“Men will still say, this was their finest hour.” Churchill’s iconic speech was one that defined the sacrifice of World War II. That’s perhaps why so many movies have been made about it. Saving Private Ryan is one of the best, and most memorable. The film is Spielberg at his blockbuster best, as a group of soldiers must go behind enemy lines to save a missing paratrooper. The horrors of war are certainly shown here, and there are plenty of other movies like Saving Private Ryan that also show us the true horrors of war.
Best Movies Like Saving Private Ryan
Many people find war films difficult to stomach, and that’s not surprising. They are incredibly violent, and often show the futility of conflict. But, they also give us an important glimpse of the human condition, and why people do what they do.
The Big Red One (1980)
This epic war movie is one of the most underrated war films of all time, and the best war movie you’ve never heard of. Starring Lee Marvin, and a young Mark Hamill, The Big Red One is a breathtaking character study. It follows a World War II squad as they try to navigate and survive the war. Filled with action and dread, and held together by camaraderie and belonging, The Big Red One is one of the finest war movies ever, and that sense of togetherness also resonates through Saving Private Ryan.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
Another criminally underrated offering in the pantheon of great war movies, The Thin Red Line marked Terrence Malick’s return to filmmaking after a 20-year hiatus. The movie features an all-star cast and has regularly been described as one of the greatest contemporary war films of all time. If you like Saving Private Ryan, you’ll love The Thin Red Line and the way it delves deep into the psyches of these men and the horrors they’ve faced.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Okay, bear with me here guys. I know, I know, it’s Michael Bay; it’s all explosions, frenetic editing, and Faith Hill’s breathy vocals. And it is all of those things, but it’s also actually, in many ways, a film similar to Saving Private Ryan. The whole crux of the story is a bunch of people who just want to get home to their loved ones. As the quote goes “Nobody fights for their country, they fight for someone they love.”
Well-known for one of the most seminal death scenes in movie history, Platoon is almost the perfect war movie. When looking for movies similar to Saving Private Ryan, this is one that is going to crop up time and again. This anti-war movie was scripted and directed by Oliver Stone, who based it on his experiences in Vietnam. It’s also known as being only the second on-screen role for Johnny Depp.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Ridley Scott’s most underrated work is famed for its unique take on a tired genre. Black Hawk Down takes place during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu and features a stellar cast. The movie has been studied by academics for the way the media covers the war in the United States, as well as the fact that it presents as both a pro and anti-war movie. Oh, and it’s the feature film debut of Tom Hardy, and you know how much I love Tom!
Saving Private Ryan might very well be Spielberg’s masterpiece, and one of the most important war films ever made. There are loads of great movies in the war genre, and, if you’re looking for movies like Saving Private Ryan, as you can see above, there is plenty of choice.