A war film like no other: Spielberg’s masterpiece of horror

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A war film like no other: Spielberg’s masterpiece of horror

On the 21st anniversary of 'Saving Private Ryan', those who worked on it recall an astonishing cinematic feat

Ralph Jones

Captain Dale Dye was in Venice Boulevard in 1996, shopping for a suitcase, when his cellphone rang. He picked it up. On the other end of the line was Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. 

He told Dye he was working on a great World War 2 project. They had a script. Tom Hanks was on board. Spielberg wondered if Dye would come in and have a meeting about it. He needed no convincing. “Aye aye, Sir,” Dye said.

“I've got a reputation over the years as the world’s most renowned hard-ass,” says now 74-year-old Dye, who spent 22 years in the US Marine Corps and did three tours in Vietnam. By the turn of the century he had become notorious in the industry as the man to whom you turned for authenticity. Everyone in Hollywood, Dye says, was telling each other: “If you want to make a war movie, you have to get Dale Dye.”..

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