Saving Private Ryan

Corrected entry: The beach in the movie is just too small in comparison to the historical Omaha Beach. When visiting it today, Omaha Beach does look much smaller because houses and a road were built, halving the original beach. But in 1944, the beach was miles in length. Because the beach is so much smaller in the movie, you can see the German machine-gunners and the US soldiers they are shooting at in the same frame. And because they are shooting from such a small distance, they can fire in long, wild bursts. So it is understandable why the beach was so small in the movie: because of artistic license. Most of the US soldiers that were killed on Omaha Beach never even saw their enemy because of the distance.


Correction: This entry corrects itself: artistic license. This is decent trivia, but it's not a movie mistake.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: The whole "Omaha Beach Attack" takes about 25 minutes in real-time in the film. The director does not use any visual or audio cues to indicate that more time (minutes, hours) passes between different shots. There should have been fades to black or whatever and sound fading in and out to indicate the passing of time. Historically, the assault on Omaha Beach lasted the entire morning, into the afternoon. The rushed battle in this movie, while engrossing and spectacular, does not do proper justice to the ordeal that the men on Omaha Beach lived through. While flawed in many other respects, the movie "The Longest Day" does indicate that it took them a long, long time to finally get off the beach.


Correction: While I must applaud your devotion to the soldiers there, this can't be considered a mistake. The director chose to compress time in order to make the movie an acceptable length. Clearly it still did justice to the battle as many WWII veterans described it as a true representation of the fighting they went through.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: As already stated, the stunning opening battle scenes were shot in Ireland, not France: County Wicklow's Killester Beach, to be exact.

Correction: The beach scenes were actually filmed on Curracloe Beach in County Wexford. My sister was part of the crew (hair stylist). I have been there several times.

Corrected entry: There is a part in the opening battle scene where you see a German soldier's point of view when he is firing down at the Americans, If you look closely you can see the German soldier is clearly firing in another direction than where the bullets are hitting.

Correction: There was more than one German shooting at the time.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Mellish and the other Ranger hear footsteps coming up the stairs, you hear one set of footsteps. When they call out Upham's name, the footsteps stop. When Mellish fires into the wall, you hear a body drop and blood pool by the room opening. Yet there is no body outside the room, only the 'other' German soldier firing through the wall, shooting the one Ranger in the neck and ultimately killing Mellish. The only soldier outside that room was Upham, still on the stairwell. (02:22:25)

Correction: You never see just outside the door.

Correction: There should be two dead bodies on the stairs. The one that was killed by the other soldier when he shot through the wall, and the one that Mellish shot and killed.

Corrected entry: In the last battle scene in the end, there is a lengthy shot of Mellish, Henderson, and Upham running to a building to cover the right flank with a machine gun. When you first see out of the hole in the wall (the one they use to fire out of) you can see in the background what looks like a Sd.Kfz.124 (tank) moving towards the right. Soon after this (right after they put the sticky bombs on the tank) there is a shot where Mellish is screaming about the flank folding, and once again you can see out of the hole and what looks like the exact same shot of the Sd.Kfz.124 moving towards the right. The tank would have had to go in reverse, and then go forward again, and there is only one of these tanks in the scene. (02:14:35 - 02:15:20)

Correction: Actually it had been previously established by Jackson that there were 2 "Panzers" along with the 2 Tigers heading to the town. Also, before the Tiger tanks began driving down the road to attack it was said that neither of the two "Panzer" tanks took the bait.

Corrected entry: Capt. Miller and Pvt. Ryan throw the 60mm mortar rounds as grenades. This can not happen. The 60mm mortar round uses a type of propellant that is solid and looks like sliced cheese. It is placed around the outside of the lower section of the mortar round, which is also the fin area. They would need to remove the propellant first before they could hold onto the fin, which leads to the second mistake. The fin of the 60mm mortar is hollow with holes drilled through it. This is to allow the flame from the primer to reach the propellant. If a person was to hold onto the fin and hit the primer end on a piece of metal, the primer would ignite and burn your hand.

Correction: Not only is it possible to use a mortar round like this but an American Medal of Honor winner Beauford Anderson did so on Okinawa during the action that won his medal. Charles E Kelly also did so in Italy during actions that resulted in a Medal of Honor.

Corrected entry: In the opening scenes, as the soldiers are landing on the beach, their rifles are wrapped in plastic wrap. This type of plastic was not invented until the end of the 1940s and later. Water resistant "cellophanes" and wraps were a much later invention by inventors such as Saran and Reynolds.

Correction: This is incorrect. To view a picture of the actual plastic bags used to protect rifles on D-day, go here:

Corrected entry: In the beginning of the film, the soldier that Miller is dragging through the water dies. But then you can see this same soldier again various times throughout the film, for example when he asks Miller where the rallying point is.

Correction: It's a different soldier. They're played by different actors, even listed separately in the credits.

Corrected entry: On the beach when Miller is talking to the wounded man, the Navy beach Patrol tell him, "I've got to clear these obstacles, etc." In one shot, he removes the fuse from behind his ear. A second later it still behind his ear.

Correction: In that scene the Navy beach Patrol is dragging two fuses. That's why it seems like a mistake. Actually you can see him setting the first fuse before taking the second.

Corrected entry: Upham halts a fleeing Steamboat Willie and five other Germans. Just before Willie says "Upham" (Willie's last word before getting shot), note that the German second from the left is smiling. Hardly a situation where you might expect any of them to be amused. (01:09:40)


Correction: He's not amused. He's delirious with fear. Facing your death can do that.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: It is a great irony that the cowardly soldier just happens to be named Upham. It is an unusual name and happens to be shared with Captain Charles Upham, a New Zealand soldier who, during WWII, was awarded the Victoria Cross twice. He is only the third person in history and the only combat soldier to receive the VC twice (the other two being medics). So the fictional Upham couldn't be more different to his real life namesake.

Correction: Without evidence that the choice of name was an intentional nod to the real-life Upham, this lies entirely within the realm of coincidence and, as such, is not valid trivia.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: In the bunker scene we see much of the battle through Jackson's scope from his gun. So why is Jackson not sniping the Germans and instead rushing them with grenades?

Correction: Just before the attack on the radar station, when Jackson volunteers to attack, he switches rifles with Upham the interpreter, taking Upham's M-1 because of it's superior rate of fire, and therefore it is Upham who is watching, but not firing. He removes the scope from the rifle, and observes the battle with it.

Corrected entry: Before the final battle at Ramelle, the Jewish soldier is explaining to Upham what his upcoming duties are. He is to be "Johnny on the spot" with providing ammo to the different locations of soldiers set up around the town.Why not just equally divide up all the ammo amongst the soldiers? Is Upham really supposed to be a walking ammo-store for each group of soldiers? What if he gets shot? No ammo.

Correction: Just because you think that something should be done differently, it doesn't make it a mistake. To divide ammunition equally between the soldiers makes little sense if you don't know precisely where the enemy will attack from. With no backup supply available, those soldiers facing the assault could swiftly run out of ammunition, leaving them vulnerable, while those soldiers not facing the direct assault have a good supply of ammunition that's of no use. Far better to have a central supply that can be doled out as required, despite the inherent risks.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: At the start of the film at Omaha Beach, we see Tom Hanks coming out of the water and kneeling down in front of the steel frames in the sand. Then, when the guy starts talking to him, they are all back in the water again. (00:09:45)


Correction: It could of been the water coming back up, they were on a beach, so it is probaly why they are back into the water.

Corrected entry: When Miller and his men make it to the bunkers after d-day, there is a dead American, how could this be if Americans weren't there yet?

Correction: It was never implied that they where the very first soldiers to reach the bunkers, someone else could have gotten up there first, but was killed.


Corrected entry: In the invasion scene and throughout the film, the sniper expert is shown to be a left-handed shot. When the squad moves off the beach and is chatting its way up a hill in the open, bunched up and exposed to instant attack, the sniper is strolling along carrying his rifle in the way that only a right-handed shot would carry it. This would render his sniper skills useless in a firefight. No left-handed firer would ever transfer his weapon to his right side, especially a sniper-trained expert, but this guy does, which is a major error.

Correction: When moving in groups it is standard to stagger each man's weapon. Most people are right-handed, but if everyone was pointing their weapon to the left and an attack came from the right that would not be good. To ensure both sides are covered adequately every other man points his rifle to the right, and the rest point theirs to the left. The sniper just happened to be in place in line to point his rifle to the left. The squad is doing the same thing when Upham is trying to talk to them right after he joins the squad. It is standard procedure.


Corrected entry: In the last battle when the two men throw bottles of wine on the tank it explodes, but when Jackson is sniping in the tower a couple of shots later the same tank explodes again and the Germans jump out of the tank.

Correction: It's not supposed to be in real time. The shot of Jackson is showing what happened up in his tower while the tank was exploding, not what happened after it exploded.

Corrected entry: In a scene on Omaha beach at the seawall, Cpt. Miller and Sgt. Horvath are arguing which route to take to get off the beach. A soldier behind Cpt. Miller grabs him and shouts directly into his face, "They're killing us and we don't have a [swearing] chance and that ain't fair." Midway through shouting this, the camera shot changes and the soldier is magically facing the opposite direction and not saying anything; yet what he was shouting at Miller continues.

Correction: When the shot changes Miller is blocking the screaming soldier's face. We cannot tell which way he is facing and we certainly can't tell whether or not his lips are moving.

Corrected entry: In the scene where they have just stormed the bunker, and Wade is killed. They have been through the city, with all the rain and mud, along with many other experiences. While they are all standing around, debating, and arguing, look at the uniforms, they are practically brand new. Obviously, this must have been filmed first. The next scene, shows them finding private Ryan, and their uniforms are back, dirty and stained again from then on.

Correction: The movie was shot in chronological order, this scene was not filmed first. The uniforms are no cleaner here than they are in any other scene, only the sunlight makes them appear a bit brighter.

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)

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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.

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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.

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