Saving Private Ryan has an excellent if unusual premise at its heart: in a scene in an office in the U.S, letters are being written and sent to the parents of soldiers killed in action. A clerk notices that one family, the Ryans, has four boys, all serving, three of whom have been killed. It is decided that the fourth must be found and sent home.
It's an excellent plot, for both it's plausibility  (and, perhaps/paradoxically, it's implausibility) and humanity. And yet it's weird for contrasting the desire to save one life, amidst so much wasteful and indiscriminate death, at the probable cost of yet more lives. And it shows vividly how war itself and our relationship with it are very, er... conflicted.
It's always nice to find something in the mini-military world we inhabit that relates to a film or a book. Whilst looking for pics for this post I stumbled across this:
 The film's unusual premise is, as is often the case, based on something from the real world. In this case, the story of the Niland brothers. You can read about their story here.
 The quote is taken from the famous Bixby letter, written to a mother believed to have lost five sons during the ACW.
 There's a notable clash in that the German gear is so painstakingly authentic, whilst the SS-skinhead look isn't. In the pics below, Spielberg's SS men have very non-regulation skinhead cuts, whereas the real McCoy go for a more normal '40s short back'n'sides look, more akin to what British soldiers of the time would also sport:
It might seem like, ummm... (hair pun alert) nit picking, but given the trouble they went to to achieve realism, such a departure does smell of a deliberate choice, with an agenda behind it. I think the skinhead haircut is chosen for it's brutal look. Certainly the SS were infamous for being the stormtroopers of Nazi ideology, and it's interesting that stories of SS troops executing US soldiers gave many Allied troops what they felt was the license to take pre-emptive revenge measures. To Spielberg and co.'s credit, such instances of Allied brutality aren't altogether glossed over. But giving the SS skinheads is misleading propagandism. And, personally, I think that taking such liberties with history is a bad thing. .
 Upham, well played by Jeremy Davies, is a cartographer and translator, without any combat experience. Basically a rear-echelon guy. Plucked from relative safety, he evolves from a mild mannered civilian in uniform, into a man who is prepared to kill.