Spielberg Sees Moral in New MovieAP , Associated Press
Jul. 19, 1998 1:13 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ Steven Spielberg took a page from Oliver Stone, questioning authority and depicting the horrors of war in his World War II drama, ``Saving Private Ryan.''
Starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, the film follows a team of soldiers trying to extricate one enlisted man from action after all his other brothers die in combat. For Spielberg, the seemingly straightforward humanitarian mission raised broader concerns.
``The moral question at the heart of the story. Why do we send eight boys on a mission to save one, simply because that one lost all of his brothers within 48 hours of each other?'' Spielberg asks in Sunday's Daily News. ``Is this a ... Washington public relations mission?''
The critically acclaimed film bothered some with its sometimes grisly depictions of combat during and after the famed D-Day invasion of German-occupied France, including showing Americans guilty of wartime atrocities.
``I'm only holding a mirror up to what really took place.'' Spielberg said. ``There are soldiers today, in their 80s, who candidly come out and talk about shooting prisoners. It's something that happened, and I just wanted to show it the way it actually happened.
``I don't want to turn Americans away from the patriotism many of us feel, but in the process of the chaos of combat, these were some of the things men were driven to do.''
Spielberg said a lot of WWII veterans he interviewed told him traditional Hollywood war movies glossed over the horrors of combat, while they praised the realism of Stone's ``Platoon.''