Saving Private Ryan

Corrected entry: When Upham takes several German prisoners, he shoots Steamboat Willie. We see Upham's face and gun as he shoots, we hear Steamboat Willie's body fall, then the camera turns back to the German soldiers - and Steamboat Willie's body is gone. (02:34:00)

Uri Raz

Correction: The scenes after Upham shoots Steamboat Willie never shows Willie's body on the ground in the first place, so it could not have disappeared. Also, the blow of the rifle bullet hitting Willie would have knocked him back and out of the scene, and rolling/falling into one of the many shell craters dominating the scene.


Corrected entry: During the Omaha Beach scene, the radio man lying next to Tom Hanks suffers a massive wound to his face, killing him. But there is no blood or gore at all, just a hole in his face. It is impossible to sustain this type of injury and have no blood present.

Correction: The wound is immediately cauterized from the heat. Therefore, no bleeding. You notice the hole in the face smoking, so he was probably killed by a grenade or shell from a mortar.


Corrected entry: In the German version the Americans are translated, so they speak German... but the Germans also speak German, yet they don't understand each other.


Correction: This is not a mistake, but an extremely common technique used to make viewing the film easier for speakers of a particular language and avoid the need for extensive subtitles. German viewers are expected to take it as a given that the American characters are actually speaking English to one another and that Upham is the only character that can actually speak and understand fluent German.


Makes me wonder how they explain "fubar" though.


I'm always curious how slang terms that are that specific are translated into other languages. Take it to the forums and see if anyone who speaks German can watch that version. I'd be curious to see the answer myself.


Corrected entry: When Captain Miller tells Jackson he wants him to be up in the bell tower you can see a tree in the background, complete with green leaves. With all those explosions around which destroyed all the buildings, any tree there would have got burnt, or at least all their leaves would have been blown off by the explosions. (01:54:00)

Correction: An explosion would sooner fell the tree than blow off the leaves, that's why a storm would fell a tree, because the leaves won't come off until autumn. That tree just got lucky.


Corrected entry: When Caparzo is shot by the sniper in the church the shot hits him in the front of his chest/lung, indicating the church is in front of them, but when Jackson sees the church the sniper is stationed in, it's behind them.


Correction: No, the shot hits him in his back and goes through his body, you see it exiting out his chest. He had his back to the church, facing the rest of the squad, when he is hit. There is no error in this scene.


Corrected entry: In the scene where 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.

Correction: The explosion is caused by a bazooka in Ryan's group, not Miller's Thompson.

Corrected entry: After the taking of the beaches, and Miller returns for revised orders, the fleet in the background appears/disappears.

Correction: Watched the scene three times. There is no evidence of ships in the bay behind the actors.

Corrected entry: When Miller, and Ryan are in the ditch, Ryan states he's out of ammo, but in the next scene, he fires off another round.

Correction: Ryan is not including the rounds already in the gun. Basically telling Miller, "This is it!"

Damian Torres

Corrected entry: Contrary to what happens in the movie, commanders wouldn't have sent an army unit into enemy territory to save a single soldier. Some cities were still occupied, and heavily guarded by German military forces at the time in which the movie takes place, and commanders would have thought it would be too risky to send an army unit into enemy territory to save a single soldier. Instead, they would have had put the word out among troops to try to find private Ryan as they found each other after the air-drop out errors, and advanced inland.

Correction: This is not meant to be a true story based on true events. Only it's set around the events of D-Day and after. This is a fictional idea made into a story for heroics and therefore isn't a factual error. Artistic licences are taken into situations like this all the time in movies. If this was meant to be based on a true story, then this would be a factual error, but it's fantasy.

Quantom X Premium member

Not only would commanders not have sent into a unit into enemy territory to save one soldier, I don't believe it would make sense to send such a mission given the manpower, and resources that would be needed for such a mission.

It is a fantasy based around this premise, in a world where this would happen. Therefore, given that this movie revolves around this, it is not a mistake.

Quantom X Premium member

This can be a factual error whether the movie is based on a true story or not. There are tons of fantasy films with factual errors.

The main thing is that it's a story and a movie, not a documentary. You are supposed to go with the drama. It is not a mistake if they do it intentionally (may be categorized into a "deliberate mistake" though). It is a fine line, but in this movie it's pretty obvious.


Corrected entry: When they first enter the field hospital, look at the side of the glider. By the door, there is no dead body. When they come back, there is a body resting against the glider. Did a wounded man get up to die next to the glider? (01:11:10)

Correction: It's a different door. Note the pilot section, and the tree coverage.

Ssiscool Premium member

Corrected entry: When Mellish's gun gets jammed he doesn't fix his gun or do anything to it. When the Germans kill the Airborne soldier through the wall, they try to enter the room and Mellish shoots another shot, killing the first German.

Correction: When Henderson takes up his position with his Thompson you can hear an M1 Garand cycle. He cleared his jam off camera.

Steve Kozak

Corrected entry: In the Ryan farmhouse scene, the camera pans across the room. You see a telephone hanging on the wall. That type of phone did not appear until at least the 1950s.

Correction: That is a Western Electric model #354 telephone, released in 1937, and remained popular for many years. That telephone is completely appropriate considering the era.

Corrected entry: At the beginning of the film, during the beach invasion and right after Miller comes out of his first little episode, watch behind the soldier who yells, "What the hell do we do now, sir?" When the camera is pointing at Miller, the same patch of water explodes three times.

Correction: The Germans dropped a lot of shells on Omaha beach that day. Everything was probably hit more than once.

Corrected entry: On D-Day itself only TWO German fighters actually attacked the beaches of Normandy (in total contradiction to Hitler's orders, who still thought of it as being a feint attack). The pilots were the aces Josef "Pips" Priller and Heinz Wodarczyk.

Correction: In what way is this trivia relating to the film? If the film shows more fighters, then it's a mistake, not trivia, if the film only shows one, then the other is presumably off camera, if the film shows the accurate two, then you're just pointing what's seen on screen (which isn't good trivia) and the background information isn't particularly film-relevant. Trivia is supposed to be about the film - while historical facts are interesting, thousands could be added about any historically set film. As such, they cannot be accepted as valid trivia.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: When the door of the landing craft opens in the beginning of the film, a soldier is immediately shot in the head. As he goes down his eyes close, open, close. To notice it you have to look frame per frame. When he has his eyes open you see him check where he has to fall.

Correction: If you have to look frame-by-frame to see it then it's not a valid mistake.

Oliver Hunter Premium member

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, a soldier bends down and takes a piece of paper from Captain Miller. The soldier's helmet has a net on it, but then a far shot shows him wearing a plain helmet.

Correction: There is still net on the helmet, only since it's a far shot you have to look closely to see it. It is there though.

Corrected entry: In the scene that depicts General Marshall, he is wearing four stars on his uniform. At that point in the war, he was a five star general. He outranked both Eisenhower and MacArthur. Eisenhower was still a four star until just before the Ardennes offensive that winter.

Correction: Marshall's rank is correct. The 5 star rank of Gerneral of the Army, and the Naval equivalent Fleet Admiral was created by act of Congress on 14 Dec 1944, with the first promotions effective the next day. This was six months after the D-Day invasion.

Corrected entry: In the scene towards the end where Corporal Upham is translating the French song 'Tu es partout', he translates correctly but his translation does match the song. He says everything prematurely, before it's actually said in the song.

Correction: Upham appears to know the song quite well so it's not surprising that he translates the lines to come instead of the lines that came. That's what I do when I translate Swedish songs into English to a listener.

Corrected entry: As the Rangers move out with the clutzy interpreter Upham, the veterans chastise him for saluting Capt. Miller, lest they draw the attention of German snipers to their leader. At that moment and throughout the film, "Capt. Miller" is wearing a helmet with his twin captain's bars painted in plain sight on the front, where no self-respecting sniper could possibly miss them. (00:44:00)

Correction: Whatever Capt. Miller did or did not do with his uniform, it was still unwise to salute him. A salute is much easier to spot than an inch-high insignia.

Bob Blumenfeld Premium member

Corrected entry: Right after the medic dies, when the unit has killed the Germans except for the one they eventually let leave, one of the dead bodies is breathing.

Correction: While it is safe to say that they are seriously wounded, It can take a few minutes for them to die completely. Therefore it's a reasonable assumption that there would be shallow breaths.

Ssiscool Premium member

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)

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Trivia: The movie was shot in chronological order, which is unusual for a film. Spielberg chose to shoot it that way so that the actors would feel like they were going through the experience in the same order as the characters they play, and they lose friends on the way. This helped create the resentment towards Ryan, who doesn't share the journey with them.

More trivia for Saving Private Ryan

Question: After Capt Miller gets briefed on his new mission to rescue Pvt Ryan and enlists Upham for the mission, there is a long shot of the beach. What are those Zeppelin-like things that are floating around, tied to the ground? What are they good for? (00:39:50)

Answer: These were barrage balloons, commonly used during the war. They are used to stop low level bombing and low level fly bys by enemy fighter planes. The cables attached to the balloons are designed to cut through the wings of the aircraft and to bring them down, so any pilot would have to fly above them, and the balloons would also restrict the view from above.

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