Saving Private Ryan Summary

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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As the name implies, the movie "Saving Private Ryan" is about saving Private Ryan, however there is much more here than just a simple rescue story. The movie begins in present day times with an old man, followed by his family, walking through a cemetery in Normandy. He stops at one grave and falls to his knees, crying. The camera zooms to a close-up of his eyes and the viewer is transported 45 years in the past. The scene is D-Day, just prior to invasion. Men are being carried in transports to Omaha beach. The next 25 minutes or so fill one of the most intense battle scenes ever filmed. The carnage is terrible and it is here that we first meet Captain Miller (Tom Hanks). Despite heavy losses to the German machine gunners, a small group secures a foothold on the beach. After wave upon wave of Allied troops pour onto the beach, the Germans retreat enough for the Allies to set up a base.

The wartime scene in France then cuts away to an office in Washington D.C., where women are writing letters of condolence to the mothers of deceased soldiers. One woman finishes a letter and then looks at the name and proceeds to pick up another two. She reports this to General George Marshall. It is here that the viewer is told that all three of Private James Ryan's brothers have been killed in combat. Touched by this family's tragedy, General Marshall orders a unit of Rangers to find Private Ryan, so he can return home.

Meanwhile Captain Miller receives the message to find Ryan. He and his platoon are none too pleased to learn about it and the whole mission is referred to as "FUBAR". He must move his men...