7. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998)
Release Date: July 24, 1998
Box Office: $217 million ($315 million, adjusted for inflation)
Oscars: 11 nominations (including Best Picture), 5 wins
Premise: A squadron of American soldiers (led by Tom Hanks) go behind enemy lines in WWII to extract a paratrooper (Matt Damon) whose three brothers have all been killed in action
Over two hours?: Almost three, in fact
John Williams Score?: Yes
Father Issues?: The dying wish of Pvt. Caparzo (Vin Diesel) is for a letter to be delivered to his father
War?: World War II
Special Appearances: Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, Dennis Farina, Nathan Fillion, Bryan Cranston, and John de Lancie
Fun Fact: Every actor was put through gruelling army training except Damon, to create animosity and resentment toward him (and, thus, his character) amongst the other actors.
Best Line: “I don’t know anything about Ryan. I don’t care. The man means nothing to me. It’s just a name. But, you know, if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home, if that earns me the right to get back to my wife… then that’s my mission.”
Verdict: One of the greatest World War II movies ever made, watching Saving Private Ryan is a taxing, encompassing, and rewarding experience. The realism of the battles, the grittiness of the sets, and the broad cast of actors make for a wonderful movie about a terrible period. The tension, at times, is palpable – numerous theatregoers in 1998 couldn’t make it past the opening 10 minutes – while still leaving time to pontificate and philosophize in between the gunfire.
Rating: 5 stars / 5