Saving Private Ryan

Question: Why was CPL Upham treated so badly by the other soldiers? they were only Privates (E-2), but a Corporal is E-4. They should've seen him as a superior and respected him, shouldn't they?

wolf8265

Chosen answer: Upham isn't a soldier, he's a clerk, recruited from another unit because of his linguistic skills. His rank is irrelevant; untested in combat, he would not receive any respect from the other soldiers until he proved himself worthy of it.

Tailkinker Premium member

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?

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.

Question: Why, when the radar attack, the 7 of them attack it, but some men get blown up. Who are these people?

Answer: They aren't attacking the radar, technically, they are attacking the German machine gun nest guarding it. "Steamboat Willie" is the only surviving gunner.

Question: Would making a sticky bomb using the method shown in the movie be possible in real life?

Answer: This was based on an actual method that had been developed during the war, though it proved to be too dangerous with uncontrolled explosions to be used effectively.

raywest Premium member

Answer: Yes, they could be possible. But making bombs like that are very dangerous to use so I wouldn't try it out. It's doubtful anything of the sorts were used during WWII, there already were pre-made sticky bombs around that worked a lot better.

lionhead

Question: Why would an interpreter be necessary for a mission such as Miller's? Is this purely a plot devise to add a character who is 1) inexperienced in combat and 2) not part of a pre-existing group close-knit through combat?

Gordo-from-hell

Chosen answer: If they have to ask the locals for information they will need an interpreter for that.

Ssiscool Premium member

Question: After the D-Day battle, Capt. Miller and the Colonel are discussing whatever. They keep mentioning something called "the 88's." What are the 88's?

Answer: An "88" is a German 88-millimeter gun, a lethal and extremely versatile gun which was often thought of as the best gun in the war - on ANY side. It could appear on a tank, as an anti-tank gun, as an assault gun or as an anti-aircraft gun.

Phil C.

Question: There is an entry stating that military members can't just choose which orders to obey. Is that actually true?

Answer: Article 90, 91, and 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes it a crime to willfully disobey a superior commissioned officer, superior non-commissioned office, warrant officer's legal order or fail to obey any general lawful order. Punishment for not following lawful orders during wartime can include death. The keyword being "lawful" orders. Military personnel do not have to obey unlawful orders. Military courts still hold individuals responsible for their actions, even if following orders. Thus, following unlawful orders can result in court discipline and the phrase "I was just following orders" has never worked. An unlawful order is the only time a military personnel can choose not to follow an order. Of course, just like in civilian life, they can always choose what orders to follow and not to follow and simply risk the consequences of a court martial.

Bishop73

Answer: Unless the order contravenes a standing order issued by the higher ups, or violates a treaty the government signed (the Geneva Convention, for example) then it has to be followed. Sometimes soldiers will disobey an illogical order and it turns out OK - but they will have to justify it at tribunal at some point if necessary.

Answer: Of course it is. When you join the military you get given orders and you follow them. You don't get to pick and choose to follow only the ones you like or the ones you agree with. The military is basically "do as you are told"

The_Iceman

Question: How accurate is the Normandy invasion scene? Was the real battle as dramatic as shown in the movie?

Answer: The scene was no doubt mostly accurate and was praised as one of the most accurate depictions of World War II ever and even traumatised some veterans. However, there were some changes and some slight inaccuracies (most of it due to filming reasons). For instance the 'Dog One' exit is portrayed as a footpath whereas it was an actual road in reality. The beach in the film is much narrower beach than the real Omaha beach, this was because the real Omaha had the US cemetery and the surrounding area had changed significantly since the war. In any case filming permission on the beach itself was denied by French authorities (although filming in the cemetery was granted), so a similar looking beach in Ireland had to be used. The bunkers were also primarily used as observations posts and not machine gun nests as depicted. However, despite this, the depiction of the landing on Omaha is mostly accurate, and most of the errors mentioned were very minor.

Answer: Definitely, the scene was praised for its historical accuracy by veterans and WWII experts. Even the landing crafts were real. Not on all beaches this kind of resistance was happening though, like Utah beach.

lionhead

Question: Why didn't they just shoot Steamboat Willie on sight? And once they decided not to kill him, why couldn't they call a chopper to come take him? Also, why were they so intent on committing a war crime by killing him once he'd surrendered? I know he killed Wade, but that's just what happens in war.

MikeH

Chosen answer: Rules of war are when someone surrenders you take him prisoner and are not allowed to kill him, they followed the rules of war. They are all very emotional from the battle and losing a friend and fellow soldier though and they wanted a scapegoat. They were behind enemy lines so nobody could come to pick up the prisoner, as the lieutenant explained, and helicopters weren't really around in WW2.

lionhead

Question: During the assault on the machine gun nest, when Upham uses his scope to see the action, there is a scene which shows an ally tossing a grenade to the nest, but the enemy catches it and tosses it back. How did the ally manage to survive the blast? The grenade was tossed back straight to him and exploded where he was standing. I paused at the point of the blast and I could see some blood flying along with the explosion.

cryptical

Chosen answer: SGT. Horvath went right, so that was him throwing the grenade, which the German catches and throws back. When Horvath throws the grenade he is actually inside a bomb crater. When the grenade is thrown back by the German soldier, the blast happen on the grassy flat ground outside the bomb crater. So Horvath was sheltered by the blast being down inside the crater. Those are bullet holes in Wade's chest, and not grenade wounds.

Question: This may have been obvious but I wanted to check, the guy that kills Adam Goldberg horribly with the knife and shoots Tom Hanks, he was the guy they let go with 1000 paces, right? Nasty thought. The translating private shoots him at the end as well, right?

Answer: They are two completely different people. The soldier they let go, who (probably unknowingly) shot Miller and who was killed (or murdered, as I prefer) by Upham after he surrendered was a member of the Heer (regular army)— - you can see the insignia on his collar. The man who stabbed Mellish was a private in the Waffen-SS (military arm of the SS) - —you can see the "SS" runes ("lightning bolts") on his collar. They have similar shaved hairstyles, but if you look closely at them in side-by-side screencaps, you will notice the differences. The Waffen-SS character also does not seem to recognize Upham when he encounters him on the stairs; the Heer character seems surprised to encounter Upham when he surrenders.

Question: A question about those sticky bombs they use in the last battle to blow the tracks of the tanks. Were there ever really any bombs made like that from socks, grease and explosives and used for such a purpose or was it something they just made up for the movie?

Answer: There were actual "sticky bombs" used in WWII. Developed by the British, they were nitroglycerin-filled glass spheres, coated with a sticky adhesive, and covered by a protective metal sheathing that was stripped away before being thrown. Designed as anti-tank weapons, the bombs were often more dangerous to the user than to the tank, occasionally getting stuck to the person who was throwing it, or even igniting while being handled or during transport. In addition, Britain trained their Home Guard units in the making of improvised sticky bombs, the most common being glass containers of nitroglycerin inside a bag soaked in the glue compound, and dropped onto enemy tanks from rooftops. The G.I. may have learned of the improvised method, as actual sticky grenades only made it into the hands of very few combat units.

raywest Premium member

Question: In the beach scene, they keep talking about something called "dog one exit". What is "dog one"?

killin_kellit

Chosen answer: The Allied forces identified five heavily-defended "exits" off Omaha Beach, which had to be cleared in order for the invasion to proceed inland: Dog One, Dog Three, Easy One, Easy Three and Fox One. The real Dog One was a road off the beach, although the movie portrays it as a stepped footpath.

Sierra1 Premium member

Question: At Omaha Beach, there were large metal things strewn along the water line (they sort of resembled gigantic jacks). First, what are those? Second, were they at the actual Omaha Beach on D-Day?

Answer: Nicknamed "Czech Hedgehogs", they're designed to damage incoming landing craft or to stop tanks making their way up the beach. They were indeed present on D-Day.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: When they let the German who shot Wade walk away blindfolded, why on earth did they not handcuff him as well? They did not assure that he was picked up by the allied, and he could easily remove the blindfold. After all it was bad judgment as he was the one who killed Capt. Miller.

Answer: Why not tie up him and put him in a ditch? There's a million things he could have done. One reason he just made him walk away blindfolded was to scare him into thinking he was going to be executed. Its not really shown whether they even had handcuffs, so it's hard to determine if they could have done something like that. Their main concern was with the mission, not what would happen to him. Last thing with letting him go, Miller could have been shot by any one of those German soldiers so it's more just ironic that he killed him.

Lummie Premium member

Question: This applies to a lot of war films, but what is a klick?

Answer: It's American military slang for a kilometre.

Hamster Premium member

Question: When several soldiers surrender, why was the first one shot? I'm not referring to the end, I'm referring to the opening battle, when several surrendered, and only the first was shot.

MikeH

Answer: In the D-Day scene at the beginning of the battle, when the Germans surrender after a brief Trench Battle, one gets shot. I think this is because one soldier was still very tense and shot the German because he didn't see his hands up in the fight or flight response he was having.

Chosen answer: If you're referring to the very end of the film when the Germans surrendered, the guy shot was the same guy they had found earlier at the machine gun nest when their medic was killed. They had let that guy go. Then it turned out he was the one that shot and killed Tom Hanks, so he was killed because of this.

Quantom X Premium member

Question: Rather than sending an army into enemy territory to save a single soldier, wouldn't it have made more sense to put the word out among troops to try find Private Ryan as they found each other? It would have been awfully risky to send an army unit into enemy territory to save a single soldier.

Answer: It's only a squad of soldiers, definitely not an entire army. Word wouldn't spread fast around France during the early stages of an invasion. All original communications were cut and the infrastructure is hell, they had to use pigeons to contact England for a reason. If you want to send word out or find someone you have to send men.

lionhead

It wouldn't have just been dangerous to a squad into enemy territory to save one man at the time which the movie takes place. They would have had to spend what could be many days to trying to locate him since they didn't know what Ryan looked like.

Question: What exactly killed Sergeant Horvath? I reviewed the scene carefully but I couldn't tell what exactly pierced his back - was it a piece of shrapnel, or did he get shot by one of the Wehrmacht German troops?

Joey221995

Answer: Horvath was shot in the back by attacking Germans trying to seize control of the bridge. He was shot a total of 3 times. Once when he went toe to toe with the German. His German attacker's gun was jammed/empty of ammo. The German throws his helmet, so does he, beats the German to a pistol draw and gets shot in the side, then throws his .45 cal at other Germans. Another after he fired a bazooka round and Miller is yelling to get off the bridge - he starts falling back and gets hit in the leg. The 3rd was in the back, right after the 2nd when he stood back up.

Question: What kind of explosive were they putting in the socks when making the sticky bomb?

Answer: They say they have enough Composition-B (RDX and TNT) to blow the bridge twice, but when they take the explosives to put into the socks the crates say TNT. So its either Comp-B or TNT that they use.

lionhead

Continuity mistake: When they go to find Private Ryan there are eight of them, when they go to a French town and a soldier 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. (01:23:11)

More mistakes in Saving Private Ryan

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

More quotes from Saving Private Ryan

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.

Cubs Fan
More trivia for Saving Private Ryan

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