HIST - LCC - Saving Private Ryan

HIST - LCC - Saving Private Ryan - 1 Saving Private Ryan...

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1 Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg is undoubtedly one of America’s most successful moviemakers. He has distinguished himself as a director and a producer of hugely successful movies. Four of his films are among the top ten grossing films of all time. It was inevitable that eventually he would turn his attention away from cute aliens, dinosaurs, and lost treasure and towards the subject that in many ways defined the world we live in today, the Second World War. He did just that in 1998 when he released ‘Saving Private Ryan’ which embodied everything necessary to make a blockbuster American war film. While attempting broad domestic appeal the filmmaker address the subject with blinders on obscuring the larger story and lessons learned from the last “good war.” ‘Saving Private Ryan’ centers around a group of eight GIs whose mission was to find a lone paratrooper who had lost his three brothers in the conflict and send him home. Lead by Capt. Miller, the group had already survived the horrors of the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day and question whether this mission to save one man is “a misallocation of military resources.” Ultimately the mission cost the lives of six to send Ryan home to his widowed and mourning mother. To understand the narrative, the film needs to be examined in three distinct ways. First, the scope and historical accuracy of the storyline; second, the technical proficiency evident in the film; and third, the disconnect between the motivations of the high command and the men on the ground. The inspiration of the film was the story of Frederick (Fritz) Niland, a member of the 101 st Airborne Division, who was inadvertently dropped further inland than planned as part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Sgt. Niland and a number of other members of his squad worked their way back to the coast into Ally controlled territory and was
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informed by an army chaplain that his three brothers were casualties of war. Under the army’s “Sole-Survivor Policy,” which came about after the deaths of the five Sullivan brothers while they were serving on the same navy ship, Niland was allowed to return to the states and to his mother and father. An interesting footnote to the story is that one of Niland’s brothers, believed to be killed in the Pacific theatre, actually was captured by the Japanese and released to return home following the war. It is understood that Spielberg and screen-writer Robert Rodat must take creative license with such a story to build the classic narrative which must be adhered to in a major-studio big-budget film. Could a film about the psychological shock that a young
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