BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 9:  The movie's poster is displayed at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Great To Be Nominated screening of "Saving Private Ryan" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater June 9, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Tom Hanks' Saving
Private Ryan Performance Was Centered Around One Emotion
Steven Spielberg’s seminal war film “Saving Private Ryan” sees Tom Hanks’ Captain John H. Miller lead his soldiers on a brutal journey from the storming of Normandy Beach to his final moments. Captain Miller is regarded as a great leader who perseveres against all odds and leads his men to victory, but Miller is just as scared as anyone else, something Hanks latched on to when reading the script.
Hanks said of the character, “The first time I read about Captain John Miller, here’s what I got: He’s scared. And he’s afraid in the same way that I would be in his circumstances. His fear is the reason for everything he does.” “Saving Private Ryan” is not about the false bravado often associated with war and its leaders; instead, it looks at the tragedy behind the atrocities of war for those involved.
Despite appearing to be a confident and level-headed leader of his group, Captain Miller is still emotionally and mentally affected by what he’s witnessed, leading to a balancing act throughout the film between exuding bravery and vulnerability. The film exemplifies the realities and horror of war for the audience and shows how Miller is changed on a deeply emotional level.