There is a reason I want my students to experience these 27 minutes. Patriotism requires something of us. There is a cost to it. We can romanticize war and rallying around the flag, but some 3,000+ soldiers died on that day. Not Call of Duty dead. Dead. And thousands of soldiers saw things they spent the rest of their lives trying to reconcile. We can talk about what is a just war and what is a necessary war, but, on the individual level, patriotism expects us to show up; requires citizens to stand up; demands we speak up.
Now, I want you to take Saving Private Ryan out of your Blu-ray player. The first thirty minutes are excellent, but now I want you to watch a better movie about the D-Day invasion and the battle toward Berlin. I was struggling to understand why Saving Private Ryan from the 30-minute mark becomes just another 'okay' war movie when I stumbled upon this commentary from a few years ago. He explains it much better than I can.
I agree with Carey. Band of Brothers is a better movie on the same event. Now, it is based on a excellent book by historian Stephen Ambrose and gets twelve to thirteen hours to tell its story and so you get more than broad stereotypes. It also has some of the best actors around--Michael Fassbender (He is in everything anymore, isn't he?), James McAvoy, Damien Lewis, Simon Pegg, Ron Livingston and Colin Hanks. Colin Hanks is the son of Saving Private Ryan star Tom Hanks and both Hanks and Ryan director Steven Spielberg are executive producers of Band of Brothers so I think they'll forgive me liking their mini-series over their movie.
Up Next: KITT: founding father