Saving Private Ryan
Personal Lessons and Insights

December 17, 2001

1.

Brief Plot Summary

A group of GIs brave the battlefields to find one lost soldier.

2.

Interest Character

I found Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) to be an interesting character. Even in a situation so grim and deadly as being behind enemy lines in a search and rescue mission, he was still able to focus on doing what's right while even the men under his command swayed from the more difficult tasks. He went along with his orders without complaint, and when the rest of his squad questioned why they should risk their lives for Pvt. Ryan, Miller said that after losing her three other sons, Ryan's mother deserved to get one back. After running into a German machine gun nest, Miller insisted that they take it out and risk their own casualties, rather than let the nest take another group by surprise. Even in times of ultimate stress, Miller was always ready with a decision based on what he felt was the right thing to do.

3.

Interesting Scene

One interesting scene occurred after the group found Ryan, but then had to defend the bridge against incoming Germans. Miller had to come up with a plan to defeat a vastly superior army using very little tools, all the while the enemy getting closer. Miller was able to come up with "sticky-bombs", a tactic he had read about in a soldier's handbook. Even under such incredible stress, he was able to employ intelligent battlefield tactics, while still keeping his men psychologically functional. While such a situation would find the most need for a comprehensive leader, it is the very danger of the situation that would cause most to falter. The necessity of an intelligent and calm leader goes far beyond the limits of wars, all the way into business and the home. I would certainly want someone with Miller's qualities to be directing me when the kitchen catches fire, or when my company finds itself near bankruptcy due to a market crash.

4.

Something this film made me think about.

This film made me think about how important a leader is to any project. Although projects can go on without someone "taking charge", as I have learned form my own experiences, the effectiveness and the output of the work is never as good quality, as quickly done, or without incidents of internal squabble (although that is not always the case). A leader should act like a relay point, working as a coordinator of communication and work. A number of times throughout the movie the group sent to rescue Ryan becomes at odds with each other, and one man almost went AWOL. However, each time their leader (Miller) pulled everyone together, and got them pack on track to achieving their goal. I find that of all the qualities that go into good leadership, the most important are: intelligence, confidence, and empathy. All of these qualities are not only good for leadership, but are also important qualities in themselves, and in my opinion, are useful in almost any circumstance.


Original Web Upload December 2001
Last Update: December 17, 2001