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Saving Private Ryan Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    For those who are willing to brave the movie's shocking and unforgettable images, Saving Private Ryan offers a singular motion picture experience.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    The rawest, most sustained screen portrayal of 20th century combat.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A movie of staggering virtuosity and raw lyric power, a masterpiece of terror, chaos, blood, and courage.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This film embodies ideas. After the immediate experience begins to fade, the implications remain and grow.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    A watershed picture, for both Spielberg and war movies.

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  • See all Saving Private Ryan reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Bloody, tragic war epic doesn't hold back.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is Steven Spielberg's most violent film, especially in the opening 25-minute D-Day invasion massacres. There's no sugar-coating, no "cartoon violence," no nameless, inconsequential casualties like LucasFilm Imperial Stormtroopers. This is unrestrained, ugly, and dirty combat, meant to make the viewer appreciate the monstrous human cost and tragic sacrifice of the Allied beachhead -- a price mostly paid by young men. Stunned, vengeful U.S. soldiers are seen committing what would be considered atrocities (shooting surrendering Germans, as well as innocent non-Germans who can't speak English). Even though characters are religious -- one prays fervently before killing with his sniper skills -- everyone swears a lot, too. Some "special editions" carry supplementary documentary material, including clips of Steven Spielberg's own 8mm war movies he made as a kid.

  • Families can talk about the D-Day invasion, and especially the troop makeup of WWII -- a lot of fighting and dying was done by soldiers who were hardly more than boys. The behavior of characters under fire includes cowardice and vicious homicide, unleashed even at surrendering enemy. Do you think those man can be excused for such a breakdown of discipline? What about soldiers in the field today? Was the mission to save Ryan worth the risk after all? What other war movies and documentaries have you seen? Do they seem true to life? How about the coverage you see in the news? Is it balanced? How would you be able to tell?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Capt. Miller is here a paragon of military discipline and fairness, though he too weeps when a friend is killed. He explains in a key moment that in peacetime life he's a schoolteacher, not a career soldier. Even though they bristle at their mission, the men carry out the assignment, at great personal risk. One shows mercy to a German and comes to grievously regret it. Others shoot defenseless and surrendering enemy without thinking twice. Though the platoon is of mixed backgrounds (Jewish, Christian, Italian-American, Appalachian), all are white, which accurately reflects the racially segregated U.S. forces at the time.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Graphic, savage battlefield violence, as men are blown up, shot, and dismembered by artillery fire, and bayoneted, beaten, and stabbed in hand-to-hand fighting. Unsparing death comes to sympathetic characters as well as ones we hardly know.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Dirty jokes and salty stories cracked by members of the platoon.

  • language false5

    Language: Lots of F- and S-words, "asshole," God's name in vain (or prayed to before killing), and the profane military acronym F.U.B.A.R. is eventually explained.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, smoking.