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‘Saving Private Ryan’ Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Shows Vintage Footage of the Cast Preparing for War

From the Indiewire Vault: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and several WWII veterans discuss the landmark film.


Saving Private Ryan,” better known as the second-best World War II drama of 1998, remains a cultural touchstone nearly two decades later. Steven Spielberg won his second Academy Award for Best Director, Tom Hanks turned in a trademark performance and “Earn it” entered the lexicon. A new mini-documentary goes in depth on the history brought to life by the film; watch it above.

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“The great test of all the great civilizations throughout history is that, when the time came, they said ‘I will sacrifice myself for the country,'” Hanks says in the opening moments, which precedes context for the film’s famous D-Day sequence and a rundown of the film’s now-famous premise: A group of soldiers search for a young soldier (whose three brothers have all been killed in action) so that he can be sent home. Spielberg discusses his father’s experience in the war, which led to his interest in it; his father appears as well.

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Much like the film itself, the 25-minute documentary (which looks to have been shot near the time “Saving Private Ryan” was originally released) is red meat for history and movie buffs alike, with an emphasis on the facts behind the drama.

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