Saving Private Ryan

Published June 1, 2019

Saving Private Ryan

Film info

  • Title Saving Private Ryan
  • Director Steven Spielberg
  • Year 1998
  • Run time 2hrs 49m
  • Genres War, History, Drama
  • Tagline The mission is a man

Steven Spielberg directs this powerful, realistic re-creation of WWII's D-day invasion and the immediate aftermath. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall, learning that three Ryan brothers from the same family have all been killed in a single week, requests that the surviving brother, Pvt. James Ryan, be located and brought back to the United States. Having previously experienced action in Italy and North Africa, a close-knit squad sets out through areas still thick with Nazis. The incident is based on a true occurrence.

Live blog

Time Comment
3:12 Those seas of white gravestones, so ordered and so painful.
10:46 That’s the most intense start to a film I think I’ve ever seen.
13:38 First lesson is not to stand near the people with the tanks on their backs.
14:15 “Who’s in command here?” “You are, sir.”
21:55 Twenty minutes into the film and they’ve finally managed to get a shot back.
26:03 Vin Diesel just popped out of a hole! Recognised his voice before him.
32:24 Are telegrams worse, or the sight of a military car driving up to your house?
36:31 I’m very surprised the army would make a decision like that.
38:53 “A needle in a stack of needles.”
41:09 Loving the nerdy translator kid. He better not die.
45:02 Interesting thoughts on the griping chain of command.
1:02:26 Can’t believe Ted Danson is in this too. I bet he’s a good General.
1:04:58 Why is everyone in France American?
1:20:36 It’s incredible how hard it is to try and find someone. Totally understandable but incredible.
1:25:48 “When was the last time you felt good about anything?”
1:28:17 Doubly terrifying for him, to be useless amongst the fighting but also with the potential to be left all alone.
1:39:55 Mutiny!
1:47:04 The remnants of these cities… god, just… poor France.
1:49:16 What if he doesn’t want to go back?
1:51:42 Oh right, he doesn’t. I guess now we find out.
1:55:27 The baby tank is adorbz.
1:56:55 It’s all gone a bit A-Team.
2:06:31 Matt Damon’s teeth are far too nice to have been in a war.
2:23:26 Oh god, running out of ammo is evil.
2:37:44 They totally fooled us into thinking Hanks survived. DAMN THEM.
2:40:14 Well, did he make longer-lasting light bulbs or not?


I have some probably unpopular feelings about the concept of this film, which I’ll share momentarily, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this is some incredible film-making.

The opening sequence on the beach is harrowing, mind-blowing, intense, a sensory overload that really brings to life the horrors of war in a way that no other film has managed to do so. (For me, so far.)

Once that’s through, there’s still two hours of horror, war, tension, needless death, moral questions but also camaraderie, bravery, dark humour, and really some astonishing scenes.

The acting is perfect, the cast far larger and more impressive than I thought, and I wept a tear or two at the end.

So yea, it’s a fantastic piece of art, I’m just annoyed that the concept doesn’t sit well with me. I absolutely understand the tragedy that has happened and the subsequent tragedy that is trying to be avoided, but it just seems crazy to me to risk some of the best soldiers available in the middle of a hard-fought war to search for a “needle in a stack of needles” in Nazi-occupied France.

It’s based on a true story, though, so I’ll get over it and just remember what a fantastic film this is.

Rating: 5 / 5

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