When Saving Private Ryan was released in 1998, the film shocked audiences solely because of its opening depiction of the Invasion of Omaha Beach. The film depicts American infantry swarming in boats across the English Channel to the German defenses. The soldiers vomit and shake horrifically, and the moment the front doors are lowered at the beach machine gun and mortar fire opens up that immediately cuts almost the entire front line of troops down.
In desperation, the American soldiers jump overboard, but several drown under the weight of their weapons and gear or are cut down by bullets in the water. Many of the few that make it to the beach are then further cut down, and the film depicts as several soldiers have limbs blown off or are eviscerated by the hail of fire but continue to fight anyway. The only reason the Americans manage to advance is because they have so many men who continue to land. Eventually, they manage to push forward to underneath the bunkers, and then advance up the beachhead to break out and turn on the German bunkers from the rear. The film showed what real life combat is like to audiences, and was very gory and brutal in contrast to previous films that largely focused on showing cinematic heroism in battles.