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'Saving Private Ryan' is headed back to theaters for the 75th anniversary of D-Day
With Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg gave audiences one of the greatest World War II dramas of all time, and in honor of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, audiences will once again be able to see it on the big screen.
On June 2nd and 5th, entertainment group Fathom Events is bringing Saving Private Ryan to 600 select theaters nationwide for two showings at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Forbes reported on Wednesday.
The historical drama follows a squad of Army Rangers tasked with rescuing a paratrooper whose three brothers have all been killed in combat. Led by Tom Hanks' Capt. John Miller, the Rangers set out in search of one soldier among tens of thousands. Day after day, as their mission takes its toll, the men are forced to wonder whether saving one grunt to minimize a family's grief is worth all the risk.
As Task & Purpose previously noted, nowhere does Spielberg dwell on the cost of war more poignantly than in the movie's first scene, a nearly half-hour-long gut-punch as U.S. soldiers storm Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. The moment the ramp drops on the Higgens Boats, German machine gun fire rains down. Of those lucky enough to make it over the side and into the water, some are shot, others drown; of those who make it shore, many are cut to ribbons by artillery fire. The few left alive huddle behind tank traps and debris. That's just the first minute.
"One of the things that really got me about this [scene] was the randomness of death, and the randomness of wounding," Marine veteran Dale Dye, who worked as the film's military advisor, told Task & Purpose in July 2018. "That's there because we wanted people to get the feeling that despite what you see in movies and what you read in books, death in hellacious combat like there was on Omaha Beach can sometimes be very random, and it can be shocking because it's so close."
The scene is a masterpiece because it puts the audience in the center of the action, not as an idle spectator, but as a terrified infantryman whose only chance at survival is to push forward into more carnage, and more death.
It's a style of shooting that Dye calls "asses and elbows," which is "how you tend to see firefights if you're involved in it," he added. "You see the other guy's butt and his elbows, and everybody's down as far as they can get."
The effect is that this depiction of the D-Day landings — which left an estimated 10,000 Allied soldiers dead, wounded, or missing — is somehow relatable to those of us who never witnessed it first hand.
"I wasn't there in 1944 in June on Omaha Beach, but seeing that, I somehow felt I was," Dye said of the scene. "It was that transporting. I knew whatever else we did with that film, that sequence was going to live on."
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