Saving Private Ryan (1998)
There are your standard-issue war movies. And then there are epic masterpieces such as Saving Private Ryan which should be the gold standard to measure all others against.
It is primarily the story of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and his squad of soldiers as they survive the hellish D-Day invasion, and are tasked with the mission of bringing one Private James Ryan home, as his three other brothers had been KIA in the war to date.
In true war-movie fashion, Private Ryan is more-or-less episodic in nature, with each episode illustrating the war (and war in general) in various lights, none of them particularly pleasant.
Sure its a bit on the bloody and dirty side. It has to be. That’s how it is. And, yes, it does get a bit cliched at times, but I don’t think it can be helped.
Of great importance also is the side-story role of Corporal Upham, the idealist office-boy translator who learns a hard lesson about the truth of war.
However, all that being said, the true “meaning” of Private Ryan is not any of that. We should *all* put ourselves in the shoes of the young Private Ryan, as Captain Miller utters his dying words, “Earn this.” We should all remember that message….
That ordinary people were (and continue to be) called upon to perform extraordinary and terrible duties for the greater good of all of us.