Saving Private Ryan

Corrected entry: As the boys on MythBusters recently demonstrated, bullets that enter the water even from very short ranges shatter and travel no more than about 1 metre before they run out of energy. So the opening scenes of the Omaha landing showing troops being shot while well under the water could not have happened.

Correction: As veterans of the Omaha beach landing described how they received injuries under those exact circumstances, I think it's safe to say that not only did the Mythbusters experiment fail to accurately replicate the situation, but that what's seen on screen is entirely possible.

Tailkinker Premium member

Whether or not it is possible for a bullet to travel that far through water would depend on a number of factors, including the water's temperature, the amount of water, the water's depth, and the distance from the water the bullet is being fired from.

The Germans were firing tracer bullets at the Americans during the Normandy scene. Tracer rounds catch fire as they travel through the air causing them to get very hot. This could have allowed them to travel very deep underwater with lethal force, if the round is shot from a great enough distance that is.

Corrected entry: Throughout the movie Pvt. Jackson uses a Springfield '03 rifle; a rifle that can only hold 5 rounds of ammo at a time. In the final battle scene where he is firing on the Germans from atop the church tower, you see that he fires more than 5 rounds continuously without reloading.

Correction: They cut away from him so much you never can know if he reloads or not.

Corrected entry: In the scene in the French village after the soldier attempting to rescue the girl is shot, where the German marksman is shown being shot through the scope is an impossibility. Modern higher powered rifles are unable to pierce a scope, let alone pierce directly through the scope and through the German's head. Also, a marksman on a battlefield, under stress, would never be able to place such an accurate shot. Sources: Mythbusters. (00:55:40)

Correction: Many veterans mention such a shot being taken in memoirs written after the war. First-hand accounts by veterans would seem more definitive than a TV show that can only attempt to simulate a given situation. Further, it's only impossible with a modern scope, the Mythbusters revisited the myth and found that it is in fact plausible with a period scope. Not to mention Carlos Hathcock had a confirmed kill in Vietnam in this way.

Tailkinker Premium member

Yeah, but you have to use armor piercing bullets in order to pierce the scope. You can't regular bullets. When the mythbusters revisited the myth, only armor piercing bullets where able to pierce the scope. Regular bullets couldn't.

Corrected entry: Near the end of the final battle when Tom Hanks is lying wounded on the bridge, the weather is all dry and it's not raining at all. But when the reinforcements arrive and the camera moves to an overview shot revealing number of rangers and a jeep heading towards the bridge, it's miraculously started raining and the ground looks covered with puddles, as if it's rained for a long time already. Yet it never rains during the battle or anywhere near it. When it moves back to a closeup shot of Tom Hanks, it's dry again. The weather changes between dry and wet several times.


Correction: The wet ground is not caused by rain, it's caused by debris and large objects falling into the river, causing the water to splash up and onto the ground.

Corrected entry: Even given the disastrously inaccurate airdrops, the 101st Airborne landed 15 to 20 miles closer to Utah beach than to Omaha beach, where Miller and men came ashore. By the end of June 6, most of the 101st was scattered in pockets near Vierville, easily twenty miles west of Omaha but within a mile or two of the lead elements from Utah. So why would commanders in Washington or England order Omaha units, which had been badly mauled on D-Day, to slog so far out of their way to find Ryan? Units from Omaha would have had to cross four enemy-held rivers and pass through almost all of the German 84th Corps to come close to any significant group of U.S. paratroopers.

Correction: Despite the distance between Omaha and Vierville, the commanders would have thought it best to send a small squad of Army Rangers - troops better suited for these types of special operations missions - behind enemy lines rather than deploying regular Army units. The only Ranger battalions present on D-day were assigned to land at Omaha Beach and Point du Hoc, although those men were not relieved until two days after the attack and would have been unable to break away for a mission. Also, we do not know the timetable for the events portrayed in the movie, it could have been a few days after D-day when Captain Miller and his squad were dispatched behind enemy lines.

I said the rule where they send rescue missions to save wasn't established until after WW2. I meant wasn't established until a few years after WW2. Before it was established the military wasn't willing to save to risk the lives of several to many soldiers to save one soldier.

If they were going to send any kind of squad at all. Some places were still occupied by German forces at the which the movie takes, and commanders would have thought it would be too risky to send any units behind enemy lines to save a single soldier.

Corrected entry: When Capt. Miller meets up with the first (and wrong) Private Ryan, his squad has just passed through a torrential downpour, soaking all of their uniforms. The rain has stopped when he sits to interview the mistaken private Ryan and the ground is still wet, but Miller's uniform is suddenly bone dry.

Correction: If you have ever seen or worn a military combat uniform, you would know that they are special because they can dry incredibly quickly. In the sun, a drenched uniform would be dry within the hour.

Corrected entry: In the D-Day scene where the Germans are firing at the troops on the beach a machine gun (MG-42) is fired for about ten seconds non-stop. The MG-42 can only fire for about 5 seconds without pausing otherwise the barrel will overheat causing the bullets to go everywhere. I fired an MG-42 before and overheated the barrel and that made the gun useless until I changed the barrel.

Correction: There is more than one MG, and you can clearly hear one MG stop firing and another start.

The Germans didn't pause long enough to prevent the guns from overheating.

Corrected entry: The scene where Capt. Miller asks Capt. Ted Danson, "do you have anything resembeling a Four Star Hotel in this town?" isn't right. The "Four Star" hotel designation is derived from the Mobil Travel Guide Service which began in 1958 and of course would not have been part of the American nomenclature of 1944.

Correction: The Michelin Guide was in operation before the Mobil Guide and was where the "star" concept originated.

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

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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