Saving Private Ryan Review
Saving Private Ryan
24 July 1998
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Tom Hanks’ Speech
When Tom Hanks’ character tells the rest of the unit what he does for a living back home, Hanks’ speech was much longer in the original script. But Hanks felt that his character wouldn’t have said so much about himself, and he told director Steven Spielberg so. Spielberg agreed, and the speech was shortened.
Casting of Matt Damon
Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an All-American look. He did not know Damon would win an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (1997) and become an overnight star before the film was released.
Omaha Beach Scene
The Omaha Beach scene cost eleven million dollars to shoot, and involved up to 1,000 extras, some of whom were members of the Irish Army Reserve. Of those extras, twenty to thirty of them were amputees, issued with prosthetic limbs, to simulate soldiers having their limbs blown off.
Movie as per veterans
Many veterans of D-Day congratulated director Steven Spielberg for the film’s authenticity, as well as actor James Doohan, who is best known for playing Scotty in Star Trek (1966). Doohan lost the middle finger of his right hand and was wounded in the leg during the war. Also, he participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, at Juno Beach, where the 3rd Canadian infantry division led the attack. He commended Spielberg for not leaving out any gory details.
Landing craft used in Omaha Beach scene
Two of the landing craft used in the Omaha Beach scenes were actually in use in World War II.
Hall of Fame
In 2006, Tom Hanks was inducted into the U.S. Army’s Ranger Hall of Fame as an honorary member, largely thanks to his portrayal of Captain John Miller.
Cinemas were instructed to up the volume when they showed the film, as the sound effects play such a crucial part in its overall effect.
Omaha Beach battle
The Omaha Beach battle was filmed in sequence over a four-week period, moving the action up the beach shot by shot and day by day. Steven Spielberg claims that none of it was storyboarded in advance.
Special Screening for author Stephen Ambrose
Military historian and author Stephen Ambrose, at a special screening of the film for him, had to ask for the screening to be halted twenty minutes in, as he couldn’t handle the intensity of the opening. After composing himself outside for a few minutes, he was able to return to the screening room and watch the film to its conclusion.
Inspired by the true story of the Niland brothers.
Sergeant Frederick “Fritz” Niland was in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne. Band of Brothers (2001), produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, told the story of another 101st Airborne unit, Easy Company of the 506th PIR, whose member Sergeant Warren “Skip” Muck was best friends with Niland back home in Tonawanda, New York.
America’s National D-Day Memorial in honor of his father
Steven Spielberg donated an undisclosed amount of money to build a theater at America’s National D-Day Memorial in honor of his father, who flew Army Air Corps missions and was a radio operator in Burma during World War II.
EA’s Medal of Honor
The opening scene of the Omaha Beach attack was used for EA’s Medal of Honor (1999)’s opening mission. Some of the dialogue used in the movie is also used in the game, and it even follows the movie’s general advance onto the German positions the movie portrayed
Various ranking of the movie
Voted #1 greatest war film in UK’s Channel 4 poll in 2005.
Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Epic” in 2008.
Voted #2 in “The top 20 war films as voted for by the British Forces” 2008 poll, by British Forces Broadcasting Service Television (BFBS TV).
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time (2006).
Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” edited by Steven Schneider
RT/Meta Critic Review
[Saving Private Ryan] accomplishes something I had been taught was most difficult — making an action-filled anti-war film or, at least, one that doesn’t in some way glorify or lie about combat.(Click here to see)