Trivia / Saving Private Ryan


  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Banned in China:
    • Actually, Malaysia. Though it was released in DVD afterwards.
    • Averted in India. The Indian Censor Board demanded Steven Spielberg to cut out some of the more violent scenes in the movie. Spielberg refused. When the Indian Home Minister saw the movie for himself, he ordered it to be released uncut.
  • California Doubling: The D-Day invasion scene was shot in Ireland (precisely Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe, Wexford). Also, most of the town scenes (Neville-au-Plain and Ramelle) were shot on a single (and quite small) set in Hatfield, England. The same zone was also used in Band of Brothers, but the set was 10 times bigger.
  • Career Resurrection: Ted Danson. Cheers had been off the air for nearly a decade and he's been a in a number of commercial and critical flops since then. His short appearance in this film proved he could do drama every bit as well as comedy and he's worked steadily ever since.
  • Dawson Casting: Sort of. By the time of Normandy, most officers (in battle and combat) were in their late twenties to early thirties at most, with everyone under them being younger, even if only by a couple years. Tom Hanks was in his early 40s when this was filmed. All of the other actors were (for the most part) older than their characters, save Horvath (whose relative age is left untouched entirely). Furthermore, the stress of combat causes accelerated aging, which a lot of the soldiers on the battlefields of World War II would have faced.
  • Disabled Character, Disabled Actor:
    • In the opening scene, a soldier who had just had his legs blown off was played by an actor who had lost his legs years before. A number of the other soldiers on the beach are also played by amputees with prosthetic limbs to simulate having arms or legs eviscerated.
    • Subverted with the one-armed colonel, played by Bryan Cranston, who is not an amputee.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Tom Sizemore (Sgt. Horvath) was battling drug addiction while filming the movie. Steven Spielberg knew about this and had Sizemore tested for drugs every day during filming, with the condition that Sizemore would be fired and his character recast should he tested positive for drugs just once.
  • Dueling Movies: This film and The Thin Red Line; they were pitted against each other at the Oscars and amongst war movie buffs. This was more a function of marketing than anything else — The Thin Red Line was significantly slower-paced and more philosophical as compared to Ryan's traditional war movie feel. (not to mention one is about the Pacific War, the other the European Theater).
  • Enforced Method Acting: The actors portraying the rest of the eponymous Ryan's platoon had to go through very realistic, difficult military training. The eponymous Ryan...didn't. Which actually doubles this trope: Damon's exemption was planned to create resentment on the part of the rest of the cast, which mirrored their characters' feelings.
  • Fake American: Daniel Jackson (the sniper)'s actor Barry Pepper is Canadian.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Bryan Cranston is Colonel Bryce, a minor character from early in the film.
    • Nathan Fillion is Private Ryan from Minnesota (the first, wrong one).
  • Throw It In: Matt Damon ad-libbed Ryan's entire monologue about spying on his brother in the farmhouse with the ugly girl. Although the improv was neither particularly funny nor interesting, filmmakers decided that was why it worked and chose to leave the whole thing in.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Michael Madsen was offered the role of Sgt. Horvath. He declined the role and recommended Tom Sizemore for the part.
    • Edward Norton was also tapped for the role of Private Ryan.
    • Before Tom Hanks was tapped for the role of Captain Miller, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were both considered for the role.
    • Christopher Eccleston turned down a role.
    • A draft of the screenplay had Miller survive and Upham die.
    • Miller's speech about what he did before the war was much longer in the original script. Tom Hanks however felt that Miller would never say that much about himself. Steven Spielberg agreed and it was shortened.

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