Perhaps one of the greatest war films ever made, Saving Private Ryan burst onto our screens along with a rattle of gunfire back in 1998.
Inspired by the story of eight siblings killed in the American Civil War, Robert Rodat, the scriptwriter, set a similar narrative among the chaos of World War II in Europe.
The films stars Tom Hanks as Captain John H Miller, who leads a squad of American soldiers tasked with finding Private Ryan (Matt Damon), the last surviving brother of four servicemen whose lives have already been claimed by the conflict.
But it was when Steven Spielberg applied a touch of his director’s magic to the production that the movie really hit its stride.
His 27-minute blood splattered opening sequence of the American invasion of the Normandy beaches in France was widely acclaimed for portraying the full horror of war on the silver screen. For those watching in theatres, bullets zipped past in Dolby Surround Sound and the deafening sound of bombs dropping shook seats.
It was also, somewhat cynically, a masterstroke in the film business; the D-Day landings had long been held in the American conscience with morbid fascination and was, to the stateside audience, what the Battle of Stalingrad is to Russians.
The special effects of battle were backed up by the first-rate acting of Hanks in what some would argue was one of his finest roles. Every actor in his squad also managed to produce the performance of their lives, paying due respect to the severity of the subject matter at hand. Now that’s camaraderie.
Suggested by Shela Bayan
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Suggested by Helen Owen Ingram
Just one hell of a ‘good-times film’. So much so that, when asked for her favourite film, Helen wrote “Ferris Bueller’s day off. I am even smiling as I type that…..just love that movie.”
The film stars a young Matthew Broderick as a high school student who skips school to spend the day with his girlfriend and best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck). After faking sickness, the mischievous Ferris sets out for a day of Chicago-set frolics that leaves the viewer wishing ‘If only I had done that once.’ I tried, but it was nothing like the film.
The Shawshank Redemption
Suggested by Kiara Pereira, Rodney Woods and Gayathri Menon
Given the film’s number one spot at the top of the International Movie Database rankings, it’s little surprise that Kiara, Rodney and Gayathri suggested The Shawshank Redemption. Based on the novella by Stephen King, it tells the story of Andy Dufre, a banker wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and sent to prison for a life term.
But determined to survive and reclaim his life, the inmate quietly focuses his efforts on escaping.
Despite the movie’s grim setting it’s a tale of a human spirit that refuses to be broken, as well as a story of friendship in challenging times.
Tim Robbins’ quiet character broods with determination while Morgan Freeman’s Red seems to have been tailormade for an actor who is often at his best as the voice of onscreen counsel and wisdom. And who can forget one of the most beautiful film scores ever.
Suggested by Ferdinand Mangalindan Libunao
A film that dared to do what no sane parent would; the 2001 Walt Disney and Pixar animated movie confirmed to children that there were indeed monsters under the bed. But children voted with their parents wallets as the film went on to take $562 million at the box office. A cast of actors suited their animated characters beautifully. Billy Crystal played the main role of one-eyed Mike, and John Goodman’s gruff voice suited the furry, loveable giant of Sulley, as the two set out to remove a lost child from their home city of Monstropolis.
Suggested by Mayuri Sawant and Jp Gilliyar
From director Rajkumar Hirani came this coming-of-age comedy drama that broke records when it was released in India in 2009 as the then highest grossing film on its opening weekend.
The film stars two young men Raju and Farhan, who are in search of their long-lost third friend, Rancho, as well as telling a tale of college antics through intermittent flashbacks.
A charming tale of companions helping each other through youth’s tribulations, the film also has a nuanced criticism of schools that place an impossible pressure on their students to excel.