War is something that has existed in one form or another for all of man’s existence on Earth. World War II is a well documented war, films were made soon after the war, and even in the present day there have been films made, that depict the war. With technology rapidly progressing, almost anything is possible in films. Two films that depict the same day, the same beach, can be so different.Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day are two films that depict the epic D-Day invasion on France.
The two films which are about the same war are completely different. They are films made in different eras, and therefore, films that are made from different viewpoints. However, there are many differences in both films. Although both films strive for realism, it is important to remember that The Longest Day was made in 1962 and Saving Private Ryan was made in 1998. Therefore, Darryl F. Zanuck could not show the true horrors of war, as it would not have been right as the war had only ended seventeen years before and would have been considered as unacceptable.Saving Private Ryan is a film which some considered to be very gruesome, but in fact it is a film that aims for realism.
The film is very bloody, and shows the reality of war. The sounds are terrifying. As soon as the film starts, the audience hear the soldiers praying to God to save their lives. The soldiers are petrified; they know they are going to die. As soon as they get off the landing craft, machine gun fire hits them, and kills many of them.The audience see the bullets penetrate the body; you hear it, and you feel it. It does this by using many point of view shots (POV) to create the effect of the audience actually being there. This makes the film very intense and creates a bond with the soldiers.
The blatant realism of the film has a huge impact on the audience, when the audience sees a soldier find his arm, and pick it up, and when a soldier’s intestines are falling out of his body on to the beach, and he cries for his mother. Overall the film makes you feel like you are part of the war, and it gives a true sense of the destruction and chaos.The Longest Day is a film which also depicts the invasion of France. The film was thought to be the most realistic of its time. Although the film is about the war, it shows war in a very different light. It shows a more glorified view of war, when soldiers die, you don’t see the blood, you don’t see them suffer, they just go down and that is the end.
In one shot, a general didn’t even have any armour or a gun, just a cane. At another point, a general makes a crack at a soldier for forgetting his gun.The film seems to make war seem more fragile, as if it’s giving respect to the soldiers. It shows what happened, while giving them pride and honour, for not suffering and dying for their country. Saving Private Ryan, also gives respect to those who died and fought, but in a different way, it shows what they lived through, and what they experienced.
Both films make someone proud to be American, and give respect and honour to those who lost their lives, and fought in the war.The way the cameras are used in Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day is very important to the structure and effects used in the films. The Longest Day is more about showing what a great victory the Second World War was for the Americans, and it therefore uses many extreme long shots (ELS) showing the whole battle along the beach. This is to show all the men running up the beach to give a general idea of all the fighting that was going on along the beach.
There are very few close up (CU) shots of individual men or their feelings. There are also no point of view (POV) shots to show what the soldiers are seeing. There are however a small number of medium shots (MS) at the beginning of the scene to show the men in the landing craft and some men on the beach.
By using a lot more big long shots and ELS, it makes the film look a lot grander and more epic as it shows the scale of the allied invasion of NormandySaving Private Ryan is quite different from The Longest Day as Steven Spielberg (Director of Saving Private Ryan) uses more CU shots and MS. This allows the audience to see the emotions of the soldiers and, therefore, creates a bond between the two. At the beginning of the landing scene in Saving Private Ryan, there is an immediate CU of Captain Miller’s hand. The audience can see that it is shaking which could be perhaps from the uncertainty of whether or not they would survive the landing.This is a very emotionally powerful shot as it gives an idea of the kind of feelings felt by the soldiers. There is then a shot which shows the faces of the men in the landing craft and their expressions which give an idea of the feelings felt by the soldiers. The audience sees two men vomiting at the thought of what is about to happen.
Another soldier kisses a crucifix and recites a psalm. These again are very powerful shots.Steven Spielberg has included some magnificent shots of the soldiers in the water trying to make their way to the beach. The audience sees bullets rip through the water and enter the bodies of some American soldiers and a jet of blood is released. These shots are made possible through the use of modern technology and underwater cameras.
Saving Private Ryan also uses many POV shots to show the view from both American and in particular German troops. This allows the audience to see exactly what the soldiers are seeing, which makes the audience feel as though they are actually there. A few POV shots come from the Germans in the pill boxes and show the Americans being ‘mown down’ by machine gun fire as they try and get out of the landing craft. This automatically shows the German in a bad light as it shows them as just a ‘killing machine’.