1998, TSPDT Rank #803
Here's a film that's most likely so cherished and awarded because it's easy to cheer for, and in that regard probably seems like a worthy tribute to those who served in the second World War. And it might very well be, at that - indeed many of those veterans appreciated it and did find it a worthy tribute. My issue with it is that it seems to present two different films: initially, one of incredibly intense and brutal combat which is definitely the best representation of the hell of war ever filmed; and later, an overly simplistic and cliched adventure story which seems to want to serve us contrived heroism on a silver platter. Both sections are extremely well-filmed, but as far as overall quality goes, I'd say the first section is masterpiece-quality, and the rest is only mediocre. To average these two incongruous parts out, I'll it's an overall good, but quite flawed film which remains the most popular and definitive modern rendering of World War II. Required viewing in any case.