Saving Private Ryan

Corrected entry: Although Miller's group is wearing canvas gaiters and boots issued on the first American uniform, in the scene that precede their arrival on the first French village , when rain starts falling on the leaves, they show paratroopers or the second type regular boots of later issue stomping on the water pool.

Correction: They are not supposed to be the boots of Miller and his group; they are the boots of soldiers in the village. Those soldiers were paratroopers.

Corrected entry: At the first battle scene, when the camera is up in the pill boxes, looking down at the soldiers, there are hardly any wounded or dead or even live soldiers, but when the camera comes back down to ground level, there are clearly more soldiers. This happens a number of times.

Correction: Omaha Beach is 5,6 kilometres long. In some parts there were fewer soldiers. There is no indication that we are watching only one small patch throughout the scene.

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, a tank explodes from a P51 bomb before the plane over flies the scene. A real bomb would have exploded after the plane had passed.

Correction: The airplane we see after the bomb has exploded is not the same plane that dropped the bomb. You can see more than one plane in that scene.

Corrected entry: In the final battle an American solider gets stabbed through the chest after a long scuffle with a German soldier. It is impossible for a human chest to be penetrated that slowly and smoothly by even a really sharp knife, especially with clothing on and only using one hand.

Correction: I've just reviewed the scene and we can't really see the angle of the knife, plus the knife is quite small and ribs can be displaced quite easily, especially with the force the German soldier applies as he is leaning on the knife with his whole body.

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: At the start of the film on the attack on Omaha Beach, when we see the ship bringing the soldiers in and it lowers its platform we can see there are no steel things in the sand, and even from the enemies' point of view there aren't any, yet when Tom Hanks says "over the sides" if you watch closely, there are loads. (00:06:15)


Correction: Wrong. See the screen-shot showing one of the obstacles toward the right of the shot. This is just after the door drops and the bodies start falling (00:06:32). No error here.

Corrected entry: The men are sitting in the French village waiting for the Germans to arrive. They listen to a French record and a large pile of rubble can be seen in the background. The camera then cuts to a face shot of one of the soldiers, which gives a closer view of the rubble; and just above his shoulder can be seen a black shiny plastic rubbish bin lid - a product that surely wouldn't have been available in a small French village, let alone before say, 1970.

Correction: No such error. The only 'face shot' during the record player scenes is of Upham (see screen-shots) and only the player is behind him. Shortly before that, Ryan has a pile of rubble over his right shoulder, and on top is a black disc that may be a melted tire, but is certainly not a trash can lid.

Corrected entry: When the sniper says, "This sniper's got real talent," and shoots through the scope, the scope is not damaged and you can tell that in post-production the sniper's eyelid was painted black.

Correction: Not so. When the 'bullet' goes through the sight of the sniper's rifle, both ends blow out with a heavy smoke effect, and the sniper's eye is bloody and chuny as he fall dead.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the troop comes upon the crashed aircraft you can see Ryan in the background as an injured soldier. As Miller crosses under the netting Ryan can be seen sitting next to the pilot with a bandage covering the left side of his face. Again, about thirty seconds later when the pilot stands up to talk to Miller, you can see Ryan on the ground behind Reiben as he is lighting his cigarette. (01:14:07)

Correction: Actually, no, just a guy with a similar appearance, but not Matt Damon. No error here. See screen-shot.

Corrected entry: On the shore it shows a full can of ammunition floating in and out on the tide. A full can would be as heavy as a rock and would not move.

Correction: There is nothing to show that the can is full.


Corrected entry: Many tanks were landing on the beach at the beginning. Actually, only two tanks landed on "Omaha Beach."

Correction: There are no tanks on the beach at all. This is made light of several times during the Omaha Beach scene by several different characters.


Corrected entry: In a scene where Miller is talking to Ryan after blowing up the truck, Miller's uniform clearly displays the Screaming Eagle, the insignia of the 101st airborne, also Ryan's division. However, Miller was a ranger, not a paratrooper.

Correction: I looked at this scene over and over again - Miller's patch says Rangers.


Corrected entry: In the scene immediately preceding the climactic battle in the village at the end of the movie, Capt. Miller is watching Jackson giving him hand signals from the tower regarding approaching Germans. He indicates two Tiger tanks, two "Panzer" tanks, and some infantry. However, the two Panzer tanks he refers to are actually tank destroyers which were a model called the "Marder" (which had several different models) and were opened-top (i.e. no enclosed crew compartment). They were never considered as bonafide tanks and, most likley, would not be referred to as a "Panzer" by a combat veteran. In all fairness, Jackson might not have been able to identify them accurately at long range.

Correction: Just because he's been in combat before does not mean that Jackson is an expert on German tanks. As he's still a private, he's quite likely not seen a great deal of combat anyway.

Corrected entry: During the scene in the French village, where Hamill comes to the rescue of Miller's men, as both Americans and Germans are screaming at each other to lay down their weapons - if you look closely at Miller's Thompson machine gun, it has no clip.

Correction: Both Americans and Germans were surprised after that wall collapsed. In the confusion Miller probably did not notice that his Thompson had no clip.

Corrected entry: On the beach, when Capt. Miller is dragging the wounded Briggs, there is a tank in the background, most likely a Sherman M4. Yet, a few minutes before he was telling "All the armor's foundering in the channel". Also we never see tanks landing on the beach so this tank appeared from nowhere. (00:12:05)


Correction: The Statement by Captain Miller is simply a generalization, and not meant as fact. Some, though few tanks landed on the beaches in the first hours, although we don't see it, it makes no difference. We don't see every single man who is there land either, but we know they are there.

Alex Fulle

Corrected entry: In the Scene where the American knocks down the wall to reveal the Germans, Jackson (the sniper) is pointing an unscoped Springfield at them. When they exchange words, you see Jackson aiming his rifle with a scope.

Correction: The scope is on Jackson's rifle during the whole scene.

Ronnie Bischof

Corrected entry: When the patrol has conquered the MG 42 at the radar station, there are several shots of the MG. In none of these shots does the MG have its gunsights up. It is almost impossible to hit anything with the sights down. A WW2 German MG crew would not have made this mistake.

Correction: This has already been addressed before. it is concluded that since the MG-42 shoots too fast, the sight go knocked down.

Corrected entry: Toward the end of the movie Private Ryan tells the soldiers who came to save him that the last time he and his brothers were together was before they went off to boot camp. But in the pan shot of the interior of the farmhouse, you see a picture of all four brothers in their uniforms. (00:32:54)

Correction: The wording is wrong, Ryan describes being with his brothers and tells the soldiers who came to save him that it was the last time he and his brothers were together before they went off to boot camp. They were together at least one time after that as the picture shows but it's reasonable for Ryan to remember the last time they were together before joining the military.


Corrected entry: During the whole opening sequence of the storming of Omaha beach, not once are the barrels on the German MG-42's changed. The heat developed in these barrels due to this machine-gun's extreme cyclic rate (25 rounds pr. sec), makes it necessary to replace them with a spare barrel on regular intervals. Granted, in the heat of battle, it might get problematic to do this, but a seasoned German soldier would've managed to change the barrel in only a few seconds. There is also no barrel change in the scene where Miller's patrol attack the German MG-34 position later in the movie (where in the end the medic gets hit and dies).

Correction: In the Normandy sequence, there's no way of knowing the gunners never changed barrels. The focus is rarely on them, but rather the Americans fighting their way up the beach. Just because they don't specifically show them changing barrels doesn't mean they didn't, there's plenty of time where they're offscreen for them to do so. The second firefight is very brief, there's no way the machine gun's barrel would overheat from such a short engagement. Also, at this point in the war, many of the German troops that where stationed on the western front where very young and untrained. For example, during the scene where the American troops surround a trench and kill all the German soldiers in it, the knife that the American soldier pulled off a dead German was a Hitler Youth knife. Which is given to adolescent Germans who want to be soldiers.


Corrected entry: In the beginning, we see the invasion of Normandy, and Miller arrives at the beaches. But the strange thing is that the beaches weren't taken until the third wave in the invasion. There were three invasion waves. The first wave were all but slaughtered; few of the men survived. But because there are no dead bodies on the beaches when Miller and his men arrive, we assume he is with the first wave. But Miller and his invasion wave take the beaches.

Correction: You can see bodies up the beach when the camera first changes to the German gunner's view. These bodies are too far up the beach and too soon for them to be Miller and his invasion.

Corrected entry: At the end of the opening battle the Americans use grenades to clear the trench leading to the entrance to the bunker. Reiben unpins a grenades and throws it to Sergeant Horvath who lobs it over the wall. During this Reiben unpins another grenade and throws it over the wall but there is only one explosion.

Saving Private Ryan mistake picture

Revealing mistake: When Wade 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 realises he ripped too far up, he quickly covers it back up. (01:28:43)

Kelsey H.

More mistakes in Saving Private Ryan
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: 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.

More questions & answers from Saving Private Ryan

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.