Saving Private Ryan (1998) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. Thanks for being a part of this, Rob! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Saving Private Ryan, IMDB rank 39 out of 250… (as of 01/01/2013)

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Thanks again to Ms. Mutant for giving us all a chance to review our favorite movies that are part of the IMDB Top 250!

Certain movies fade within your memory not long after you see them and then there are others that remain engraved in your mind for years, if not decades afterwards.

Saving Private Ryan is a movie that fits into the latter category in my mind.

I recall seeing it in the theater during the Fall of 1998 and being mesmerized and riveted for the close to 3 hours running time.

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Steven Spielberg had given us all so many iconic movies over the years up to that point that spanned the whole gamut of Genres. From Jaws to Close Encounters to E.T. to The Indiana Jones trilogy to The Goonies to Jurassic Park and ultimately to his masterpiece Schindler’s List.

Few suspected that he would find a way to even top THAT endeavor, but he did. (or at least matched it)

Saving Private Ryan is truly a companion piece to Schindler’s List because they both deal with different aspects of the horrors of World War II. One deals with the inhabitants of Europe and how they had to deal with the cruelty of the Nazi’s, some due to their heritage and others due to their will to stop injustice from continuing. The other deals with the thousands of American soldiers who traveled far from home to help bring about the downfall of that cruel dictator and his nation that attempted to stop freedom and democracy from spreading.

In both of these movies, Spielberg didn’t hesitate to show the horrific face of war and in some instances strived so hard to show us the hurtful, but truthful shock and awe of those events in history.

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I cannot think of any other movie that opens as this one did. To have close to 30 minutes devoted to carnage, despair, fear, trepidation, blood and guts (literally), action, and lots of other very descriptive and poignant moments has been unprecedented in film history, let alone during the first 30 minutes.

Basically this movie charges right in, showing us that war truly is hell. By the time the shit hits the fan, we don’t know any of the characters and (at least back in 1998), we only could recognize Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore. The disorientation that the viewer was hit in the face with from the start was even greater because of the ‘shaky’ camera work that was purposely used to give us the feeling that we are within that very dangerous situation along with the soldiers themselves.

The rest of this movie follows suit and is amazingly done. The story is interesting, the characters are not just ‘stock’ soldiers like in many war movies, the dialogue between the characters and the action all add up to a movie worth seeing over and over again.

I don’t like spoiling movies, so I’m not going to go into much detail about the plot itself because I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few of you out there who have yet to see this.

Basically, like many ‘war’ films, this is an anti-war movie trying to show the futility of war and the importance of every person individually making whatever they do in life and in war count for something.

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Once the story gets going, we get to know the characters quite well and each one is developed well enough that we care what will happen to them.

Spielberg purposely chose unknown actors so we wouldn’t be distracted by stars. Ironically, just about all of his “unknown” choices became very popular afterwards. Who doesn’t know the names of Ed Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel and Jeremy Davies?

Shockingly, this movie lost the best picture Oscar to Shakespeare in Love which in my book is the biggest mistake ever made by Oscar voters. As much as Shakespeare was a fun movie, this one is clearly better in every aspect besides comedy (DUH!!). Spielberg himself was awarded the best director Oscar which was extremely rare 16 years ago to have a split between Picture and Director.

This is a movie that is best if watched on the big screen. I personally saw this twice in the theater and am grateful that I did so. Certain films are even more powerful on the big screen and this is one of them even if it’s also quite enjoyable at home.

I’m actually quite surprised that this movie is so low on the IMDB Top 250. I mean c’mon 35!!!!. How is that even possible?

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32 thoughts on “Saving Private Ryan (1998) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    The amazing Ms. Mutant at Cinema Parrot Disco posted my review of Saving Private Ryan for her IMDB Top 250. Check it out here!

  2. Nice review, Rob. When I watched this in a theater, and it opened with the older Ryan eyeballing the white crosses in the French cemetery and he drops to his knees, I balled like a baby and knew I was in big trouble. I think the film is not an anti-war film, though. I think it did a great job celebrating the “best generation” of soldiers and their bravery. The landing on the beaches of Normandy was a suicide mission. I only wished Spielberg had caught the Rangers climbing up ropes the sides of cliffs while the Germans picked them off. Anyway, Spielberg did right by devoting time to the central characters so we had a chance to care and think about the question of the film “why save Private Ryan?” Why should the group sacrifice for one? It was a great question and expertly done. I’m surprised it didn’t win Best Picture, too.

  3. I really need to rewatch this. I haven’t seen it since it was in theatres and I can’t really remember it.

  4. nice review. i like the film well enough, although oddly i like it less and less each time i see it, and i think the prologue and epilogue are both unnecessary and are just there to wring your heartstrings just that extra touch. However, I am immensely grateful for the film and for the brilliance of its cinematography and sound design: finally, a war film that shows how truly terrifying combat must be. And you probably know that Hanks read Band of Brothers to prepare for it, and then went on with Spielberg to produce the series, which, for me anyway, may be the best WWII drama ever made

  5. Fantastic Rob, great review of a true classic. This movie is painful to watch but boy is it essential viewing (in my book).

  6. Pingback: Reservoir Dogs (1992) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review | Cinema Parrot Disco

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