Private Caparzo: Captain, the decent thing to do would be take her over to the next town.
Captain John Miller: We're not here to do the decent thing, we're here to follow f*cking orders!
Director Steven Spielberg reduced the color saturation of the film by approximately 60% to more closely match his artistic vision. This led to a flood of complaints by customers when the movie was broadcast on TV and cable, so the cable and TV companies had to turn the colour gain back up again. See more...
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Continuity: In the scene in the Pentagon between several officers and General Marshall, when the camera pans over Marshall's left shoulder towards the officers, you can see that the colonel, who was missing his left arm in earlier scenes, has it again; it's missing again in the next shot. It may be just that his sleeve's rolled down in the middle shot, but that's still an error.
Factual error: The Tiger tanks portrayed in the movie are actually Soviet T-34s. You could tell by looking at their wheels. Real Tigers had interleaved wheels. These Tigers had the T-34 suspension. Obviously, Tigers were so rare that another tank had to be substituted. But an excellent job was done to make the T-34s look like Tigers.
Continuity: When they go to find Private Ryan there are eight of them, when they go to a French town and a solider picks up the little girl and he gets killed there are seven, right? Wrong. A few scenes later, the camera shows all eight of them marching on to the next town, only in a far away camera shot so it's hard to see.
Continuity: When Miller is collecting Upham from the group of translators and map readers, Upham is so confused and clumsy that he knocks everything off the table onto the floor (e.g. typewriter and helmets). Told by Miller to leave everything except his helmet, Upham picks up a German one by mistake. When sent back to the table to get his own, everything has miraculously jumped off the floor back onto the table.
Revealing: In the scene where the medic gets shot, watch the shot where Upham brings the bags up to the injured medic. The next shot there is some fog which then reveals the injured medic. In this shot, watch carefully as the cast rips away the medic's shirt. If you look near the neck, you can see the fake stomach vest he is wearing for a split second - when the actor realizes he ripped too far up, he quickly covers it back up.
Revealing: Just before the two American soldiers slap their grease coated "sticky bombs" on the passing German Tiger tank, you can clearly see two identically shaped grease stains on the first two wheels. Presumably nobody remembered to wipe off the wheels of the tank after a rehearsal or previous take of the scene.
Continuity: When Jackson has been given the dog tags to search through he looks for a place to sit. In this scene you see a black box with two yellow boxes at either side in the background. In the next scene the yellow box on the left has magically jumped up onto the black box in order for Jackson to kick it off and sit on it.
Continuity: At the start of the film in the telegraph scene, a Captain goes into the Colonel's office to tell him about the Ryan brothers. He is holding a folder which he puts on the Colonel's desk, but we don't see him pick it back up in all the following shots, yet it suddenly appears back in his hands.
Factual error: In the end scene, after the final battle, Reiben is seen calling for a medic to assist Miller. When he gets up to go and find a medic, he picks up his BAR by the barrel. Having just fought in a fairly long action with a high rate of fire, his BAR barrel would be far too hot to touch, let alone pick the rifle up by. It would take 15 or 20 mins for it to cool down enough to handle. He should have picked it up by the foregrip (The wooden bit under the barrel).
Factual error: In the scene where the American troops are storming the German radar station, you can see a few dead cows with oversized bellies provoked by putrefaction, which means that they were killed at least 12 hours ago. When one of the cows receives a bullet, you can see highly-oxigenated fully arterial red blood spurting from the wound, something impossible to happens in a dead body. Blood at this time of death should be nearly black or brown.
Revealing: In the scene where the American goes to sit down and hits a block of wood that hits a wall the wall falls down and there are German soldiers. In the next shot they are screaming, notice the man standing in front of the table the camera makes a close of his face he is the one without a helmet. In the next shot all of them get shot right? Well look closely at that man in front of the table he gets shot and goes to sit down on the table and misses the table. He quickly sits back on the table. Look closely and you'll see it.
Continuity: In the preparation for the big battle in the village, the Americans count up on equipment left useable for the impending fight. A soldier lists what's left including two .30 caliber machine guns. In the preparation for the ambush of the Germans you see two .30 calibers being prepped for action by the American officers up the church tower and in the rubble, and then a third is carried past by an extra.
Continuity: When Upham is hiding behind a cow while his squad rushes the communication tower/bunker, he uses a sniper scope to see his squad mates. Upham holds the scope differently every time. The two knobs would first be at north/west, and the next shot would be south/east. This will change several times until Captain Miller tells him to get the gear.
Plot hole: When Private Ryan and Captain Miller are in the situation where they no longer have ammo to fight back, Private Ryan comes up with the idea of using the "sixty rounds". They proceed to go through the process of pounding the tail end of the sixty rounds to create grenades to fight back the Germans. However on the last one that Captain Miller throws, it's clear that he has two grenades on his belt that he has not used. You would think he would have used the real grenades first before resulting to makeshift ones.
Visible crew/equipment: Scene when Hanks, Damon and company are retreating to the Alamo (across the bridge) the camera pans an overview shot of their retreating and you can see two crew members in the shot - one holding a camera and another supporting member, both wearing white tee shirts on the right part of the screen.
Continuity: In the opening scene, when old James Ryan's family is behind him in the wider shot, one of the three blonde girls at the back has her hair over her ear and her right hand down by her side. In the following closeup of her, her hair is now behind her ear and her hand is up by her bag strap.
Continuity: During the Omaha beach scene, when Miller Horvath and a few other soldiers are at the front of one of the bunkers trying to get past the firing squad, he puts down his knife with the mirror attached and grabs his gun, holding it underneath, but in the following shot he is holding it at the top.
Continuity: When the group of soldiers led by Captain Miller are in the village, and the soldier knocks the wall down accidentally, if you notice when the soldiers above shoot them dead, that a lot of the blood gets sprayed onto part of the back wall, yet when we see the wall from inside the house, there is hardly any blood at all.
Factual error: Throughout the movie Pvt. Jackson uses a Springfield '03 rifle; a rifle that can only hold 5 rounds of ammo at a time. The gun's ammo has to be inserted one at a time. In the final battle scene where he is firing on the Germans from atop the church tower, you see that he fires more than 5 rounds continuously without reloading, which would have taken quite a while.
Continuity: When Miller first hits the sand at Omaha a mortar round blows up behind him. He kneels in the sand, his face covered with bloody water. Seconds later a young soldier shouts at him and suddenly Miller is chest deep in the water with a clean face. Also his helmet liner strap changes position across the visor of his helmet.
Factual error: The American troops at Ramelle bridge are supposed to be fighting the 2nd SS Panzer Division. Two things wrong: the 2nd SS never had Tiger tanks in Normandy, having turned over their Tiger battalion to another unit in Russia prior to being transferred to France. Second, in the scenes with the Tigers, a 1st SS Panzerkorps insignia (Crossed Keys) is seen on the front right hull of the Tigers; 2nd SS Panzer Division was never a part of 1st SS Panzerkorps.
Revealing: At the end of the movie, in the Omaha Cemetery scene where the old Ryan is reading Captain Miller's marker, the shoreline should be to his left, not his right. This is because all the stones face the same direction and, when reading them, the water would be on the reader's left. Only Miller's stone is facing the opposite direction- note that all the others look blank because we're looking at their backs.
Continuity: When Miller's men and the other captain's men find the French family hiding in a partly destroyed house, Caparzo goes up to get the kid and gives her his necklace, but in the following shot he's giving it to her again. In the shot after it's gone from the kids hand, then reappears again when he is walking towards Miller.
Factual error: In the scene where Jackson takes out the German sniper, we see the German snipers point of view through his scope and he eventually spots Jackson who fires at him. First you see the flash, then the bang, and then the German sniper gets hit through his scope. This is wrong because since bullets from a powerful sniper rifle travel much faster than sound, he couldn't have heard the shot before he got hit.
Continuity: Close to the end of the movie after Captain Miller is shot in the chest and leaning against a motorcycle, he begins to fire at the German tank coming across the bridge with his .45 cal pistol. After his second shot at the tank the camera turns to face Miller and for a second or 2 you can see that the slide on the top of his pistol stays back revealing the end of the barrel as if the gun were out of ammo, then seconds later without reloading Miller fires at the tank.
Continuity: In the scene where the two infantries are waiting by the bridge for the enemy, when Reiben, Upham and Horvath are on some steps, Fish walks up and sits down in front of Reiben. Fish is taking a puff of his cigarette holding it in his right hand, but in the following shot the cigarette is now in his left hand.
Continuity: When Mellish is in the house with the other soldier, and the other soldier shoots at the wall, just after this shot, the camera pans back to the two soldiers, if you look at the fireplace and chair, it looks like they are covered with dust and dirt, but in the overhead shot of the two soldiers, the fireplace and chair look brand new.
Continuity: In the scene when they defend the bridge in Ramelle there is a soldier who wants to attach a stick-bomb at a German tank. When he walks out to the tank you see that he is wearing a beige uniform. In the next shot you see that the uniform has changed into a dark green, and you also see that it is a puppet that explodes.
Continuity: In the scene where all the 101st Airborne troops walk past as Rieben, Jackson, Melish and Miller are joking about the various dog tags, you can see an isolated shot of a young Italian-looking trooper walk past and stare dead at the group. A few minutes later as Miller is yelling at the procession, he shows up again in the background as Miller encounters the soldier whose hearing is impaired because of the grenade. You have to look quickly though, and the image is somewhat blurred.
Factual error: In the scene where the soldiers are going through the dog tags to try and find Ryan, they all have the smaller chains attached to the tags. This is wrong in two ways: (1) those chains were not brought into use during WWII, as you can see around Miller's neck (they're a circular piece of medal attached with string); (2) when ripping the dog tags off a dead body, the smaller link that you see attached is broken away from the necklace around the dead body. It would be rare, if ever, that a soldier would take the time to reconnect the smaller chain. More likely, he would simply take the tag.
Continuity: During the beach landing sequence we see what is left of Captain Miller's company fire up the German bunker with a flamethrower. A few seconds later Miller and troops are running along the top of a trench shooting into it. In the background you can see the same bunker not on fire and then bursting into flames as the SFX fire is added.
Continuity: In the first town the group comes to (the one where Caparzo is killed) they meet up with the Airborne troops and the Airborne Sergeant. They then move through the town to find the Airborne Captain. Right after they start this move the Airborne Sgt. stops and drops to a knee before moving on. When he gets up and moves, the coiled up rope (that all the Airborne carry) falls out of the left side of his back-pack. No-one notices it and they all keep moving. A couple of seconds later they show him with Miller, and the rope is back in his back-pack like it magically reappeared.
Continuity: In the final battle in the French Village, the Americans are attacked by two Tiger tanks, two Panzer tanks, etc. The Americans use a sticky bomb to turn the first Tiger into a roadblock. If you look at the roadwheels of the tank when the troops are attaching the sticky bombs, you can see that one of them has a large chunk of rubber missing. Later on, when Capt. Miller is staring down the second Tiger as it crosses the bridge, you can see that it too has a large chunk of rubber missing from the same roadwheel - same tank.
Continuity: After Caparzo has died from the sniper bullet, when Miller's men are grouped around Caparzo's body, Horvath is holding his gun in his right hand pointing it to the ground with his left arm by his side, but in the following shot, when Miller walks up, he is holding his weapon at waist height.
Continuity: When Tom Hank's men are in the village close to the start of the film, the soldier knocks down the wall accidentally, and the German soldier at the front picks up his weapon and points it (this can be seen from outside the house looking in). Then when it cuts back to all the German soldiers, he's picking and pointing the weapon again.
Continuity: During the beach scene, Miller is kneeling at the rear of a Belgian fence talking about the beach being pre-sighted. There is a soldier in front of the fence who gets shot three or four times. If you look the first scene, he gets shot in the upper leg area, then when Miller moves out from behind the obstacle, the bullet wound has magically disappeared.
Factual error: Well after the beach has been secured and communication posts are set up where Upham is typing and Miller comes to reassign him, it then shows a panning view of the beach of soldiers still unloading. However, the big X-shaped tank traps are still littered all over the beach. During the assault there were combat engineers telling soldiers to get away from the traps so they can destroy them. How come even now after they've had the beach secured this long they haven't removed the tank traps? The fact that many of the engineers were killed in some of the initial waves on the beach is irrelevant as there were many coming ashore after the beachhead was established.
Continuity: During the scene where Horvath and the BAR are facing down, things are getting out of control with Horvath pulling a .45 on the BAR. In the background, from among the rest of the Ranger group, alternating scenes of Jackson, the sniper, show him with his pistol either raised or holstered.
Continuity: During the Omaha Beach scene where Captain Miller is at the front of the concrete bunker and calls upon Jackson to get into one of the impact craters, Miller moves behind Jackson. When Miller makes the move for the diversion he puts his hand on Jackson's right shoulder but in the following shot Miller is at least 2 to 3 feet away from Jackson.
Factual error: In Neuville just after Miller's group joined the other scattered soldiers, they try to get to the other side of the city. One of them tears down a wall with Germans hiding in the building. After screaming at each other, the Germans all get shot by others from above. Some moments after this shootout, you hear this very distinctive M1 Garand "pling" sound. This sound only is to be heard after the last shot has been fired and the clip is ejected automatically. Bang - pling. But in this scene there is no shot. If you unload manually, the pling will not sound.
Continuity: Ryan and Miller have a moving dialogue. In the scene Ryan talks about the time his brother was trying to have sex with a girl in the barn. While the pained Miller sits in a chair, we notice his hand which often shakes rests underneath the other. Then in a split second the left hand is on top of the other, then below.
Factual error: When the group is trying to take the German radio tower and the medic gets killed, the American hiding behind the cow is watching through a small rifle scope. The adjustment knobs should be on the top and side of the scope when held level and upright. The American is holding them crooked which means the crosshairs should be crooked, but when it shows the view through the scope, the crosshairs are perfectly vertical and horizontal.
Plot hole: When the squad is walking in the field with Mellish singing, they see a halftrack and take cover. Once the halftrack gets shot at by the bazooka, Miller moves to the side of the halftrack shooting the fleeing soldiers. After that, he reloads his Thompson. Then, at the beginning of the last battle, Miller reloads his Thompson for the second time. There is no explanation why he would throw away a what is considered a perfectly good cartridge.
Factual error: In the scene were the ATP is ambushed by the two groups of Americans we see Cpt. Miller take their right flank and kill three Germans trying to run for it. But watch as he shoots. The second he stops shooting an explosion goes off in the background 20 yards away. This can't happen with the gun he's firing (Thompson) because it doesn't shoot explosive rounds. In addition to the shooting, a German messed up by getting shot way after Cpt. Miller stopped shooting.