Advertisement

Little Known Facts About "Saving Private Ryan" That Are Grittier Than You'll Believe

Saving Private Ryan was one of the most hard-hitting war movies of all time. It is famous for the brutality of the first 27 minutes of the movie in which the allies storm the beaches of Normandy at Omaha Beach.

It was loved by both critics and audiences alike and would capture 11 Academy Awards including Steven Spielberg's second award for Best Director. It has since been chosen to be preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress because of its significance.

So, let's take a look behind the scenes of Saving Private Ryan and add even more to this incredible cinematic experience.

1. Matt Damon Was Pampered On Purpose

Pref

All of the actors except Matt Damon were required to attend Army training before the film was shot. Damon escaped because they wanted the other actors to resent him and put that forward on screen.

2. The Opening Scene Was Truly Bloody

Pref

The opening scene is famous for the amount of violence and gore that it contained and they needed 40 barrels of fake blood to film it.

3. The Normandy Landing Scene Was Too Real

Pref

They had a genuine veteran of the Normandy landings working on the film, but he had to leave because the scenes were too realistic for him.

4. Private Ryan Could Have Been Very Different

Pref

Best known for his "legendary" performance as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris was put forward to play Private Ryan.

5. Tom Hanks Might Not Have Made It

Pref

While Tom Hanks got the role of Captain John Miller, Steven Spielberg had thought seriously about offering it to Harrison Ford or Mel Gibson first.

6. They Were Prepared For Calls For Help

Saving Private Ryan Wikia

They thought the movie was so real that real life veterans would be disturbed and they set up an 800 number that they could all for help and support.

7. Ed Norton Opted To Be A Nazi Instead

Pref

Ed Norton could have been Private Ryan, but he decided that he'd rather play the racist lead in American History X instead. It wasn't a bad decision. American History X attracted plenty of critical praise.

Advertisement

8. The Training Was Hard

Pref

When the actors went to boot camp to learn to be soldiers, they didn't get it easy. The supervisor made them camp in the rain and called them plenty of rude names.

9. The Omaha Battles Were Not Storyboarded

Pref

The Omaha Beach scenes were filmed over an intense period of four weeks—that's pretty amazing when you consider that the scenes were not storyboarded in advance.

10. A Box Office Smash Hit

Pref

Saving Private Ryan was 1998's biggest hit movie. It would be another 16 years before 2014's American Sniper became the next R-rated movie to be the number one hit of the year.

11. The Sound Of Gunfire Was Real

YouTube

All the gunfire sounds were created on a firing range using real period weapons and live ammunition. They sounded exactly the way they would have back then.

12. A Rabid Refusal

Pref

Billy Bob Thornton was offered the role of Sergeant Horvath, but he decided he'd rather not take it because he is afraid of water.

13. The Sound Effects Mattered

Pref

Sound was so important to the way that the movie would be perceived that theaters were instructed to turn the volume up when playing the reels.

14. Not So Unknown, After All

Pref

Matt Damon got the part of Private Ryan because he was an unknown. Unfortunately, by the time the film hit the screens, he'd become a star thanks to Good Will Hunting.

15. Tom Sizemore Had A Nasty Habit

Pref

Tom was dealing with drug withdrawal as he fought to come to terms with addiction on the set. Spielberg sat him down and told him that he would face a blood test each day and if he failed, all his scenes would be reshot with someone new in the role. 

It's always fascinating to learn a little more about our favorite films. We hope that you enjoyed these super facts.

Be sure to SHARE this with your family and friends!

16. Tom Hanks Cut His Own Script Down

Pref

John Miller, Tom Hanks' character, had a long speech to give about who he was and where he was from, but Hanks felt he wouldn't have said that much and Spielberg agreed; so Hanks cut the speech down to a few lines.

Advertisement

17. Omaha Beach Cost A Fortune

Pref

The single scene of Omaha Beach cost more than $11 million to make and most of the extras were real soldiers from the Irish Army Reserves.

18. Even Spielberg Has Things To Learn

Pref

Spielberg used drills attached to cameras in the movie to make them shake but only because he didn't know there was an actual "shaker lens" which would have done the same thing.

19. Hyper-realism On Omaha Beach

Pref

You can't get much more realism in a war movie than using the actual landing crafts that were present on the day. The Omaha Beach scene has two such original craft.

20. The Ammo Was Made Of Wood

Pref

Ammo is heavy and the actors weren't up for carrying around tons of spare ammo in every scene just for authenticity's sake, so they made it from wood to reduce the weight.

21. It Was More Accurate Than Some Believed

Pref

The scene in which rangers throw mortar rounds by hand at German troops was sniffily dismissed by critics as unrealistic until Charles Kelly, who won the Medal of Honor, pointed out that he had actually done this during the campaign in Italy.

22. Timing Was Everything

Pref

When Paul Giamatti says "The streets have been quiet for about 45 minutes," it's nearly 45 minutes into the movie. It wasn't planned like that, it's just a coincidence.

23. The Movie Wasn't Meant To Be A Hit

Pref

Spielberg shot the movie as a gift for his father. He thought it couldn't do well at the box office because it had too much realism, too much violence and was about World War II. He was surprised when it was a hit.

24. The Movie Was Shown Uninterrupted

Pref

Spielberg flexed some extra creative authority over movie theaters when he requested that no one be allowed entry if they arrived after the movie had begun showing.

25. Stephen Ambrose Choked At A Screening

Pref

The famous military historian, Stephen Ambrose, was offered a special screening of the movie. He had to stop them 20 minutes in to regain his composure because he felt that the opening was simply too real. 

Be sure to SHARE this with your family and friends!

Trending Today: