Mise en scène- The Actors

  • Identify three actors from your film and classify each according to the types of actors listed in your text.

The three actors I will identify in the film Saving Private Ryan are:

Tom Hanks as Captain Miller  – Personality

Matt Damon as Private Ryan – Character

Vin Diesel as Private Caparzo – Wild Card

  • Explain your reasons for classifying the actors as you do. Use specific references to the film and pay special attention to how these decisions impacted characterization. Also, consider the impact of any realistic or stylized portrayals within the film.

First, I would classify Tom Hanks in this movie as a personality. I feel this is true is because of his leadership role in the movie. His entire team is looking upon his for help and direction as they fight their way through enemy territory. He has very strong character development in the movie and can be sen as a leader in many aspects. As an example here is a clip.

This shows is leadership and decision making. He does what is right even though it is not always the popular move. Tom Hanks has also acted and directed in other war bases movies and themes which I will discuss later.

The next actor I will talk about is who the movie was named after, Private Ryan. Matt Damon plays this character. We do not see Private James “F” Ryan until the last part of the movie. In fact we are even tricked earlier in the movie when the team finds another “Private James Ryan”.  This movie has him in the character role almost by default. We have a sense of who he is, yet we don’t see him for most of the movie. But when we do he is humbled by the fact men have died to try and find him to bring back home. In the time he is in the movie he shows a strong character role I feel Matt Damon has a lot of good movies to his name he is not quite the star actor that Tom Hanks is. As you can see in this following clip his character development in the movie.

The final actor I want to talk about is Vin Diesel who plays the character Private Caparzo. Unfortunately he was one of two men that were killed during the rescue mission. Vin is most widely known for is role in the Fast and Furious movie series. This is a total wild card character. This is not like anything he has done. The limited amount of scene time he has is very well done and his final scene is powerful and one to be remembered. He was left being known as a hero that tried saving a little girls life.

  • Focus on one of the actors you’ve discussed. Based on other films the actor has been in, would this actor always be placed in the same category? If so, what does this say about the category or actor? If not, what can you infer about the flexibility of these categories? Provide evidence (references from other films, including film clips and stills) to support your argument.

The actor I would like to talk more about is the main actor in the Tom Hanks. Most remember the also award winning movie Forest Gump where he played a Vietnam war hero. He even received a purple heart in the movie. Something a little less known he that he was also the director of the very popular HBO mini movie series Band of Brothers . This was all World War II based. Below is a clip that although was taken in a different time period there are a lot of similar traits such as honor and sacrifice

I feel if you are a good actor and you found what you like to do and you are successful at it there is no harm at repeating yourself


Movieclips (2012, May 9). Forest Gump Vietnam Battle 

Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPPaZU18rUg

Movieclips (2011, Oct 7). Saving Private Ryan- It doesn’t make any sense [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3_3EUKbY00 

Movievlips (2010, Jun 13). Saving Private Ryan – Why don’t you just shut up [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fByRLOM8WQw

Movieclips. (2009, Jan 9). Saving private Ryan Sniper part. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYrf0RheJP8

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

IDMP (2015) Film files Saving Private Ryan


Saving Private Ryan – Sound in movies

This scene I chose I feel is very important regarding sound and the different types of sound in movies. I feel this scene cover all three types of dialectic, sound, and music. First we must define what these three types are a little more in depth. First you have dialectic. This is the words that are used between to actors to continue with the story line. The dialectic is what keeps the movie flowing. The second is a little harder to notice unless you are looking for it. These are the sounds in the movie. I will be giving specific examples later in this post to give more accurate examples. Basically the sounds of the movie are what is going around in the scene to make the movie whole. If you just have two people talking it would not display what the movie is all about. Finally the music is the last part of dialectic in the movie. This may comes at certain climax parts of the movie to enhance what is going on.

In the scene I chose to talk about is where the team’s medic Private Wade has just been shot. The first thing you see is another soldier running to his aid. You do not hear him talking nor does he say anything, but you can hear all his equipment as he is running. You can hear the bullets hitting each other as he is running to his aid. Once the team gathers around him to see his wounds you can now here dialectic between members. None of them are medics, and they are all trying to communicate as how to try and safe Private Wade. There is a lot talk between the men at this point. This is a very stressful situation and there will be a lot of commotion and yelling. You can start to see the attempt is starting to fail. The sounds are becoming more distinct when you hear the water canteen unscrew to pour water on him to try and clean out his wound. The ripping of medical supplies and the use or morphine are sounds that bring us close to Private Wade in hopes he makes it.

In the final minute of the scene you can start to see Private Wade start to fade in his eyes. When he does this you can start to hear music in the background start to play. This is done to make the climax of the scene that much more intense. You can start to see death is now evident and the music starts to play louder. It is almost like a church hymn of Private Wade not feeling pain anymore, and him going to a better place where there is no more war and suffering. This music was placed at the right time to bring the scene to a close and give Private Wade the respect he deserves.

Some of the sounds in this scene can be related to the action adventure genre. There are certain sounds in War that can be identified in this scene. The dialectic between the men show a controlled panic when not knowing what to do, or having the situation to far out of their control to do anything about it.

If you removed any of the key sounds in the scene I feel you would still get the point across, but the scene would not be complete. If the music would have not been in the end then the scene would still have ended the same way, but I feel it would have given Private Wade the proper ending he deserved.



Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Saving Private Ryan- Mise en scene

In this blog for week two we will be talking about lighting and the importance it has on movies. The video clip that I shared is the opening scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan when the Americans first landed on the beach of Omaha. This is a very important scene because it sets the tone for the entire movie. As some may not know weather played a part in the invasion onto the beach on June 6th 1944. It was a heavy over cast day and many of the U boats with the men missed there mark going onto the beach. In the making of the film Steven Spielberg wanted to recreated the environment as closely as he could. With this he used a lot of traditional three-point lighting. The weather in the movie was also very over cast and gray. You can see the men riding in the U boat on there way to the beach. Several men were briefly hi-lighted to get there facial expression as to what they were thinking before they landed on the beach. With the three point lighting this could be obtained. The area around the man in focus was blurred out so we do not pay attention and get distracted by other movement. This type of lighting is also referred to as “flat” lighting. The actor they we are supposed to pay attention to will be placed in “rim light”.

For some of these men it was the last minutes they were alive and you wanted to have a connection with them while watching the movie. I believe this is one of the main benefits for this style of lighting. With so many men storming the beach at one time it would be hard to focus on all of it if the lighting was different and showed a wider view.

This technique contributed to the theme because this was the best way to try and get as real life as possible. If you are going to make a film based on real life events where men died you want to show that amount of respect when making the film. I believe Steven Spielberg did just that. Some of the young men were only 18 years old when they set foot on that beach. Sadly some of them did not get to see their 19th birthday.

The lighting technique was suited for this genre of the film for many reasons. First, this movie was set in 1944. Uniform colors were very plain, and they did not carry much extra gear. They had a rifle and some extra ammunition. In war movies made today there is a lot of extras that can sometimes take away from the main goal of what the movie is trying to accomplish. With the use of lighting it shows clearly what each man is going though. The background is set very plain with not a lot of huge over dramatic explosions. It was also early morning and the lighting portrayed that also.  You could tell they also used a lot of the natural lighting around the beach area. Being an overcast day on the beach they did not use a lot of fake or over lighting of the scene. It kept it much more realistic.

I feel the scene would have looked for fake if they used a different type of lighting. If everything is bright and sunny it would take away from the true meaning of what is going on. I just don’t see how a different choice of lighting would be better. For example high-key lighting would be a bad choice to use because this isn’t a happy time and you want the most realistic vision possible.


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title.




Saving Private Ryan

 The movie I am going to talk about is Saving Private Ryan. . This movie was written by Robert Rodat. The  directer is none other than the famous Steven Spielberg. The leading actor is award winning actor Tom Hanks. Other notable actors include Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Vin Diesel. This American war movie was released in 1998.

The plot of this movie starts off on the morning of the D-Day invasion, June 6th 1944. Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) and his men had just broken through the main line on the beach of Normandy. As they begin the push to win the war John get orders to find James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon). James is a paratrooper and is lost behind enemy line. The reason why John needs to find James is because James had three brother die during the first wave of the invasion. This was extra hard because James’s mother would receive the telegraph that three of her boys were killed in action. General George Marshall orders James be located immediately and brought home alive. John then gets a group of seven men to go and find James somewhere in enemy territory. During the rest of the rest of the movie we follow the eight men all though the country side battling the enemy while trying to find James. This is a true American war movie that will keep you watching til the end.

I shared with you the opening scene from the movie. This is a very powerful scene that comes back at the end to wrap up what it means to be a true war hero. This opening scene does not contribute to the chronological flow of the movie. Once the opening scene is over the rest of the movie is set in chronological order. I feel the opening scene was well placed though because from then on people know there was sacrifice in the movie. They leave out who was actually buried until the closing scene, and for good reason. Once the men hit the beach each scene flowed into the next. We journeyed with the soldiers each day, and watched them fight for their lives.

The aesthetic choices this movie made I feel are very realistic. When talking about aesthetics you are describing the emotions and sensations that a person has in the movie. The opening scene is very realistic. It is one of the most documented wars in history. D-Day holds a special place for many Americans due to the fact so many lives were lost that day. There were reports the water was actually red from all the blood that was shed on the beach that day. Most people know what had happened that day, but for the movie to bring vivid action shots of that day brings out real emotion. This shows how brave these men were even though they saw there fellow brothers dying all around them.

I feel character development is very important in this movie. Everyone looks for a leader or a hero in a movie. We start to feel that very early in the case of Captain John. You want to have faith in who you follow. In this case John is in charge of seven other men. You want all of them to make it safe and get to the goal they have been given. You also start to see other development in the other soldiers as the move ahead. You can see them being hardened by the effects of war, and what they have to do to stay alive. In the end with how the characters evolved during the movie you want them to all come home in the last battle they had to endure. You want to cheer for the hero even though sometimes the hero doesn’t always win.

Even with a different presentation style I don’t think the movie would have change much. The plot still would have been the same. The main goal would have still been the same. This movie was based on a lot of real life events. The locations are real. The time frame is real. Most importantly the actual event of D-Day was very real. What could have been different would be if the cameras took the angle of a single soldier and we saw the war through his eyes instead of getting a third person point of view of everything. I feel the audience would have the same outcome at the end of the movie. As Americans we cheer for America to win. That is just natural habit. And seeing what these men were going through each and every day during that war it’s hard not to hope the ultimate best.