Saving Private Ryan's opening scene still hailed as cinema's most brutal depiction of war
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Featured Image Credit: Steven Spielberg
Years after its release, Saving Private Ryan’s opening is still regarded as cinema’s most honest and brutal depiction of the realities of war.
I think we’ve all seen the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan at some point in our lives, whether it be from watching the film, seeing clips of it online or allusions/references to it in other media.
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It’s a harrowing scene where waves of US soldiers are brutally gunned down and blown up by German forces. Troops that aren’t killed by the gunfire are littered across the battlefield, bleeding out, throwing up, drowning and experiencing other horrific fates that altogether make it one of the most troubling scenes ever filmed.
The film’s director Steven Spielberg said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he wanted to make the scene as realistic as possible, believing other films watered down the real events too much, so he spoke to real veterans to get a true idea as to what war was actually like.
Spielberg said "I remember one of the [veterans] telling me the entire charge up the beach was a blur—not a blur to his memory, because he still remembered every single grain of sand when he had his face buried in it from that fusillade raining down on them from above,"
He went on to say “And he described the sounds, and he described the vibrations of every concussion of every 88 shell that hit the beach, which gave some of them bloody noses, rattled their ears.”
Even the film’s star Tom Hanks has said he wasn’t prepared for how realistic the scene was, saying “I was in the back of the landing craft, and that ramp went down and I saw the first one, two, three, four rows of guys just getting blown to bits … In my head, of course, I knew it was special effects, but I still wasn't prepared for how tactile it was.”
Hanks said the whole experience was “horrifying.”
Saving Private Ryan is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, and will always be fondly remembered as a war film that pushed cinematic boundaries in its presentation.
Topics: TV And Film