22. 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)
The unthinkably violent and harrowing opening D-Day sequence of Spielberg's WWII drama is one for the ages – another example of the director's ability to go for the jugular when the situation calls for it. But then the film settles in for the long slog, as Tom Hanks, Ed Burns and a generic squad of soldiers (some of whom, like Vin Diesel and Giovanni Ribisi, have since become stars themselves) travel through the devastated European countryside to retrieve private Ryan (Matt Damon) – and the rest of the film devolves into something bland and mawkish to a fault. Still, that opening scene. Wow.