One of the greatest cinematic achievements and arguably the most iconic war film ever made is heading back to the big screen over 20 years after it first stunned audiences around the world.

Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) will be in 600 cinemas nationwide for just two days — June 2 and June 5 — to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, landing of Allied forces in Normandy.

Starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Edward Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel and Adam Goldberg, the film forever transformed the way in which Hollywood depicts war by producing a devastatingly sobering departure from past glorifications of combat in other films.

The movie, which has since been added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, received instant adulation for its realism, especially for an opening 27-minute recreation of the landings on the beaches of Normandy that dropped viewers into what felt like the very Higgins boats thundering toward a hellish French coastline.

So authentic was the sequence, some of which was shot on location at Omaha Beach, that veterans of the actual invasion suggested it was too real, “like being back in battle.

The film would haul in a global box office total of $481 million on its way to being nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Of those nominations, “Saving Private Ryan” would take home 1999 Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, but as pointed out by Jim Amos at Forbes, it was upset in the Best Picture category by Harvey Weinstein’s “Shakespeare in Love.”

The Allied landings on D-Day, codenamed Operation Neptune, kicked off a months-long campaign — called Operation Overlord — to reclaim Normandy from the firm grasp of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.

Over 160,000 Allied troops stormed a 50-mile stretch of defended coastline on D-Day, supported by over 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft.

The culmination of Overlord would see Paris, and all of Northern France, liberated from Nazi control by the end of August 1944.

For ticket information and to find out when and where “Saving Private Ryan” is playing on the aforementioned dates, visit Fathom Events.

Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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