During WW2, someone in the US military finds out that Mrs Ryan is about to receive telegraphs advising her that three of her four sons have been killed in action. Someone decides that it would not be ideal for her to lose another, so they send Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and a bunch of soldiers (including Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovani Ribisi and Jeremy Davis) to find him and bring him home. Along the way, they meet a whole heap of soldiers played by actors of note (Ted Danson, Paul Giamati, Dennis Farina, Nathan Fillion) until they finally find Private Ryan (Mattt Damon).
I think for me, this is one of my favourite Spielberg films – not because of the overly sentimental story (and certainly not for the appalling top and tailing of the film with ‘present day’ Private Ryan – that was so totally not needed), but I think because the images of WW2 and the way it represents soldiers. This film led to the wonderful miniseries Band of Brothers which is truly amazing. If you’re concerned that you can’t commit to a whole series, start with this. But be aware that Band of Brothers is much better and more comprehensive – but of course that is the difference between a 2 ½ hour film and a 10 episode series.