The epic war drama is about a commander and his company trying to find Private Ryan, the only surviving brother of four servicemen. The movie has received critical acclaim for its historically accurate and realistic depiction of the Invasion of Normandy at Omaha beach during the Second World War in 1944. It has also received five Oscars along with six nominations for various categories.
The production and pre-production of the film were done on a massive scale making the behind-the-scenes stories just as awe-inspiring as the film itself. So, here are some fascinating facts about Saving Private Ryan gathered from IMDB and other sources that will make you admire the movie more.
1. The Normandy beach landing scene in the movie alone cost $12 million. It involved up to 1,500 extras, partly consisting of Irish Reserve Defense Force members and was called the “best battle scenes of all time” by Empire Magazine.
Saving Private Ryan received much critical acclaim because of its realistic depiction of battles during World War II. The Normandy scene itself was praised by many critics and was ranked first among the “50 Greatest Movie Moments” list on TV Guide. The movie is also well known for employing actors who were war veterans and had real life experiences of what war could do.(source)
2. Spielberg cast Matt Damon for Private Ryan because he wanted an All-American looking actor who is not very well-known. But before the film was released Matt Damon won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting (1997) becoming a star overnight.
3. Steven Spielberg gave Tom Sizemore the role of Technical Sergeant Mike Horvath with a promise that he never test positive to drugs during the filming. He promised that if he failed the test once, even on the last day of shooting, he would fire him and re-shoot all his 58 days of work with another actor.
Tom Sizemore battled with heroin and meth addiction for a long time. His much praised performances were only shadowed by his addiction at that time. Steven Spielberg was among the many who tried to help him get rid of his addiction problems, which he did by giving him a role in the movie. Thankfully, Sizemore was able to keep his job without Spielberg having to replace him.(source)
4. A struggling Vin Diesel wrote, directed, scored and produced a semi-autobiographical short film called Multi Facial about the frustrations in finding work as an actor of mixed ethnicity. When Spielberg saw the film he was so impressed that he created the role of Private First Class Adrian Caparzo just for him.
Initially Diesel wrote a feature film script called Strays but was unable to secure finances to make the film. So he made Multi Facial instead by writing the script in one night and filming it in three days with a budget of three thousand. Though he felt disillusioned in the beginning his film soon was accepted for Cannes Film Festival in 1995. Spielberg saw both the films and later decided to hire him.(source)
5. For his accurate portrayal of an Army Ranger in the role of John H. Miller, Tom Hanks was inducted as an honorary member of US Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
Tom Hanks is the first actor to have ever received such an honor. He also has quite a repertoire of services towards WWII campaigns. He was known to have served as the national spokesman for the World War II Memorial Campaign, being the honorary chairman of the D-Day Museum Capital Campaign and helped in writing and producing the Emmy Award winning series Band of Brothers.(source)