Continuity mistake: 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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 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.
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.
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.
Continuity mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: When the two infantries are waiting for the enemy, Upham, Reiben and Horvath are sitting on some steps outside a building listening to music. In the wide shot Reiben is looking at his fingers but in the following shot his hands are crossed and is holding his arms.
Continuity mistake: When Miller's men reach the town where the first Ryan is (the wrong one), Miller tells Ryan the bad news about his brothers. When Ryan starts to cry and leans over to his captain the captain's hand is on Ryan's head, but in the following shot it is on the top of his back.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: 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 mistake: In the scene where Tom Hanks releases the German POW, he ties a black blindfold around the prisoner's eyes. Notice how narrow the blindfold looks. In the next shot Upham is guiding the prisoner and instructing him, and the blindfold all of a sudden becomes very broad.
Continuity mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: When discovering that 3 of the 4 brothers were killed, it's stated that they were all in the same company until they were split after the Juneau was sunk. We also see a few shots later when the Army car is pulling up to the mother's house that there is a picture of all 4 of them together in uniform. When Miller and Ryan are talking about Ryan's memory of his brother towards the end of the movie, he states that the last time the 4 of them were together was the night of the barn accident before Dan went to basic.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: When Miller's men are about to take the bunker under the radar tower, they are kneeling on the ground behind some bushes discussing their flanking moves and Jackson is about two feet away from Reiben to his left, but when it cuts Jackson is now behind Reiben.
Continuity mistake: In the scene near the end, when two soldiers are in a row boat packing a bag with explosives, in the overhead shot the guy at the back of the boat puts the oar into the water to his right, but in the following shot from behind the oar is on the other side of the boat.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: When Miller has just explained to Ryan that his comrades came to take him back, Miller talks to Horvath alone. While Horvath is talking over his shoulder, you clearly see him moving his hands in the next shot, from an angle just past Miller, his hands are held tight to his gun.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: 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 mistake: 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.
Continuity mistake: Near the start, when Miller's men are walking through a field, and Jackson is talking about him and his rifle, in the background Caparzo has a cigarette in his mouth, but in the following shot it is not in his mouth or hands, then it's back in his mouth again.
Continuity mistake: At the start we see a close up of Ryan's face and in the background is a couple walking away. The bloke has a blue baseball cap on and dark shirt while the woman has got a light blue top and what appears to be a cream coloured skirt on. The camera then shows Ryan back as he is walking and now this couple are in front of Ryan about to walk past him.
Continuity mistake: When Miller is shocked, we see him in a close up with his hair slicked into a point on his forehead. Camera shows a few people taking shelter under a tank trap and back to Miller. In this shot, his hair is arranged completely differently. He didn't touch it himself, as he is supporting himself on a tank trap with one hand and holding his helmet in his second hand.
Continuity mistake: At the end of the film with the older James Ryan visiting Capt. Miller's grave, Ryan squares himself off with the tombstone to salute. However, in the next shot Ryan is off to the left of his tombstone, so that the camera can take the head-on angle of Miller's tombstone.
Continuity mistake: At the end when Ryan is looking at captain Miller, in the long shot the ground is wet and there is an upturned helmet near Miller, but in the close up shot over Ryan's shoulder the ground is dry and the helmet is the right way round and white bricks have appeared next to it.
Continuity mistake: When we see Ryan walking at the very start, he walks past a group of 3 people walking in the other direction. Camera cuts to show the front of Ryan and behind him and the people have miraculously disappeared. There is no way the could have walked out of sight, and there is no way they couldn't have arrived in sight either.
Continuity mistake: When Mike crosses the bridge at the end he gets shot and is helped by a soldier. From the German view the bridge is clear, then it cuts to the American side and Mike and the soldier are exiting the bridge to their left towards Miller. A motorbike and sidecar have now appeared behind them and a crouching American soldier is next to the motorbike halfway across the bridge.
Continuity mistake: While they are preparing to defend the bridge towards the end, Mellish tells Upham to be "Johnny on the spot with the ammo." and proceeds to put 2 30 cal. belts around Upham's neck. In the first shot the bullets are pointed down, when the shot changes the bullets are pointed up.
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