7. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Saving Private Ryan is a classic movie that came out at a special time in America. Just a few years earlier the nation was awash with celebration and pride of the accomplishments of the greatest generation following the 50th anniversary of all things WWII. The trailer for Saving Private Ryan embraces these emotions to create a trailer bursting with patriotism.
Some trailers tell you nothing about the movie to entice and build a sense of mystery. Others, like Saving Private Ryan tell you everything you need to know right away. The trailer opens with solemn condolence letters being read aloud over a series of black and white stills from the Normandy landings. Soon we hear about a poor mother soon to receive her own letters informing her of the death of three of her four sons in combat. It’s up to Tom Hanks to find the sole surviving Ryan brother and bring him home safely so he in turn can make it back to see his wife. That’s the plot of Saving Private Ryan in a nutshell and the trailer isn’t afraid to show it.
What makes the trailer memorable is the sheer intensity of the imagery. The stills look they’ve been taken straight from the battlefield and pull no punches. The muted colors, the realistic camera angles, and the insane details, just look at the Omaha Beach landing scene, let you know this is a WWII movie on a scale that’s never been seen before in cinema.
It’s emotional, patriotic, and action packed. But the trailer for Saving Private Ryan is more than that, it’s like a mini history lesson as well.
FUN FACT: The Department of Veterans Affairs set up a special 800 number to help the hundreds of former soldiers who were traumatized after seeing the film.