Continuity mistake: The scene where they are looking for Ryan's dog tag. Doc comments they are laughing in front of all the guys walking by. One of the soldiers looks like Sal Mineo. Frustrated, Tom Hanks walks into the line of soldiers and civilians and starts asking if anybody has seen or knows James Ryan. The same Sal Mineo lookalike walks by him again. (01:15:10)
Continuity mistake: When they go to find Private Ryan there are eight of them, when they go to a French town and Caparzo 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. (01:23:11)
Continuity mistake: 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. (00:40:30)
Continuity mistake: 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. (01:17:45)
Continuity mistake: In the Belltower in Ramelle where Jackson and Parker are shooting away, there is one scene where you see Parker running out of .30 caliber ammunition. One second the MG uses a belt with ammunition, in the close up, you see the more modern disintegrating link.
Continuity mistake: 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. (00:29:15)
Continuity mistake: 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. (02:08:15)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Mellish is in the fight to the death with the German. Mellish pulls out his bayonet with an underhand grip. In the next shot he has it with an overhand grip.
Continuity mistake: 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. (00:08:35 - 00:09:50)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Miller tries to persuade Ryan to go back home, watch their shadows on the bridge, they change directions throughout the scene because they were shot at different times of the day. (01:46:00)
Continuity mistake: In the scene where the American soldiers are about to ambush the Tiger tank, look at the empty belt on the right side of CPL Henderson's machine gun. Its length changes from shot to shot before he opens fire.
Continuity mistake: 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. (00:01:30)
Continuity mistake: 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. (01:17:10)
Continuity mistake: 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. (00:19:35)
Continuity mistake: At the start of the movie on Omaha Beach, just before Tom Hanks and the others clear the fence with the Bangalore torpedoes, a man is shot and it ricochets off his helmet, but in the previous scene he can be seen looking at Tom Hanks, in the following shot he is looking away towards the bunkers. (00:16:50)
Continuity mistake: When the group of soldiers led by Captain Miller are in the village, and the Hill knocks the wall down accidentally, if you notice when Captain Hamill and his two others above shoot them dead, that a lot of the blood gets sprayed onto part of the back wall, but when we see the wall from inside the house, there is hardly any blood at all. (00:56:50)
Continuity mistake: At the end of the Radar Station Battle, Miller is yelling for Upham to bring their gear. As told he does. Watch carefully. Just as he picks up the gear, he has a green strap on his chest. when you see a shot of him running, the strap is gone. (01:25:10)