Saving Private Ryan will always be one of the most revered movies to have ever come around. Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel, Matt Damon, Edward Burns form a terrific cast ensemble. Not only is it counted in the top war movies of all time, but it wins in other categories as well. Do a random Google search of the top movies on World War II or generally top movies of all time, you will find Saving Private Ryan figures in the list. The movie is usually said to be a 1988 American epic war film. Steven Spielberg’s brainchild and Robert Rodat’s writing was all it needed to create a masterpiece of a movie.
Saving Private Ryan is based on the events of the invasion of Normandy in the World War II timeline. The film is known for its stark portrayal of war. The beginning of the movie is particularly horrific. The striking visuals in the opening 27 minutes are so intense. But here is the thing: you want to watch them again and again. Saving Private Ryan includes a depiction of the Omaha Beach assault during the Normandy landings in the second great war the world has ever seen.
The movie basically traces United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (played by Tom Hanks) and his squad (played by Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, and Jeremy Davies). The team searches fora paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (played by Matt Damon), the last surviving brother of three servicemen killed in action. These are the higher orders. Since a woman has lost two of her sons, the higher-ups do not find it necessary to see Private Ryan dead too.
Saving Private Ryan was a co-production between DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Mutual Film Company. DreamWorks handled the distributing rights of the film in North America while Paramount Films released Saving Private Ryan internationally. There obviously won’t be movies that shall live up to this Spielberg classic, but we can make our recommendations to satisfy your hunger for such movies. Please don’t fear spoilers, for this list is spoiler-free.
A little something about the movie will tell you that it is the greatest film ever made and has been lauded as influential in the war film genre. The movie, Saving Private Ryan is credited for renewing interest in World War II media. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked Saving Private Ryan as the 71st-greatest American movie in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).
It’s biggest honor came in 2014, when it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as one culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant movie. And there isn’t anything that can measure up to that ever.
The Hurt Locker
The top of the list is the 2008’s Academy Award For Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker. Even though the movie wasn’t top-performing at the box office, it sure won hearts with its visceral portrayal of the war in Iraq. The story revolves around Jeremy Renner’s Sergeant William James who teaches the bomb disposal squad during the Iraq War. His approach, his ideologies, and his behavior lead to various conflicts throughout. Although The Hurt Locker came out at the end of 2008, it is counted as a 2009 action movie.
Black Hawn Down
Ridley Scott’s Black Hawn Down tells the tale of Captain Mike Steele. He heads a team of 100 US Army Rangers on a manhunt to the capital city of Mogadishu. The aim is to catch the top two lieutenants of a Somali warlord. Josh Hartnett and Tom Hardy lead the cast of this fast-paced, gripping tale set in Somalia. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will find Nikolaj Coster‑Waldau as a bit of a surprise in the cast.
The Lone Survivor
The Lone Survivor is an American account of military operations in Afghanistan. Filmed over Marcus Luttrell and three Navy SEALs who are on a manhunt mission in Afghanistan to locate Taliban leader Ahmad Shah. It is here that they become targets of enemy attacks. At the end of this manhunt, Mark Walhberg’s Marcus survives, who goes on to pen a memoir. The Lone Survivor also put director Peter Berg on the map with his exceptionally moving and brutal direction.
Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica Chastain’s Zero Dark Thirty is a war thriller based on the manhunt of Osama Bin Laden by a bunch of CIA operatives. Spanning across a decade, Zero Dark Thirty ends in the wee hours of the morning when Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was finally found hiding in a compound in Pakistan. The thriller was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It won Chastain won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and earned Academy, BAFTA and SAG nominations for Best Actress.
Schindler’s List is another Steven Spielberg movie that is counted in the top 10 movies of all time. The story is about a German industrialist named Oskar Schindler who employes Jewish people in his establishment after witnessing their persecution in Poland. Spielberg wanted the movie to be black and white to convey a deeper meaning. It is divided into two parts, each of which is a sore tale of the Nazi regime and the holocaust that they orchestrated.
2016’s war drama, Hacksaw Ridge belongs to Andrew Garfield’s character Desmond T. Doss and Mel Gibson’s flawless direction. Hacksaw Ridge tells the tale of a real-life pacifist, anti-establishment Pfc. Desmond T. Doss who won the Congressional Medal of Honor. During WWII, he refused to bear arms citing religious reasons. At the time, Doss ridiculed by fellow soldiers fighting alongside him in the Battle of Okinawa. But when he risked his life without firing a shot to save 75 men, things turned around.
Bradley Cooper’s American Sniper is the real-life account of an Iraq veteran and a SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle. The focus of the movie starts with Chris’s brilliance as a SEAL, one who has never missed a shot. But the movie shifts focus towards his failure to let go of the horrors of war. In the end, Chris’s life falls, piece by piece and he ends up taking his life. Bradley Cooper won an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Chris Cooper in American Sniper. The movie has been directed by the genius of Clint Eastwood. It won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing at the 2015 Annual Academy Awards.
In 2019, Sam Mendes gave a world a masterpiece known as 1917. The name as it says out loud is the year when World War One broke. 1917 is a brutal, gripping, and horrific account of all that happened in the great war. Not only is 1917 the greatest war movie to be ever made, but it was also a huge success in the box office. The cast ensemble consists of the greatest British actors you will ever hear of. Lead by George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, 1917 by far is the tensest account of the war.
The story is about two World War British soldiers Lance Cpl. Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Cpl. Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) entrusted with the impossible task of crossing into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades from dying.
2017’s Dunkirk is the story of the biggest soldier entrapment of all time-the town of Dunkirk in France. Soldiers from the British Empire, Belgium and France were trapped, waiting for evacuation from the axis powers. The battle took place between German soldiers and the axis powers. At the end of the grueling battle, 300,000 men were evacuated from the island.
It is not the finale of the movie, but the suspense and real war techniques that make Dunkirk a nail biter. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk is told through the experiences of a young British private, Tommy who finds thousands of troops awaiting evacuation at the beach.
The English Patient
If you are looking for a slight change, The English Patient may offer that in terms of a romance in the backdrop of a war. Anthony Minghella’s The English Patient is set in WWII’s North Africa. Ralph Fiennes (Almásy) finds love in the arms of a married woman, Kristin Scott Thomas (Katharine). The movie is a narration by a critically burned man who speaks English but cannot remember his name. He is tended to by Hana, a French-Canadian nurse, and Caravaggio, a Canadian Intelligence Corps operative.
The patient turns out to be Almásy himself, who in the late 1930s was exploring a region of the Sahara Desert near the Egyptian-Libyan border. He’s joined by Cliftons, a British couple who own a new plane. Almásy and Katharine fall in love, much to the resentment of Geoffrey, who attempts a murder-suicide, narrowly missing Almásy.
The English Patient isn’t just a war epic, it is more like a love story embroiled in the war scenario. And for the same reasons, it is loved by one and all. Watch it, asap.