Since its release in 1998, Steven Spielberg's D-Day drama Saving Private Ryan has become hugely influential: everything, from the opening sequence of Gladiator ("Saving Marcus Aurelius") to the marvellous 10-hour TV series Band of Brothers, has been made in its shadow. There have been many previous attempts to recreate the D-Day landings on screen (notably, the epic The Longest Day), but thanks to Spielberg's freewheeling hand-held camerawork, Ryan was the first time an audience really felt like they were there, storming up Omaha Beach in the face of withering enemy... fire. After the indelible opening sequence, however, the film is not without problems. The story, though based on an American Civil War incident, feels like it was concocted simply to fuel Spielberg's sentimental streak. In standard Hollywood fashion the Germans remain a faceless foe (with the exception of one charmless character who turns out to be both a coward and a turncoat); and the Tom Hanks-led platoon consists of far too many stereotypes: the doughty Sergeant; the thick-necked Private; the Southern man religious sniper; the cowardly Corporal. Matt Damon seems improbably clean-cut as the titular Private in need of rescue (though that may well be the point); and why do they all run straight up that hill towards an enemy machine gun post anyway? Some non-US critics have complained that Ryan portrays only the American D-Day experience, but it is an American film made and financed by Americans after all. Accepting both its relatively narrow remit and its lachrymose inclinations, Saving Private Ryan deserves its place in the pantheon of great war pictures. On the DVD: Saving Private Ryan on disc comes in a good-quality anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer with a suitably dynamic Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix in which bullets fly all around your living room. Extra features are pretty minimal, with a standard 30-minute "making of" piece called "Into the Breach" and two trailers. There are text notes on the cast and crew as well as the production, and a brief message from Mr Spielberg himself about why he decided to make the movie. --Mark Walker [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. In the last great invasion, of the last great war, the greatest danger for eight men ...was saving one. Internationally acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan is an unforgettable film achievement that has had profound and lasting impact throughout world. Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Director, the film also captured Oscars for Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound and Sound Effects Editing. More than 70 critics (including those at the Time magazine, USA Today, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly) and critics' groups in New York, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Great Britain named the film Best Picture Of The Year, while the Los Angeles, Toronto and Broadcast Film Critics honoured it with both Best Picture and Best Director awards. In addition, Spielberg received his third Directors Guild of America Award, the American Legion "The Spirit Of Normandy" Award, a USO Merit Award from the USO of Metropolitan Washington, as well as the highest civilian public service award from the Department of the Army. Selected for more than 160 Top Ten lists, Saving Private Ryan's other honours include Golden Globes for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director, the Producers Guild of America Award and ten nominations from the British Academy Film Awards. Saving Private Ryan was the top-grossing motion picture of 1998. Seen through the eyes of a squad of American soldiers, the story begins with World War II's historic D-Day invasion, then moves beyond the beach as the men embark on a dangerous special mission. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) must take his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Faced with impossible odds, the men question their orders. Why are eight men risking their lives to save just one? Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, each man searches for his own answer - and the strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honour, decency and courage. Actors Edward Burns, Tom Hanks & Tom Sizemore Director Steven Spielberg Certificate 15 - Suitable for persons over 15 Year 2003 Screen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Languages English - Dolby Digital 5.1 Subtitles English for the hearing impaired ; English
Steven Spielberg's Oscar winning, epic, World War 2 drama is set against the backdrop of the Normandy landings. A squad of American soldiers, led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks), receive top-level instructions to undertake an unusual mission: to rescue Private James Ryan (Matt Damon), whose three brothers have all been killed in action. As the soldiers forge deeper into enemy territory, they begin to question the sense of risking life and limb for the sake of one man.