Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat. The film is notable for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depict the Omaha beachhead assault of June 6, 1944. Afterwards, it follows Tom Hanks as Captain John H. Miller and several men (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, and Jeremy Davies) as they search for paratrooper Private James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last surviving brother of three fallen servicemen.
Rodat first came up with the film's story in 1994 when he saw a monument dedicated to four sons of Agnes Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania. The brothers were killed in the American Civil War. Rodat decided to write a similar story set during World War II. The script was submitted to producer Mark Gordon, who then handed it to Hanks. It was finally given to Spielberg, who decided to direct. The film's premise is very loosely based on the real-life case of the Niland brothers.
Saving Private Ryan was well received by audiences and garnered considerable critical acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew as well as earning significant returns at the box office. The film grossed US$.8 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing domestic film of the year. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated the film for eleven Academy Award; Spielberg's direction won him a second Academy Award for Best Director. Saving Private Ryan was released on home video in May 1999, earning $44 million from sales.
The film begins with an elderly World War II veteran and his family visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-mer; Normandy, France. The scene then cuts to the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the Normandy invasion, with American soldiers preparing for the perils of landing on Omaha Beach and struggling against dug-in German infantry, machine gun nests, and artillery fire, which cut down many of the men. Captain John H. Miller, commanding officer of Charlie Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, survives the initial landing and assembles a group of soldiers to slowly penetrate the German defenses, leading to a breakout from the beach.
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