The Real Story: Saving Private Ryan

45 min. Public Media Distribution. 2017. $14.99. ISBN 9781531702267.
Gr 11 Up—This documentary challenges the historical and technical accuracy of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. An unseen host narrates the presentation with comments from D-Day survivors, ballistics experts, and historians. Among the questioned portrayals in the movie were: Do bullets have enough force while traveling through water to kill? Were the Army Rangers actually sent to find one person? Could an allied sniper have fired a bullet down the scope of a German sniper at a given distance? No is the answer to all of the above. Was the story based on a certain family? There is no definitive answer to this question, though many believe that the story is based on the Niland family of New York State who did have a son removed from combat due to the "sole surviving son" law.
VERDICT Though the documentary includes several clips from the movie, it might be helpful if the viewers have seen the movie prior to viewing. Its purpose, other than proving a point about accuracy, is unclear. Scholastic use will be limited.

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