some talks, some emotions, some expressions & some silence

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Parts of The Saving Private Ryan screenplay...

The Abraham Lincoln Letter from the movie:

"Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln."

This letter is actually not written by Abraham Lincoln himself but the incident it is referring to is real except the count of the dead, which were modified as per the requirements of the movie. A near impossible task of finding someone inside the dreaded battlefields of France facing the uncertain German fire all the time and what makes it worse is that there is no clue about the coordinates where he or his platoon may be found. The decision makers won't sacrifice their men for some cause which is so evident, they won't fight a war against an already furious one. But this letter changes it all and The General commands a search for Ryan against any loss they have to bear, for one mother who had already lost so much. Its a vicious fix where on one hand they have a mother who had all her sons fighting for the republic and on the other the republic itself that they were fighting for.

Other notable dialogues:

Captain Miller to Private Reiben
"I'm a schoolteacher. I teach English composition... in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it's a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I'll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. The man means nothing to me. It's just a name. But if... You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that's my mission."

There are many such dialogues which Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) delivers throughout the mission to keep up the spirit of his men who think that they are giving their lives to find someone very useless and that the mission they have taken up is just a waste and a discredit to their talent in the battlefield as Jackson, the sniper says:

"What I mean by that, sir, is if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile from Adolf Hitler... with a clean line of sight... Pack your bags, fellas. War's over."

Finally when they find Ryan, they feel that he was not that useless afterall as Ryan's valor and the love for his country and his paltoon speaks out:
"You can tell her (his mother) that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she'd understand that."

He is determined to complete the mission he is assigned and Captain Miller's men join him. Some more martyrs, for one man and the debate is left for the audience, was that worth it?
And then on the similar lines of Lincoln's old letter:

"My dear Mrs Ryan: It's with the most profound sense of joy that I write to inform you your son, Private James Ryan, is well and, at this very moment, on his way home from European battlefields. Reports from the front indicate James did his duty in combat with great courage and steadfast dedication, even after he was informed of the tragic loss your family has suffered in this great campaign to rid the world of tyranny and oppresion. I take great pleasure in joining the Secretary of War, the men and women of the U.S. Army, and the citizens of a grateful nation in wishing you good health and many years of happiness with James at your side. Nothing, not even the safe return of a beloved son, can compensate you, or the thousands of other American families, who have suffered great loss in this tragic war. I might share with you some words which have sustained me through long, dark nights of peril, loss, and heartache. And I quote: "I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the alter of freedom." -Abraham Lincoln. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, George C. Marshall, General, Chief of Staff."

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