Tom Hanks has starred in an astonishing number of cult classics, with two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and over 80 other awards under his belt. He’s probably best known for his iconic role in Forest Gump and Philadelphia. Now, one of his most acclaimed films, Saving Private Ryan, is one of Netflix’s most popular movies.
Saving Private Ryan, is a powerful war drama that was released in 1998, is currently ranking as the #6 most-watched movie on Netflix this week, remaining among Top 10 Netflix movies since it landed on the platform almost two weeks ago. It features Tom Hanks, one of Hollywood’s most prolific actors, as Captain John H. Miller, who leads his squad on a mission to find the missing Private Francis Ryan, played by Matt Damon. The cast also includes Adam Goldberg, Edward Burns, a Tom Sizemore, and young Vin Diesel. Saving Private Ryan is considered as one of the greatest films ever made, coming from combined creative visions of Steven Spielberg (director) and Robert Rodat (writer).
The story is set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War 2. One of the movie’s opening scenes depicts an intense and horrific landing at Omaha beach during the Normandy invasion, in which American soldiers suffered heavy losses in assaulting fortified German defensives. Captain John H. Miller, portrayed by Tom Hanks, broke through German defenses, leading the breakout from the beach. In the scene’s final moments, a camera focuses on a dead soldier, whose pack reads “Ryan, S.” – a third of four Ryan brothers killed in action within a short period.
Three days after D-Day, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) receives orders to find James Francis Ryan, the last surviving Ryan brother, and return him home under the DoD Directive 1315.15 or the Sole Survivor Policy, which protects Ryan from further duty, having lost family members in the war. Miller selects seven men from his company and sets out to find and retrieve Private James Ryan. Through a series of events that depict the horrific nature of warfare, Miller and the remaining members of his unit find Private Ryan, who’s unwilling to leave his post in the protection of a key strategic point.
Unfortunately, Miller, and the rest of his unit, apart from Ryan and another unit member, die fighting the German attack on the bridge they were protecting. With his dying breath, Miller tells Ryan to “earn” his life and the sacrifice of men who sought to bring him home. The film transitions to a closing scene in which Ryan, now an Army veteran, salutes Miller’s grave.
Saving Private Ryan received critics and audience’s acclaim for its realism, cinematography, screenplay, and performance – most notably Tom Hank’s. It was a box office hit and the highest-grossing film of 1998, totaling over $482 million (today’s $794 million). The movie became one of the best and most influential works in the war film genre, contributing to the rise of modern-day WWII video games, novels, and other works of film, possibly thanks to the moving performance of Tom Hanks.