Watch Video Essay Exploring The Saving Private Ryan Opening Scene


Saving Private Ryan is simply one of the best War Films of recent times if not in film history. There are  very few other movies that have a such an intrinsic opening as this one.If it wasn’t for 6th June 1944 on  Omaha Beach  the world would have been completely different, many of us may not be here. The opening scene had to be visceral, brutal and as close to possible to the real thing to set the tone and how dangerous the mission was.

Thanks to Nerdwriter (via The Playlist) who created this fabulous new video essay called ‘Saving Private Ryan: How Spielberg Constructs A Battle Scene‘. The essay explores that opening scene showing what Steven Spielberg had to do to bring the scene together. Creating an emphatic, chaotic  scene that was coherent but still felt unhinged, ready to shock and throw the viewer into the heart of the chaos. Amazingly  there wasn’t much footage of  the actual battle around so he had to study, dissect the battle in several other ways.

Spielberg had to use John Huston’s The Battle For San Pietro,John Ford’s The Battle of Midway, and Louis Hayward‘s With the Marines at Tarawa to help authenticate Saving Private Ryan.Depicting a shaky cam, disorientating narrative. The scene let Spielberg develop many of his own techniques, one that saw the camera perspective constantly following 3 characters. It gave the movie a 360-degree perspective which kept the scene’s momentum flowing, an amazing feat when the overall scene had 200 shots in 24 minutes. Whilst the scenes where quick the technique still gave the viewer time to absorb what was happening, it was used many times throughout the movie. This fantastic essay shows the technique revisited many times and one why Saving Private Ryan opening scene is one of the greatest scenes in film history.