ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
CAP Score: 54
CAP ID: 1.03

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

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Saving Private Ryan (1998) CAP Thermometers Before I get into the facts about Saving Private Ryan (1998), I wish to share with you my deep and profound respect and sense of servitude for the men who suffered the horrors of World War II (WWII). I would like to think of this movie, though it is no more than Hollywood fanfare, as a tribute to them. By conversations with my father and with other WWII verterans, this movie was as realistic as any fanstasy movie has been or can be about the terror and horror of WWII. I am thankful and am indeed indebted to their sacrifices -- and so are YOU indebted to their sacrifices. Let me offer my pitiful salute to each of the men who served and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sake and yours, and to those of other wars and of wars to come.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) was an extremely violent movie with more than a proportionate share of gore. Some time ago for the first time you saw in an entertainment medium human guts hanging out of a victim. At that time in the progression of invasion of the entertainment industry into the morality of America, quality movies might have presented one, two, or maybe even three examples of this type of gore per movie. Saving Private Ryan presented several long sequences of this type of gore one right after the other, end to end. Due to this rapidity and density of presentation of gore, annotation of each individual act of gore was not possible. Annotation of gore in the Wanton Violence/Crime Investigation Area was accomplished by noting sequences of acts and by using the maximum point loss permissible by procedures, rather than noting individual acts using the minimum point loss per act. For this reason, though the Final Score for the Wanton Violence/Crime Investigation Area cannot be lower than zero, the Influence Density might represent a less influential impact than it should be.

In addition, the movie portrayed the soldiers as foul-mouthed. As usual, in not one case was the foul language necessary -- the program was not improved by them. Granted, one is not likely to monitor his language while immersed in life-threatening battle, but there is absolutely no need to teach kids that soldiers talk that way whether they do or not. Remember, this ministry is about the impact of the entertainment media on kids. Now don't get on my case about "Saving Private Ryan is NOT for kids." Just as millions of kids younger than 13 saw Titanic (1997, PG-13), I suspect millions of kids younger than 17 will see Saving Private Ryan. There will likely be many TV commercials geared toward kids, many Saturday morning cartoons, and lots of kids' toys which will depend on having seen the movie to understand the commercial, cartoon, or toy. THAT is a fact of [contemporary] life in America, sad as it is.

Following is a breakdown of the distribution for scoring.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) suffered maximum loss per example from its starting 100 points due to at least twelve sequences of extremely graphic warfare gore. The rapidity and density of individual acts of severe violence within each sequence of violent acts amde annontation of each act impossible. Annotation of violence and gore was accomplished by exacting the maximum loss of points per sequence of violence/gore rather than exacting lesser point loss per act of violence. Once example of Wanton Violence/Crime suffered an intermediate point loss due to killing of surrendering soldiers.

Impunity/Hate (I)(1) suffered maximum point loss per example 15 times due to the use of the most foul of the four-letter word vocabulary, and the intermediate loss of points due to a child slapping her father (we do not try to account for fantasy justification).

Sex/Homosexuality (S) suffered the intermediate point loss once due to vulgar gratuitous talk of sex and sexual arrousal.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) lost no points.

Offense to God (O)(2) suffered the maximum loss of points per example nine times due to the use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive, and the intermediate loss of points per example for the use of Jesus' name and title in vain three times.

Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost no points -- acts causing death were incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime since this was a movie about war.

Additional examples of unacceptable programming, but meriting the minimum loss of points per example included:

  • thirty-nine uses of the three-four letter word vocabulary
  • two uses of God's name in vain without the four-letter expletive

    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, Saving Private Ryan (1998) presented programming equivalent to R-rated material in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impunity/Hate, and Offense to God. The movie is equivalent to G programming in Sex/Homosexuality, Drugs/Alcohol, and Murder/Suicide. Thus, Saving Private Ryan is equivalent to 50% R-rated programming and 50% G-rated programming.

    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impunity/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impunity/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide, deaths by police action, and deaths by war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Please remember we believe that if even one of the six Investigation Area scores for a movie is equivalent to the CAP comparative baseline database scoring range for R, PG-13, or PG material, the entire movie should be regarded as so rated.  For example, if only Wanton Violence/Crime earns a score equivalent to R but all other Investigation Areas earn a score equivalent to G, THERE IS R-RATED MATERIAL IN THE MOVIE AND YOUR KIDS WILL SEE IT AND HEAR IT IF THEY WATCH THE MOVIE!

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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