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Examine the different ways in which D-day landing at Omaha Beach is depicted in 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'The Longest Day'

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Examine the different ways in which D-day landing at Omaha Beach is depicted in 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'The Longest Day' ' Saving Private Ryan' was made in 1998 by Stephen Spielberg and gives a graphic depiction of the events at Omaha beach on D-day, focusing on a small section of the army and portrays it on a more personal level. 'The Longest Day' was made 17 years after the war in 1963 by director Darryl Zannuck. This gives us more of an overview of the entirety of D-Day depicting army, navy and air force as well as the German army and French resistance. Both films portray the landing as acts of heroism giving the viewer a strong sense of the Patrism however the director's aims differ resulting in two very different recreations of the landings. The opening of both films is similar. Their beginning scenes are very slow military music, 'Saving Private Ryan' shows two waving flags, American and French, before focusing on a man, walking alone. He appears almost on a mission seeming anxious and upset, looking for something in particular although you can't see where he is. He is shown walking across a war cemetery with white crosses then falling in front of a particular grave. ...read more.


Throughout the scene, mayhem and confusion are apparent and put across in many different ways. The soldiers are constantly asking what they are supposed to be and who's in charge. Sometimes, the film is so loud it's difficult to hear what is being said, mirroring the soldiers' situations. At points throughout the chaos the scene slows down and becomes quieter as it focuses on individual soldiers. When the soldier is about to pull the trigger at one of the Germans the camera zooms right up to him to hear him praying, it also zooms on the trigger which increases tension. When the Americans see the Germans on fire they say, 'Don't shoot, let them burn,' which shows that even thought it isn't in the spirit of warfare to make them suffer they have been through so much they wont show remorse. When they see the surrendering Germans they shoot them and laugh, portraying just how much they have been put through and that they are done playing by the rules. When Dog 1 is secured the reality begins the settle in and the slow music begins. The soldiers react in different ways, handling the situations separately either by collecting sand, crying or shaking. ...read more.


The film also shows that even when the Germans are surrendering they have been through so much that rules of war do not count and they are shot anyway. Both films give effective recreations of the events of D-Day and the directors achieve there separate aims. In 'The Longest day', Zannuck wants to show an overview of the entirety of what happens and give the viewer an insight into the events without emotionally involving them. Spiel burg in 'Saving Private Ryan,' instead aims to give a narrow slice of D-Day, concentrating on a few soldiers attempts to win over Omaha Beach. He wants to personally involve the viewer and does not worry about sensitivity towards the deaths and injuries, wanting to show to the viewers that war can never be seen as an easy way out or in any way glamorous. In my opinion, the most effective film was 'Saving Private Ryan', because it showed war so realistically it allowed the viewer to feel like they were there. Spiel burg aim was to draw in the viewer and to become involved and in this way it shows the landings with much more precision. This also is down to the technological advances since 'The Longest Day', but the scenes were much more powerful in showing the real cost of war. ...read more.

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