Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 film set during the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.
It won 5 Academy awards and a Golden Globe Award for best motion picture. It has been praised for the realistic way in which it filmed the battle scenes.
The film magazine Empire described the sequence showing the landing of U.S. forces at Omaha Beach as the ‘best battle scene of all time.’
The scene was named Number One on TV Guide’s ’50 Greatest Movie Moments.’
Omaha Beach was the name given to one of two positions where U.S forces landed in Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The other was Utah Beach.
The action in the scene is indeed very close to actual historical events. As shown in the film, many soldiers suffered from sea sickness. Many were shot even before they could reach the shore.
Once ashore it was difficult to join up with other units on account of the heavy enemy fire. German machine guns in fortified positions shot at them, and they were continually shelled by artillery.
Spielberg meant to honor those who fought, and so he did not want the battle to look romantic as many World War II war films before had done. He wanted to show the real suffering and intense emotion of the soldiers.
The Landing scene was enormously difficult to do. The cast had to be militarily trained to do as the actual soldiers would have done. Attention was paid to every little detail of costume and scenery and military equipment.
Just for a bit of fun – our chums over at moviemistakes.com have listed 103 mistakes from Saving Private Ryan – we think that’s a bit obsessive, so we are only going to share 10 of them! Enjoy!!
Helmet moving around
After the Battle at the Beach is won and Captain Miller has his new orders, he goes to the group of translators and map readers to collect Upham.
He tells him to leave everything but his helmet, and in his stress and confusion, Upham knocks his typewriter, helmet, and other stuff from the table on the floor.
When Upham then picks up the German helmet by mistake and goes back to get his own helmet, all the stuff he knocked off the table has jumped back onto the table!
In the climactic battle in the French Village of Ramelles, the Americans face an overwhelming amount of German Armor. Two tiger tanks, two Panther tanks and more.
Without any adequate anti-tank weapons they are forced to use sticky bombs to immobilize the first Tiger and turn it into a roadblock.
When the soldiers attach the sticky bombs to the roadwheels of the Tiger, watch closely, and you can see a chunk of rubber missing.
Fast forward a bit when Captain Miller tries to take down the second Tiger which is then crossing the bridge. That tank too has a chunk of rubber missing, from the exact same roadwheel.
Bullet effect pack
At the beginning of the movie, Captain Miller wades through the sea with another man who has a rather weird looking object in his uniform pocket.
This is unmistakably a charge because a second later the man is shot dead smack bang in the middle of that pocket.
Now at the end of the movie, Captain Miller has just died, Private Ryan is standing there staring down in disbelief at the corps and the upside down helmet next to his leg.
The next shot, looking over Ryan’s shoulder, the helmet has flipped!
After Captain Miller lands on Omaha Beach, a mortar round lands behind him. He kneels in the sand with a face that is covered in bloody water.
This is immediately followed by a young soldier shouting at him, and Captain Miller is suddenly in chest deep water with a clean face!
When the bridge at Ramelle needs to be defended, there is a soldier that tries to attach a sticky-bomb to a Tiger Tank.
He walks out to the tank in his beige uniform but in the next shot his uniform has changed color and is now dark green.
When he gets hit, you can see the puppet in the dark green uniform exploding.
Back to the beach, Captain Miller kneels behind a Czech Hedgehog and talks into his radio. A soldier in front of the obstacle gets hit three or four times.
In the first scene he gets it in the upper leg area, but when Miller leaves the cover of the hedgehog, that bullet wound has disappeared!
Before Miller and his patrol are going to take on the radar tower and bunker they discuss their attack strategy. Hiding behind some bushes, you can see Jackson being two feet on the left of Reiben.
When the scene cuts to Jackson, he has moved and is now behind Reiben.
Rifle hand changes
When Captain Miller and his soldiers have reached the relative safety of the bunker on Omaha Beach, he orders Jackson to move to a crater.
Jackson kisses his cross, which he brings to his mouth with his right hand. However, in the next shot, his rifle is in that hand.
When the medic gets shot, look for the part where Upham brings the bags to the injured medic. There is some fog which then reveals the wounded medic.
Watch carefully at the neck in the shot when the soldier rips the medic’s shirt away. For a split second, the fake stomach vest he wears is visible, until the actor realises his mistake and quickly covers it back up.