Factual error: When Capt. Miller talks to the pilot of the crashed glider telling his story the guy says he lost 22 men in the crash. Only one problem: his glider is a Waco CG-4A (the similar-looking but larger Waco CG-13A wasn't used in the Normandy invasion). The maximum load for one of those was only 13 fully equipped troops and the two pilots, and that's without a jeep. As a jeep is visible in the rear of the fuselage, there couldn't possibly have been more than 6 men on that glider including the pilots, or it never would have gotten airborne.
Continuity mistake: When discovering that 3 of the 4 brothers were killed, it's stated that they were all in the same company until they were split after the Juneau was sunk. We also see a few shots later when the Army car is pulling up to the mother's house that there is a picture of all 4 of them together in uniform. When Miller and Ryan are talking about Ryan's memory of his brother towards the end of the movie, he states that the last time the 4 of them were together was the night of the barn accident before Dan went to basic. (00:29:30)
Factual error: When the Americans arrive in the first village (the one where the family is marooned upstairs in what's left of their house) there is a car. The car's registration plate follows the post-war system, not introduced until 1950. (00:49:00)
Continuity mistake: When Miller's men and the other captain's men find the French family hiding in a partly destroyed house, Caparzo goes up to get the kid and gives her his necklace, but in the following shot he's giving it to her again. In the shot after it's gone from the kids hand, then reappears again when he is walking towards Miller. (00:50:00)
Continuity mistake: When the squad and 101st Airborne are waiting for the enemy, Upham, Reiben and Horvath are sitting on some steps outside a building listening to music. In the wide shot Reiben is looking at his fingers but in the following shot his hands are crossed and is holding his arms. (01:56:25)
Continuity mistake: When Miller's men reach the town where the first Ryan is (the wrong one), Miller tells Ryan the bad news about his brothers. When Ryan starts to cry and leans over to his captain the captain's hand is on Ryan's head, but in the following shot it is on the top of his back. (00:59:25)
Continuity mistake: When Mellish is in the house with Henderson, and Henderson shoots at the wall, just after this shot, the camera pans back to the two soldiers, if you look at the fireplace and chair, it looks like they are covered with dust and dirt, but in the overhead shot of the two soldiers, the fireplace and chair look brand new. (02:16:50)
Continuity mistake: In the beach scene, a GI takes a shot in the helmet, removes his helmet while he collects his sense, and is promptly shot in the head. As he falls back, his head lolls back, yet when the camera angle changes, his chin is tucked down in his chest. (00:17:40)
Continuity mistake: When the two infantries are waiting by the bridge for the enemy, when Reiben, Upham and Horvath are on some steps, Mellish walks up and sits down in front of Reiben. Mellish is taking a puff of his cigarette holding it in his right hand, but in the following shot the cigarette is now in his left hand. (01:57:05)
Factual error: During certain scenes in the movie, we see Jackson switching his Weaver M73B1 sniper scope on his M1903A4 sniper rifle with a Unertl sniper scope. The problem is that the Unertl scope was used exclusively by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theatre on their M1903A1 sniper rifle. Even if we accept the premise that the Unertl scope was a 'battlefield pickup', the mounts for the Weaver 73B1 and Unertl are entirely different. The Unertl mounts require modification of the upper handguard, and drilling and tapping of the barrel for a forward mounting block. In the bell tower (and other) scenes, it is clear the rifle has a stock upper handguard. Therefore, it could not accept the Unertl scope.
Revealing mistake: At the end of the movie, in the Omaha Cemetery scene where the old Ryan is reading Captain Miller's marker, the shoreline should be to his left, not his right. This is because all the stones face the same direction and, when reading them, the water would be on the reader's left. Only Miller's stone is facing the opposite direction- note that all the others look blank because we're looking at their backs.
Continuity mistake: In the final battle in the French Village, the Americans are attacked by two Tiger tanks, two Panzer tanks, etc. The Americans use a sticky bomb to turn the first Tiger into a roadblock. If you look at the roadwheels of the tank when the troops are attaching the sticky bombs, you can see that one of them has a large chunk of rubber missing. Later on, when Capt. Miller is staring down the second Tiger as it crosses the bridge, you can see that it too has a large chunk of rubber missing from the same roadwheel - same tank.
Continuity mistake: During the beach scene, Miller is kneeling at the rear of a Belgian fence talking about the beach being pre-sighted. There is a soldier in front of the fence who gets shot three or four times. If you look the first scene, he gets shot in the upper leg area, then when Miller moves out from behind the obstacle, the bullet wound has magically disappeared. (00:11:15)
Continuity mistake: Just before the church steeple gets blown up at the end, we see through the window looking down, and the front of the tank starts to turn. The sniper fires some shots and the tank starts to make the same turn again, but we can see more of it this time.
Revealing mistake: In the scene in Ramelle, the sniper is taking out Germans from the bell tower and saying "Be my strength" etc. He shoots two guys in quick succession on the corner of a wall. The "shot through the chest" effect goes off on the second actor but perpendicular to the direction of the shot.
Continuity mistake: In the first town the group comes to (the one where Caparzo is killed) they meet up with the Airborne troops and the Airborne Sergeant. They then move through the town to find the Airborne Captain. Right after they start this move the Airborne Sgt. stops and drops to a knee before moving on. When he gets up and moves, the coiled up rope (that all the Airborne carry) falls out of the left side of his back-pack. No-one notices it and they all keep moving. A couple of seconds later they show him with Miller, and the rope is back in his back-pack like it magically reappeared.