Saving Private Ryan

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 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: 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 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.

Correction: If the only round left is in the chamber, and you pull the operating rod back, the round in the chamber is ejected as well as the empty clip, making the ping noise. No shots necessary.

Steve Kozak

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.

Correction: If you are referencing the scene with the Germans burning after the Molotov cocktail attack, you see an American on the ground shooting a burning German soldier. Jackson makes no effort to cycle the bolt on his rifle, therefore he didn't shoot. The American on the ground made the shot.

Steve Kozak

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.

Saving Private Ryan mistake picture

Revealing mistake: 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. (01:28:43)

Kelsey H.

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Trivia: Some of the extras in the film were real amputees with one arm or leg missing so the effect of seeing someone blown up and lose their limb was as realistic as possible, as opposed to having a leg or arm "tucked away." There was uproar in Ireland because of this, but the extras loved meeting the actors and getting paid handsomely as well.


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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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