What are some stylistic similarities in terms of shots, genres, themes, etc., between the two movies Schindler's List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) both directed by Steven Spielberg?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. Genre--Both films are docudramas set in Europe during World War II.

2. Cinematography--While Schindler's List is almost entirely in black and white, Spielberg's color choices for Saving Private Ryan offer the viewers the same historic feel. Similarly, for both films, Spielberg alternates between panoramic shots, such as the view of Auschwitz from Amon Goeth's balcony or the unfathomable clips of Omaha Beach, and closeups on individuals' faces as they reach crises of conscience.

3. Themes--While both films undoubtedly stress the horrors of war, both for military members and civilians, perhaps the most significant commonality between Schindler and Ryan is the focus on an individual's importance. At the end of Schindler's List, after Schindler has done all that he can to save lives, Itzhak Stern presents him with a ring and describes the inscription by saying,

"It's Hebrew, it's from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'"

This same motivation lies behind Captain Miller's mission to save Private Ryan. Ryan represents so much more than one person to Miller and his men; if they can save him, perhaps they can save part of themselves in the process.