Continuity mistake: When they go to find Private Ryan there are eight of them, when they go to a French town and a solider picks up the little girl and he gets killed there are seven, right? Wrong. A few scenes later, the camera shows all eight of them marching on to the next town, only in a far away camera shot so it's hard to see.
Factual error: The Tiger tanks portrayed in the movie are actually Soviet T-34s. You could tell by looking at their wheels. Real Tigers had interleaved wheels. These Tigers had the T-34 suspension. Obviously, Tigers are so rare (only one operational Tiger left) that another tank had to be substituted. But an excellent job was done to make the T-34s look like Tigers.
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.
Revealing mistake: Just before the two American soldiers slap their grease coated "sticky bombs" on the passing German Tiger tank, you can clearly see two identically shaped grease stains on the first two wheels. Presumably nobody remembered to wipe off the wheels of the tank after a rehearsal or previous take of the scene.
Continuity mistake: When Miller is collecting Upham from the group of translators and map readers, Upham is so confused and clumsy that he knocks everything off the table onto the floor (e.g. typewriter and helmets). Told by Miller to leave everything except his helmet, Upham picks up a German one by mistake. When sent back to the table to get his own, everything has miraculously jumped off the floor back onto the table.
Revealing mistake: In the opening sequence Cpt Miller is wading through the sea with another man. You can see an odd looking square-shaped object clearly through his wet uniform. It may come as no surprise that a second later he is shot dead centre of the pocket. The object was obviously a charge.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where the American soldiers are in the village listening to the French music on the record player, take a look at the stone pillars at either side of the doorway. The bullet patterns are all the same on each stone block. No doubt the same mould was used.
Continuity mistake: When Jackson has been given the dog tags to search through he looks for a place to sit. In this scene you see a black box with two yellow boxes at either side in the background. In the next scene the yellow box on the left has magically jumped up onto the black box in order for Jackson to kick it off and sit on it.
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.
Factual error: In the end scene, after the final battle, Reiben is seen calling for a medic to assist Miller. When he gets up to go and find a medic, he picks up his BAR by the barrel. Having just fought in a fairly long action with a high rate of fire, his BAR barrel would be far too hot to touch, let alone pick the rifle up by. It would take 15 or 20 mins for it to cool down enough to handle. He should have picked it up by the foregrip (The wooden bit under the barrel).
Revealing mistake: When the American goes to sit down and hits a block of wood that hits a wall the wall falls down and there are German soldiers. In the next shot they are screaming, notice the man standing in front of the table the camera makes a close up of his face he is the one without a helmet. In the next shot all of them get shot right? Well look closely at that man in front of the table he gets shot and goes to sit down on the table and misses the table. He quickly sits back on the table. Look closely and you'll see it.
Continuity mistake: At the start of the film in the telegraph scene, a Captain goes into the Colonel's office to tell him about the Ryan brothers. He is holding a folder which he puts on the Colonel's desk, but we don't see him pick it back up in all the following shots, yet it suddenly appears back in his hands.
Continuity mistake: In the scene when they defend the bridge in Ramelle there is a soldier who wants to attach a stick-bomb at a German tank. When he walks out to the tank you see that he is wearing a beige uniform. In the next shot you see that the uniform has changed into a dark green, and you also see that it is a puppet that explodes.
Factual error: The American troops at Ramelle bridge are supposed to be fighting the 2nd SS Panzer Division. Two things wrong: the 2nd SS never had Tiger tanks in Normandy, having turned over their Tiger battalion to another unit in Russia prior to being transferred to France. Second, in the scenes with the Tigers, a 1st SS Panzerkorps insignia (Crossed Keys) is seen on the front right hull of the Tigers; 2nd SS Panzer Division was never a part of 1st SS Panzerkorps.
Continuity mistake: When Miller first hits the sand at Omaha a mortar round blows up behind him. He kneels in the sand, his face covered with bloody water. Seconds later a young soldier shouts at him and suddenly Miller is chest deep in the water with a clean face. Also his helmet liner strap changes position across the visor of his helmet.
00:08:35 - 00:09:50
Continuity mistake: During the Omaha beach scene, when Miller, Horvath and a few other soldiers are at the front of one of the bunkers trying to get past the firing squad, he puts down his knife with the mirror attached and grabs his gun, holding it underneath, but in the following shot he is holding it at the top.
Continuity mistake: In the opening scene, when old James Ryan's family is behind him in the wider shot, one of the three blonde girls at the back has her hair over her ear and her right hand down by her side. In the following closeup of her, her hair is now behind her ear and her hand is up by her bag strap.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where all the 101st Airborne troops walk past as Rieben, Jackson, Melish and Miller are joking about the various dog tags, you can see an isolated shot of a young Italian-looking trooper walk past and stare dead at the group. A few minutes later as Miller is yelling at the procession, he shows up again in the background as Miller encounters the soldier whose hearing is impaired because of the grenade. You have to look quickly though, and the image is somewhat blurred.
Continuity mistake: At the start of the movie on Omaha Beach, just before Tom Hanks and the others clear the fence with the Bangalore torpedoes, a man is shot and it ricochets off his helmet, but in the previous scene he can be seen looking at Tom Hanks, in the following shot he is looking away towards the bunkers.
Revealing mistake: In the closing battle of the film we see one of the American soldiers with an ammunition belt around his neck. The striker marks on the primers indicate that the belt is made up of fired (ie. useless) cases which have had bullets put back into them so they look normal, or maybe dummy rounds.
Factual error: In the scene where the American troops are storming the German radar station, you can see a few dead cows with oversized bellies provoked by putrefaction, which means that they were killed at least 12 hours ago. When one of the cows receives a bullet, you can see highly-oxigenated fully arterial red blood spurting from the wound, something impossible to happens in a dead body. Blood at this time of death should be nearly black or brown.
Revealing mistake: Throughout the film we see indications that someone has been shot when a puff of grey dust comes from the body as it gets hit. This grey dust is coming from a smaller version of a paint ball filled with a white powder that the camera can capture. The mistake is that it should be blood, or nothing, not a white powder - unless the entire German army from D-day to Ramelle is dusty.
Continuity mistake: When the group of soldiers led by Captain Miller are in the village, and the soldier knocks the wall down accidentally, if you notice when the soldiers above shoot them dead, that a lot of the blood gets sprayed onto part of the back wall, yet when we see the wall from inside the house, there is hardly any blood at all.
Visible crew/equipment: When Hanks, Damon and company are retreating to the Alamo (across the bridge) the camera pans an overview shot of their retreating and you can see two crew members in the shot - one holding a camera and another supporting member, both wearing white tee shirts on the right part of the screen.
Continuity mistake: In the preparation for the big battle in the village, the Americans count up on equipment left useable for the impending fight. A soldier lists what's left including two .30 caliber machine guns. In the preparation for the ambush of the Germans you see two .30 calibers being prepped for action by the American officers up the church tower and in the rubble, and then a third is carried past by an extra.
Factual error: When Jackson takes out the German sniper, we see the German snipers point of view through his scope and he eventually spots Jackson who fires at him. First you see the flash, then the bang, and then the German sniper gets hit through his scope. This is wrong because bullets from a powerful sniper rifle travel much faster than sound, he couldn't have heard the shot before he got hit.
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.
Continuity mistake: When the two infantries 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.
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.
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: When Mellish is in the house with the other soldier, and the other soldier 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.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where the two infantries are waiting by the bridge for the enemy, when Reiben, Upham and Horvath are on some steps, Fish walks up and sits down in front of Reiben. Fish 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.
Factual error: After the soldiers' initial disembarkment they are shown crouching in groups near the shore and later running towards the bunkers. Unlike the movie shows, anything even as simple as crouching behind the tank traps, let alone actually standing up and running, was impossible at Dog Green Sector and indeed for anyone when pinned down by a machine gun from a high far-away position. In the real-life landing at Dog Green within 7-10 minutes all the officers of the landing company were dead and the survivors inert. They could do nothing except throw away all their equipment and slowly crawl up the beach, shielded from bullets by the incoming tide and dead bodies. 1 hour 40 minutes after landing twelve (known) survivors made it to the base of the cliffs. Only 2 had enough strength left to go on and fight with another group. (The second wave, apart from one boat which was almost entirely killed, opted to land elsewhere when they saw the fate of the first wave.) In this way the movie rather poorly represents what it meant to make a properly opposed landing on D-Day - although whether this is justified or not is another matter.
00:07:00 - 00:07:40
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Tom Hanks releases the German POW, he ties a black blindfold around the prisoner's eyes. Notice how narrow the blindfold looks. In the next shot Upham is guiding the prisoner and instructing him, and the blindfold all of a sudden becomes very broad.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Continuity mistake: During the Omaha Beach scene where Captain Miller is at the front of the concrete bunker and calls upon Jackson to get into one of the impact craters, Miller moves behind Jackson. When Miller makes the move for the diversion he puts his hand on Jackson's right shoulder but in the following shot Miller is at least 2 to 3 feet away from Jackson.
Continuity mistake: When Miller's men are about to take the bunker under the radar tower, they are kneeling on the ground behind some bushes discussing their flanking moves and Jackson is about two feet away from Reiben to his left, but when it cuts Jackson is now behind Reiben.
Continuity mistake: In the scene near the end, when two soldiers are in a row boat packing a bag with explosives, in the overhead shot the guy at the back of the boat puts the oar into the water to his right, but in the following shot from behind the oar is on the other side of the boat.
Continuity mistake: After Caparzo has died from the sniper bullet, when Miller's men are grouped around Caparzo's body, Horvath is holding his gun in his right hand pointing it to the ground with his left arm by his side, but in the following shot, when Miller walks up, he is holding his weapon at waist height.
Continuity mistake: When Miller has just explained to Ryan that his comrades came to take him back, Miller talks to Horvath alone. While Horvath is talking over his shoulder, you clearly see him moving his hands in the next shot, from an angle just past Miller, his hands are held tight to his gun.
Continuity mistake: When Tom Hank's men are in the village close to the start of the film, the soldier knocks down the wall accidentally, and the German soldier at the front picks up his weapon and points it (this can be seen from outside the house looking in). Then when it cuts back to all the German soldiers, he's picking and pointing the weapon again.
Continuity mistake: When Upham is hiding behind a cow while his squad rushes the communication tower/bunker, he uses a sniper scope to see his squad mates. Upham holds the scope differently every time. The two knobs would first be at north/west, and the next shot would be south/east. This will change several times until Captain Miller tells him to get the gear.
Continuity mistake: During the scene where Horvath and the BAR are facing down, things are getting out of control with Horvath pulling a .45 on the BAR. In the background, from among the rest of the Ranger group, alternating scenes of Jackson, the sniper, show him with his pistol either raised or holstered.
Other mistake: In the final battle where the two rangers are waiting for Upham to bring them 30cal ammo, they fire their rifles through a hole in the wall. At one point two German soldiers are seen dying from the same shot, even though they are at least five meters (about sixteen feet) apart.
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.
Factual error: The "tank traps" (actually designed to flip landing craft, when submerged) on Omaha are back-to-front. The bottom of the pole that that rests on the other two should be nearest the sea and not as shown in the movie. Documentary footage of the actual landings will confirm this.
Continuity mistake: Ryan and Miller have a moving dialogue. In the scene Ryan talks about the time his brother was trying to have sex with a girl in the barn. While the pained Miller sits in a chair, we notice his hand which often shakes rests underneath the other. Then in a split second the left hand is on top of the other, then below.
Continuity mistake: Near the start, when Miller's men are walking through a field, and Jackson is talking about him and his rifle, in the background Caparzo has a cigarette in his mouth, but in the following shot it is not in his mouth or hands, then it's back in his mouth again.
Factual error: When the group is trying to take the German radio tower and the medic gets killed, the American hiding behind the cow is watching through a small rifle scope. The adjustment knobs should be on the top and side of the scope when held level and upright. The American is holding them crooked which means the crosshairs should be crooked, but when it shows the view through the scope, the crosshairs are perfectly vertical and horizontal.
Character mistake: Before the final attack in the village, we can see a wall with an advertising for Byrrh, an aperitif drink made from a blend of wines. The ad reads: "Byrrh, l'ami de l'estomach, " which basically means: "Byrrh, stomach's friend." In French, the correct spelling is "estomac." not "estomach." This is quite a big mistake since the ad and the building are three or four stories high.
Other mistake: When the squad is walking in the field with Mellish singing, they see a halftrack and take cover. Once the halftrack gets shot at by the bazooka, Miller moves to the side of the halftrack shooting the fleeing soldiers. After that, he reloads his Thompson. Then, at the beginning of the last battle, Miller reloads his Thompson for the second time. There is no explanation why he would throw away what is considered a perfectly good cartridge.
Factual error: In the scene where the soldiers are going through the dog tags to try and find Ryan, they all have the smaller chains attached to the tags. When taking the dog tags off a dead body, the smaller link that you see attached is broken away from the necklace around the dead body. It would be rare, if ever, that a soldier would take the time to reconnect the smaller chain. More likely, he would simply take the tag.
Continuity mistake: At the start we see a close up of Ryan's face and in the background is a couple walking away. The bloke has a blue baseball cap on and dark shirt while the woman has got a light blue top and what appears to be a cream coloured skirt on. The camera then shows Ryan back as he is walking and now this couple are in front of Ryan about to walk past him.
Factual error: During the final fight scene the German armour enters the town (a built up area) with open-topped AF V's and unbuttoned tanks. The Germans learned not to do this, greatly to their cost, at Stalingrad and other urban battles. It is very unlikely they would have risked their scarce armour in such a way without first securing the area with infantry.
Continuity mistake: At the end of the film with the older James Ryan visiting Capt. Miller's grave, Ryan squares himself off with the tombstone to salute. However, in the next shot Ryan is off to the left of his tombstone, so that the camera can take the head-on angle of Miller's tombstone.
Factual error: When Mellish and Henderson are fighting in the room in Romell, twice German Steilgrenates are thrown into the room. Both times they are picked up and thrown back and then the grenades explode. This is highly unlikely since the Steilgrenate had a short (4.5 sec) fuse and would likely have blown up in the hand of the person throwing it back. It was more common that Germans threw back American grenades which had a much longer fuse delay.
Factual error: Miller and his men finally find Ryan in the scene where Ryan destroys a German half track with a bazooka. The camera does not show Ryan firing the bazooka, but you hear the blast and see the effect of the shot hitting the half track, firing twice in about a three second interval. The problem is that a bazooka is a single shot weapon, and must be reloaded by hand. This takes time, perhaps 20 seconds if not more.
Add timeBruce Trestrail
Factual error: When Upham and Mellish are conversing before the fight at Ramelle, Mellish is seen placing Mk. 2 Pineapple grenades into Upham's helmet. The "spoon" on the grenades does not look to be the correct type. The ones in the film appear to be modern, folded, sheet metal painted dark green; World War II era ones are a simple piece of stamped, sheet steel. The modern ones are angular while World War II ones have a slight curve.
Continuity mistake: At the end when Ryan is looking at captain Miller, in the long shot the ground is wet and there is an upturned helmet near Miller, but in the close up shot over Ryan's shoulder the ground is dry and the helmet is the right way round and white bricks have appeared next to it.
Continuity mistake: When we see Ryan walking at the very start, he walks past a group of 3 people walking in the other direction. Camera cuts to show the front of Ryan and behind him and the people have miraculously disappeared. There is no way the could have walked out of sight, and there is no way they couldn't have arrived in sight either.
Continuity mistake: When Miller is shocked, we see him in a close up with his hair slicked into a point on his forehead. Camera shows a few people taking shelter under a tank trap and back to Miller. In this shot, his hair is arranged completely differently. He didn't touch it himself, as he is supporting himself on a tank trap with one hand and holding his helmet in his second hand.
Continuity mistake: When Mike crosses the bridge at the end he gets shot and is helped by a soldier. From the German view the bridge is clear, then it cuts to the American side and Mike and the soldier are exiting the bridge to their left towards Miller. A motorbike and sidecar have now appeared behind them and a crouching American soldier is next to the motorbike halfway across the bridge.
Revealing mistake: If you look at the river under the bridge and all other shoots it isn't flowing yet it is quite shallow. In one shot the wind is blowing the surface.The river was purpose built along with the town on former British Aerospace Factory in Hatfield Herts and the river is a shallow oblong mini lake the runs the width of the set.
Continuity mistake: While they are preparing to defend the bridge towards the end, Mellish tells Upham to be "Johnny on the spot with the ammo." and proceeds to put 2 30 cal. belts around Upham's neck. In the first shot the bullets are pointed down, when the shot changes the bullets are pointed up.
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