7 Must read behind the scenes stories from Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan is an iconic movie directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1998. The movie depicts the events during the invasion of Normandy during the World War II and it is known for its opening sequence depicting the D-Day at the Omaha beach on June 6, 1944, a sequence that lasts for 27 minutes. The movie grossed $481 million worldwide and won Spielberg his second Oscar for Best Director. Here are 7 must read facts about the behind the scenes action of the movie.
1 Unfortunate soldiers
In this scene, two soldiers who come out with their hands in the air and shouting something are shot down by the US soldiers. The soldiers were wearing the Nazi uniform and were thought to be part of the Nazi German army, but in fact they were Czech soldiers who were recruited by Germany when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. The soldiers were shouting “Don’t shoot. Don’t kill us. We are not German, we are Czech” in Czech language.
2 India banned Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan was banned in India when it was released worldwide. This happened when the Censor Board for Film Certification in India asked Spielberg to tone down the violence in the movie. Unfortunately, Spielberg declined to cut out the said scenes and the film was banned in India and hence Spielberg didn’t release the film in India at all.
3 Matt Damon was saved from military training
All the actors who played key roles in the movie as soldiers were put through an actual military boot camp by retired military USMC captain Dale Dye for 10 days. It involved the crew being put through on field combat situation, leading the crew on marches and eating MREs. They were also trained how to clean, assemble and fire weapons from that period. Only actor who escaped this training camp was Matt Damon who played Private Ryan. Spielberg kept him away from other actors to built resentment towards him and this showed in their performance.
4 Steven Spielberg directed the movie due to one reason only
Steven Spielberg decided to direct this movie for one reason only. He was crazy busy doing pre production work on Jurassic Park sequel The Lost world and simultaneously worked on Saving Private Ryan. He directed the movie because of his father Arnold Spielberg who fought in WWII as radio operator in Burma in a B-25 squad.
5 Actor Tom Sizemore was fighting his own demons
Tom Sizemore played Sergeant Horvarth in the movie was almost fired from the movie when it was near completion. This was because; he had a massive addiction to cocaine during the 1997-98 time period. In order to shoot the movie successfully and keep Sizemore in line, Spielberg swore to Sizemore that there would be random drug tests for him during the filming of the movie and if he tested positive in any of them, he will be fired from the movie even if it happened on the last day of the filming and he would reshoot his part with another actor.
6 Omaha Beach was recreated somewhere else
The original Omaha Beach where the D-Day landing happened in Normandy, France had very strict filming restrictions put on by the France government, the opening shot of D-Day had to be filmed in Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe Strand in Wexford in Ireland. The beach had the same sand and a bluff similar to where German forces were stationed at Omaha. The opening sequence included 2500 Irish Army Troops portraying the Allied Forces.
7 All the uniforms were custom made
Joanna Johnston designed the costumes for the movie and she wanted to use the authentic costumes from the WWII era but found them too expensive to hire. She then created 3500 custom fitted uniforms for actors portraying soldiers in the movie. For the D-Day sequence, 2000 weapons were made out of which 1500 were rubber replicas while other 500 could shoot blanks.