Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic frequently feels like a documentary, but did it really happen?
Saving Private Ryan is one of the greatest war films ever made. Steven Spielberg’s uncompromising depiction of a brave mission during the climax of World War II is renowned for its gripping first sequence, which depicts the grizzly storming of Omaha Beach by Allied forces. While detractors would argue the film never tops its standout opening, the larger story poses fascinating questions on the value of individual life within a conflict that claims countless. It's a nuanced take on heroism and patriotism from the generally sentimental Spielberg.
The story follows U.S. Army Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) as he’s assigned to venture deep within Nazi territory to locate Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon). Ryan’s three brothers also served, but were all killed during the Normandy Invasion, so the Army has dediced to send him home to his family. Miller has reservations about the mission, but travels alongside his squad Mike Horvath (Tom Sizemore), Richard Reiben (Edward Burns), Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper), Stanley Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Adrian Caparzo (Vin Diesel), Irwin Wade (Giovanni Ribisi), and Timothy Upham (Jeremy Davies) on the treacherous journey.