Placing Private Ryan (In therapy)

It’s bad enough that the people who saw the film can’t see the good the squad did along the way to get to Ryan*. Ryan doesn’t even have the benefit of knowing what the audience saw! All he knows is they kept the Germans from crossing that bridge.

So not only does he have to go home and deal with all his brothers being dead…he gets to spend the next 54 years dealing with survivor guilt and the knowledge that some 5 guys in a Ranger squad died while rescuing him. It’s obvious he still hasn’t come to terms with it even in 1999!

*A common criticism is the squad was all but destroyed getting him, but they did a hell of a lot of good along the way.

Especially with the “Earn this…” the Captain laid on him.

Well, the alternative is that he is dead. Fair trade I think.

On a related note. A large fraction, if the not the majority of movies where a buttload of people die, often family/friends/coworkers/fellow soliders have the few/one remaining survivor almost giddy when its all over.

My happiness would probably be over before the credits started rolling. Talk about survivors guilt. Its not just a buttload of random people, its often a buttload of people I like/love/know!

I don’t really see how this was kept out of the papers, making Pvt Ryan a minor celebrity, with this publicly following him the rest of his life. I can see a 1978 National Enquirer headline now… “Has Ryan ‘Earned This’? Find out on pg 6!”

And, really, what could he do to “earn this”? Was there some sort of formula where if Ryan spent his life selling insurance he was failing this demand, but if he became a Priest, he would be OK? How did this eternally-open debt prey upon his psyche?

What, really, did Miller do to the poor man? Instead of saying “dude, this isn’t your fault”, he put the blame squarely on Ryans shoulders. Bastard!

Did we need back-to-back films built around Matt Damon being told it’s not his fault?

Sure, just like we needed two more about bringing him home.

The problem was that at some point in the movie, James Ryan became a misplaced metaphor. He became the stand-in for baby boomers like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and Robert Rodat. They grew up knowing their fathers had fought in WWII and saved their world. And they wondered if they were living up to that legacy. So when Miller said “Earn this” he was really talking to Steven Spielberg not James Ryan.

Very interesting. Boy that’s a thematic mess.

“Don’t let this all be for nothing. Don’t just live a good life. HAVE a good life. Enjoy your life James. Go HOME James.” (Ok that needs cleaning up…but you get the idea) Would have worked better.

Especially considering he already “earned that”, when he parachuted in. And he earned it again when he refused to go home.

It’s a little known fact that Ryan shot down a hundred or so German POWs back at the beach head, but the brass decided to hush it all up. :stuck_out_tongue:

Especially given that there is no guarantee that any would have survived had they not gone to rescue him. They were active duty soldiers and there were lots of battles to be fought.

And if they had failed at the bridge, well, who knows how many soldiers would have died as a result?

Miller should have let the team execute the German Soldier they had captured earlier.

You might think that is true, but only if you have never had to bear the responsibility of being the one that came home with no reason why you survived and others died. Even for otherwise well-adjusted people, the psychological trauma of that experience can be overwhelming, leading to depression, anxiety, self-medication with drugs and alcohol, et cetera; in short, a living hell.

As a practical matter, while Cpt. Miller and his squad are roving over Normandy looking to rescue Pvt. Ryan, they’re not only putting themselves as risk but neglecting the conduct of the war and effective termination of hostilities, thus ensuring that more mother’s sons are going to die pointlessless, all to rescue Matt Damon. Don’t get me wrong, I think Damon is a fine actor and a good sport, but it makes even less sense to send a squad of Rangers to rescue him in the middle of a battlefield than it does to send a spacecraft back around to Mars to rescue him and in the process exposing the crew to more risk and exceedance of lifetime space radiation exposure limits. The film appeals to the desire that one person is oh-so-important, but in fact, on the battlefield they just aren’t. The film has a great first twenty minutes followed by a ridiculously saccharine story, and as for “all the good the squad did” pretty much amounted to taking out one sniper and one machinegun nest, then letting one of the soldiers go, which would come back to haunt them. Kelly’s Heroes made more sense than this.

Also, the first thing a real Ranger would do once hitting the beach would be to pry those shiny new captain’s bars off of his helmet so as to not be an instant target for every German sniper and rifleman. It’s surprising Miller actually made it all the way to find Ryan at all.


No, before the fight at the radar station someone says they can bypass it as it isn’t part of their mission. Miller says their mission is to win the war.

They did assist in holding the bridge in Ramelle long enough to be relieved. IIRC it was the only tank capable bridge left over that particular river, which made it important to keep out of German hands.

The funny thing is The Thin Red Line came out at the same time as Saving Private Ryan. And the message of that movie was pretty much what you described; individuals don’t really matter in a battle. A war is a mass effort by millions of people and what one person does or doesn’t do has no effect on the overall outcome. It was pretty much a rejection of the idea of heroes in wartime.

And everyone loved Saving Private Ryan and ignored The Thin Red Line. True or false, it’s pretty clear which story people want to see in a movie.

Yeah. Every time I hear that line, I think “Damnit! Spielberg ruined another WWII movie* with stupid final lines and an unnecessary memorial scene!”

  • I’m thinking Schindler’s List

This neglects the propaganda side of the war. Posit a world where the Sullivan Brothers have already happened and there’s been an implicit promise that it won’t happen again - and then there’s a danger that it will. Anything that saps the will of the American people to fight to the bitter end (even in the smallest way) CANNOT be tolerated. What is the life of even a hundred soldiers in the face of a decline in the purchase of war bonds? Brutal math, but inevitable given the nature of modern warfare.

That movie sucked Trucker Nuts.

This thread is not about the critical value of the movie. If you don’t have anything to say about the topic, don’t come inhere to threadshit about the movie.