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[[folder:Captain John H. Miller]]
->Played by Creator/TomHanks
[[caption-width-right:325:''"Keep the sand out of your weapons. Keep those actions clear. I'll see you on the beach."'']]

TheCaptain and leader of the 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 school teacher, due to the squad's MultipleChoicePast bets.
* AFatherToHisMen: The fact that he is leading a bunch of young men through an incredibly brutal and graphic war in which the world is basically tearing itself apart clearly weighs heavily on him, and remembers the exact number of men he's lost under his command. [[spoiler: After Wade dies, he breaks down crying when he's alone.]]
* BadassTeacher: [[spoiler:Given he was a schoolteacher before the war...]]
* TheCaptain: Serves as the top-ranked soldier in the squad.
* 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.
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler: "Earn it!"]]
%%* TheHero
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:He is mortally wounded by a prisoner he had extended mercy to when the two of them meet on the battlefield a second time.]]
* 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]].
* MysteriousPast: To the point his troops are placing bets on where Miller comes from and what he did, and Reiben even jokes that he was assembled "outta spare body parts of dead [=GIs=]".
* ShellShockedVeteran: He can't wait to get home, and a nervous problem is even making his hand shake.
* TheStrategist: As TheCaptain, always has to coordinate plans on the fly.
* WeaponOfChoice: A Thompson submachine gun.

[[folder:Sergeant Mike Horvath]]
->Played by Tom Sizemore
[[caption-width-right:236:''"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.
* {{BFG}}: Uses a bazooka during the final battle, using it to blow up a tank destroyer and try to slow down the last Tiger tank.
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: The rough to Miller's smooth.
* CatchPhrase: "We're in business!"
* DiesWideOpen:[[spoiler:In an iconic and chilling example.]]
* ImplacableMan: Seemingly appears this way when [[spoiler:he is shot multiple times and keeps on running. He dies shortly after though.]]
* ImprobableWeaponUser: In the Battle of Ramelle, after reaching a MexicanStandoff with a German, both of their rifles jam, the German throws his helmet, causing Horvath to throw his helmet at the German.
* TheLancer: Miller's second-in-command.
* MadeOfIron: He gets shot several times during the final battle, to little clear effect. [[spoiler:The one he takes through the back as he's running over the bridge is the one that finally does him in.]]
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: The final battle has what looks like a bullet or a piece of shrapnel go straight through him, to which Horvath replies as "just got the wind knocked out of me". [[spoiler:[[RealityEnsues He dies shortly later.]]]]
* MercyKill:[[spoiler: Gives Wade a fatal morphine dose so he'll die in less pain.]]
* OralFixation: Chews tobacco.
* SergeantRock: While Miller is a more reasonable and chilly figure, Horvath serves as a tough second-in-command, even threatening to shoot Reiben once he tries to abandon the squad.
* UndyingLoyalty: To Miller. For one thing, he'll get into a standoff with Reiben when the loudmouth won't listen to Miller's orders.
* WeaponOfChoice: Uses a [=M1A1=] Carbine.

[[folder:Private Richard Reiben]]
->Played by Edward Burns
[[caption-width-right:269:''"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 when Wade dies and Miller allows Steamboat Willie to leave unharmed, threatening to go [=AWOL=].
* AlliterativeName: '''R'''ichard '''R'''eiben.
* 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.
* ArmorPiercingResponse: Ryan argues with Miller about being sent home and abandoning the other paratroopers. What Reiben says while he tries to defend his position stops Ryan ''cold,'' as for him it is a WhamLine.
-->'''Reiben:''' '''Hey asshole,''' two of our guys already died trying to find you, alright?
* TheBigGuy: One of the tougher members of the squad and carries the heaviest weapon: a [=BAR=] (Browning Automatic Rifle), which is basically a light machine gun.
* BigGuyFatalitySyndrome: [[spoiler: Resoundingly subverted.]]
* BrooklynRage: He is HotBlooded and even has "Brooklyn NY" on the back of his jacket.
* HeroicBSOD: Has one after [[spoiler: Miller's death. His entire squad has been wiped out and only he, Ryan, and Upham have survived the battle.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Of the GrumpyBear variety given he frequently snarks on what annoys him.
* EverybodysDeadDave: [[spoiler:By the end, he's the only original squad member left.]]
* JerkassHasAPoint: Reiben is of course correct when he points out that he and everyone else on the squad going on a high-risk mission to find Private Ryan has a mother also. [[spoiler: He's also ProperlyParanoid about the German prisoner they let go, as he ''does'' show back up and fatally wounds Miller.]]
* 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.
* SoleSurvivor: [[spoiler: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.
* WeaponOfChoice: a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle).
* WhatTheHellHero: Lays into Miller after he orders the squad to take down a machine gun nest, [[spoiler: which results in Wade's death.]]
-->'''Horvath:''' You heard him, gear up. Your captain just gave you an order.
-->'''Reiben:''' Yeah, like the one he gave to take this machine gun. That was a real dozy, wasn't it, sarge?
-->'''Horvath:''' Soldier, you are way out of line!
-->'''Reiben''': Yes sir, that was one hell of a call coming to take this nest, but hell, we only lost one of our guys going for it. I swear, I hope mama Ryan's '''real fuckin' happy knowing that little Jimmy's life is just a little bit more important than two of our guys! But then again we haven't found him yet, have we?! Have we?!'''
* YouShallNotPass: Ends up having to defend the bridge by himself against the final wave of Waffen-SS trying to capture it, with everyone else either dead, mortally wounded or gone hysterical with panic.

[[folder:Private Daniel Jackson]]
->Played by Creator/BarryPepper
[[caption-width-right:325:''"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.
* BadassBoast: Probably the most egregious example in the whole film.
-->'''Jackson''': It seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift, made me a fine instrument of warfare.\\
'''Captain Miller''': Reiben, pay attention. Now this is how you gripe. Continue Jackson.\\
'''Jackson''': Well, what I mean by that is, sir, is if you put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line sight, sir: pack your bags, fellas, war's over. Amen.
* 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.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler:Blown to pieces by an 88mm shell from a Tiger-A. There's a shot of Jackson's skull caving in as the shell hits.]]
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler: '''''Parker, get down!''''' (Not that it does Parker any good...)]]
* FriendlySniper: Mostly. Put him in a battle, though, and [[ColdSniper he changes]]...
* InstantDeathBullet: Everyone who Jackson shoots dies instantly. (though many are BoomHeadshot)
* RealMenLoveJesus
* ReligiousBruiser: Always says prayers before taking the shots.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler:Upon realizing that a Tiger-A has spotted him, and is elevating its main gun on his position...]]
* 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: Southern, Bible-quoting killing machine, though he does not come off as any less refined than the other soldiers and is perhaps the most respectful.
* TheSouthpaw: Jackson is left-handed, unlike the other members of the squad. This makes his rifle a little hard to operate, since he has to move his hands to cycle the gun.
* TankGoodness: [[spoiler:Jackson is killed by a tank firing on his hiding place in a church tower.]]
* WeaponOfChoice: a Springfield [=M1903A4=] rifle fitted with a scope.

[[folder:Private Stanley Mellish]]
->Played by Adam Goldberg
[[caption-width-right:190:''"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.
* AintTooProudToBeg: "Stop! Listen to me, listen to me! Stop! Stop! No, no! Stop, sto-". [[spoiler:They turn out to be his last words, although considering the circumstances, fair enough. Being stabbed ''hurts''.]]
* BadassMustache: Asides from Upham's goatee, he is the only one not clean shaven or with PermaStubble.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler: Mellish is stabbed with the Hitler Youth knife he collected during the Omaha Landings of D-Day.]]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler:Of all the squad members who die during the last battle, poor Mellish probably gets it worst...]]
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:...being stabbed down to the handle with a knife.]]
* KnifeFight: Gets into a tense one with [[spoiler:a German. It doesn't end well.]]
* ManBitesMan: In his KnifeFight in the climax, both on the receiving and giving end of this.
* NiceJewishBoy: Who makes sure to flaunt his Judaism to the Nazis every now and then.
* OralFixation: Chews gum.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Mellish and Caparzo.
* WeaponOfChoice: A [=M1=] Garand rifle.
* WhosLaughingNow: A somewhat downplayed and heroic example. After seeing numerous German prisoners walk by, Mellish cannot help but show his Star of David to the prisoners and rubs it in their faces that he is Jewish, in German no less.
-->'''Mellish''': Juden! Juden! I'm Juden, right? [[ForTheLulz Juuuuuuuuudeeeeeeen!]]

[[folder:Private Adrian Caparzo]]
->Played by Creator/VinDiesel
[[caption-width-right:241:''"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. He is killed 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.]]
* BaldOfAwesome: It's Vin Diesel. And the only bald member of the squad.
%%* TheBigGuy
* BloodStainedLetter: Caparzo tries to give Mellish a letter to his father [[spoiler:after he's shot, but he wants it recopied so his family won't see the bloodstains on the original.]]
* BruiserWithASoftCenter: [[FriendToAllChildren Seeing a girl in a destroyed home]] ("she reminds me of my niece!") makes him try to get her out of that hellhole.
* GenreBlind: [[spoiler:And it costs him dearly]].
%%* TheHeart
* InstantDeathBullet: Painfully averted.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Miller even says "We're not here to do the decent thing, we're here to follow [[PrecisionFStrike fucking]] orders!" right before Caparzo's attempt of a good deed [[spoiler:leads him to be shot by a sniper.]]
* RealMenLoveJesus: Subtle, but he gives his crucifix to a little girl to calm her from her crying.
* SacrificialLion [[spoiler: The first of the squad to die.]]
* TemptingFate: Ironically his Image quote. [[spoiler:He didn't pay attention to details.]]
* ThoseTwoGuys: Carparzo and Mellish.
* WeaponOfChoice: A [=M1=] Garand rifle.

[[folder:Technician Irwin Wade]]
->Played by Giovanni Ribisi
[[caption-width-right:300:''"...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.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Wade is fatally wounded when the squad attack a Nazi guard house, and asks his friends to give him an overdose of morphine, which they do.]]
* HeroicBSOD: [[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: Assigned as this for the squad.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:He was shot repeatedly, so he asks for an extra dose of morphine before expiring for real.]]
* 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.
* ShootTheMedicFirst: [[spoiler:Horribly {{Exploited}}.]]
* TheSmartGuy: Shares the role with Upham, particularly in deleted scenes and the novelization.
%%* TwoFirstNames

[[folder:Corporal Timothy E. Upham]]
->Played by Creator/JeremyDavies
[[caption-width-right:245:''"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: The only one who can surpass the LanguageBarrier.
* DeathGlare: Develops one when witnessing [[spoiler: Steamboat Willie fatally shoot Captain Miller.]]
* DeskJockey: Before Miller brings him into his squad. He even tries to bring his typewriter!
* DirtyCoward: Justified, as his lack of combat experience makes him avoid fights for a good portion of the movie. His cowardice stops him from [[spoiler: saving Mellish when he clearly had a chance to.]] Even the German who finds him sobbing on the staircase [[EveryoneHasStandards clearly thinks he's pathetic]] [[NotWorthKilling and just leaves him there.]]
* 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]].
* KickTheSonOfABitch: [[spoiler: He coldly shoots an unarmed prisoner dead. Said prisoner was [[DirtyCoward 'Steamboat]] [[AssholeVictim Willie,']] so naturally your sympathies are entirely with Upham.]]
%%* 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: To the point he even averts the firefights prior to the Ramelle battle.
%%* NewMeat
* NotWorthKilling: The German soldier who kills Mellish thinks so little of Upham when he finds the latter cowering on the stairs that he just walks past him.
* SinkTheLifeboats: Subverted early in the movie, when they capture Steamboat Willie. He and Captain Miller are the only ones who don't want to murder him. [[spoiler: later played straight near the end of the movie, when Upham sees Steamboat Willie try to surrender and guns down the unarmed POW in cold blood. While the movie (arguably) treats this as a good thing, in real life it would make Upham a war criminal]]. The film even addresses this, as Upham [[spoiler: lets the other German soldiers he had captured go, seeing as how they just watched him kill an unarmed prisoner in cold-blood. (Not that the guy didn't deserve it and then some.)]]
* 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.
%%* SoldiersAtTheRear
* WeaponOfChoice: A [=M1=] Garand rifle.

[[folder:Private James Francis Ryan]]
[[caption-width-right:247:''"You can tell her [Private Ryan's mother] that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she'd understand that."'']]
->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 grieving mother. The squad find him, but Ryan refuses to leave his duty.
* DeathNotification: Ryan's mother receives all three death letters of her dead son's on the same day.
* DecoyProtagonist: [[spoiler:You're led to believe that the old man at the grave at the start of the film is Miller. It's not. Miller died in the final battle. The old man is Ryan.]]
* DramaticallyMissingThePoint:
-->'''Miller:''' Your brothers are dead.\\
'''Ryan:''' ''[a few moments pass]'' ...which ones?\\
'''Miller:''' ...all of them.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler: Miller's FamousLastWords are "Earn this" on Ryan's ear. And given he knows how many people died for his safety, he does his best to do this after returning home.]]
* HeroicBSOD: During the final battle, he curls up into a ball at the end and freaks out screaming as the bullets whiz by him. Largely understandable given the battle's absolutely ''brutal'' combat and the fact [[spoiler: it's just him, Reiben, Miller, and Upham left and they're being rapidly overrun.]]
* IChooseToStay: Refused to be rescued so he can continue fighting along with his squad.
* ImprovisedWeapon: He has the idea to use mortar rounds as grenades.
* LastOfHisKind: Smaller focus than other uses of this trope, as he's the only survivor of four brothers, but some of the associated characteristics are there.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: As the tagline goes, "The mission is a man". Thus he only appears once Miller's squad stumbles upon him.
* SoleSurvivor: [[spoiler: Of the paratroopers stationed at Ramelle.]]
* SpoilerOpening: [[spoiler: 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
* WeaponOfChoice: A [=M1=] Garand rifle.

[[folder:Steamboat Willie]]
[[caption-width-right:318:''"Hey. Fuck Hitler."'']]
->'''Played by:''' Joerg Stadler

A German soldier who is taken prisoner by Captain Miller's squad after Wade is killed. He is eventually allowed to walk free by Miller. Unfortunately, he reappears with disastrous consequences.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Upham straight up fucking executes him. He had it coming.]]
* BaldOfEvil: Though German soldiers at the time had a "high and tight" crew cut instead of no hair.
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler: He comes back to find Miller's squad again. Doesn't go well for the squad or himself.]]
* DirtyCoward: He shamefully grovels when the Americans have him prisoner, [[spoiler:but isn't so forthcoming of mercy when the situation is reversed.]]
* HateSink: It's made ''very'' obvious very quickly that we aren't supposed to like this guy. Admit it, you didn't feel so sad about him [[spoiler: getting shot dead by Upham.]]
* HeroKiller: [[spoiler: Responsible for the deaths of Wade and Miller.]]
* KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Gunning down Miller at Ramelle, after the captain let him go after Wade was killed.]]
* LaserGuidedKarma: [[spoiler:He's killed by Upham, who asked Miller to let him go before... right after Miller is shot by the German.]]
* ManipulativeBastard: Plays on Upham's and Miller's sympathies to worm his way out of Miller's squad killing him. [[spoiler: He tries this again with Upham at the end, only this time it doesn't work.]]
* NoNameGiven: His credited screen name comes from one of the references to American culture he does to try to save his life ("''WesternAnimation/SteamboatWillie'', choo-choo!").
%%* ThoseWackyNazis
* UngratefulBastard: He rejoins the Nazis after the troop spares his life. However, he wouldn't have had a choice if found by a German unit. Saying he promised to no longer fight against the Allies would likely get him shot. He still qualifies on account of his ferocity in combat to his erstwhile captors, though.

[[folder: The Paratroopers]]

A group of soldiers from the 101st Airbourne defending the town of Ramelle, including Private James Francis Ryan. This group consists of:
* Corporal Henderson
* Private James Francis Ryan
* Private Parker
* Private Toynbe
* Private Rice
* Private Trask
* Private Lyle
* Private Weller
* Private Fallon
* Private Garity
* Private Wilson
* Private Gary
* Sticky Bomb Runner
* BadassBeard: Corporal Henderson has one.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Several paratroopers are blasted to pieces by a German 20mm team. Those who were shot by the 20mm but not killed were forced to crawl until taken out by other German soldiers.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The Sticky Bomb Runner is killed when the sticky bomb he tries to use on one of the tanks goes off, blasting him to pieces.
* ImpromptuTracheotomy: Corporal Henderson is killed by a gunshot to the neck just before the death of Private Mellish.
* InTheBack: Private Wilson is shot in the back by Steamboat Willie, just before Willie kills [[spoiler: Miller]].
* KillEmAll: All but Private Ryan are killed in the Battle of Ramelle.
* LastStand: Trask fails to outrun the Germans and decides to fight, killing a few with his helmet before another German soldier beats him to death.
* MolotovCocktail: Weller and Wilson use these on one of the Marder tank destroyers.
* NoRangeLikePointBlankRange: Private Lyle shoots the last remaining German in the first Tiger tank in the face with the muzzle about six inches away.
* OffWithHisHead: Private Lyle is decapitated by a 20mm round.
* PosthumousCharacter: Captain Jennings.
* RedshirtArmy: Only Ryan gets a first name and the rest are killed at Ramelle.
* StickyBomb: Rice and Garrity use these on the first Tiger tank, disabling it.
* StuffBlowingUp: Two cases; Toynbe starts off the battle of Ramelle with a pair of land mines and the aforementioned [[StickyBomb Sticky bombs.]]
* TankGoodness: Private Parker is blown up in Ramelle's bell tower alongside Private Jackson.
* WeaponOfChoice: Henderson and Parker have [=M1919A4=] machine guns, the rest have [=M1=] Garands. Henderson also has a Thompson submachine gun.
* YouAreInCommandNow: Corporal Henderson took command after Captain Jennings was killed when the town was bombed some time ago.