During World War II, a mother is about to find out that three of her sons have all been killed in action. She has four sons, one is still missing somewhere in the war. Commands come down the chain for Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) to put together a small crew and find Private James Ryan (Matt Damon) so that he can be sent home.
Captain Miller has just been part of the invasion of Normandy on Omaha Beach where a lot of men were killed or injured, including one of Ryan's brothers.
Miller puts together a team of Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore), Private Reiben (Edward Burns), Private Jackson (Barry Pepper), Private Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Private Caparzo (Vin Diesel), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi) and Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies).
Upham is a translator and typist who has never been in action until he is asked to join Miller's crew to head across the country tracking down Ryan. His fear and lack of experience ends up hurting many of the other members of the crew, at least in someway.
Though a bit hard to watch in some parts as it is so close to actual war and you find it hard to stomach what people had to go and live through, the film is brilliantly put together. A film about founding a 'needle in a haystack' probably doesn't sound that entertaining, but mixed within this war film it definitely was.
The acting is superb up and down the line. You begin to feel for all of these characters and it pulls at your heart strings if anything happens to them. Plus, the film is riddled with amazing actors in just very small parts - like Bryan Cranston, Ted Danson, Dennis Farina, Dylan Bruno, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Hurst, Leland Orser and Nathan Fillion.
The film runs two hours, 49 minutes, but you can never tell. There isn't a dull moment in any of it. Even when there is a bit of time when the action has subsided and it's just the guys sitting around - the conversation and dialogue is so interesting and at times fun that you hang on every word.