There was recently published a list of America's "Best 100 Films." I am doubtful that any two people would have independently compiled this list and certainly not in the order that was published. I have seen perhaps 90 of the 100 and there were many that were included that would fall far from 100 and there are several others that I believe should have been included. It left me skeptical of whether there really are 100 great American films. In 1998 there is one: Saving Private Ryan.I saw (the movie) recently and am writing this letter two days later because I cannot get it out of my head. All the warnings about the violence and graphic depictions of war are appropriate and I hope that they will be observed by responsible parents and those to whom such realism may be harmful.
During the showing I attended, a teen-ager in attendance with her parents laughed with her parents inappropriately throughout much of the film until a viewer openly questioned their maturity. The question had the intended effect. There is so much gratuitous violence in cinema that it is regrettable a few people cannot discern the difference between realistic depiction of historical events from Rambo and space aliens.
Private Ryan is perhaps the most violent film ever made -- none of it gratuitous. Many veterans of D-Day have praised it as an accurate depiction of the soldier's view of the combat. Because the audience has experienced the cost of the sacrifice of battle, there are no places for applause or cheers in this film even when military objectives are achieved.
If you are looking for an evening of entertainment, go see Zorro. If you want to experience a great movie, see Saving Private Ryan.
The ultimate reward of this film is an enhanced appreciation if the price of freedom.
Lee Wheatley, Evans