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Evaluation Essay of “Saving Private Ryan”

Title World-renowned director Steven Spielberg creates what arguably could be considered one of the greatest war movies of all time, with his directing of Academy award winning film Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon as Captain Miller and Private James Ryan. Saving Private Ryan opens with an old man at a graveyard when the movie flashes back to 1944 during the Allied invasion of Normandy, where two brothers are killed during the fighting.

Later the viewer learns that earlier a third brother died fighting in New Guinea, and that the news of all three brothers deaths will be delivered to their mother on the same day.

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The government learns that a fourth son (Private Ryan) is alive in the French countryside, and detaches a squad to retrieve him led by Captain Miller. Along the way, the group of soldiers begin to question their assigned mission and its costs. Teaming up with writer Robert Rodat, Spielberg is able to create a movie with top-notch special effects, amazing storytelling, and brilliant acting.

Multiple movie critics and historians have praised Saving Private Ryan’s opening beach scene as “The most realistic portrayal of World War II” compared to other works of cinematography. The movie achieves excellence through its astounding special effects making the viewing of this movie as close to war one can get without fighting, winning the Academy award for achievement in special effects. From the beginning scene where Tom Hanks, in a shell-shocked state, is witnessing all the havoc occurring around him to the final battle scene on the bridge, Saving Private Ryan has everything a good war movie needs in regards to special effects.

The use of all of the special effects in the movie however, does not take away from any of the storytelling or progression of the film. Instead, the use of these effects enhances the overall greatness of the film by allowing the viewer to get the best possible visual experience of the events that occurred during that time. With Steven Spielberg at the helm of the film as both the director and a producer, the story aspect was bound to be incredible.

Spielberg puts together this story of a group of soldiers sent on a mission to bring home the last remaining son of a mother, only to have doubts about the mission and if all of the loss and fighting is worth this one man. By combining different aspects such as relationships, death, and inner turmoil, Spielberg is able to create a masterpiece. The way Spielberg shows the inner workings and behaviors of the soldiers in the group is just one of the many ways that he is able to make the story relatable and a cinematic wonder.

During the movie, the group meets a family, when they arrive at a small town bombarded by artillery. The father tries to give his daughter to the soldiers thinking that she will be safer with them. While the commanding officer at first refuses, one of the soldiers takes the girl saying that she “reminded [him] of his niece back home. ” letting the viewer connect with the characters on a more personal level. Saving Private Ryan is as close as one can get to perfecting a war movie.

Having all of the criteria for its genre, from story, to effects, to great performances, Saving Private Ryan is one of the all-time greatest movies. What stands out about this movie is how well plot and effects go hand in hand, complementing one another without over doing anything. I would strongly urge anyone who has yet to see the movie to do so, as it is one of the greatest cinematic works ever created. In the end, Saving Private Ryan is a movie that I feel will stand the test of time, and forever be watched and enjoyed by future generations.