Saving Private Ryan

Question: Why do the soldiers (Mellish and Reiben) air kiss when they talk about sleep in the church scene?

New this month Question: In the radar site scene, after Miller lets Steamboat Willie free, Reiben wants to leave the mission, and Horvath is holding his gun on him, Jackson also pulls his gun on Horvath, his superior. Nobody seems to care about it. Doesn't it count as a serious violation of military law or something?

New this month Answer: It certainly does, not only on Reiben's part but also Horvath's. However, Capt. Miller was in no place to arrest or write up anybody as they were behind enemy lines and thus, no Allied Military Police to place anybody in custody, he even offered Reiben the option to put in for transfer. Miller understood the men's frustration with the mission and the loss of Wade and Caparzo, so instead of citing orders like he did after Caparzo was killed, decided to defuse the situation by inquiring about the men's pool on what he did as a civilian, then telling them. It worked, as Horvath and Reiben lowered their weapons and calmed the other men.

Scott215

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?

xx:xx:xx

Chosen 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.

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).

bbarrington

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.

Question: What do the soldiers have in their mouths during combat? Shortly after Miller's team disables the machine gun nest at Omaha Beach you can see Tom Sizemore take something out his mouth and drop it and later when Edith Piaf's song is playing he takes something out of a bag and puts it into his mouth again.

Answer: During landing scene he puts chewing tobacco in his mouth... later we see him take it out and then still later he takes more from the same pouch.

Chosen answer: They're chewing gum, or maybe tobacco.

Thomas Norris

Question: When the higgins boats were blown to bits, before we see Jackson in the front of the boat, when the ramps go down, the whole people in screen were shot, also where Jackson was, but later Jackson is there with Miller at the seawall, how could this be?

Chosen answer: Jackson could simply have been slightly wounded, or even missed completely, and was simply knocked to the floor by those around him who were hit. He could even have just hit the deck when the guns opened up.

Tailkinker

Question: Jackson, the sniper of Miller's crew, states that if he was in a mile of Adolf Hitler, he would kill him. So, as they were driven to the beach, why didn't Jackson and other snipers try to pick off the the German guys who were firing the at the boats as the Americans left them?

Chosen answer: Sniping needs stability - the movement of the waves under the boat would disrupt their aim so badly that they wouldn't have much hope of hitting anything.

Tailkinker

Question: In the opening Omaha beach scene, we see soldiers being mowed down as soon as they leave the LCVP's. Was this really the case in 1944? Were the bunkers really that close to to the shoreline?

Chosen answer: Yes, this was the case unfortunately. Many soldiers lost there lives before exiting the boats. Several Normandy survivors say that the scene was the best interpretation of what actually happened on that day.

Toolio

Question: In the last battle, Upham is seen running around with cartridges of ammunition. Why don't the people who need it just have it close by, instead of having him carry it all over the place?

Chosen answer: Because before a battle gets underway you can never predict exactly who's going to need it. You could split the available ammunition equally between all the soldiers, but then you could easily find yourself in a situation where the enemy attack from a particular angle, so only certain soldiers can shoot back. End result, those soldiers run out of ammunition while other soldiers still have a full load that they can't use. Far better to give each soldier a moderate amount, but keep a quantity in reserve along with a soldier assigned to resupply those who run low.

Tailkinker

Question: Why do they have rifles and equipment wrapped up in plastic before they actually fight?

Chosen answer: The bags were meant to keep sand out of the actions and magazines as long as possible before they needed to be used in combat.

Question: What is said between Upham and Steamboat Willie right before Willie gets shot? It's all in German and a very dramatic scene, one of my favorites. All I have is VHS and I can't find a complete script on the web.

Chosen answer: Upham surprises the group of Germans, yelling at them to put their hands up and their weapons down. Willie says, "I know this soldier. I know this man." Upham says, "And shut your trap." Willie says, "Up-ham," and Upham shoots him.

Question: Why did Upham tell the soldiers to drop their weapons instead of shooting them? Why did they surrender instead of shooting him? And why did he then let them go?

raph

Chosen answer: He was alone and probably couldn't have shot them all before being shot himself. However, he was in a perfect position to make them surrender as none of them wanted to be the one to get shot for aiming their rifle at him. He didn't let them go, he told them to start walking in one direction as his prisoners.

lionhead

Answer: Upham was not a hardened war vet like the men in his squad. He seen Steam boat Willie shoot Miller which made him furious because of how desperately he tried to save Willies life at the Radar tower so he felt betrayed and guilty for not listening to his squad so he finished the job he didn't have the heart to do before by killing Willie. He let the others go because he didn't have a problem with them. The surrendering Germans knew the Americans were inbound after tank was destroyed so they gave up immediately.

Question: Would the military really have sent a rescue mission to save one man during world war 2?

Chosen answer: No, not really. There is no evidence of any such mission. While the U.S. military does have a policy of excusing the last remaining members of a family from combat after their siblings have been killed-known as the Sole Survivor Policy, officially implemented in 1948 but followed de facto before then - they never sent a unit into enemy territory to "save" anyone. The real soldier upon which the film is based, Frederick Niland, was simply taken out of active duty and sent home when it was learned that his three brothers were dead (though his eldest brother, Edward, was later revealed to be alive in a Japanese POW camp and ended up outliving Frederick).

Question: After the D-day battle and Capt. Miller is informing the Colonel about the types of mines, what was the purpose of Capt. Miller taking such a long pause during his discussion?

Chosen answer: Their discussion was talking about a mission they recently completed and that it claimed a lot of troops lives. Throughout the film every death seems to affect Miller and was probably reflecting on the tragic situation.

Lummie

Question: My tape ran out right at the end due to all the ad breaks and new bulletins so I missed the last 5 minutes. I saw right up to the bit after old Private Ryan does his speech to the grave and then his wife, presumably, comes up and says, 'James' and kaput. Can anyone tell me what happened in those dying minutes?

Chosen answer: James asks his wife if he is a good man. She assures him that he is. He then salutes the grave and the camera zooms in on the American flag fluttering in the wind and then the film ends.

Question: Almost after the D-Day battle is over, Caparzzo picks up a Hitler Youth Knife and hands it to Mellish. Then Mellish calls the knife a "shabbat challah cutter." What does that mean?

Chosen answer: I do not know the exact signifigance for the Jewish faith but Shabbat Challah is a Jewish Bread and the Challah Knife is used to cut the bread. So using a knife from a Nazi you killed for this would be a pretty good F You to Hitler and the Nazis.

pross79

Question: I noticed that during the whole film, when bullets hit the soldiers' bodies, dust comes out (even on a wet Omaha Beach). Why is that?

Chosen answer: It is eiderdown that blows into the air when they get hit by a bullet. They used eiderdown because it was a very warm filling for their assault jackets. Eider is still rarely used in the manufacture of some sleeping pillows and quilts.

Question: What did Miller mean when he said, "Give me Rieben on B.A.R."? What is "B.A.R."?

Chosen answer: The BAR is the Browning Automatic Rifle; it was the automatic rifle of this area for US forces, when he says, "Give me Rieben on B.A.R." he is picking squad members, he would want people with certain specialties in the squad, a medic, a sniper, a demolitions expert, a automatic rifleman, which is the BAR, etc.

pross79

Question: Does anybody have an explanation to the apparent violation of orders by Miller's team? Their orders are to find and bring back Pvt Ryan, yet they engage themselves in one battle after another, repeatedly jeopardizing their mission. One would expect the mission objective to be exclusive, and that engagements with the enemy should be avoided of possible.

Airborne Ranger

Chosen answer: Miller is a good officer. He won't carry out his orders at the expense of having American soldiers die. Losing Ryan at the battle would have doomed his unit. He knows that not losing this town is more important to the war effort than saving Ryan.

Grumpy Scot

Question: Rumor has it that the soldier Captain Miller helps to get on shore in the beginning of the film is one of the Ryan brothers. Supposedly you can see his name on his uniform at some point. Since I don't have the movie I can't check for myself. Anyone who can verify this?

Chosen answer: In the trailer, this scene is shown as the death of Sean Ryan, but in the film the soldier is washed away, and the real Sean Ryan (the one with the pack marked "Ryan. S") is too far from the shoreline to be washed in again. The trailer also shows the deaths of Peter and Daniel Ryan, which are not shown in the film, but 20 minutes of the film was edited out, so it is possible the deaths of all three brothers were filmed, but not shown. There's no guarantee that the soldier Miller helps is Sean Ryan (as Sean was the only Ryan brother who fought on Omaha; Peter was killed on Utah, and Daniel was killed a week ago in New Guinea), but it very well could be.

Answer: Its not. If you pay attention to the Soldier Miller is helping onto the beach you can see he is not wearing a pack as is the soldier lying dead on the beach with the name Ryan. S stamped on it.

Share

Follow

Join the mailing list

Add something

Share

Follow

Most popular pages

Best movie mistakesBest mistake picturesBest comedy movie quotesMovies with the most mistakesNew this month101 Dalmatians mistakesGladiator mistake pictureFriends mistakesMan on Fire endingThe Phantom of the Opera questionsMiracle triviaShrek quotesShrek plotWill Ferrell movies & TV showsThe 15 biggest mistakes in The Wizard of OzApocalypse Now mistake video

Quotes

Private Reiben: You wouldn't shoot the kraut and now you're gonna shoot me?
Sergeant Horvath: He's better than you.

More...

Mistakes

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.

More...

Trivia

The pivotal role of "Minnesota Ryan", the Private Ryan that Captain Miller mistakes for the Private Ryan for whom he is searching, is played by a very young and, at the time quasi-unknown, Nathan Fillion.

More...

Follow