Saving Private Ryan

Copyright: 
1998
Publisher: 
Dreamworks
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Cast: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, et al.

Saving Private Ryan is the story of a band of soldiers in World War II who are assigned to find and send home Private James Ryan who is missing and whose three brothers were all killed in action within a short period of time (at or around the time of the Invasion of Normandy). The men struggle with what they see as a wasteful public relations assignment - particularly hard to deal with after their horrific and bloody experiences on D-Day. In the midst of this task, the movie portrays a number of the very difficult kinds of situations that soldiers were forced to deal with - simple danger, dealing with civilians, feelings of vengeance for a fallen "brother", and other ethical and moral difficulties.

In many senses, this is a great movie. Unlike most World War II movies (which seem to either glorify war or have an anti-war theme), this movie attempts to portray accurately what it was like to be a soldier during World War II. There is a great deal of truth portrayed in the movie about the difficulties ordinary men faced amidst the evils and horrors of war. I thought it interesting that Deal Hudson, editor of Crisis magazine, has credited this movie with a revival of patriotism, interest in World War II and general appreciation of the World War II generation among young people of today. However, this is a very difficult movie to make any kind of general recommendation about because the violence (particularly the storming of the beaches of Normandy) is very intense and bloody, however accurate . There are also questions of language and a few mild-to-moderately risque stories told by the soldiers. Overall, I would recommend this only to adults with a fairly strong stomach (although some of the scenes could be edited with the fast-forward button for the more sensitive types) and suggest that parents should decide for themselves whether or not to permit their older teens to watch it.

Additional notes: 

2 hours 49 minutes, Rated R (Violence)

Review Date: 
1-3-01
Reviewed by: