YMMV: Saving Private Ryan

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Upham. Gutless Dirty Coward, or sympathetic Everyman who does what many inexperienced, ordinary people would do in the heat of battle? Any online discussion of Mellish's death scene will inevitably devolve into this.
    • Mostly because it becomes an argument of "What would YOU do?" It's easy to say what you would do in that situation, and the internet (and real life, for that matter) are chock full of people who will disagree with you, whatever your claim may be.
  • Award Snub: One of the most famous in the history of the Academy. The film lost the Best Picture Academy Award to Shakespeare in Love due to the Weinsteins heavily lobbying their movie. Saving Private Ryan is the film people remember more these days.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: As an extremely bloody and realistic war movie the natural expectation is that it would work solely as an anti-war movie by showing the horror. However, there is a non-trivial section of the audience that found the (lavishly shot) action scenes exhilarating, even glamorous. These reactions are far from mutually exclusive.
    • Of course, your opinion may take a 180 degree turn when the medics try to stop a soldier from bleeding out, or during the Telegram scene.
  • Fanon: Many people who saw the film were confused as to whether the German soldier that kills Corporal Mellish is also "Steamboat Willie." They are in fact, different soldiers. The soldier that kills Mellish has Waffen SS lapel insignia, while "Steamboat Willie" has the lapel insignia of an enlisted soldier in the Wehrmacht Heer.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The approaching German Tiger as the American soldiers were getting ready.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: At one point, a soldier calls for a 'Captain Hammer', literally two scenes before Nathan 'Captain Hammer' Fillion comes in as the wrong James Ryan.
  • Misaimed Fandom: As noted above, many ignore the message that War Is Hell and only like the carnage in the war scenes.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A lot of the younger actors, especially Matt Damon and Vin Diesel, were not yet megastars at the time this movie came out. Matt Damon had won an Oscar (albeit for Best Screenplay in Good Will Hunting), but it may yet have been a flash in the pan. Spielberg is rightfully credited as helping jump-starting Diesel's career, writing the role specifically for him after seeing Diesel in his acclaimed short film.
    • Jeremy Davies (Cpl. Upham) is Daniel Faraday in Lost.
    • Nathan Filion as Private James Frederick Ryan from Minnesota
    • Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston also have small roles and went on to become acclaimed actors.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Both on the giving (it's not the first movie to use a documentary-like depiction of war or realistic carnage, but the first popular one) and taking ends (the influence on war movies or battle scenes in general, complaints about the patriotic/emotional tone of the post-Omaha Beach part of the movie).
  • So Cool Its Awesome: Considered by many to be a cinematic masterpiece.
  • Tough Act to Follow: For many, the opening sequence is so intense and grand that the rest of the film, a plot revolving around finding one soldier in Occupied France doesn't really measure up well.