Saving Private Ryan: Character Types

Mise en scène allows us to characterize an actor into certain categories based on their roles in film. In Saving Private Ryan, there are three characters that can easily be placed into one of these categories, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Barry Pepper. Tom Hanks can be placed into the personality category, this is due to his generally calm and calculated persona with a few moments of personal grief that he manages to overcome. One example of this in Saving Private Ryan is when he makes the ethical decision to attack the Germans at the radar station; after the hastily planned yet successful attack was complete, Tom Hanks has his signature moment of grief in solitude then returns back to the rest of the soldiers.

Next is Matt Damon, he is fresh, innocent in appearance yet turn out to have a more bold bias for action than his looks reveal. An example of this is when he insists on staying and fighting with his new found brothers in arms, rather than heading in a safe direction.

Finally is Barry Pepper, who is an Interpreter, “this involves actors interpreting well-known roles” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, sec. 5.5). In this film he interprets the role of a sniper, with a good-old-boy personality and large amount of confidence in his shooting abilities.

When it comes to Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, the category of personality remains the same, the story might be different but they each have their own signature way of going about how they insert their personalities into the characters. As said before Tom Hanks has a calm and calculated demeanor, this includes movies such as, Captain Phillips, Cast Away and The Da Vinci Code. In each of these movies, Tom Hanks plays the role of a regular guy whom is put into difficult situations, yet manages to overcome the adversities by displaying patience, intellect an fighting internal conflict with vigilance. For instance in Cast Away, Tom Hanks is stranded on an island and manages to keep track of the day and time using sunlight, tracking the wind patterns and living off the resources of the island he is stranded on.


Spielberg, S. (1998). Saving Private Ryan [Motion Picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures (Original release date 1998)

Tinyraptor. (2013). Saving Private Ryan – Maybe you should SHUT up! Retrieved from

MOVIECLIPS. (2011). Saving Private Ryan (4/7) Movie CLIP – It Doesn’t Make Any Sense (1998) HD. Retrieved from

Buddha28’s channel. (2010). Marksman In Action (Scene From Saving Private Ryan). Retrieved from

Zemeckis, R. (2000). Cast Away [Motion Picture] United States: DreamWorks Pictures (Original release date 2000)


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I locate, I close with. I Joined the Marines in 2005... Currently, doing all kinds of fun things. I enjoy long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, bacon and guns. Proud husband and father.

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