Saving Private Ryan

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

Corrected entry: When they exit the beach and attack the big concrete bunker two grenades are thrown at the entrance some distance away but the explosion happens on the other side of the wall and not near the entrance at all.

Correction: They threw them and they missed. Same thing happens in baseball, a wild pitch, football an incomplete pass etc.The grenades they threw just simply didn't land where the throwers wanted them to land.

Steve Kozak

Correction: The grenades are thrown at the entrance to the bunker, to suggest they didn't land there is ludicrous, the explosion behind the wall was done for action and drama purposes only.

Corrected entry: Every weapon used in the movie was an authentic WW2 weapon. Capt. John Miller used a Thompson SMG and a Colt 45 pistol, Pvt. Daniel Jackson had a Springfield 03" sniper rifle, Pvt. James Ryan had an M1 Garand, the private who survives at the end used a BAR M1918A1, and the Germans used mounted MG42 machine guns. The grenades used were also real, Germans having Stielhandgranates and the Americans using Mark 2 Fragmentation grenades.

Correction: Unless the author is trying to imply that every weapon we see actually saw service during the war, I don't understand the point of this "trivia". Saying that a movie attempting to accurately portray history succeeded in being historically accurate is unremarkable.

Corrected entry: What Ryan said to Miller would not have been enough to convince Miller to let him stay behind. Military members can't just choose which orders to obey.

Correction: Doesn't matter if it would have, Miller decided to stay himself and keep him safe. Miller was ordered to get him home, but understands Ryan wanting to stay so he decided to stay too and help defend the bridge and keep Ryan alive at least. Even though it was an order it doesn't mean Miller doesn't or shouldn't take Ryan's opinion into consideration.


According to history buffs Fritz Niland the person which the movie is based on responded the way Ryan responds in the movie. Unlike private Ryan though Fritz had no chance of convincing the army otherwise because you can't just pick and choose the orders that were given. He was told that he had to go home and that was that.

Corrected entry: When the Waffen SS unit attacks the town at the end of the film (Ramelle), the Germans use "allied" tactics such as crowding behind a tank to enter the center of the town at a disadvantage by the tall buildings and rubble that inhibits quick forward thrusts. At this stage of the war, especially Waffen SS units (even if they may be replacement units - which I doubt) they would not be blindly led in such horrific maneuvers.

Correction: This assumes that the unit is competently led. At this stage of the defense of Normandy it is very likely that the unit is being led by a junior officer with little formal tactical experience. This is the Waffen SS...they aren't supermen and were the equivalent of Rangers or Airborne. It is also likely that the common ranks were made up of non German soldiers or standard or replacement infantry which would lead to such tactical errors.

Corrected entry: When the planes fly in to the rescue at the end of the movie, Miller refers to them as being part of the Air Force. The Air Force was not established until after WWII. During WWII it was the Army Air Corps.

Correction: United States Army Air Corps was the name from 1923-1941. From then, until 1947, when they became their own branch of the military and dropped the "Army, " their official name was The United States Army Air Force. He could also simply be shortening it for simplicity's sake rather than saying the entire name in the heat of battle.

Captain Defenestrator

Corrected entry: At the start of the beach landing, the landing craft are either beached or a few feet out - we know this from the view of the machine gun nest and the cameras beside the landing craft. Several soldiers are waist deep in water, but when the men go over the side they fall into water that is 10-20 feet deep, as we see men sink to the bottom and drown and get shot etc. This is a continuous scene so the landing craft would not have moved.

Correction: You will also see that not all the landing craft are beached or "a few feet out" so the men we see drown could be off those crafts. Also in the actual landings there are reports of men jumping over the side before they arrived so they stood more of a chance.

Ssiscool Premium member

Corrected entry: 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. (00:38:05)

Correction: Yes the tank traps are still on the beech head, however if you look closely during the panning shots you will see that the far end of the beach has been cleared of the traps to make room for the landing crafts that are carrying the armor. At the close end of the beach, you can see smaller boats deploying soldiers only. As such there is no need to remove the traps from that area as it would be a waste of manpower and resources.

Ssiscool Premium member

Corrected entry: 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. (00:24:10)

Correction: What you see is people running out of the bunker followed by the flames coming back out the door. It's on fire the entire time.

Corrected entry: In Newville when Caparzo is taking the girl he gives her his dog tags. When he dies, Capt. Miller takes his dog tags from his neck. He never got them back from the little girl.


Correction: Caparzo gives the Little girl rosary beads he had around his neck, not his dog tags.

Corrected entry: 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. (00:34:00)

Correction: The officer lost his right arm. That sleeve of his jacket is hanging empty as the officers follow Gen. Marshall across the room. At the point where the mistake is supposed to happen the camera shoots an angle from behind Gen. Marshall left shoulder upon the one-armed officer. You see a bit of his sleeve, 6-8 inches. There is no indication it is filled or has changed from previous shot. You just do not see all of it.

Corrected entry: During the climatic battle scene near the end, a Marder III tank destroyer is driven into the city and gets destroyed by American soldiers with molotovs. However, a Marder III would never be driven into a city as a vanguard with such high ambush possibility, as it was a vehicle solely dedicated for anti-tank purposes and would be hopeless against infantry.

Yue Hin Yeung

Correction: Tanks aren't just used to fight other tanks. It is an armored vehicle used as cover for the foot soldiers, its use as a tank destroyer is irrelevant. They weren't expecting enemy armor, but they were expecting snipers, so the tank was used to protect the foot soldiers. It later was used to take out the sniper position, so it did serve its purpose well.


A Marder was just an anti tank gun on tracks. It didn't have any machine guns except what they could poke over the top of the armour. Not ideal for supporting infantry but if it's all they've got... A stupid decision by the Germans, but not really a movie mistake.

Corrected entry: When inside the higgins boats, we see some men have netted helmets. However when they started to get blown to bits, they all have regular helmets.

Correction: Actually, if you look closely, some of the soldiers getting shot do have netted helmets.

Corrected entry: When Jackson is firing on the Hetzer, the Hetzer eventually silences Jackson with its main gun. The vertical elevation for the Hetzer was no more than 30°, much too low to hit Jackson in the tower. (02:17:00)

Correction: The vehicle in question is not a Hetzer. It's a Marder, a vehicle capable of high elevation firing.

Corrected entry: When Miller arrives at the bottom of the hill, under the German machine gun, there's a radioman to his left. This soldier gets his face shot off, but in a later beach scene, he appears as a different wounded soldier.

Correction: I can't confirm that. In which scene?

Corrected entry: When Caparzo gets shot you hear a dissonant chord on the piano instantly after the shot before he lands on it to create the rest. The only explanation for the sound would be the bullet deflected into the piano but that would only create two notes at most.


Correction: This is one possibility, but the dissonant chord could also be the result of wood fragmentation from the piano itself striking additional strings.

Corrected entry: The final battle takes place on June 13 (we know this from the date on Captain Miller's tombstone) against the 2nd SS Panzer Division. The 2nd SS was not yet in Normandy on June 13.

Correction: The SS arrived in Normandy on the 7th June.

Corrected entry: Upham is referred to throughout the film as a Corporal. He is actually a Technician 5th Grade, indicated by the 'T' beneath his stripes. The same pay grade, but without the NCO rank. This doesn't stand for "Translater" as some people have argued - "Technician" was a term applied to anyone with a special skill - the US Army now uses "Specialist" instead to avoid confusion.

Correction: Technician Fifth Grade (abbreviated as T/5 or TEC 5) was a United States Army technician rank during World War II. Those who held this rank were addressed as Corporal. The wearers of the rank were often called "Tech Corporal.".

Corrected entry: When the Americans are preparing the final ambush in Ramelle, there is a part with Miller explaining to a soldier and Ryan how the bridge has to be blown, then the soldier mentions that the last man to do it must run away because they are going to use a 30-second delay fuse. But at the very end, Miller tries to detonate the explosives with a electrical switch. (01:57:40 - 02:29:50)

Correction: The fuse is coiled on the electrical switch. The electrical switch creates an electric charge that LIGHTS the fuse without the need of matches or lighters.

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)

More mistakes in Saving Private Ryan

Private Jackson: What I mean by that, sir, is if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile from Adolf Hitler... With a clean line of sight... Pack your bags, fellas. War's over. Amen.

More quotes from Saving Private Ryan

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: When they are preparing to attack the machine gun emplacement guarding the radar, Captain Miller asks 'Who's going left?' There's a long silence and finally Jackson responds that he'll do it - he'll go left. What is the significance of going left? I'm assuming that it is more dangerous, but if this is the case, why? Also, why does Captain Miller ask for volunteers for someone to go left? (As he picks himself and Mellish to go middle and right, respectively).


Chosen answer: There's no tree cover to the left. Whoever goes that way will likely be spotted and targeted before the others and get gunned down, but it's their best chance that one of them will make it into grenade range of the nest before they're all killed. It's not a job anyone sane would volunteer for, and the Captain is trying to get someone to volunteer so he doesn't have to potentially order TWO men to their deaths on a mission that all of them, including him, think isn't worthwhile.

Captain Defenestrator

Answer: Most people are not ambidextrous so running left means you'll have shoot left or use the right shoulder to shoot as you're running left which is much harder to do, try this out.

Answer: As I seem to remember, the squad a viewing the gun position from the side and the gun is viewed pointing from their right to left, correct. So if someone is going to the left and is by the MG crew they, as said MG crew turn the gun to bring them under fire, would more than likely be the first target in line.

More questions & answers from Saving Private Ryan

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