!!Captain John H. Miller
->Played by Creator/TomHanks
->''"Keep the sand out of your weapons. Keep those actions clear. I'll see you on the beach."''

TheCaptain and leader of the [[FiveManBand eight man band]] sent to find Private Ryan. Captain Miller leads 'Charlie' Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion during the D-Day landings. He is a ShellShockedVeteran, his hand often shaking when in the presence of danger. It is revealed he is a [[spoiler: school teacher]], due to the squad's MultipleChoicePast bets.

* AFatherToHisMen
* {{Badass}}
** [[spoiler:BadassTeacher]]
* TheCaptain
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: The smooth to Horvath's rough.
* DisconnectedByDeath: Miller tries to get a communications tech to contact reinforcements via radio, only to find the tech has had his head blown open the third time he goes to talk to him, and then finds the telephone gear has also been shot up.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Miller asks Ryan to make something good of his life at the end of the final battle.
* [[spoiler: FamousLastWords]]: [[spoiler: "Earn it!"]]
* TheHero
** [[spoiler:TheHeroDies]]
* HeroicBSOD: Occurs twice in similar fashions at the beginning and end of the film, where close explosions render him in a [[SteelEarDrums soundless daze.]]
* ManlyTears: Captain Miller sobs to himself after [[spoiler: Wade's death.]]
* MultipleChoicePast: Guessed at by his troops. [[spoiler:Revealed that he's a schoolteacher after Wade dies and Reiben threatens to leave]].
* ShellShockedVeteran

!!Sergeant Mike Horvath
->Played by Tom Sizemore
->''"This time the mission is the man."''

Captain Miller's [[TheLancer Lancer]], Sergeant Horvath is loyal to his captain and has battled alongside him in numerous countries.

* {{Badass}}
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: The rough to Miller's smooth.
* ImplacableMan: Seemingly appears this way when [[spoiler: he is shot multiple times and keeps on running. He dies shortly after though.]]
* TheLancer
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: [[spoiler: To his fatal bullet wounds.]]
* OnlyAFleshWound: Sadly averted.
* SergeantRock
* UndyingLoyalty: To Miller.

!!Private Richard Reiben
->Played by Edward Burns
->''"My ma, she would've come home, shook me awake, chatted me up 'til dawn. I swear that woman was never too tired to talk."''

A big mouthed and opinionated soldier from Brookyln, Reiben seems quite close to his friends and openly calls out Captain Miller's orders, particularly [[spoiler: when Wade dies and Miller allows Steamboat Willie to leave unharmed]], threatening to go [=AWOL=].

* AlliterativeName
* AllMenArePerverts: He tells a story about selling to [[GagBoobs the well-endowed wife of his apartment's superintendent]] a bra two sizes too small, only to see her trying it.
* {{Badass}}
* BrooklynRage
* DeadpanSnarker
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Quite easily the most surly and temperamental member of Miller's BadassCrew, but [[spoiler: when all is said and done and he and Upham (who was a new arrival to their squad and whom he barely knows) are all that remains of their squad, he is visibly quite pained and is especially distraught over Captain Miller's death, even though he was (not too long before) quite seriously considering deserting because he no longer felt confident in Miller's leadership. He also takes Caparzo's letter to his dad, which had been passed from him after his death, to Wade, to Miller, intending to make sure it got to it's final destination.]]
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Comes close to pulling this off.
* [[spoiler:SoleSurvivor: Is the only member from Miller's original squad to survive.]]
* ToAbsentFriends: Reiben takes the deaths of his teammates very hard, threatening to go [=AWOL=] at one point.

!!Private Daniel Jackson
->Played by Barry Pepper
->''"Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight."''

A religious ColdSniper and the best marksman in the team. At times he seems to have BottomlessMagazines.

* AsTheGoodBookSays: His pre-shot murmurs are taken out of the Psalms.
* {{Badass}}: Oh God, yes.
* BottomlessMagazines: Seemingly at times, although this is minor since the gun he uses in the final battle has a limited number of rounds.
* ColdSniper: Only when on duty, Jackson is coldly emotionless and murmurs Bible verses to himself. He is friendly when in casual talk with his friends.
* FakeAmerican: Jackson's actor is Canadian.
* FriendlySniper: Mostly. Put him in a battle, though, and [[ColdSniper he changes]]...
* InstantDeathBullet: Everyone who Jackson shoots dies instantly. (though many are BoomHeadshot)
** Subverted when [[spoiler: Jackson is blown up and killed by a tank.]]
* RealMenLoveJesus
* ReligiousBruiser
* OhCrap: [[spoiler: Upon realising he's a dead man.]]
* ScopeSnipe: Jackson scores a bullseye on a German sniper.
* TheScourgeOfGod: Considers himself this, but every man he kills is in the name of good.
* SouthernFriedPrivate
* [[spoiler: TankGoodness]]: [[spoiler: Jackson is killed by a tank firing on his hiding place in a church tower.]]

!!Private Stanley Mellish
->Played by Adam Goldberg
->''"Your father was circumcised by my rabbi, you prick!"''

A Jewish soldier who is good friend with Caparzo. He is nicknamed "Fish" by his friends.

* AmbiguouslyJewish: [[AvertedTrope Averted]], he's actually quite vocal about his Jewish heritage, [[IShallTauntYou even at one point rubbing it in the face of captured German soldiers.]]
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler: Mellish is slowly and painfully stabbed through the chest by a Nazi wielding a Hitler Youth knife he picked up as a collectible. And the worst part is that he is Jewish.]]
* {{Badass}}
** BadassIsraeli: Not Israeli, but AmbiguouslyJewish and certainly {{Badass}}, so he loosely counts.
** BadassMustache
* [[spoiler: ChekhovsGun]]: [[spoiler: Mellish is stabbed with the Hitler Youth knife he collected during the Omaha Landings of D-Day.]]
* [[spoiler:CruelAndUnusualDeath: Of all the squad members who die during the last battle, poor Mellish probably gets it worst.]]
* [[spoiler: ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice]]
* KnifeFight: Gets into a tense one with [[spoiler:a German. It doesn't end well.]]
* ThoseTwoGuys: Mellish and Caparzo.

!!Private Adrian Caparzo
->Played by VinDiesel
->''"You gotta pay attention to detail, I know exactly where he's from and I know exactly what he did 'cuz I pay attention to detail."''

A soldier in Captain Miller's group, played by VinDiesel. [[spoiler: He is assassinated by a sniper and dies a slow death, leaving a letter to his father in the hands of his friends.]]

* BadassAndChildDuo: Averted since the badass [[spoiler: is shot and dies.]]
* TheBigGuy
* BruiserWithASoftCenter
* FriendToAllChildren
* GenreBlind: [[spoiler:And it costs him dearly]].
* TheHeart
* InstantDeathBullet: Painfully averted.
* [[spoiler: NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished]]
* RealMenLoveJesus: Subtle, but he gives his crucifix to a little girl to calm her from her crying.
* SacrificialLion

!!Technician Irwin Wade
->Played by Giovanni Ribisi
->''"...the trick to falling asleep is trying to stay awake."''

TheMedic of the team. Wade has a hard time saving the lives of fellow soldiers, but is willing to help anybody out, even wounded Nazis.

* BulletproofHumanShield: Forced to use a dead soldier's body as a shield for another patient.
* ClusterFBomb: Given with good reason. After Wade and other medics seemingly stop a fellow soldier from bleeding to death, a bullet puts a hole through his helmet. [[RageBreakingPoint This ticks Wade right off.]]
* [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide]]: [[spoiler: Wade is fatally wounded when the squad attack a Nazi guard house, and tricks his friends into giving him an overdose of morphine.]]
** [[spoiler: Judging from the looks his squad mates give him after he requests more morhpine, it is actually heavily implied that they all knew what he was asking for. Plus, these are seasoned commandos we're talking about. It's very likely they know how much morphine a man can be given before overdosing.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Early in the movie, Wade is kept out of harm's way by Horvath, who chastises him by essentially saying "Who would help you if you got shot?!" Later in the movie he volunteers to take a dangerous duty, and Horvath is unable to talk Miller into letting him do it instead. It didn't turn out well for Wade.
** It was Jackson who went, not Wade. Wade just ended up getting hit anyway.
* HeroicBSOD[=/=]DespairEventHorizon: [[spoiler:After realizing just how badly he'd been shot. But then "Oh God, I can feel my liver!" would have that effect on most people.]]
* TheMedic
* [[spoiler: MercyKill]]
* NervesOfSteel: Was completely calm and deadpan doing surgery on Omaha Beach... up until the Germans shoot a patient that it looked like he was going to be able to save. [[RageBreakingPoint Then he just snaps]].
* OhCrap: Gets a particularly horrific one after realizing [[spoiler:how bad his wound is.]]
-->[[spoiler:Oh God, I can feel my liver!]]
* ParentalIssues: Had some as a kid, due to having two working parents he spent relatively little time with.
* [[spoiler:ShootTheMedicFirst]]: Horribly {{Exploited}}.
* TheSmartGuy: Shares the role with Upham, particularly in deleted scenes and the novelization.
* TwoFirstNames

!!Corporal Timothy E. Upham
->Played by Jeremy Davies
->''"I looked up "fubar" in the German dictionary and there's no fubar in here."''

A translator who speaks French and German, Upham is brought into the squad after Captain Miller's translator was killed.

* CunningLinguist
* DeskJockey: Before Miller brings him into his squad. He even tries to bring his typewriter!
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler: When his fear prevents him from rescuing Mellish.]]
* JadeColoredGlasses: Upham initially supported Miller's decision to release "Steamboat Willie" rather than execute him. Later, [[spoiler:Upham kills "Steamboat Willie" to avenge Captain Miller]].
* ManlyTears
* MyFriendsAndZoidberg: Gets some of this treatment from Miller's squad, although he slowly begins earning more acceptance toward the end of the film.
* NaiveNewcomer
* NewMeat
* SixthRanger: Originally from the 29th Infantry Division, recruited into the squad by Miller because the squad's translator was killed on Omaha Beach.
* TheSmartGuy: Shares the role with Wade.
* TheSoCalledCoward: Justified, as his lack of combat experience makes him avoid fights for a good portion of the movie.
* SoldiersAtTheRear

!!Private James Francis Ryan
->Played by Creator/MattDamon
The Private Ryan in question which Captain Miller's squad go to find. After three of his brothers died, Ryan is demanded to be found and brought home to his greiving mother. The squad find him, but Ryan refuses to leave his duty.

* CharacterTitle
** SecondaryCharacterTitle
* DeathNotification: Ryan's mother receives all three death letters of her dead son's on the same day.
* DecoyProtagonist: An elderly Ryan visits Miller's gravestone in Normandy, and recalls the tale of the squad's journey through the eyes of Captain Miller.
* EarnYourHappyEnding
* IChooseToStay: Refused to be rescued so he can continue fighting along with his squad.
* LastOfHisKind
* [[spoiler: SpoilerOpening: The old man at the beginning of the film is wearing a pin for the 101st Airborne. Ryan is the only main cast member who is a member of the 101st. Miller and his squad are from the 2nd Battalion, US Army Rangers and Upham is from the 29th Infantry Division.]]
* TwoFirstNames

!!Steamboat Willie
A German soldier who is taken prisoner by Captain Miller's squad after [[spoiler:Wade is killed]]. He is eventually allowed to walk free by Miller. Unfortunately, he reappears with disastrous consequences.

* BaldOfEvil
* [[spoiler: ChekhovsGunman]]
* [[spoiler:HeroKiller]]
* IDontWantToDie: While [[spoiler:digging Wade's grave]], he tries convincing the troops that prefers America (including a "Fuck Hitler!").
* [[spoiler:LaserGuidedKarma: He's killed by Upham, who asked Miller to let him go before... right after Miller is shot by the German.]]
* NoNameGiven: His credited screen name comes from one of the references to American culture he does to try to save his life ("''SteamboatWillie'', choo-choo!").
* ThoseWackyNazis
* [[spoiler:UngratefulBastard: He rejoins the Nazi's after the troop spares his life.]]