Posted: August 29th, 2013
Movies Historical Representation
No country in the world has recorded its history through films as America has. America has created films about the major events in its history. It has served the memories of its past, and has acted as an educational tool. Apart from the documentaries concerning the specific events, many of the movies portray the events as they happened, with an additional touch of fiction and added or exaggerated heroism. These features appeal to the audiences as they add the entertainment value. Audiences across different sectors have different interpretations concerning the movie. This is largely influenced by the directors’ intention and objective when creating the movie. When the directors are more concerned about the entertainment, rather than the awareness or educational objective, they will not take keen interest about the accuracy of the events. They will instead seek to add visual effects and add other elements that appeal to the viewers. Movies can sometimes serve as a preserve for history, and they aim to represent the events as accurately as possible, but they often lack to show all the details concerning the event, thus making them less credible as sources of historical information. .
The movie “Saving Private Ryan” by director Steven Spielberg is one of the most important and realistic movies about World War II. It is the story about a group of US soldiers who have to save Private Ryan. Many of the families suffered when their children went to the war. The government had set a policy that was aimed at making sure that family lines survived. Private Ryan had already lost three brothers in the war, and the government sent soldiers to save him since he was the only son left. The movie details the events of the operation. It shows the courage of the soldiers as they fight to save one of their own. It shows the loss and the heartbreak that the families suffered when their children went to war with no guarantee that they would ever see them again. The movie shows the bond that the soldiers developed as they fought the war, and the lengths they took to ensure that they survived. The battle scenes in the movie are violent, as they seek to show the real extent of the war.
Spielberg has directed several movies about different wars. In a culture and country where war movies are released often, the characters and crew involved in the production of the movie might have watched several war movies. Many of the war movies glorify the individual bravery of the American soldiers. There is therefore a lot of influence of such ideologies in the movie. Sometimes, the directors do not research materials concerning the movie that is actually contrary to the obvious notion of heroism and bravery. They do not include material where soldiers from one country betray each other or make foolish decisions. In many movies, it seems like all the soldiers, and especially those in the leadership position, have a supernatural instinct to know the weaknesses of the enemy, and to know the right tactics to use to control the enemy. This is rarely the case however. Perhaps because of the limitation of time, the directors do not take time to know much about the war. However, it is possible that the main intent of the directors is to please the viewers and show them that the war was justified.
Many Americans have lost loved ones in the war. Some of those who have fought in various wars feel that they have given something important to their country. They feel devoted to their country and they feel honored when their bravery is recognized. They are therefore pleased and excited when they get the chance to see such movies. Several printed records such as news articles and books that were written and published, as the war was ongoing give vivid descriptions of the war. In some cases, the soldiers did not always make the right decisions. They were often frightened and they ended up making costly mistakes. Many of the soldiers died in the hands of their fellow compatriots. Some of the soldiers made decisions that ended up putting the troops in danger. The soldiers fighting in the war were not always courageous despite the fact that they had been trained and well equipped for the war. They often made decisions out of fear, desperation, panic or pain (Lewis 134). If such accounts are considered, then it follows that many of the war movies, including “Saving Private Ryan”, may not be credible, and they do not reflect the war as it really happened.
The movies usually show the ingenuity of the soldiers, the wisdom of the captains and other leaders, the obedience of the soldiers to their leaders and the courage of the men. In the movie, the captain chose one of the people who had not been trained for war to accompany them in the search for Ryan. The man did not know the intricacies of the war, and it is through him that the audience learns and sees the fear of the men. There are many factors that led to the end of the war, and that determined the winner of the war. In the case of the Second World War, the American soldiers were fighting with the Germans. The Germans had fought for several years during the Nazi invasion. They were short of supplies and resources, including soldiers, and this weakened them. Americans took considerable time before joining other countries to fight the Germans. They had enough resources when they joined other countries. They were therefore in a better position than the Germans and this enabled them to win the war (Lewis 134). Such accounts are not usually recorded in war movie. The fact that the movie directors and producers show scanty details concerning few aspects of the event, contributes to the lack of credibility seen in war movies.
In many Hollywood war movies, someone is always willing to sacrifice his life for the others, and “Saving Private Ryan” is not an exception. In the movie, Captain Miller chooses to stay behind and fight alongside Ryan. He and his troops go through a lot in their quest for finding Ryan. Some of the men, including Captain Miller, end up dead. What the movie directors fail to realize is that in some of the cases, many of the soldiers are more concerned about saving their lives, than they are in sacrificing themselves for their compatriots. Many critics and audiences believe that the movie is one of the most realistic movies about the Second World War. This is largely because of the graphic violence shown in the movie. The movie starts with extremely violent scenes where the American soldiers are attacked and killed by the Germans on land, and in water. The rest of the movie also has other violent scenes although they are not as graphic as they are in the beginning.
Despite its shortcomings, the movie was a good production, and it served to depict the horrors of the war. The movie’s graphic scenes helped in showing just how much the soldiers went through when fighting the war. America has continued to fight in other wars in modern time. It has fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many American soldiers have lost their lives. In the movie, Ryan was lucky enough to survive the war. Other families are not as lucky today, as they have continued to lose their children in the war. The movie makes one wonder whether there is any sense in getting involved in the war. In some cases, American troops are involved in wars, without perceived threat to the county. For instance, NATO’s decision to invade Libya led to the deaths of many people. The country was engaged in a civil war yet the international community, including America, felt the need to fight in the war. There are many ways of resolving conflicts between people, and they do not have to kill each other as a means of finding peace. Wars are necessary in some cases, as the soldiers fight to protect the people and defend their country.
Just like other war movies, “Saving Private Ryan” is meant to preserve the honor of the soldiers who fought in the war. The directors who direct these movies want to show that the soldiers who sacrificed their lives should be honored and remembered for their bravery. Spielberg aims to show the duty and sacrifice that was made by the soldiers. The movie seems to encourage other people to join in the war (Thompson et al., 56). They do not question the legality of the wars. Many films do not capture the fear of the men and the hatred they have for the war. In the movie, Captain Miller confesses that he feels further away from home every time he kills a person. He does not however do anything about it, but he instead chooses to follow orders. Many families detest wars since they end up losing their loved ones. They not only feel a sense of loss when their loved ones die in the war, but they also feel that their country has let them down. War movies do not capture these sentiments. They do not capture the fact that many of the soldiers would want to be safe with their families. They seem to promote the stereotypical view that men are supposed to be courageous and they should fight for defense. Anyone who does not hold this view is seen as a coward.
American war movies do not fail to show the bond that the soldiers develop with each other. They show how the soldiers sacrifice their lives for each other, and the friendship and the closeness that they develop when in the danger zone. They show the wisdom, ingenuity, courage, obedience and heroism of the soldiers. They sometimes show the fear of the soldiers. These are not usually the true representation of the reality on the battleground. The movies fail to show the cowardice that some of the soldiers feel. They fail to show how the soldiers feel whenever they kill a person. Many of the movies with violent scenes show the soldiers killing each other mercilessly and without remorse. This is not usually the case, as the soldiers will usually prefer to use other methods of dealing with the enemy. The movies fail to show the poor decisions that often put the soldiers at risk. They fail to show how the soldiers panic and they end up betraying and killing each other in battle. The movie is less credible because it contains inadequate details of the event, and it concentrates on the positive attributes of the American soldiers.
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