After leading a company of Rangers in the battle for Omaha beach on D-Day, Captain John Miller is sent on a mission to find paratrooper Private James Ryan and bring him home safely. Ryan's three brothers have all been killed in action and the Brass want him returned to his family. He is fighting with his unit somewhere inland, but no-one knows where.
Miller chooses seven men for this dangerous mission. The squad picks its way across the devastated countryside - losing two members in skirmishes with the Germans. Eventually, they find Ryan dug in with his unit and awaiting a German counter attack. He refuses to leave his comrades and Miller agrees that his squad will stay to help them defend their position. The Germans attack in overwhelming numbers and Miller and most of his squad are killed, but Ryan survives and makes it home.