enlisted persons.- Singapore :The rank of Private First Class in the Singapore Armed Forces lies between the ranks of Private and Lance-Corporal . It is usually held by conscript soldiers midway through their national service term...

 James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting , from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck...

), who is the last surviving brother
Sole Survivor Policy
The Sole Survivor Policy or DoD Directive 1315.15 "Special Separation Policies for Survivorship" describes a set of regulations in the U.S. military that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military...

 of four servicemen.

Rodat conceived the film's story in 1994 when he saw a monument dedicated to eight siblings killed in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Rodat imagined a similar sibling narrative set in World War II. The script was submitted to producer Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon is an American television and film producer.- Background :Gordon was born in Newport News, Virginia on October 10, 1956...

, who handed it to Hanks. It was finally given to Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

, who decided to direct. The film's premise is loosely based on the real-life case of the Niland brothers
Niland Brothers
The Niland brothers were four American brothers from Tonawanda, New York, serving in the military during World War II. Of the four, two survived the war, but for a time it was believed that only one, Frederick Niland, had survived...

.

Saving Private Ryan was well received by audiences and garnered considerable critical acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew as well as earning significant returns at the box office. The film grossed US$481.8 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing domestic film of the year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 nominated the film for eleven Academy Awards; Spielberg's direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director. Saving Private Ryan was released on home video
Home video
Home video is a blanket term used for pre-recorded media that is either sold or rented/hired for home cinema entertainment. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era but has carried over into current optical disc formats like DVD and Blu-ray Disc and, to a lesser extent, into methods of digital...

 in May 1999, earning $44 million from sales.

Plot


The film opens as an elderly World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 veteran and his family visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-mer
Colleville-sur-Mer
Colleville-sur-Mer is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.The beach next to the coastal village was one of the principal beachheads during the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, designated Omaha beach....

; Normandy, France. The scene cuts to the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the Normandy invasion, as American soldiers prepare to land on Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

. They struggle against dug-in German infantry, machine gun nests, and artillery fire, which cut down many of the men. Captain John H. Miller, the company commander
Company Commander
A company commander is the commanding officer of a company, a military unit which typically consists of 100 to 350 soldiers, often organized into three or four smaller units called platoons....

 of Charlie Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, survives the initial landing and assembles a group of soldiers to penetrate the German defenses, leading to a breakout from the beach.

The scene then shifts to the United States where General George Marshall
George Marshall
George Catlett Marshall was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense...

 is informed that three of four brothers in the Ryan family have all died within days of each other and that their mother will receive all three notices on the same day. He learns that the fourth son, Private First Class James Francis Ryan of Baker Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 is missing in action
Missing in action
Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

 somewhere in Normandy. After reading to his staff Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

's letter to Mrs. Bixby, Marshall orders that Ryan be found and sent home immediately because of the Sole Survivor Policy
Sole Survivor Policy
The Sole Survivor Policy or DoD Directive 1315.15 "Special Separation Policies for Survivorship" describes a set of regulations in the U.S. military that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military...

.

Back in France, three days after D-Day, Miller receives orders to find Ryan. He assembles six men from his company (Horvath, Mellish, Reiben, Jackson, Wade, and Caparzo), plus one detailed from the 29th Infantry Division (Upham), a clerk who speaks fluent French and German, to accomplish the task. With no information about Ryan's whereabouts, Miller and his men move out to Neuville. On the outskirts of Neuville they meet a platoon from the 101st. After entering the town, Caparzo is wounded by a sniper in the chest, and slowly bleeds to death, since nobody can go out into the open without getting hit. Jackson is able to kill the sniper after Caparzo dies. They locate a Private James Frederick Ryan from Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, but soon realize that he's not their man. They find a member of Charlie Company, 506th, who informs them that his drop zone
Drop zone
A drop zone is a place where parachutists or parachuted supplies land. It can be an area targeted for landing by paratroopers, or a base from which recreational parachutists and skydivers take off in aircraft and land under parachutes...

 was at Vierville
Vierville, Manche
Vierville is a commune in the Manche department in Normandy in north-western France.-Places and Monuments:* Mounds Neolithic of Butte . Cemetery dating to the Merovingian .* Church Saint-Eloi , with font emblazoned ....

 and that Baker and Charlie companies had the same rally point. Once they reach it, Miller locates a friend of Ryan's, who reveals that Ryan is defending a strategically important bridge over the Merderet River
Merderet
The Merderet is a 36 km long river in Normandy, France which is tributary to the Douve River. It runs roughly north-south down the middle of the Cotentin peninsula from Valognes to the junction with the Douve at Beuzeville la Bastille.-Hydrology:...

 in the town of Ramelle.

On the way to Ramelle, Miller decides to take the opportunity to neutralize a small German machine gun position close to an abandoned radar station, despite the misgivings of his men. Wade, their medic, is fatally wounded in the ensuing skirmish. The last surviving German, known only as "Steamboat Willie", incurs the wrath of all the squad members except Upham, who protests to Miller about letting the squad shoot the German soldier. The German pleads for his life and Miller decides to let him walk away, blindfolded, and surrender himself to the next Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 patrol. Viewing Miller's decision as letting the enemy go free, and no longer confident in Miller's leadership, Reiben declares his intention to desert the squad and the mission, prompting a confrontation with Horvath. The argument heats up, until Miller defuses the situation by revealing his pre-war occupation as an English teacher, a question upon which the squad had set up a betting pool. Reiben then reluctantly decides to stay.

The squad finally arrives on the outskirts of Ramelle, where they come upon three paratroopers ambushing a German half-track
Half-track
A half-track is a civilian or military vehicle with regular wheels on the front for steering, and caterpillar tracks on the back to propel the vehicle and carry most of the load. The purpose of this combination is to produce a vehicle with the cross-country capabilities of a tank and the handling...

. Among the paratroopers is Ryan. After entering Ramelle, Ryan is told of his brothers' deaths, and their mission to bring him home, and that two lives had been lost in the quest to find him. He is distressed at the loss of his brothers, but does not feel it is fair to go home, asking Miller to tell his mother "when you found me I was here, and I was with the only brothers I have left," looking at the small band whose duty it was to defend a bridge and destroy an approaching German mechanized unit. Miller decides to take command and defend the bridge with what little manpower and resources are available.

The Germans arrive in force with more than 50 men supported by armor. In spite of inflicting heavy German casualties, most of the men—including Jackson, Mellish, and Horvath—are killed. While attempting to blow the bridge, Miller is shot and mortally wounded. Just before a Tiger I
Tiger I
Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of...

 reaches the bridge, an American P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

 flies over and destroys it, followed by more Mustangs and advancing American infantry and M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

 tanks who rout the remaining Germans. Upham, who was cut off from the Americans and hid in a ditch positioned next to German soldiers, executes "Steamboat Willie" upon finding him with a group of surrendering Germans and after witnessing him being the one who shot Miller. Ryan, Reiben, and Upham are the only survivors of the battle. Ryan is with Miller as he dies and says his last words, "James... earn this. Earn it."

Back in the present, the elderly veteran is revealed to be Ryan at Miller's grave. He asks his wife to confirm that he has led a good life and that he is a "good man" and thus worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and the others. He then salutes Miller's grave as the camera pans down the gravestones to a placid American flag
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

.

Cast

  • Tom Hanks
    Tom Hanks
    Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

     as Captain John H. Miller
  • Tom Sizemore
    Tom Sizemore
    Thomas Edward "Tom" Sizemore, Jr. is an American film and television actor and producer. He is known for his roles in films such as Saving Private Ryan, Strange Days, Pearl Harbor, Heat and Black Hawk Down....

     as Technical Sergeant Mike Horvath
  • Edward Burns
    Edward Burns
    Edward Fitzgerald Burns is an American actor, film producer, writer and director.-Early life:Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, New York, the son of Molly , a federal agency manager, and Edward J. Burns, a public relations spokesman and police officer. He was raised a Roman Catholic...

     as Private First Class
    United States Army enlisted rank insignia of World War II
    The U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia that was used during World War II differs from the current system. The color scheme used for the insignia's chevron design was defined as either silver grey on dark blue, olive drab on dark blue, or khaki on dark blue . This scheme of rank insignia was...

     Richard Reiben, an automatic rifleman
  • Barry Pepper
    Barry Pepper
    Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

     as Private
    United States Army enlisted rank insignia of World War II
    The U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia that was used during World War II differs from the current system. The color scheme used for the insignia's chevron design was defined as either silver grey on dark blue, olive drab on dark blue, or khaki on dark blue . This scheme of rank insignia was...

     Daniel Jackson, a marksman
  • Adam Goldberg
    Adam Goldberg
    Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

     as Private Stanley "Fish" Mellish, a rifleman
  • Vin Diesel
    Vin Diesel
    Vin Diesel is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and xXx...

     as Private First Class Adrian Caparzo, a rifleman
  • Giovanni Ribisi
    Giovanni Ribisi
    Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

     as Technician Fourth Grade Irwin Wade, a medic
  • Jeremy Davies
    Jeremy Davies (actor)
    Jeremy Davies is an American film and television actor. He is known for portraying the interpreter Cpl. Timothy E. Upham in the film Saving Private Ryan and the physicist Daniel Faraday on the television series Lost. He most recently appeared in the FX series, Justified, as Dickie Bennett.-Early...

     as Technician Fifth Grade Timothy E. Upham, a cartographer
  • Matt Damon
    Matt Damon
    Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting , from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck...

     as Private First Class James Francis Ryan, a paratrooper
  • Ted Danson
    Ted Danson
    Edward Bridge “Ted” Danson III is an American actor best known for his role as central character Sam Malone in the sitcom Cheers, and his role as Dr. John Becker on the series Becker. He also plays a recurring role on Larry David's HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm and starred alongside Glenn Close...

     as Captain Fred Hamill, a pathfinder
  • Paul Giamatti
    Paul Giamatti
    Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti is an American actor. Giamatti began his career as a supporting actor in several films produced during the 1990s including Private Parts, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, The Negotiator, and Man on the Moon, before earning lead roles in several projects in the...

     as Staff Sergeant
    United States Army enlisted rank insignia of World War II
    The U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia that was used during World War II differs from the current system. The color scheme used for the insignia's chevron design was defined as either silver grey on dark blue, olive drab on dark blue, or khaki on dark blue . This scheme of rank insignia was...

     William Hill, a paratrooper
  • Dennis Farina
    Dennis Farina
    Dennis Farina is an American actor of film and television and former Chicago police officer. He is a character actor, often typecast as a mobster or police officer. His most known film roles are those of mobster Jimmy Serrano in the comedy Midnight Run and Ray "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty...

     as Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
    In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

     Walter Anderson
  • Harrison Young
    Harrison Young
    Harrison Richard Young was an American film and television actor. He is perhaps most recognized for his role as the elderly Private James Ryan in Steven Spielberg's 1998 war epic Saving Private Ryan...

     as James Francis Ryan, present day
  • Harve Presnell
    Harve Presnell
    Harve Presnell was an American actor and singer. He began his career in the mid 1950s as a classical baritone, singing with orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States...

     as General
    General (United States)
    In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

     George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army
    Chief of Staff of the United States Army
    The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

  • Leland Orser
    Leland Orser
    Leland Jones Orser is an American film and television actor. Orser is a character actor, whose career has included playing a number of deranged, psychotic, and degenerate characters. Orser has appeared in small roles in a wide variety of films and television shows, including Chief of Surgery Dr...

     as Second Lieutenant DeWindt, pilot of a crashed glider
  • Bryan Cranston
    Bryan Cranston
    Bryan Lee Cranston is an American actor, voice actor, writer and director. He is best known for his roles as Hal the father in the Fox situation comedy Malcolm in the Middle, and Walter White in the AMC drama series Breaking Bad, for which he won three consecutive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama...

     as Colonel
    Colonel (United States)
    In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

     I. W. Bryce, an officer at the War Department
    United States Department of War
    The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

  • Dale Dye
    Dale Dye
    Dale Adam Dye is an American actor, presenter, businessman, and retired U.S. Marine captain who served in combat during the Vietnam War.-Early life & Marine service:...

     as an officer at the War Department.
  • Nathan Fillion
    Nathan Fillion
    Nathan Fillion is a Canadian actor, currently starring as Richard Castle on the ABC series Castle. He is also known for his portrayal of the lead role of Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the television series Firefly and its feature film continuation, Serenity.He has acted in traditionally distributed...

     as Private James Frederick Ryan
  • Max Martini
    Max Martini
    Maximilian Carlo "Max" Martini is an American film, theater and television actor known for his roles as Corporal Fred Henderson in Saving Private Ryan, Wiley in Level 9, First Sergeant Sid Wojo in The Great Raid, and as Master Sergeant Mack Gerhardt on the military television drama, The...

     as Corporal Fred Henderson, ranking NCO paratrooper at Ramelle
  • Demetri Goritsas
    Demetri Goritsas
    Demetri Goritsas is a Canadian-American actor.From Greek and Norwegian parentage, Goritsas was born in Eugene, Oregon, USA, grew up in British Columbia and has lived his adult life in London. Goritsas was educated at Prince George Secondary School, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.Early in...

     as Private Parker, a paratrooper


Development

In 1994, Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat Robert Rodat Robert Rodat (born Keene, New Hampshire, 1953 is an American screenwriter. Best known for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Rodat also wrote The Comrades of Summer (1992), Tall Tale (1995), Fly Away Home with Vince McKewin (1996), and The Patriot (2000). He recently worked on...

 saw a monument in Putney Corners, New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, memorializing those who had died fighting from the Civil War to Vietnam. He noticed the names of eight siblings who died during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Inspired by the story, Rodat did some research and decided to write a similar story set in World War II. Rodat's script was submitted to producer Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon is an American television and film producer.- Background :Gordon was born in Newport News, Virginia on October 10, 1956...

, who liked the story but only accepted the text after 11 redrafts. Gordon shared the finished script with Hanks, who liked it and in turn passed it along to Spielberg to direct. A shooting date was set for June 27, 1997. Before filming began, several of the film's stars, including Edward Burns
Edward Burns
Edward Fitzgerald Burns is an American actor, film producer, writer and director.-Early life:Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, New York, the son of Molly , a federal agency manager, and Edward J. Burns, a public relations spokesman and police officer. He was raised a Roman Catholic...

, Barry Pepper
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper is a Canadian actor. He is best known for playing roles like Sergeant Michael Strank in the Clint Eastwood film, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Daniel Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, Roger Maris in 61*, Ned Pepper in True Grit and for his recent role as Robert F...

, Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He became known in the early 2000s, appearing in several successful Hollywood films, including The Fast and the Furious and xXx...

, Adam Goldberg
Adam Goldberg
Adam Charles Goldberg is an American actor, director, producer, and musician.-Early life:Goldberg was born in Santa Monica, California, the son of Donna and Earl Goldberg, a former lifeguard. His father is Jewish and his mother is a "lapsed" Roman Catholic of Irish, French, and German descent...

, Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

, and Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

, endured ten days of "boot camp" training and work on the film set to prepare for their roles. Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Matthew Paige "Matt" Damon is an American actor, screenwriter, and philanthropist whose career was launched following the success of the film Good Will Hunting , from a screenplay he co-wrote with friend Ben Affleck...

 was not brought into the camp intentionally, to make the rest of the group feel resentment towards the character.

Spielberg had already demonstrated his interest in World War II themes with the films 1941
1941 (film)
1941 is a 1979 period comedy film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and featuring an ensemble cast including John Belushi, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Toshiro Mifune, Christopher Lee and Dan Aykroyd...

, Empire of the Sun
Empire of the Sun (film)
Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age war film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which stars Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Nigel Havers...

, Schindler's List
Schindler's List
Schindler's List is a 1993 American film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg, and based on the novel Schindler's Ark...

, and the Indiana Jones series. Spielberg later co-produced the World War II themed television miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 Band of Brothers and its counterpart The Pacific
The Pacific (miniseries)
The Pacific is a 2010 television series produced by HBO, Seven Network Australia, Sky Movies, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on March 14, 2010....

with Tom Hanks. When asked about this by American Cinematographer, Spielberg said, "I think that World War II is the most significant event of the last 100 years; the fate of the Baby Boomers and even Generation X
Generation X
Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western post–World War II baby boom ended. While there is no universally agreed upon time frame, the term generally includes people born from the early 1960's through the early 1980's, usually no later than 1981 or...

 was linked to the outcome. Beyond that, I've just always been interested in World War II. My earliest films, which I made when I was about 14 years old, were combat pictures that were set both on the ground and in the air. For years now, I've been looking for the right World War II story to shoot, and when Robert Rodat wrote Saving Private Ryan, I found it."

The D-Day scenes were shot in Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe Strand, Ballinesker, just east of Curracloe
Curracloe
Curracloe is a village in County Wexford, a few miles northeast of the town of Wexford, Ireland. It lies on the R742 regional road at the junction with R743, and is linked to the long and sandy Curracloe Strand by the short R743 road, to the east...

, Wexford
County Wexford
County Wexford is a county in Ireland. It is part of the South-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wexford. In pre-Norman times it was part of the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnselaig, whose capital was at Ferns. Wexford County Council is the local...

, Ireland. Filming began June 27, 1997, and lasted for two months. Some shooting was done in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, for the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer
Colleville-sur-Mer
Colleville-sur-Mer is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.The beach next to the coastal village was one of the principal beachheads during the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, designated Omaha beach....

 and Calvados
Calvados
The French department of Calvados is part of the region of Basse-Normandie in Normandy. It takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the English Channel coast...

. Other scenes were filmed in English locations such as a former British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 factory in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Hatfield is a town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England in the borough of Welwyn Hatfield. It has a population of 29,616, and is of Saxon origin. Hatfield House, the home of the Marquess of Salisbury, is the nucleus of the old town...

, London, Thame Park
Thame
Thame is a town and civil parish in Oxfordshire, about southwest of the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury. It derives its toponym from the River Thame which flows past the north side of the town....

, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

. Production was due to also take place in Seaham
Seaham
Seaham, formerly Seaham Harbour, is a small town in County Durham, situated south of Sunderland and east of Durham. It has a small parish church, St Mary the Virgin, with a late 7th century Anglo Saxon nave resembling the church at Escomb in many respects. St Mary the Virgin is regarded as one of...

, County Durham, but government restrictions disallowed this.

Portraying history

Saving Private Ryan has been critically noted for its realistic portrayal of World War II combat. In particular, the sequence depicting the Omaha landings was voted the "best battle scene of all time" by Empire
Empire (magazine)
Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008...

magazine and was ranked number one on TV Guide
TV Guide
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine with listings of TV shows.In addition to TV listings, the publication features television-related news, celebrity interviews, gossip and film reviews and crossword puzzles...

's
list of the "50 Greatest Movie Moments". The scene cost US$12 million and involved up to 1,500 extras, some of whom were members of the Irish Reserve Defence Forces
Reserve Defence Forces
The Reserve Defence Forces is the title given to the reserve components of the Irish Defence Forces. It comprises the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve ....

. Members of local reenactment groups such as the Second Battle Group
Second Battle Group
The Second Battle Group is a World War II Living History and Historical Society. The Second Battle Group re-enact the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler...

 were cast as extras to play German soldiers. In addition, twenty to thirty actual amputees
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

 were used to portray US soldiers maimed during the landing. Spielberg did not storyboard
Storyboard
Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence....

 the sequence, as he wanted spontaneous reactions and for "the action to inspire me as to where to put the camera".

The historical representation of Charlie Company's actions, led by its commander, Captain Ralph E. Goranson, was well maintained in the opening sequence. The sequence and details of the events are very close to the historical record, including the seasickness experienced by many of the soldiers as the landing craft moved toward the shoreline, significant casualties among the men as they disembarked from the boats, and difficulty linking up with adjacent units on the shore. The contextual details of the Company's actions were well maintained, for instance, the correct code names for the sector Charlie Company assaulted, and adjacent sectors were used. Included in the cinematic depiction of the landing was a follow on mission of clearing a bunker and trench system at the top of the cliffs which was not part of the original mission objectives for Charlie Company, but which they did undertake after climbing the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc is a clifftop location on the coast of Normandy in northern France. It lies 4 miles west of Omaha Beach, and stands on 100 ft tall cliffs overlooking the sea...

.

The landing craft used included twelve actual World War II examples, 10 LCVPs and 2 LCMs, standing in for the British LCAs that the Ranger Companies rode in to the beach during Operation Overlord. The film-makers used underwater cameras to better depict soldiers being hit by bullets in the water. Forty barrels of fake blood were used to simulate the effect of blood in the seawater. This degree of realism was more difficult to achieve when depicting World War II German armored vehicles, as few examples survive in operating condition. The Tiger I
Tiger I
Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of...

 tanks in the film were copies built on the chassis of old, but functional Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 T-34 tanks
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

. The two vehicles described in the film as Panzer
Panzer
A Panzer is a German language word that, when used as a noun, means "tank". When it is used as an adjective, it means either tank or "armoured" .- Etymology :...

s were meant to portray Marder III
Marder III
The Marder III is the name for a series of World War II German tank destroyers built on the chassis of the Panzer 38. The German word Marder means "marten" in English...

 tank destroyers. One was created for the film using the chassis of a Czech
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

-built Panzer 38(t)
Panzer 38(t)
The Panzerkampfwagen 38 was originally a Czech tank of pre-World War II design. After Czechoslovakia was taken over by Germany, it was adopted by the German Army, seeing service in the invasions of Poland and Russia. Production ended in 1942, when its armament was deemed inadequate. In all, over...

 tank similar to the construction of the original Marder III; the other was a cosmetically modified Swedish SAV m/43
Stridsvagn m/41
Stridsvagn m/41 was the Swedish license-built Czech TNH tank.Since 1937, the Swedish army had been interested in Czechoslavkian TNH tank. In March 1940, some 90 tanks were ordered from ČKD. They were never delivered as Germany, who had since then occupied Czechoslovakia, needed them for its coming...

 assault gun, which also used the 38(t) chassis.

Inevitably, some artistic license was taken by the filmmakers for the sake of drama. One of the most notable is the depiction of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, as the adversary during the fictional Battle of Ramelle. The 2nd SS was not engaged in Normandy until July, and then at Caen against the British and Canadians, one hundred miles east. Furthermore, the Merderet River bridges were not an objective of the 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division (United States)
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 but of the 82nd Airborne Division, part of Mission Boston
Mission Boston
Mission Boston was a parachute combat assault at night by the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division on June 6, 1944, part of the American airborne landings in Normandy. Boston was a component of Operation Neptune, the assault portion of the Allied invasion of France, Operation Overlord...

. Much has been said about various "tactical errors" made by both the German and American forces in the film's climactic battle. Spielberg responded, saying that in many scenes he opted to replace sound military tactics and strict historical accuracy for dramatic effect.

To achieve a tone and quality that was true to the story as well as reflected the period in which it is set, Spielberg once again collaborated with cinematographer
Cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

 Janusz Kamiński
Janusz Kaminski
Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński is a Polish cinematographer and film director. He has photographed all of Steven Spielberg's films since 1993's Schindler's List.-Life and career:...

, saying, "Early on, we both knew that we did not want this to look like a Technicolor
Technicolor
Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

 extravaganza about World War II, but more like color newsreel footage from the 1940s, which is very desaturated and low-tech." Kamiński had the protective coating stripped from the camera lenses, making them closer to those used in the 1940s. He explains that "without the protective coating, the light goes in and starts bouncing around, which makes it slightly more diffused and a bit softer without being out of focus." The cinematographer completed the overall effect by putting the negative through bleach bypass
Bleach bypass
Bleach bypass, also known as skip bleach or silver retention, is an optical effect which entails either the partial or complete skipping of the bleaching function during the processing of a color film. By doing this, the silver is retained in the emulsion along with the color dyes. The result is a...

, a process that reduces brightness and color saturation. The shutter
Rotary disc shutter
A rotary disc shutter is a type of shutter. It is notably used in motion picture cameras.Rotary discs are semicircular mirrors which rotate in front of the film gate, and thus expose the film. As the mirror spins it reflects the image onto the ground glass so that it can be viewed by the camera...

 timing was set to 90 or 45 degrees for many of the battle sequences, as opposed to the standard of 180 degree timing. Kamiński clarifies, "In this way, we attained a certain staccato in the actors' movements and a certain crispness in the explosions, which makes them slightly more realistic."

Release

The film was distributed by DreamWorks
DreamWorks
DreamWorks Pictures, also known as DreamWorks, LLC, DreamWorks SKG, DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC, DreamWorks Studios or DW Studios, LLC, is an American film studio which develops, produces, and distributes films, video games and television programming...

 in North America and by Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 internationally. As a result of Paramount's 2005 acquisition of DreamWorks, Paramount has gained North America distribution rights as well (though still through the DreamWorks division). Saving Private Ryan was a critical and commercial success and is credited with contributing to a resurgence in America's interest in World War II. Old and new films, video games, and novels about the war enjoyed renewed popularity after its release. The film's use of desaturated colors, hand-held camera
Hand-held camera
Hand-held camera or hand-held shooting is a filmmaking and video production technique in which a camera is held in the camera operator's hands as opposed to being mounted on a tripod or other base. Hand-held cameras are used because they are conveniently sized for travel and because they allow...

s, and tight angles has profoundly influenced subsequent films and video games. Saving Private Ryan was released in 2,463 theatres on July 28, 1998, and grossed $30.5 million on its opening weekend. The film grossed $216.5 million in North America and $265.3 million on other territories, bringing its worldwide total to $481.8 million and making it the highest grossing domestic film of the year.

Reception

Critical reception for the film was generally positive, with much praise for the realistic battle scenes and the actors' performances, but earning some criticism for the script and for ignoring the contributions of several other countries to the D-Day landings in general and at Omaha Beach specifically. The most direct example of the latter is that during the actual landing the 2nd Rangers disembarked from British ships and were taken to Omaha Beach by Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 landing craft (LCAs). The film depicts them as being United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

-crewed craft (LCVP
LCVP
The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings in World War II. The craft was designed by Andrew Higgins of Louisiana, United States, based on boats made for operating in swamps and marshes...

s and LCMs
Landing Craft Mechanized
The Landing Craft Mechanized or Landing Craft Mechanical was a landing craft designed for carrying vehicles. They came to prominence during the Second World War when they were used to land troops or tanks during Allied amphibious assaults....

) from an American ship, the USS Thomas Jefferson (APA-30)
USS Thomas Jefferson (APA-30)
USS Thomas Jefferson was a . She was ordered built by the U.S. Navy for use in World War II and was assigned the task of transporting troops to and from battle areas...

. This criticism was far from universal with other critics recognizing the director's intent to make an "American" film. The film was not released in Malaysia after Spielberg refused to cut the violent scenes; however, the film was finally released there on DVD with an 18SG certificate much later in 2005. It currently scores 93% "Certified Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 and 90% on Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

, two film review aggregate sites. Many critics associations, such as New York Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
New York Film Critics' Circle Awards are given annually to honor excellence in cinema worldwide by an organization of film reviewers from New York City-based publications. It is considered one of the most important precursors to the Academy Awards....

 and Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association was founded in 1975. Its main purpose is to present yearly awards to members of the film industry who have excelled in their fields. These awards are presented each January...

, chose Saving Private Ryan as Film of the Year. Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 gave it four stars out of four and called it "a powerful experience".

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence...

 has expressed admiration for the film and has cited it as an influence on his 2009 war epic, Inglourious Basterds. In an interview, Tarantino told interviewer Samuel Blumenfeld, "Spielberg is doing something unheard of with the opening of this movie. When you watch the sequence of the landing, it’s no longer possible to look the same way at The Longest Day
The Longest Day (film)
The Longest Day is a 1962 war film based on the 1959 history book The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, about "D-Day", the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II....

, or even Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One
The Big Red One
The Big Red One is a World War II war film starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller, it was produced by Lorimar and released by United Artists in the US on July 18, 1980...

... Saving Private Ryan made me aware of some issues raised by the cinema of war that I was unable to ask on my own. The idea that forty men on a boat are exterminated in seconds by a volley of machine gun fire is terrifying. Can you imagine the most atrocious carnage? Obviously, yes. Except that throughout the scene, you are persuaded to attend the worst slaughter in history. The sequence of the knife fight between a U.S. soldier and a Nazi at the end of the film is also as notable as the landing. I hate war movies where they show a soldier killing his opponents without sweating, as if it were insignificant. If I was fighting to save my skin, I think it would be a little more difficult. It's hard to kill someone, it takes sweat, and even with this, you have no guarantee of reaching your goals. Spielberg managed admirably to stage this scene with that dimension."

The actor Richard Todd
Richard Todd
Richard Todd OBE was an Irish-born British stage and film actor and soldier.-Early life:Richard Todd was born as Richard Andrew Palethorpe-Todd in Dublin, Ireland. His father, Andrew William Palethorpe Todd, was an Irish physician and an international Irish rugby player who gained three caps for...

, who performed in The Longest Day and was amongst the first of the Allied soldiers to land in Normandy, said the film was "Rubbish. Overdone." Other WWII veterans, however, stated that the film was the most realistic depiction of combat they had ever seen. The film was so realistic that combat veterans of D-Day and Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 left theaters rather than finish watching the opening scene depicting the Normandy invasion. Their visits to posttraumatic stress disorder counselors rose in number after the film's release, and many counselors advised "'more psychologically vulnerable'" veterans to avoid watching it.

The film was later nominated for eleven Academy Awards, with wins for Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

, Best Sound
Academy Award for Sound
The Academy Award for Sound Mixing is an Academy Award that recognizes the finest or most euphonic sound mixing or recording, and is generally awarded to the production sound mixers and re-recording mixers of the winning film. Compare this award to the Academy Award for Sound Editing...

, Best Sound Effects Editing
Academy Award for Sound Editing
The Academy Award of Merit for Best Sound Editing is an Academy Award granted yearly to a film exhibiting the finest or most aesthetic sound editing or sound design...

, Best Film Editing
Academy Award for Film Editing
The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

, and Best Director for Spielberg, but lost the Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 award to Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love is a 1998 British-American comedy film directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and playwright Tom Stoppard....

, being one of a few that have won the Best Director award without also winning Best Picture. The film also won the Golden Globes
Golden Globe Award
The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

 for Best Picture – Drama and Director, the BAFTA Award
British Academy Film Awards
The British Academy Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts . It is the British counterpart of the Oscars. As of 2008, it has taken place in the Royal Opera House, having taken over from the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Square...

 for Special Effects
BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects
*2010 - Inception - Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb**Alice in Wonderland - Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Sean Phillips and Carey Villegas**Black Swan - Dan Schrecker...

 and Sound
BAFTA Award for Best Sound
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Sound has been presented to its winners since 1968 and sound designers of all nationalities are eligible to receive the award.-Winners 1968-present:...

, the Directors Guild of America Award, a Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

 for Best Film Soundtrack
Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
The Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media has been awarded since 1960. Until 2001 the award was presented to the composer of the music alone. From 2001 to 2006, the producer and engineers shared in this award...

, the Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel Award
Producers Guild of America
Producers Guild of America is a trade organization representing television producers, film producers and New Media producers in the United States. The PGA's membership includes over 4,700 members of the producing establishment worldwide...

, and the Saturn Award
Saturn Award
The Saturn Award is an award presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films to honor the top works in science fiction, fantasy, and horror in film, television, and home video. The Saturn Awards were devised by Dr. Donald A. Reed in 1972, who felt that films within...

 for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
The following are a list of Saturn Award winners for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film:...

. In June 2008, the American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 revealed its "Ten Top Ten
AFI's 10 Top 10
AFI's 10 Top 10 honors the ten greatest American films in ten classic film genres. Presented by the American Film Institute , the lists were unveiled on a television special broadcast by CBS on June 17, 2008....

"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Saving Private Ryan was listed as the eighth best film in the "epic films" genre.

American Film Institute
American Film Institute
The American Film Institute is an independent non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 1967 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act...

 Lists
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills
    Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills is a list of the top 100 heart-pounding movies in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 12, 2001, during a CBS special hosted by Harrison Ford....

     – #45
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Cheers
    100 Years…100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies is a list of the most inspiring films as determined by the American Film Institute. It is part of the AFI 100 Years… series, which has been compiling lists of the greatest films of all time in various categories since 1998...

     – #10
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #71
  • AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10
    AFI's 10 Top 10 honors the ten greatest American films in ten classic film genres. Presented by the American Film Institute , the lists were unveiled on a television special broadcast by CBS on June 17, 2008....

     – #8 Epic film
    Epic film
    An epic is a genre of film that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale. Epics are more ambitious in scope than other film genres, and their ambitious nature helps to differentiate them from similar genres such as the period piece or adventure film...


Academy Awards

Award Person
Awarded
Best Director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

Janusz Kamiński
Janusz Kaminski
Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński is a Polish cinematographer and film director. He has photographed all of Steven Spielberg's films since 1993's Schindler's List.-Life and career:...

Best Film Editing Michael Kahn
Michael Kahn (film editor)
Michael Kahn is an American film editor. His credits range from TV's Hogan's Heroes to feature films directed by George C. Scott and Steven Spielberg, with whom he has had an extended, notable collaboration over more than thirty years.Kahn is a member of the American Cinema Editors...

Best Sound Effects Editing Gary Rydstrom
Gary Rydstrom
Gary Roger Rydstrom is an American sound designer and director. He has won seven Academy Awards for his work in sound for movies.-Career:...


Richard Hymns
Best Sound Gary Rydstrom
Gary Rydstrom
Gary Roger Rydstrom is an American sound designer and director. He has won seven Academy Awards for his work in sound for movies.-Career:...


Gary Summers
Andy Nelson
Andy Nelson (sound engineer)
Andy Nelson is an Australian sound engineer. He won an Academy Award for Best Sound and has been nominated for fourteen more in the same category...


Ron Judkins
Ron Judkins
Ron Judkins is an American sound engineer. He has won two Academy Awards for Best Sound and has been nominated for another two in the same category...

Nominated
Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

Best Actor in a Leading Role Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

Best Original Screenplay Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat
Robert Rodat Robert Rodat Robert Rodat (born Keene, New Hampshire, 1953 is an American screenwriter. Best known for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Rodat also wrote The Comrades of Summer (1992), Tall Tale (1995), Fly Away Home with Vince McKewin (1996), and The Patriot (2000). He recently worked on...

Best Art Direction
Academy Award for Best Art Direction
The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

Tom Sanders
Thomas E. Sanders
Thomas E. Sanders is production designer. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards in the category Best Art Direction.-Selected filmography:* Dracula * Saving Private Ryan -External links:...


Lisa Dean Kavanaugh
Best Makeup Lois Burwell
Conor O'Sullivan
Conor O'Sullivan
Conor O'Sullivan is an Irish sportsperson. He plays hurling with his local club Sarsfield's and has been a member of the Cork senior inter-county team since 2009.-Club:...


Daniel Striepeke
Best Original Dramatic Score
Academy Award for Best Original Score
The Academy Award for Original Score is presented to the best substantial body of music in the form of dramatic underscoring written specifically for the film by the submitting composer.-Superlatives:...

John Williams
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T...


Home media

The film debuted on home video
Home video
Home video is a blanket term used for pre-recorded media that is either sold or rented/hired for home cinema entertainment. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era but has carried over into current optical disc formats like DVD and Blu-ray Disc and, to a lesser extent, into methods of digital...

 in May 1999 with a VHS release that earned over $44 million. A later special edition, the D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, was released featuring an extra tape with documentary footage of the actual D-Day landings as well as the making of the film. The DVD was released in November of the same year, and was one of the best-selling titles of the year, with over 1.5 million units sold. The original DVD was released in two separate versions: one with Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital is the name for audio compression technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories. It was originally called Dolby Stereo Digital until 1994. Except for Dolby TrueHD, the audio compression is lossy. The first use of Dolby Digital was to provide digital sound in cinemas from 35mm film prints...

 and the other with DTS 5.1 surround sound
Surround sound
Surround sound encompasses a range of techniques such as for enriching the sound reproduction quality of an audio source with audio channels reproduced via additional, discrete speakers. Surround sound is characterized by a listener location or sweet spot where the audio effects work best, and...

. Besides the different 5.1 tracks, the two DVDs are identical. The film was also issued in a very limited 2-disc Laserdisc
Laserdisc
LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

 release in November 1999, making it one of the very last feature films to ever be issued in this format, as Laserdiscs ceased manufacturing and distribution by the year's end, due in part to the growing popularity of DVDs. In 2004, a Saving Private Ryan special edition DVD was released to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day. This two-disc edition was also included in a box set titled World War II Collection, along with two documentaries produced by Spielberg, Price For Peace (about the Pacific War
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

) and Shooting War (about war photographers
War photography
War photography captures photographs of armed conflict and life in war-torn areas.Although photographs can provide a more direct representation than paintings or drawings, they are sometimes manipulated, creating an image that is not objectively journalistic.-History:Photography, presented to the...

, narrated by Tom Hanks). The film was released on Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc storage medium designed to supersede the DVD format. The plastic disc is 120 mm in diameter and 1.2 mm thick, the same size as DVDs and CDs. Blu-ray Discs contain 25 GB per layer, with dual layer discs being the norm for feature-length video discs...

 on April 26, 2010 in the UK and on May 4, 2010 in the US, as part of Paramount Home Video's premium Sapphire Series. However, only weeks after its release, Paramount issued a recall due to audio synchronization problems. The studio issued an official statement acknowledging the problem, which they attributed to an authoring error by Technicolor
Technicolor
Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

 that escaped the quality control process, and that they had already begun the process of replacing the defective discs. The remastered discs were released to the public on May 18, 2010.

Television broadcasts

On Veterans Day
Veterans Day
Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark...

 from 2001 through 2004, the American Broadcasting Company
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 aired the film uncut and with limited commercial interruption. The network airings were given a TV-MA rating
TV Parental Guidelines
The TV Parental Guidelines system was first proposed on December 19, 1996 by the United States Congress, the television industry and the Federal Communications Commission , and went into effect by January 1, 1997 on most major U.S...

, as the violent battle scenes and the profanity were left intact. The 2004 airing was marred by pre-emptions in many markets because of the language, in the backlash of Super Bowl XXXVIII
Super Bowl XXXVIII
Super Bowl XXXVIII was an American football game played on February 1, 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas to decide the National Football League champion following the 2003 regular season....

's halftime show controversy
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy
Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004 from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a...

. However, critics and veterans' groups such as the American Legion
American Legion
The American Legion is a mutual-aid organization of veterans of the United States armed forces chartered by the United States Congress. It was founded to benefit those veterans who served during a wartime period as defined by Congress...

 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a congressionally chartered war veterans organization in the United States. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VFW currently has 1.5 million members belonging to 7,644 posts, and is the largest American organization of combat...

 assailed those stations and their owners, including Hearst-Argyle Television (owner of 14 ABC affiliates); Scripps Howard Broadcasting (owner of eight); and Belo
Belo
Belo Corp. is a Dallas-based media company that owns 20 commercial broadcasting television stations and two regional 24-hour cable news television channels. The company was previously known as A.H. Belo Corp. after one of the early owners of the company, Alfred Horatio Belo, now the name of the...

 (the owner of four) for putting profits ahead of programming and honoring those who gave their lives at wartime, saying the stations made more money running their own programming instead of being paid by the network to carry the film, especially during a sweeps period. A total of 65 ABC affiliates—28% of the network—did not clear the available timeslot for the film, even with the offer of The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

, ABC's parent, to pay all fines for language to the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

. In the end, however, no complaints were lodged against ABC affiliates who showed Ryan, perhaps because even conservative watchdog
Watchdog journalism
Watchdog journalism aims to hold accountable public personalities and institutions, whose functions impact social and political life. The term "lapdog journalism", for journalism biased in favour of personalities and institutions, is sometimes used as a conceptual opposite to watchdog...

s like the Parents Television Council
Parents Television Council
The Parents Television Council is a U.S. based advocacy group founded by conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III in 1995 using the National Legion of Decency as a model...

 supported the unedited rebroadcast of the film.

From 2005 through 2008, TNT
Turner Network Television
Turner Network Television is an American cable television channel created by media mogul Ted Turner and currently owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner...

 acquired the rights to air the film, usually airing it as ABC did on Veterans Day, complete and uncut. Currently, the film can be seen (as of 2010) in syndication and also on Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is a movie-oriented cable television channel, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System subsidiary of Time Warner, featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. film libraries...

.

See also

  • Saving Private Ryan (soundtrack)
    Saving Private Ryan (soundtrack)
    Saving Private Ryan is the original soundtrack, on the DreamWorks Records label, of the 1998 Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning film Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Giovanni Ribisi and Tom Sizemore...

  • 1998 in film
    1998 in film
    -Events:* February 14 - Sharon Stone marries Phil Bronstein.* Former child star Gary Coleman is charged with assaulting a young female bus driver at a California shopping mall.-Top grossing films:...

  • Cinema of the United States
    Cinema of the United States
    The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

  • List of American films of 1998

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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