Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of Saving Private Ryan both shocking and realistic, and say how effective you find it as an introduction to the film.

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Rachel Wilkinson

Analyse the methods used to make the opening battle sequence of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ both shocking and realistic, and say how effective you find it as an introduction to the film.

‘Saving Private Ryan’ was first released On the 11th of September in 1998. The film was a joint production from Paramount and Dreamworks Pictures which was directed by the well-known Steven Spielberg. Steven Spielberg is a highly known director because of many other amazing movies that he makes, that are known around the world. These films include titles such as ‘Jaws’, released in 1975, ‘Jurassic Park’, released in 1993, ‘Schindler’s List’, which was released in 1993, and ‘Minority Report’, which was released in 2002, along with many other famous titles. ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is a two hour and 43 minutes long film, the perfect time for a film in this genre, which won five Academy Awards (Oscars) which included the best director award in 1999.


The film is based around World War Two, where the invasion of Normandy had taken place. The film is most notable for the epic 24-minute battle scene, which portrayed the Omaha beachhead assault on the 6th of June in 1944. It followed a group of soldiers into the battle, some of which are known for other great films, such as Tom Hanks who had played Captain John H. Miller and several other rangers. These other rangers had included actors such as Tom Sizemore as Sergeant Horvath, Edward Burns as Private Reiben, Barry Pepper as Private Jackson, Adam Goldberg as Private Mellish, Jeremy Davies as Corporal Upham and Matt Damon who plays Private Ryan. These are the few main characters along with the rest of the supporting characters.

Spielberg uses very different ways to show how the war is terrifying, and for this uses many techniques which add to effects that  make the whole film, and most of the opening battle scene more realistic. When Spielberg went about directing the film, he aimed at the film being realistic rather than make-believe.

“The last thing i wanted to do in this picture was use the war simply as a springboard for action-adventure. I was looking for realism all the time.”

Spielberg certainly caught the effect of realism tightly and precisely as even World War Two veterans had found it slightly difficult to watch the film the whole way through, obviously being real enough to bring back terrifying memories of what their war was like in person.

He uses very different techniques throughout the full film, to add astonishment and a shocked feeling to grab the audience in and make them feel as if they were actually there as well. He used such things as desaturated colour, which added to the dulled effect, which brought the feeling down to an emotional feel. It added more of a negative atmosphere, which gave the audience more of an idea to how it would have felt there, but obviously not as great an idea. It made the audience have a more negative thought to it as people were obviously dying brutally and painfully, and so adding desaturation to the colour made the deaths seem more gory, dark and more disturbing. Another technique that he uses is making the cameramen follow Tom Hanks and his group into the battle, which made it seem realistic.

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“I wanted to hit the sets much like a newsreel cameraman following soldiers into war.”

          Spielberg uses haphazzard cameras to follow the soldiers into the battle. This shows the whole battle scene more as an actual battle to the audience. It has the audience feel like they’re apart of the action because they can view and experience the battle to themselves and have their own sense as if they’re there. It lets the audience feel as if they’re following the soldiers, and taking part in the war themselves. This technique coupled with ...

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