starring:  Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward J. Burns, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Davies, Adam Goldberg, Giovani Ribisi, Ted                 Danson, Ryan Hurst, Harrison Young
directed by:  Stevan Speilberg                    produced by:  Steven Speilberg
written by: Robert Rodat, Frank Darabont, Scot Frank




               WHAT'S IT ABOUT

"In the Last Great Invasion of the Last Great War the Greatest Danger for Eight Men was Saving One"
Tom Hanks leads a group (platoon?) of men onto Normandy Beach in the opening of the film where we are subject to 24 minutes of the most horrifying and unforgettable war scenes ever.  We witness D-Day as the soldiers witnessed it:  in ALL it's brutal truth.   It's not until after the first half hour are we subject to the plot of the movie:   Hanks is ordered to bring Private Ryan back to the homefront so he can go home. The reason:  his three brothers have been killed in three seperate battles and his mother will receive notice of their death on the same day.  The government wishes to save face and create good public relations by saving this one man and his mother's heart.   Without knowing where this private is, eight men search the countryside for him. Their only knowledge of his whereabouts is that he was one of the first to parachute onto the beach but his regiment was scattered and no one knows where they all are.  When they find him, there is resentment toward Ryan and there's a platoon of German soldiers and four tanks on their way to capture a bridge that could spell the defeat of the U.S.A.'s position on Normandy Beach.


                     MY THOUGHTS

OK, now I can say what I really want to say about this film. Here is where I can praise and bash the film. Here is where I can bash those who are disgusted by the film and be blunt about the movie in general.

This is a film that everyone should see at least once, just like SCHINDLER'S LIST.  Small children should be admitted to this film so they understand what war does to people.  It isn't something to be glorified, it is something that should be feared like the plague.  If you find this film disturbing, then you can only imagine how the veterans of that (or any other ) war feels after being involved in it.  The dreams they've had, the visions they see in their mind's eye from time to time.  The screams they still hear in their head.  Seeing friends and comrades die in front of you in some of the most violent ways unimaginable and thanking God that it wasn't you who  died. 

My biggest problem with this film, however is that the marketing was strong on this film, too strong in fact.  Ten years from now, no one will know what thjis film is about.  You'll have a new generation viewing this film and saying, "The first half hour was really intense, but there was no plot.  It had nothing to do with the story itself and was useless.  They could have left it on the cutting room floor and every point they wanted to make would still have been made."

There were several scenes which I found disturning and I don't think I'll ever forget them soon.  But...while the ending was very strong and moved countless folk in the theatre when I was there, it did not really move me. Hell, ARMAGEDDON moved me more.   As a serious movie fan, I studied the acting and dialog in this film. I was watching the effects and backgrounds and scenery.  I'm sorry to say, but to me, this was more of an effects film than a story film.  I adore the effects in this film almost as much as the first STAR WARS and TITANIC.   But, again, I repreat myself, the story was simple and conveyed the idea that war IS Hell and we shouldn't subject anyone to it's horror.

This film is Oscar-bound, I see nominations for best and supporting actors and defenitive wins for costumes and effects and a nomination and possibly a win for best picture.  I see a minimum of 7 noms for this film.  You heard it here first!

                            MY RATING

This is NOT a family film in the regular sense.
This film depicts history and fiction.  It's a good way to know what an older generation went through.  If you are not afraid of graphic violence, then GO SEE IT NOW.  If you can't stand the site of blood or hate violent films.  Read the book at least.  Everyone should at least know what went on in this film.

For more on this film, GO HERE.