As a former Infantry soldier, I have always enjoyed watching movies that depict battle scenes because it’s a field that I can actually comprehend and understand the level of realism that they try to achieve.
In 1998, a movie came out that epitomized the way we all think of war and battle scenes in movies.
That movie was Saving Private Ryan.
I recall reading the Entertainment Weekly Summer Movie Preview and reading a blurb about how realistic the movie was filmed. I still remember the picture for the film; it had Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Ed Burns looking out from a foxhole. (which doesn’t tell you much about the movie besides who some of the actors are) 🙂
Because it was being made by Spielberg, I knew that it would definitely be an entertaining movie despite not knowing too much about it.
After it came out in the states in July to glowing reviews, I was psyched to see it as soon as I could.
When it eventually came out in the theater here in Israel in Mid-October, I made sure to be at one of the first showings.
The first half hour of the movie kept me glued to my seat and at the same time scared the crap out of me.
Being a reserve soldier, I knew that this is what real combat looks and feels like and the possibility of one day having to be in this kind of situation was not one of joy.
The entire movie was riveting and I was so amazed that Spielberg had it in him to make this movie after the difficult emotional filming of Schindler’s List (1993).
As I thought about, both of these movies are companion films and Spielberg made this film in order to “complete” his view on WWII.
A few weeks later, I was on reserve duty and this movie was all any of us could talk about during the breaks in the practice maneuvers in our training.
The realism of the whole movie for us soldiers was just unbelievable and we all knew that they did an excellent job of capturing the horrors of war in such a realistic fashion.
A few weeks after that, a childhood friend of mine called me up and convinced me to go see this movie again in the theater with him. He posited, (correctly) that we would probably never have the opportunity again in our lives to see a movie like this again on the big screen.
This movie is further proof of the majestic feeling of seeing certain movies in the setting which they were meant to be seen in and that will have the greatest effect on your viewing experience.
Despite having seen this movie probably more than 20 times in the 18 years since it was made, I’m still waiting to see it again on the big screen 🙂