Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Matt Damon, Jeremy Davies, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel

Steven Spielberg

Running Time:
170 mins

"See you on the Beach"

As the D-Day landings are taking place in Normandy, it is discovered that three out of the four Ryan brothers have been killed in action and the final brother, Daniel Ryan (Damon) has just parachuted into Northern France and is missing in action. Know that the Ryan family has already given so much for their country, the US Armed Forces decide that no family should lose all of its children. After surviving the Omaha Beach assault, Captain Miller (Hanks) is ordered to form an eight-man team that will be dispatched into the French countryside to find Private Ryan.

When it comes to war movies, very few have captured the true valour and horror of war but 'Saving Private Ryan' sets new standards in realism.

The genre is filled with classics that showed the war in all its graphic detail, 'Platoon', 'Apocalypse Now', 'Full Metal Jacket' come to mind these were all get during the Vietnam War. Second World War movies however are very different with some almost glamorising the events that changed the face of the planet. Saving Private Ryan is very different. As he did with 'Schindler's List', director Steven Spielberg shows you Second World War as it was really was. The recreation of the US landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day is one of the most dramatic and realistic scenes ever but to film. Taking you into the heart of the action, like you are actually a soldier storming the Normandy Beach, Spielberg and his cast and crew create something that is both fascinating and shocking. With the air raids missing their targets, the soldier ordered to storm Omaha Beach were walking into a possible slaughter, as all the German gun placements were still operational. This is recreated in all its graphical detail, showing the full impact of war and what bullets and explosives can do to the human body. People die in war and this movie reveals the full terror of that, without pulling any punches or backing away from showing what injuries and fatalities can occur during a battle.

After the exhilaratingly traumatic events of the opening act, the search for Private Ryan begins and this is when we really get introduced to the characters and the actors playing them. Leading the line is Tom Hanks at Capt. Miller, the leader of the platoon order to locate Ryan. This is another fine performance by an actor who excels in the dramatic as well as the more lighthearted roles he is more known for. Tom Hanks is an everyman everyone can connect with on some level. A leader that, while trained to the full extent, doesn't really have much confidence in his own abilities but tries to never show this to the men. He has their respect but can he live with his decisions he has made in the field and the orders he has given. The very underrated and troubled Tom Sizemore plays Sgt. Michael Horvath, Miller's right hand man. Known more for his personal life than his acting skills, this is a role that reminds us how good an actor he really is. Horvath is the rock of the platoon and the voice of the men. He is also an excellent soldier who commands your respect. Edward Burns makes his move from low budget character dramas to the big leagues as Pvt. Richard Reiben. The comedian and mouth of the platoon, he is the whinger who questions every order but still follows them to the letter. Jeremy Davies plays Cpl. Timothy E. Upham. He is the timid, rookie of the group who is taken out of the map room and throw into active duty as an interpreter, facing the gravity of war for the first time. Appearing in the final act of the film, Matt Damon is Private Ryan, the man platoon are looking for and ordered to protect. Damon plays the slightly limited role extremely well, as he comes to terms with what has happened to his brothers and the situation he now finds himself in.

The rest of the platoon is played equally as well. Adam Goldberg is Pvt. Stanley Mellish, the panicker of the group. Barry Pepper is Pvt. Daniel Jackson, the religious sniper who believes he is empowered by God. Giovanni Ribisi is Pvt. Irwin Wade, the company medic. Vin Diesel is Pvt. Adrian Caparzo, the hard man of the platoon. All of these actors give excellent performances and produce a real sense of camaraderie amongst the platoon.

Saving Private Ryan is one of the best War movies every committed to film. Steven Spielberg and his cast and crew take you into the heart of the conflict like no film has ever done before to show you the true terror of warfare. This is film that will grip you from the off and really effect the way you think about the life of a soldier. It will also dramatically affect the way you perceive war, as the film reveals the full gravity of battle and how it affects the people involved. Saving Private Ryan is a film that everyone should watch.


Disc 2

An Introduction to the film (2.36 mins)

Director Steven Spielberg talks about his reasons for getting involved with the movie and how his early, homemade films influenced his decision.

Looking into the Past (4.41 mins)

Director Steven Spielberg and writer Robert Rodat talk about the documentary footage from the era that was a huge influence on the movie and how the story was actually based on a real incident that occurred with a family during the war.

Miller and his Platoon (8.24 mins)
Director Steven Spielberg, writer Robert Rodat and stars Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Vin Diesel and Jeremy Davis take you behind the scenes of Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks talk about working together for the first time. The cast discuss their characters and the importance of the film.

Boot Camp (7.39 mins)
Director Steven Spielberg, Military Adviser Capt. Dale Dye and stars Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Sizemore and Jeremy Davis talk about the training they had to go through to prepare for their roles. Capt. Dale Dye reveals how he wanted to create an authentic training program for the actors that would give them an insight to what soldiers of the time had to go through.

Making Saving Private Ryan (22.05 mins)
Director Steven Spielberg, producer Ian Bryce, production designer Tom Sanders, costume designer Joanna Johnston and star Tom Hanks take you behind the scenes of Saving Private Ryan. From the UK set at the Hatfield Aerodrome we see the huge war-torn town built to create the climatic battle sequence of the movie. Steven Spielberg and his crew talk about creating an authentic look for the movie and using a documentary style during the combat sequence to increase the realism. This is a fascinating look into the filmmaking process and shows the dedication of the cast and crew involved in the project.

Re-Creating Omaha Beach (17.59 mins)
Director Steven Spielberg, producer Ian Bryce, production designer Tom Sanders, associate producer Kevin De La Noy, costume designer Joanna Johnston, armourer Simon Atherton, special effects supervisor Neil Korbould, writer Robert Rodat, stunt coordinator Simon Crane and stars Tom Hanks, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel and Edward Burns talk about recreating the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach. Utilising the Irish coast and the Irish Reserves, Steven Spielberg and his cast and crew recount how they wanted to create a 'bloody' authentic re-enactment of the Normandy landings.

Music and Sound (16.01 mins)
Composer John Williams and sound designer Gary Rydstrom take you through the creation of the auditory elements of the movie. John Williams discusses his continued collaboration with Spielberg and his influences behind the music he wrote for the movie. Gary Rydstrom reveals how he created the numerous sound effects for the film and how he strived to produce an authentic sound for the piece.

Parting Thoughts (3.44 mins)
Director Steven Spielberg and star Tom Hanks reveal their feelings about the movie and how they captured a generation that made the world what it is today.


One of the best war movies ever gets a good Special Edition DVD treatment. While a commentary track would have added to the value (Steven Spielberg refuses to do them) the featurettes more than make up for this shortcoming. This is a movie that everyone should have in their collection.


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