Saving Private Ryan Summary


Saving Private Ryan is a war film released in 1998. Its setting was caused by the invasion of Normandy which happened during the Second World War which was a major event during the 20th century. Through the war, there was shift of borders which resulted to permanent change in America and also throughout the world. The invasion of Normandy was by the American soldiers who were struggling against the Germans who had continually killed Americans. The main problem of the invasion was penetrating into the beach past the German defense forces which resulted in war. The war resulted to killings which involved three brothers of a certain Ryan family and one of the four went missing. There were orders to find him which the rest of the squad thought to be very unreasonable. Through these events of the invasion, we can see that American war history is not properly depicted from the movie as it happened during the Second World War.

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American Invasion of Normandy

As the American army planned to conduct the invasion, their main objective was to get the seized land. They went into the front with so much intensity as shown in the start of the movie which portrayed the realistic part of the war. However, after killings of the American soldiers, they fall back and only continue the war to save one of the soldiers. This was not fully reflective of the American participation in the Second World War. During that time, America was one of the strongest countries that took part in the war since it came out strongly to suppress the opposition from other countries (Anderson, par 8). This clearly shows the movie does not clearly show the real happenings of the war. The movie should have shown a stronger and extensive front on the American with determination to achieve their set objectives which were to fully put the Germans under their control.
The real cause of the Americans to take part in the World War was to suppress the attacks from other countries, for example, Japan and Russia (Weigley, 269). In the movie, this is not achieved with the major aim being gaining control of Normandy. As the army was getting set to go behind the enemies lines under the control of Commander Miller, he receives orders to go and get the soldier of the Ryan family which now becomes their prime mission which turns out to be very dangerous. This was particularly after three soldiers who were brothers had been killed while in action. The rest of the soldiers feel that it was not worth going back for him since they felt threatened. This is unlike American army where in the Second World War for example, they are strong enough to defend themselves through fighting back though they had not been involved in the First World War which had occurred before and they therefore did not have much experience for war.
For the soldiers selected to go back and get the Private Ryan, it required so much courage to conduct this operation. The orders were taken by the commander from the General George Marshall, who is at a higher rank than Miller. Miller takes eight of his best men to go into Normandy where the Private has been trapped. After they go back into the territory of their enemy, there is killing of one of the men by a sniper which causes the men to panic and start questioning their decisions to take the orders that had been placed. They are not very cooperative with the Commander as they feel their lives are threatened by the opposing side. From the movie, this is a cowardly act from the American soldiers which is not the case in their real way of carrying out duties. From the wars in the US history, the country has been known to possess great power which has not been clearly brought out in the movie since the US army goes back to the battlefield to search for the missing Ryan brother rather than carry out their purpose of defeating the Germans who were a threat. From the Second World War, America did not fall under threats from the axis, but instead came out strongly to defend themselves which has not been clearly brought out in the movie (Ripper, 179).
Strong armies like Americans in the wars were known to wisely deal with the enemies so that they were not trapped in their games. This was strongly depicted in the Second World War which brought out America and the allied forces as the victors in the war. For this to happen they knew the best way of handling their enemies and make sure they were under pressure and under their control. However, from the movie, the handling of the enemy who were the Germans was not properly brought out as the American Commander takes unnecessary risk because of the assumption that he had the enemy under control. Commander Miller has a German soldier who was known as Steamboat under his control but lets him walk away yet he would have helped in providing useful information to help in tracing Private Ryan. The leadership role played by Miller in this case does not reflect the leadership role played by the commanders in the wars in the history of America since he took a risky chance by releasing the German soldier. This causes conflict among the soldiers as they view Miller as not competent enough to lead them through the situation. The American wars were not based on such conduct from the leaders, but rather strong leadership that was aimed at achieving the goals set and not at the expense of any of the soldiers or at any risks as it has been depicted from the movie through Commander Miller.
In the war history of the US, the country has always had a strong side as compared to its opponents. From the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, the rivalry between the Americans and the Germans has been brought out through a situation where the Americans invaded Normandy where the Germans had established themselves. The movie has tried to bring out that the Americans had an advantage as compared to the Germans, but this has not been properly brought out. Therefore, the history of the wars of America is not properly represented from the movie. To adequately cater for this, the movie should have brought out the Americans as the stronger side and bring them out as a better and well organized army. The leadership skills portrayed in the movie through the commander on the ground at the war does not reflect the strong leadership in wars that America has taken part in. As suggested by Hoffman, Gjerde and Blum (272), Roosevelt as the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces portrayed leadership skills of the army that inspired the soldiers unlike Miller from the movie.

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, Gary. “Vietnam and World War Two.” Vital speeches of the day 72.6 (2006): 181-6. 
  2. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.
  3. Hoffman, Elizabeth C, Jon Gjerde and Edward J. Blum. Major Problems in American History. 
  4. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2011. 
  5. Ripper, Jason. American Stories, Volume 2: From 1865: Living American History. Armonk, NY: 
  6. M. E Sharpe, 2008. 
  7. Weigley, Frank R. The American Way of War: A History of the United States Military Strategy 
  8. and Policy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1973.