Sizemore could be intense, charismatic and manic in roles as soldiers, thugs, cops, killers and, in a television movie, baseball player Pete Rose. As Sgt. Mike Horvath in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), he was the devoted second in command to Captain Miller (played by Tom Hanks) in a small group of Army Rangers whose mission after the D-Day invasion was to locate a soldier whose three brothers had already died in battle.
Near the end of the movie, Horvath eloquently lays out the choices facing Miller: Let Private Ryan stay and fight, which he prefers, or send him home, as the unit had been ordered to do.
“Part of me thinks the kid’s right – what’s he done to deserve this?” Sizemore, as Horvath, says. “He wants to stay here? Fine, let’s leave him and go home. But then another part of me thinks, what if by some miracle we stay, and actually make it out of here? Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this.” “That’s what I was thinking, sir,” he concludes. “Like you said, Captain, we do that, we all earn the right to go home.”
Spielberg was not the only A-list director Sizemore worked with. In Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers” (1994), he was an obsessed detective pursuing a young couple on a murder spree. In Michael Mann’s “Heat” (1995), he was a member of a crew of thieves led by Robert De Niro. And in Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down” (2002), based on a botched US military raid in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia, to capture lieutenants of a brutal warlord, he was the commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment. When Sizemore starred on the television series “Robbery Homicide Division,” a police procedural set in Los Angeles and aired in the 2002-03 season, Robert Philpot of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said he was the main reason to watch.