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Saving Private Ryan (970 words)

Saving Private RyanSaving Private Ryan is a movie that generates strong responses from most people that see it. While interviewing four individuals and reading three movie reviews, I found that each of my subjects would recommend it, not one of the individuals interviewed felt the violence was senseless, and all of them left the movie with a strong emotional response of some kind. It appears that Saving Private Ryan is the kind of movie to which many can relate.

Saving Private Ryan is not a romantic, feel-good movie, but it is probably one of the best movies released this year. It is without a doubt one of the most realistic films produced. Each person that I spoke with, and all three of the internet criticisms that I read voiced positive opinions about this movie. It has different types of entertainment for all kinds of viewers. It has elements of violence, patriotism, sentimentality, and heroism all rolled into one film. All of my subjects, including the internet critics, feel that Saving Private Ryan will receive many awards, and that it is a credit to Steven Spielberg as a director. When asked if they would recommend the film to another each of my interviewees responded positively.

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One widely talked about part of this film is the huge degree of violence. In this case however, contrary to the usual attitudes, the violence is not described as senseless or excessive by anyone that I spoke with. This movie is obviously set against the backdrop of World War II, beginning with D-Day and the battle of Omaha Beach. The killing appears to be overdone as the young men step off the transport boats only to be killed one after the other, but when consulting the history of this battle, it is almost exactly how this battle took place. The beaches were indeed covered with bodies, and the water was red with the blood of the slaughtered soldiers. The recreation of this battle by Steven Spielberg has succeeded in bringing this war, this battle in particular, out of the history books and into larger than life color on America’s movie screens. Everyone I interviewed already knew of the terrible acts of the Germans during World War II, but hey had not, however, ever really been able to comprehend the degree of loss that many families experienced. They had also never really been able to picture the battles of the soldiers themselves in quite the detail that Saving Private Ryan provided them with. This is one movie that should not be negatively reviewed because of the degree of violence. Saving Private Ryan is about a horrible war, that took place because of a madman’s craziness, and this war was an ugly thing that happened very much like this movie portrayed it. The continuous gore is difficult to watch at times, but leaves the viewer with a greater appreciation of their nation’s military, and the sacrifice of the soldiers who serve willingly.

It is clear that above all else, Private Ryan is intended to create an awareness of the sacrifice of the soldiers that gave their lives during World War II. In doing that, Steven Spielberg very successfully in brings out intense emotions in the spectator. While this movie had a great deal of violence that was sometimes difficult to watch, the sheer sentimentality behind the mission of the soldiers who have to find Private Ryan and bring him back was heart wrenching to say the least. It would take a cold-hearted individual indeed to feel no sorrow for the pain of the mother of Private Ryan when the military officials arrive at her home to tell her that three of her sons have been killed in battle. The way she falls to her knees on the porch and begins sobbing at the sight of the military vehicle is without a doubt a mirror of any mother’s reaction to the same situation. Simply said, the moviegoer feels her pain. Even the hard-core attitude of the soldiers during the capture of the German soldier that has just shot their friend, the medic, brings on conflicting emotions. The German, while digging graves for the dead American soldiers, pleads for his life, insults Hitler, and praises America all in one desperate breath. In this instant all of my interviewees felt the opposing emotions of hatred as well as a desire of mercy for this German that so clearly does not stand a chance. The viewer also feels a reluctant sense of pride in the young translator’s sense of right as he repeatedly tells his fellow soldiers that to kill this man after his surrender would not be right.
Saving Private Ryan could arguably be called one of the most bloody movies ever produced. But it is not a pointless violence as is the case in horror movies that people go see everyday. It is true that the violence in this movie is meant to shock, but is also meant to educate, and to make the viewer appreciate the patriotism of all the American soldiers that have died to protect the United States of America from madmen like Adolph Hitler. Steven Spielberg has chosen a different angle in the making of this movie than is normally taken. He chose not to portray the crimes against the Jews, but rather to applaud the brave efforts of the soldiers that essentially won the war and destroyed the Nazi government. He reminds every American that many men have died protecting the rights that they often take for granted every day. Saving Private Ryan is a movie that should make every American realize that Memorial Day is more than a day off.

Critical Websites:
Reviewer: Sam (ordinary person)
Alissa Quart (movie critic)


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