Saving Private Ryan v Full Metal Jacket

This time… it’s war. Which of these two combat classics is the better film? Click HERE or the image above to read the arguments in this battle we’ve done for Metro Film Fight Club.

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12 Responses to “Saving Private Ryan v Full Metal Jacket”

  1. SPR, man. Does anyone even remember what happens in the second half of Full Metal Jacket?

  2. I’m biased, since RYAN is one of my very favorite films of all time.

    That said, I don’t think these films are comparable at all…it’s like trying to argue what’s better, Corvettes or puppies. However, that said – I must give you guys points for not running the usual argument: RYAN vs. THE THIN RED LINE.

  3. As good as Saving Private Ryan is, it can not like up to its opening scene. Ross McD makes a great point “the Vietnam War is always addressed a bit less formally in film” and Full Metal Jacket is a great example of this. For me Full Metal Jacket wins on two counts, it is the slightly better film of the two and a stronger argument by McD.

    By the way, platoon is my favourite Vietnam movie.

  4. Both are great films but I gotta give this one to Saving Private Ryan. Though the explosions are there it is a hell of a lot more than just big booms and action. It’s an incredible character piece that is timeless.

    On the other hand there is nothing in the world like FMJ. A brilliant piece of film making.

  5. Full Metal Jacket is by far the superior film.

    Saving Private Ryan does have a stunning opening and the final battle is well handled (plus it does have Tom Hanks and that amazing face) but what happens between is the most tedious load of old guff imaginable with characters pulled right out of the ‘Shawshank Collection of Familiar Tedium’ played, if you can call it that, by Vin Diesel and Edward Burns – holy moly those guys are leaden. I remember when it first hit the cinema and walking out thinking two things ‘the start was quite something’ and ‘Ted Danson is a badass’.

    FMJ, on the other hand, is a rare war film in that it looks at the unnatural nature of war (very different from the tragedy) and the disconnect from the real world by highlighting how beautiful being nuts in a nuts situation can be. Klassic, kold, Kubrick

  6. Both guys make good arguments but Full Metal Jacket is the superior of the two in my eyes. It’s easy to say Saving Private Ryan is the more consistent, dramatically, as its characters leave the Normandy beaches and head inland to ultimate doom. But that’s mainstream Hollywood entertainment versus theme-driven art house, and Kubrick’s film is a much more powerful and affecting movie by the time the credits roll. Nothing comes close to the visual superiority of SPR’s opening, and in that, I include the rest of Spielberg’s movie.

  7. FMJ, is the better of the two movies, and in my opinion, by many a mile. FMJ is a character study and a critique of war. The brilliance of it is that, it tells us that soldiers are human too, and are not averse to disappointment, suicidal tendencies and complete and utterly destructive machismo. At times in a war you probably do tend to question if you are on the right side. If you are human, this should come about when you are killing other like minded individuals, who like you are fighting a war for some idiot sitting in a high chair, and more often than not, you are fighting wars for the business elite. SPR, although it has the most spectacular opening sequence and one of the most mind numbingly accurate recreation of war ever committed to celluloid, goes ahead and in true Spielberg fashion mucks it up with overblown patriotism, naivety and melodramatic mush. The fact that the military would send a team of people to certain death to save one insignificant person, seems far fetched and if we accept it completely cynical and hypocritical. Just could not buy into that screenplay.
    FMJ on the the other hand is a more complete and thought provoking screenplay and movie. A masterpiece IMO. My fave Vietnam War movie though is Apocalypse now….none more trippier has ever been made.

  8. I enjoyed both the films, but I have to give the nod “Full Metal Jacket”. I have see it at least thirty times over the years. I think I saw “Saving Private Ryan” a handful of times.

  9. I have to agree with Aiden here. Full Metal Jacket has a fantastic first hour where we follow the main characters into bootcamp. Possibly one of the best hour of film making ever but then the second half of the movie was a letdown. Saving Private Ryan is superior on that count.

  10. I prefer FMJ by a mile, and I also prefer its shaving-heads intro.

    Effective, and cheaper than Spielberg’s method by some distance.

  11. FMJ is a much better film. The characters in FMJ have what the characters in SPR lack…depth, personality, and likability. You don’t care what happens to the characters in SPR because they’re either lame or they’re dickheads. Tom Hanks was extremely boring in SPR. And no, Vietnam was a more serious matter within the U.S. because of its widespread oppostion, the emerging drug culture, etc (WWII was a more serious global matter). FMJ wins this b/c SPR isn’t that great from the start. How about Apocalypse Now v Platoon? They’re much better than both FMJ and SPR.

  12. Saving private ryan is an ok action war film,no more no less.Great,realistic battles,but has nothing to say. Full metal jacket works on so many levels,it feels like it has so many genre aspects.Its not just a satire/anti-military/anti-war film.Its got elements of a horror/thriller throughout.Watching this film for the first time,i had never EVER been in more suspense and entertained throughout a film like that.My only complaint when the credits rolled was ”that’s it?”,it left me wanting more.No war film had that effect on me like that.The only weakness is the second act,but the 1st and 3rd were masterpieces,with great twists.But the 2nd act still had great moments,the door gunner,surfin bird, the two hookers.The 2nd act isn’t great,but its got great moments.Best war film ever,not even close!Platoon is laughably bad,along with casualties of war.Hamburger hill is the most realistic,but the least imaginative.Apocalypse now(original version)has a contrived,self-important last half.But it conveys the random madness that occured during that war,better than most.

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