Saving Private Ryan (1998)
by Robert Roday.
More info about this movie on imdb.com
CREDITS: White lettering over a back background. The
THUNDEROUS SOUNDS OF A MASSIVE NAVAL BARRAGE are heard. The
power is astonishing. It roars through the body, blows back
the hair and rattles the ears.
EXT. OMAHA BEACH - NORMANDY - DAWN
The ROAR OF NAVAL GUNS continues but now WE SEE THEM FIRING.
Huge fifteen inch guns.
SWARM OF LANDING CRAFT
Heads directly into a nightmare. MASSIVE EXPLOSIONS from
German artillery shells and mined obstacles tear apart the
beach. Hundreds of German machine guns, loaded with tracers,
pour out a red snowstorm of bullets.
OMAHA BEACH, NORMANDY
June 6, 1944
HUNDREDS OF LANDING CRAFT Each holding
thirty men, near the beaches.
At the far end of the beach, a ninety-
foot cliff. Topped by bunkers.
Ringed by fortified machine gun nests.
A clear line-of-fire down the entire
TEN LANDING CRAFT
Make their way toward the base of
the cliffs. Running a gauntlet of
THE FOLLOWING IS BASED ON A TRUE
STORY THE LEAD LANDING CRAFT Plows
through the waves.
THE CAMERA MOVES PAST THE FACES OF THE MEN
Boys. Most are eighteen or nineteen years old. Tough.
Well-trained. Trying to block out the fury around them.
A DIRECT HIT ON A NEARBY LANDING CRAFT
A huge EXPLOSION of fuel, fire, metal and flesh.
THE LEAD LANDING CRAFT
The Motorman holds his course. Shells EXPLODE around them.
FLAMING OIL BURNS on the water. CANNON FIRE SMASHES into
THE MOTORAMAN IS RIPPED TO BITS
BLOOD AND FLESH shower the men behind him. The mate takes
A YOUNG SOLDIER
His face covered with the remains of
the motorman. Starts to lose it.
Begins to shudder and weep. His
name is DeLancey.
THE BOYS AROUND HIM
Do their best to stare straight ahead. But the fear infects
them. It starts to spread.
Pushes through the men. Puts himself
in front of DeLancey.
The figure is CAPTAIN JOHN MILLER. Early thirties. By far
the oldest man on the craft. Relaxed, battle-hardened,
powerful, ignoring the hell around them. He smiles, puts a
cigar in his mouth, strikes a match on the front of DeLancey's
helmet and lights the cigar.
DeLancey tries to look away but Miller grips him by the jaw
and forces him to lock eyes. Miller smiles. DeLancey is
Delancey Captain, are we all gonna die?
Miller Hell no, two-thirds, tops.
Delancey Oh, Jesus...
Miller I want every one of you to look at the man on your
left. Now look at the man on your right. Feel sorry for
those to sons-of-bitches, they're going to get it, you're
not going to get a scratch. A few, including DeLancey, manage
thin smiles. Miller releases his grip on DeLancey who moves
his jaw as if to see if it's broken. Miller pats him on the
cheek and moves on to the bow.
Looks over the gunwale at THE HELL
IN FRONT OF THEM.
PAN DOWN TO MILLER'S HAND
It quivers in fear. Miller glances around, sees that none
of the men have noticed. He stares at his hand as if it
belongs to someone else. It stops shaking. He turns his
eyes back to the objective.
THE LEAD LANDING CRAFT HITS THE BEACH
The six surviving boats alongside.
EXPLOSIVE PROPELLED GRAPPLING HOOKS FIRE
From the landing crafts. Arc toward the top of the cliffs.
THE LEAD CRAFT RAMP GOES DOWN
A river of MACHINE GUN FIRE pours into the craft. A dozen
men are INSTANTLY KILLED. Among them, DeLancey.
Somehow survives. Jumps into the
MOVE, GODDAMN IT! GO! GO! GO!
THE GERMANS On the edge of the cliff.
Rain down MACHINE GUN FIRE and
Struggle through the surf. FIRING
up as best they can. Making for the
base of the cliffs.
INCENDIARY GRENADES, HURLED FROM ABOVE,
EXPLODE, SPREADING FIRE
Ignores the EXPLOSIONS and BULLETS.
Uses hand signals and curt orders.
THERE! THERE! HOOKS THERE! FIRE
SQUAD, THOSE ROCKS!
Obey instantly. Set the grappling
hooks. Take position. Return fire.
THE SOUNDS OF BATTLE
Drown out most voices. Except the SCREAMS OF THE WOUNDED
Know what they have to do. Start up
the ropes. Into the teeth of the
Back-straps his Thompson sub-machine
gun. Starts climbing with the first
THE CLIFF FACE
The Americans swarm up the ropes.
Taking turns firing up at the Germans.
MILLER SEES A STALLED CLIMBER
A soft-faced boy. Grabs him by the back of his collar.
Roughly yanks him up. Nearly choking him. They boy climbs
An American private is HIT. FALLS,
taking two others with him. All
three land on the rocks below.
Another way to die.
NEAR THE TOP
Less steep. They leave the ropes.
Free climb, scrambling up the rocks.
Joins half-a-dozen pinned down men.
Others bottleneck behind them. Miller
scans the route and the defenders.
Sees an open gap. Deadly. Beyond is a protective overhang.
With a clear line to the top.
That's the route.
Miller motions to six men huddled near him.
THE SIX MEN
Take an instant to get ready. Then
SCRAMBLE into the gap.
MILLER AND THE OTHERS
Do their best to cover them. POUR FIRE up at the Germans.
Bad angle. No Germans are hit.
THE SIX MEN
Are CUT TO RIBBONS by MACHINE GUN
FIRE. All KILLED. They fall to the
SARGE, mid-twenties, experienced, Miller's right arm and
best friend, dives into the rocks next to Miller.
Sarge That's a goddamned shooting gallery, Captain.
It's the only way.
Turns to the next half-dozen men.
THE SECOND SIX
Move to the head of the gap. Miller
moves for a better angle against the
machine guns. Calls to JACKSON, a
tall, gangly Southern country boy,
JACKSON, PICK OFF A FEW OF THEM,
(heavy Southern accent)
You betcha, Captain.
Miller signals others where to direct their cover fire.
Turns to the second six.
THE SECOND SIX
Take deep breaths. Head into the
MILLER AND OTHERS BLAST SURPRISING FIRE
JACKSON, NAILS a pair of Germans. MILLER CUTS DOWN two more.
SARGE gets one. Not enough.
THE SECOND SIX
Are RAKED BY MACHINE GUNS. All are
Turns, looking for the next six.
His eyes fall on Sarge and REIBEN
who is a cynical, sharp, New Yorker.
(heavy Brooklyn accent)
Captain, can I put in for a transfer?
Sure, meet me at the top, we'll start
THE THIRD SIX
Moves into place. Sarge and Miller
exchange a look. They both see the
madness of what they're doing.
MILLER AND THE OTHERS
OPEN UP on the Germans.
Rolls his eyes, takes a breath.
Scrambles into the gap. The other
five right behind.
IN THE GAP
Three are HIT. Then another. POTATO MASHER GRENADES bounce
down. EXPLODE below.
THE GERMAN MACHINE GUN swings toward Sarge and Reiben. Miller
sees them about to get it... MILLER STEPS OUT INTO THE OPEN.
A perfect target. Captain's bars glinting. FIRING. TRYING
TO DRAW THE GERMAN FIRE.
THE GERMAN MACHINE GUNNER
SEES MILLER STANDING IN THE OPEN. Too much to pass up. He
swings the machine gun away from Sarge and Reiben, toward
A ROW OF GERMAN BULLETS approaches Miller...he's an instant
SARGE AND REIBEN DIVE
Under the overhang to safety.
MILLER DIVES BACK TO COVER, BARELY MAKES IT, HIS BOOT HEAL
IS BLOWN OFF.
UNDER THE OVERHANG Sarge and Reiben untangle themselves.
I'll be Goddamned! I'm not dead!
Sarge hollers back to Miller.
CAPTAIN, IF YOUR MOTHER SAW YOU DO
THAT, SHE'D BE VERY UPSET!
I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY MOTHER.
Quick smiles. MILLER AND HIS RANGERS lean out and FIRE.
HIT more Germans.
SARGE AND REIBEN run up the path, under the overhang. Stop
near the top. Pull pins on grenades. Count. Both throw
long, arcing over the crest, perfectly aimed.
THE TWO GRENADES EXPLODE.
Putt out the two worst machine gun nests.
Crosses the gap. His men follow.
AT THE CREST
The Americans swarm over the top.
TWO DOZEN GERMANS FIRE BACK as they retreat.
Abandoning the perimeter defense of the bunkers. The Germans
are CUT DOWN.
MILLER motions to WADE, a small, wide-eyed, demolition man
who's struggling under the weight of half-a dozen satchel
Okay, Wade, your turn.
Wade Captain, I love it when you say that.
Miller, Sarge, Reiben and Jackson cover Wade as he races to
the first of three bunkers. Dodging bullets from inside.
Wade tosses a SATCHEL CHARGE into a gun port. A HUGE, MUFFLED
EXPLOSION, rocks the bunker.
MILLER AND SARGE
Survey the field.
What the hell were you doing? Drawing
Worked, didn't it?
You tryin' to get yourself killed?
Don't need to, the Krauts go that
Sarge shakes his head at Miller, then he looks over the cliff
at the scores of men, their shattered, burning bodies covering
the rocks and the beach below. He's clearly affected.
Miller coldly glances at the dead and wounded. Then he moves
on, leading his surviving men toward the two remaining German
bunkers. The SOUNDS OF BIG GUNS and MACHINE GUNS FIRE
surround him. DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. WAR DEPARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
The SOUND OF CLATTERING MACHINE GUN FIRE SEGUES TO that of
CLATTERING TYPEWRITERS. A huge government building stands
in the heart of Washington, D.C.
WAR DEPARTMENT WASHINGTON, D.C.
JUNE 8, 1944
INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - WAR DEPT. - DAY
Very busy. A dozen, somber military clerks work behind desks,
quickly and efficiently. No small talk.
Older than the others, sad-eyed,
adds a sheet of paper to a large
pile in his out-box.
An outgoing telegram. It reads:
"We regret to inform you...killed in
action...heroic service..." This is
the paperwork of death.
Pulls out a file. Reads. Finds
something troubling. Quickly shuffles
through some other papers. Finds
what he's looking for. Rises from
his desk and hurries out of the
INT. LIEUTENANT'S OFFICE - WAR DEPT. - DAY
Seen through the glass wall. The clerk speaks to a YOUNG
LIEUTENANT who is visibly shaken by what he is being told.
He motions to the clerk to follow and he strides out of the
office with the clerk on his heels.
INT. CAPTAIN'S OFFICE - WAR DEPT. - DAY
Again, seen through a glass wall. The Young Lieutenant speaks
to a YOUNG CAPTAIN who, like the Lieutenant is clearly
bothered by what he's being told. The Captain takes the
papers from the Young Lieutenant and strides out.
INT. COLONEL'S OFFICE - WAR DEPT. - DAY
A busy office. Aides and secretaries scurry about. The
walls and tables are covered with maps of Normandy and complex
deployment charts. A ONE-ARMED COLONEL with a chest full of
ribbons pours himself another cup of coffee. He clearly
hasn't slept in a long time. The Young Captain, his staff
officer, walks in.
Young captain Colonel, I've got something you should know
One-armed colonel Yes?
Young captain Two brothers died in Normandy. One at Omaha
Beach, the other at Utah. Last week in Guam a third brother
was killed in action. All three telegrams went out this
morning. Their mother in Iowa is getting all three telegrams
The life drains from the Colonel. Others in the room hear
One-armed colonel Oh, Jesus.
Young captain There's more. There's a fourth brother. The
youngest. He parachuted in with the Hundred-and-First
Airborne the night before the invasion. He's on the front.
One-armed colonel Is he alive?
Young captain We don't know.
The Colonel regains his bearings. Stands and motions curtly
to the Captain. One-armed colonel Come with me.
The Colonel regains his bearings. Stands and motions curtly
to the Captain.
One-armed colonel Come with me.
The Colonel strides from the room with the Captain on his
heels. The aides and secretaries watch them go.
EXT. FARM ROAD - IOWA - DAY
A black car drives along a dirt road, a cloud of dust rising
behind. Passing through an endless expanse of ripening corn.
EXT. RYAN FARM - IOWA - DAY
A whit farmhouse. A barn. A stand of trees. Cornfields as
far as the eye can see.
IN THE YARD
A tire swing. A bushel basket nailed
to the barn over a dirt basketball
A PORCH SWING
Sits empty. Moves slightly.
ON THE GLASS OF THE FRONT DOOR
Four American flag decals. Each one, a man in service.
Steps out. Around sixty. Her face
shows the lines of a life of hard
work and mother hood. A good woman.
She wipes her hands on her apron and looks out across the
fields. Far in the distance she sees the dust rising behind
the black car.
She watches the car get closer, then sees it turn toward her
house. She starts to grow uneasy.
As the black car approaches, her breath comes hard. She
reaches out and steadies herself on the porch post.
The car pulls up to the house. She sees three men get out,
one wearing a clerical collar. The first of her tears come.
INT. GENERAL MARSHALL'S OFFICE - WAR DEPARTMENT - DAY
Another busy office filled with aides and secretaries.
GENERAL GEORGE MARSHALL, Army Chief of Staff, stands next to
his conference table, reading the Ryan brother' files. Half-
a-dozen subordinates, among them the one-armed Colonel and
the Young Captain, wait. General Marshall puts down the
One-armed colonel All four of them were in the same company
in the 29th Infantry but we split them up after the Sullivan
brothers died on the Juneau.
Any contact with the fourth brother,
One-armed colonel No, sir. He was dropped about thirty miles
inland, near Ramelle. That's still deep behind German lines.
General Marshall hardens.
Well, if he's alive, we're going to
send someone to get him the hell out
of there. That's just what the
General's staff wanted to hear.
EXT. NORMANDY - CRATER FIELD - DAY
NEAR CONSTANT MORTAR EXPLOSIONS. HEAVY MACHINE GUN FIRE.
Miller's Ranger company is pinned down by a superior force
of German troops. The Americans hug the bottoms of the
craters, FIRING BACK as best they can. BIG GUNS THUNDER in
Normandy 1300 hours June 9
Trailed by a RADIOMAN, dashes through
the fire and dives into a sludge-
filled crater. He surfaces, sees
Sarge and Reiben, and reels from a
horrific smell. Their conversation
is repeatedly broken by FIRING And
DUCKING GERMAN FIRE.
Jesus Christ! What the hell are we
Fertilizer, Captain, I think we're
in a cranberry bog.
Out of the frying pan, into the
Look at the bright side, the Krauts
sure as hell don't want to advance
and hold this cesspool.
Miller barks to his RADIOMAN.
Get Fire Control, we need some
Radioman Trying, sir.
MORE EXPLOSIONS. They all duck. Reiben's worried.
Sir, what if they send some other
company into Caen ahead of us while
we're pinned down here?
Don't worry, we're the only Rangers
this side of the continent, we've
got to be first into Caen.
I care. Don't you know what Caen's
famous for, Sarge?
THE GERMAN FIRE diminishes for an instant. Miller, Sarge
and Reiben immediately rise and POUR FIRE at the German
positions. GERMAN MACHINE GUN FIRE RESPONDS and they duck
So, you ever heard of employee
discounts? My uncle sells shoes,
gets twenty-five percent off
everything in the line, got a closet
filled with the best looking shoes
you ever seen.
MORE MORTAR EXPLOSIONS.
Just picture some French number been
spending all day, every day, making
cream-colored, shear-body negligees
with gentle-lift silk cups and
gathered empire waists, what the
hell you think she wears at night?
Reiben, how the hell do you know so
much about lingerie?
Lingerie is my life, sir. My mother's
got a shop in Brooklyn, I grew up in
it, from the time I could crawl, we
carry Caen lingerie, it's the best
there is, it's all I been thinking
about since the invasion.
Another pause in the German shelling. Reiben rises and BLASTS
HIS B.A.R, then ducks as the GERMANS RETURN FIRE.
There's a war on, good chance they're
not still making lingerie in Caen.
Oh, Captain, they'll always make
lingerie, it's one of the three basic
needs of man -- food, shelter, silk
teddies. Miller Dream on, private.
Happy to, sir.
Radioman Captain, I've got Command, they want you back at
H.Q., right away.
Maybe the war's over.
A MORTAR SHELL EXPLODES VERY CLOSE. After the debris stops
falling, Sarge and Reiben rise, spitting out sludge. Reiben
looks dubiously at Miller.
I don't think so, Captain.
Stay at it until you get fire control.
Keep 'em down, wait for the navy.
Miller waits for a pause in the MORTAR BARRAGE, then scrambles
out of the crater and takes off in a crouch-run.
EXT. NORMANDY - FIELD H.Q. - 19TH INFANTRY - DAY
Chaos. Under fire. INTERMITTENT MORTARS, SOME BIG GERMAN
SHELLS and fairly close SMALL ARMS FIRE.
Runs over the broken ground and makes
it to the sandbagged H.Q. He stumbles
down the make-shift stairs.
INT. H.Q. SANDBAGGED BUNKER - DAY
Sand and dirt falls with the closest of the EXPLOSIONS which
continue through the scene. Miller salutes a Major.
Miller, Company B, Second Rangers.
Major Go on in.
Miller goes deeper into the H.Q. bunker where he finds a
dozen officers with as many aides, runners and radiomen.
Very busy. A field map dominates the center of the small
The men in the room note Miller, a few nod to him
respectfully. He's clearly someone special.
COLONEL SAM ANDERSON is in command, talking on a field-phone.
He's about fifty, firm and steady, the calm at the eye of
the storm. He sees Miller and motions for him to wait.
...I understand your problem, but if
we don't get those tanks off-loaded
by 0600, we're going to have an entire
division up at Caen with its ass
hanging out of its pants...
A LIEUTENANT steps up to Miller and hands him a sheet of
Lieutenant Captain, here's your company address list.
Lieutenant For letters to the families of your killed-in-
Miller hands the list back to the Lieutenant.
Find a chaplain.
...alright, let me know when.
Anderson hangs up, speaks to an AIDE.
Have the Second and Third Regiments
hold at St. Michel until we get those
tanks. Aide Yes, sir.
Colonel Anderson turns to Miller.
Sector four is secured, we put out
the last three German one-fifty-fives,
found them about two miles in from
Ponte du Hoc.
A company, Wehrmacht, no artillery,
we took twenty-three prisoners, turned
them over to intelligence.
Fourty-four, twenty one dead.
An instant of SILENCE, all hear, none look.
They didn't want to give up those
It was a hard assignment, that's why
you got it.
Where are your men now?
Pinned down, a mile east of here,
waiting for some help from the navy
I'm sending Simpson to take over for
you, the division is going to Caen,
you're not coming with us, I have
something else for you.
There's a Private James Ryan who
parachuted in with the Hundred-and-
First near Ramelle. I want you to
take a squad up there. If he's alive,
bring him back to the beach for
debarkation. Take whoever you need,
you've got your pick of the company.
A private, sir?
He's the last of four brothers, the
other three were killed in action.
This is straight from the Chief of
Spit it out, Captain.
MILLER HESITATES, THEN:
Respectfully, sir, sending men all
the way up to Ramelle to save one
private doesn't make a fucking,
goddamned bit of sense.
The other officers freeze, listening without turning. Colonel
Anderson glares at Miller.
You think just because you hold the
Congressional Medal of Honor, you
can say any damn thing you please to
your superior officers?
Miller considers the question, then smiles.
Yes, sir, more or less.
Colonel Anderson looks as if he's about to bit Miller's head
off, then he smiles, too.
Alright, I'll give you that.
The numbers don't make sense, sir.
His brothers are dead, that's too
bad, but they're out of the equation.
Sending men up there is bleeding
heart crapola from three thousand
miles away. One private is simply
not worth a squad. Colonel anderson
This one is. He's worth a lot more
than that. Which is why I'm sending
you, you're the best field officer
Yes and no, sir, what about Morgan?
Fine officer, regular church goer,
writes poetry, he might like a mission
And he's taller than me.
Colonel Anderson listens with amused tolerance, but it's
time to get back to business.
That's enough, Captain, you have
your orders. Major Thomas will fill
Miller knows when to back off. He salutes.
Miller and Colonel Anderson exchange a private look.
Good luck, John.
Thank you, sir.
Miller joins Major Thomas at one of the smaller map tables.
Colonel Anderson watches Miller for an instant, then notices
the other officers in the tent watching. A glare and they
go back to work.
EXT. BATTLESHIP - DAY
A MASSIVE BARRAGE of fifteen-inch shells BLASTS from the
deck of the enormous ship.
EXT. CRATER FIELD - CRANBERRY BOG - DAY
HUGE EXPLOSIONS. The big naval shells SLAM into the German
position on the far side of the cranberry bog crater field.
IN THE CRATERS
Miller's Ranger company ducks and
covers. The BARRAGE SUBSIDES. The
Rangers rise, FIRING, leap-frogging
from crater to crater, advancing
against the remaining Germans who
return SMALL ARMS FIRE.
Crouch-runs and dives into a crater
Put on your traveling shoes, Sarge,
we're heading out.
I wish. You and I are taking a squad
up to Ramelle on a public relations
You? Leading a squad?
Some private up there lost three
brothers, got a ticket home.
What about the company?
Simpson? Jesus Christ on a fucking
I want Reiben on B.A.R; Jackson with
his sniper rifle; Beasley, demolition.
Okay, Wade. Translators?
What about Talbot?
Twenty minutes ago. Miller Damn,
I'll go see if I can find another
one. You get Reiben, Jackson and
Wade, meet me at transport.
They wait for a lull in the firing, then scramble out of the
crater and crouch-run in opposite directions.
EXT. TRANSPORT H.Q. - NINETEENTH INFANTRY - DAY
Just in from the beaches. DISTANT ARTILLERY AND EXPLOSIONS.
Nothing close. Dust. Confusion. Vehicles of every sort
moving out. Tanks, half-tracks, troop trucks. In the middle
of the mess, a cigar-chewing SUPPLY SERGEANT works at a make-
shift desk made out of crate. He yells at a PRIVATE.
GET THOSE GODDAMNED HALF-TRACKS OUT
Private They're blocked in!
THEN UNBLOCK 'EM!
SARGE< REIBEN, JACKSON AND WADE
Wait nearby. Reiben is beside himself, pacing, muttering.
The others are relaxed.
Strides through the chaos, avoiding
the passing vehicles. He sees his
men and walks toward them. Reiben
hurries up to Miller, pleading.
Please, sir, you can't take me to
Ramelle, I gotta go to Caen, sir,
please, I told you, they make Caen
lingerie there, it's beautiful, it's
the best there is, it's...oh, please,
Sorry, I need a B.A.R. man, you're
No, I'm not, Kaback is, honest. Or
what about Faulkner? Or that little
guy with the glasses?
Trust me, you're the best.
Miller jerks his head for his men to follow and he strides
off toward the Supply Sergeant's table. Sarge falls in next
You get a translator, Captain?
I've got a line on one.
TRANSPORT OPERATIONS TABLE
Chaos. Vehicles THUNDERING by. The
Supply Sergeant juggles runners and
paperwork. Miller steps up to him.
Sergeant, I need a truck.
Sorry, sir, fresh out of trucks, how
'bout a '38 Ford Roadster, hard-top,
red with black interior.
No white-walls, sir, there's a war
(to the Private)
NOT THERE, YOU GODDAMNED IDIOT, OVER
I can't help you, sir.
A half-track, anything.
Sorry, sir. Division is using
everything on wheels to get up to
How come you guys aren't going?
Miller ignores the question. He spies a jeep.
How about that jeep?
That's General Gavin's. His lap dog
told me if anyone breathes on it,
I'll get busted and if anyone so
much as touches it with their little
finger, I'll get court marshaled.
If you were to take it, they'd shoot
Cap'n, does that mean we got to walk
all the way up to Ramelle?
What's at Ramelle beside a lot of
A paratrooper named Ryan. He's going
home, if he's alive.
No, three brothers of his were killed
in action. Command wants him out of
The Supply Sergeant grunts as if punched in the belly.
Damn...I got a couple brothers...
Miller looks at him, noting his reaction coldly. The Supply
Sergeant shifts his eyes toward General Gavin's jeep.
EXT. ROAD LEADING FROM TRANSPORT - DAY
Miller and his men drive off, fast, in General Gavin's jeep.
Sarge is at the wheel, weaving and bouncing through the bedlam
of men and vehicles. Miller rides shotgun. Reiben, Jackson
and Wade are crammed in the back.
The SUPPLY SERGEANT Watches them go. Behind him, GENERAL
GAVIN, pure piss and vinegar, strides up, trailed by his
huge staff. He looks around for his jeep, comes up empty.
SERGEANT, WHERE THE HELL IS MY
The Supply Sergeant puffs his cigar with a smile and turns
to take his lumps.
EXT. ROAD - DAY
Miller and his men weave through the chaos of the American
We've got to make one stop.
Miller points the way for Sarge.
EXT. INTELLIGENCE TENT - DAY
Miller and his men skid to a stop in front of a perfectly
white, taut-lined tent. A steady stream of ROARING vehicles
and CHATTERING men move out around them. DISTANT GUNS RUMBLE.
SPORADIC MEDIUM-DISTANCE EXPLOSIONS BOOM. Miller hops out.
He strides into the tent.
INT. INTELLIGENCE TENT - DAY
Three bookish corporals hover over map tables like studious
nerds the day before finals. They're breaking down and
gridding field maps and covering them in plasticine. Tedious,
One of them is TIM UPHAM, a thin, twenty-four year old,
patrician with gentle, thoughtful eyes behind his thick
glasses. He nervously jumps at the sound of a VERY DISTANT
EXPLOSION, then he forces himself to concentrate on his work.
Miller strides in. Miller I'm looking for Corporal Upham.
Upham raises his eyes from his map and re-focuses.
Upham Sir, I'm Upham.
I understand you speak French and
Upham Yes, sir.
Do you have an accent?
Upham A slight one in French. My German is clean. It has a
touch of the Bavarian.
Good, you've been re-assigned to me,
we're going to Ramelle.
Upham knows enough geography to know what that means.
Upham Uh, sir, there are Germans up at Ramelle.
That's my understanding.
Upham Lots of them.
Do you have a problem with that,
Upham Sir, I've never been in combat. I make maps. I
I need a translator, all mine have
Upham But, sir, I haven't held a gun since basic training.
It'll come back to you. Get your
Upham Sir, may I bring my typewriter?
Miller looks at him closely, not sure if he's joking.
Upham I'm writing a book and I...
Miller's expression gives him his answer.
Upham Uh, how about a pencil?
A small one.
Miller shoos him off.
Upham scurries away. Miller sighs.
EXT. ROAD LEADING FROM INTELLIGENCE TENT - DAY
Miller and his men peel out, now with Upham crammed with the
others in the back of the jeep. As they drive off, the CAMERA
CRANES UP to reveal the vast tableau of the biggest invasion
in military history.
The scope of the operation is stunning. The beach is covered
with mountains of supplies. A steady stream of vehicles
winds up the dunes. Hundreds of barrage balloons, anchored
by heavy steel cables, hover over the entire scene. Off-
shore, a massive Mulberry port is under construction, workers
swarming over it like ants. Beyond that, thousands of ships
and boats of every type and description. The smoke of
hundreds of fires rises on the horizon. EXPLOSIONS, some
distant, some close, BOOM and RUMBLE.
It's an awesome, breathtaking sight. Miller and his tiny
band of men, weave their way through the middle of it,
speeding away from the beach, heading inland, leaving the
bulk of the American Army behind. Ext. french road - day
Miller and his men drive fast passing American vehicles and
infantrymen moving forward. The sides of the road are
littered with the debris of burning German vehicles, abandoned
Sarge drives. Miller reads a map. Upham, cradling a pristine
M-1 rifle, is all eyes and ears. Jackson and Wade calmly
take in the view. Reiben checks out the close quarters in
the back of the jeep.
Captain, can I ask you a question?
Where are you planning on putting
Private Ryan, sir?
Miller doesn't raise his eyes from the map.
It's just that it's kind of crowded
back here, I was wondering if you're
expecting to have more room on the
Miller points out a turn to Sarge.
Sarge makes the turn. Miller folds up the map and pockets
Now we've got a straight shot, due
north, to Ramelle, twenty-six miles,
two villages between here and there,
St. Mere, then Bernay. We'll take
the jeep as far as we can, then go
on on foot.
We in radio contact with anybody up
Somebody put the wrong crystals in
every one of the Hundred-and-First's
radios the night before the drop,
not one of them works. We're going
I usually like surprises.
What are we likely to run into?
A fucking mess, two maybe three Kraut
divisions, no fronts, no lines, the
drops were completely fouled up,
we've got little pockets of
paratroopers all over the place,
trying to hang on. Command says we
hold St. Mere, but north of that,
it's all Krauts. Even if Ryan's
where he's supposed to be, he's more
than likely dead.
Hell of a mission.
Yep, hell of a mission.
IN THE BACK OF THE JEEP
Upham avidly takes in everything. He notices Reiben staring
at him, grows nervous under his look and offers a hopeful
Upham Hi. So, uh, you're all Rangers?
Reiben, Jackson and Wade look at Upham as if he were an
Upham I'm Upham.
(pointing at his corporal's stripes)
Ignore these, please, I know all that breaks down in combat.
Their jaws drop.
You want to shoot him, or should I?
Wade It's not my turn.
Hell, no, last time I shot a corporal,
Cap'n Miller near bit my head off.
Upham reacts to the metion of Miller's name.
I don't want anybody to shoot him,
that's an order. He speaks French
and his German has a touch of the
Upham Sir, are you Captain John Miller?
Miller sighs, he knows what's coming.
...who won the Congressional Medal
Upham's words are frozen in his throat by the warning glances
of Miller's men. Miller himself remains relaxed but stone-
No one speaks for a few seconds, then the moment passes as
if it had never happened.
Captain, I gotta tell you, the irony
of this mission is fucking killing
Yeah, how so?
I should be on my way to Caen, sir.
It's like Beethoven, the guy's one
of the greatest composers ever lived
and he goes deaf. Go figure, I mean,
who'd he piss off? And here I am,
the Beethoven of ladies foundation
garments, one step away from Caen,
the center of the known lingerie
universe and instead, I'm going to
Ramelle to save some fucking private
who's probably already dead.
There's to be a bright side, look
Sir, you know what Ramelle is famous
for? Cheese. The rest of the company
is going to Caen and we're going to
the goddamned cheese capital of
France. There is no bright side.
There's always a bright side.
I'm listening, sir.
Well, I, for one, like cheese.
Wade pipes up cheerfully.
Wade Hell, I don't mind going to Ramelle, as long as there's
something up there for me to blow up.
Well, you're a happy idiot.
THEY ROUND A TURN
SKID TO A STOP AT A:
BOTTLENECK OF AMERICAN VEHICLES
A LIEUTENANT is roadmaster. Miller calls to him.
How's the road up to St. Mere?
Lieutenant Bad, sir. There're some eighty-eights hiding
somewhere, knocking the hell out of our traffic.
Anybody getting through?
Lieutenant The lucky ones.
Miller nods to Sarge who floors it. They take off, spraying
gravel behind them. Ext. St. Mere Road - day The jeep barrels
down the road, fast. The road is pock-marked with craters.
They pass the wreckage of a pair of American jeeps. Direct
hits. Sarge swerves around them without slowing.
AN AMERICAN TROOP TRUCK SMOLDERS
On the side of the road, surrounded by the charred bodies of
a dozen American troops. It's a nightmare vision. Upham
grows weak at the sight. Miller takes note of Upham's
IN THE BACK
The men bounce up and down like
stuffed animals, doing their best to
not be thrown out.
Hell, this is better than Coney
A HUGE BUMP
Bounces Reiben up and slams his back
down on his shovel. He HOLLERS IN
Just trying to make room for Ryan.
Reiben shoots Miller a smile and shifts his belt, moving his
shovel from under his bruised ass.
THEY ROUND A BEND
See a long, straight stretch of road. Half-a-dozen burning,
obliterated American vehicles. A gauntlet to run.
AN EIGHTY-EIGHT SHELL SCREAMS IN
Lands right behind them. BLOWS A NEW CRATER
SARGE FLOORS IT. Everyone hangs on.
ANOTHER SHELL EXPLODES
Thirty yards ahead of them.
Directs Sarge off the road.
They've got the road zeroed.
Yanks the wheel, driving the jeep
off the road.
THE JEEP BOUNCES
Off the shoulder. Nearly throwing
everyone out. Somehow they hang on.
The jeep tears along the rutted field.
Just behind them.
SARGE DRIVES MADLY
Not slowing down. Trying to avoid
the biggest ruts and bumps.
Close on their side. Showers them
MILLER SCANS THE TERRAIN
Sees a cluster of buildings about half-a-mile ahead.
They've got a hell of a spotter
Even closer. The jeep's PEPPERED
WITH SHRAPNEL. They BARREL THROUGH
Turns shallow curves without slowing
SUDDENLY SEES A CRATER
Tries to avoid it. Too late. Brakes. PLOWS into overturned
earth. STOPS SHORT.
REIBEN, UPHAM, WADE AND JACKSON
THROWN from the jeep. TUMBLE into the dirt. Not hurt.
SARGE AND MILLER
Hang on. Stay in the jeep but are
battered. All stunned. MILLER Is
first to regain his bearings. Jumps
up. Checks out the jeep. Undamaged.
Deep in the soft dirt.
AN EIGHTY-EIGHT SHELL SCREAMS IN EXPLODES THIRTY YARDS LEFT
Sarge puts his head back on and throws the jeep into gear.
The wheels spin. Miller throws his shoulder into the jeep.
Yells to the others.
COME ON! YOU WANNA WALK?
Reiben, Wade, Jackson, Upham screw
their heads back on. Shoulder into
the jeep. Push for all they're worth.
The WHEELS STILL SPIN.
ANOTHER EIGHTY-EIGHT SHELL LANDS EXPLODES THIRTY YARDS RIGHT
MILLER IGNORES IT
He's the only one who does.
Captain, they got us zeroed.
Upham is very nervous.
That's bracketing, right?
They all ignore him.
I know about bracketing. I read
about it. The next one is going to
land right on us.
Sarge SLAMS THE JEEP INTO REVERSE. Rocks it. SLAMS IT BACK
INTO FORWARD. Makes progress.
ALL THE MEN PUSH, ALL EYES UP. WAITING FOR THE NEXT SHELL.
THE TIRES SCREAM
A bit more progress. It's almost
THEY ALL PUSH LIKE MANIACS
Knowing the shell is coming any second. Upham is beside
ONE MORE PUSH
The jeep rocks back in, deeper.
THEY HEAR THE SCREAM OF THE SHELL MILLER BARKS TO HIS MEN
Instantly take off. Away from the
jeep. As fast as they can.
THE SHELL SCREAMS IN
The men hit the dirt.
OBLITERATING THE JEEP
Barely out of the BLAST PERIMETER.
STUNNED by the concussion. SHOWERED
with dirt, rock and debris.
Is first up. Sarge and the men
struggle to their feet. Hear MORE
INCOMING. Miller grabs Upham by the
collar and pulls him up.
HERE COME THE MORTARS!
THEY ALL TAKE OFF
Running as fast as they can.
THE FIRST OF THE MORTAR SHELLS COME IN
The eighty-eight is big, with pauses spaces between. But
there must be a dozen mortars firing. The shells are almost
The six Americans run madly, in zig-
zag patterns through the gauntlet of
MORTAR EXPLOSIONS. BOOM
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM
UPHAM IS THROWN TO THE GROUND
Miller yanks him up. Half-drags him to the edge of the field.
THEY MAKE IT TO THE TREES
Keep running. Through the bushes and brambles. Thirty yards
THE EXPLOSIONS STOP
THE MEN ALL STOP Panting. Struggling
to catch their breath. Check their
body parts. Everything's there.
They have their weapons, most of
Reiben looks back through the trees at THE JEEP, which is
nothing more than a burning carcass. He shakes his head.
General Gavin is going to be very
irritated at you, Captain.
Stands on the edge of the woods,
almost in a trance.
Miller, far away, quickly shifts his eyes and ears from
position to position.
Sarge quickly opens up the map case. The men are dead silent,
frozen in place.
Two eighty-eights, just under two-
and-a-half miles, that way, vector
from the jeep, through those two
trees at the base of the hill. The
mortars came from behind that rise,
there, four of them.
Sarge quickly starts vectoring on the map. Miller snaps out
Wade, the radio.
Wade instantly starts cranking it up. Upham is amazed.
You can tell all that, just by the
That's not all. There were nine
gunners on the eighty-eights, one
had a broken heel on his boot, two
had bratwurst for supper last night,
one of them is named Fritz, the other,
Hans, maybe, I don't know, it's hard
Corporal, you have just seen one of
Captain Miller's many God-given
talents. If, by some miracle, you
survive, you will witness many more
Sarge finished vectoring.
Got it, sir. We gonna go take care
of those eighty-eights?
That's not what we're here for.
I've got command, Captain.
Miller takes the handset from Wade and the map from Sarge.
This is Baker Charley One, fire mark,
sector three, foxtrot quadrant, four-
three by baker-three. Two eighty-
eights. Tell our boys to come in
low from the east in case the Krauts
have ack-ack. Good hunting. Over.
A VOICE ON THE RADIO SIGNS OFF through the static. Wade
packs up the radio. Miller folds up the map. Jackson Sir,
wouldn't take us but a minute to put out them eighty-eights.
He's right, Captain, it might be
kind of dangerous for those flyboys.
Tell that to Private James Ryan.
We've got our orders. Let's go.
Miller heads off without pausing or looking back. The rest
of the men don't like it, but they follow. Upham trails,
amazed at Miller.
EXT. WOODS - DAY
Miller walks point. His men follow warily. Upham falls in
So, where are you from?
Upham smiles lamely and moves on to Jackson.
So, where are you from?
You writin' a book or somethin'?
As a matter of fact, I am.
Wade overhears and smiles at Upham.
I'm Wade, that's spelled, W-A-D-E,
I'm small but wiry, with piercing,
steel-gray eyes, and a rough-hewn
but handsome face, I'm from Colorado,
my father's a mining engineer, don't
you take notes?
Upham shakes his head.
Since I was nine years old. They
got a lot of explosives around mines.
Me and my little brother could get
into any warehouse you ever saw.
Damn, we had fun!
I'm Jackson. I'm from West Fork,
Tennessee. My pappy's a preacher.
Him and his two brothers got a
ministry, The Blessed Church of the
In West Fork?
In the back of a nineteen and thirty-
one stretch Hudson with a big ole'
I don't make jokes about things of,
or related to, the preaching of the
Holy Gospel, including the ministerial
calling of my family.
So they travel around from place to
place and preach?
We got us a tent, forty-two feet
across, eighteen feet at center,
hundred-and-ten foldin' chairs.
Circuit's eleven towns, covers all
'a Hasset County and most 'a Weller
County. I expect that upon completion
of my military service I will be
joinin' said ministry.
What about the Captain? Where's he
They all shake their heads. Miller's out of earshot.
You figure that out, you got yourself
one nice prize.
Over three hundred bucks, last I
heard. Wade Company's got a pool,
five bucks gets you in, whoever
guesses where the Captain's from and
what he did as a civilian gets it
The whole kit and caboodle.
But everybody's heard of him, he won
the Congressional Medal of Honor, he
saved a dozen men.
Somebody must know where he's from,
what he did for a living.
Somebody probably does.
Why don't you just ask him?
The Captain prefers not to discuss
certain aspects of his life, in
particular, everything up to and
including his enlistment in the United
I've been with him since Anzio. I'm
closer to him that I am to my own
brother but I don't even know what
state he's from. Somewhere in the
Northeast as near as I can figure.
I don't even have a clue what he did
for a living as civilian.
Reiben shakes his head.
No one's gonna win the money for the
simple reason that the Captain never
was a civilian. They assembled him
at O.C.S. out of spare body parts
from dead G.I.'s. I know this for a
You got somethin' against the Cap'n?
Hell, no. I think he's the best
officer in the whole goddamned army,
They all nod in assent, no argument there.
You got that right.
Miller walks on ahead, unaware of their conversation. Upham
watches Miller, with even more curiosity.
EXT. HEDGEROW FIELD - DAY
Miller and his men walk along a hedgerow that parallels a
country cow path. They're staying close to the cover of the
brush. Miller walks tall now.
Captain, my feet are most
uncomfortable. If I'd 'a known we
was gonna have to walk all the way
to Ramelle, I never would 'a
volunteered for this here mission.
You didn't volunteer, Jackson.
I most likely would have, sir, had I
been given the opportunity.
If we find Ryan and he's still alive,
that son-of-a-bitch is gonna carry
this goddamned B.A.R. back to the
beach for me.
Army life is too dang easy, my feet
have gone soft. Back home, we go
out squirrel huntin', I walk forever
and a day and then some, don't even
raise a blister.
You know what a B.A.R. weighs?
Nineteen and a half pounds, not
(re. ammo bandoleers)
And you think these things are
comfortable? They may look good but
they weigh twelve pounds each, that's
thirty-six pounds, right there.
So what? I've got three satchel
charges, six gammon grenades, a dozen-
and-a-half pineapples, and all my
regular gear. You don't hear me
That's because, as I have pointed
out on numerous occasions, you are a
No, I just happen to take the
Captain's advice and look at the
bright side of things.
How do you do it?
It's easy, it runs in my family,
take my grandfather, for example...
Oh, Christ, now we gotta listen to
that grandfather thing again.
As I was saying, before I was so
rudely interrupted, my grandfather
got old, as grandfathers tend to do.
He needed someone to take care of
him. We move around all the time,
going from one mine to another, so
we had to put him in a home. Nice
enough place but kind of depressing.
But not for Granddad. He just
convinced himself he was on a cruise
ship, going to Tahiti, he had his
own cabin, first class, with room
service. It just so happened that
the weather was always lousy, so he
never bothered to go up on deck.
Happiest guy you ever saw until the
day he died.
You think he really believed it?
Who knows? It worked.
Fine, you convince yourself you got
a pack full of feathers and goddamned
Private James Ryan can carry my
Reiben, you can be very unpleasant
to be around sometimes.
You want unpleasant? Just wait, I
can do much better than this.
Look at Upham, you don't hear him
Upham, feeling bold and a bit naughty, decides to give it a
Well, as a matter of fact, I was
The men roll their eyes, expecting the worst.
That I'm so fucking tired of this
goddamned walking, I'd pay a thousand
dollars to see that bastard Ryan
crawl on his belly over an acre of
broken glass to hear my great-aunt
Martha fart through a field-phone.
The men are stunned.
Jesus Christ, he's a natural!
Upham, are you sure you've never
been in combat?
Upham wiggles with pride. Upham Positive, sir, I'm certain
Miller eyes Upham respectfully and nods to the men.
They walk on.
Cap'n, my feet are most uncomfortable.
Miller smiles, situation normal.
EXT. ST. MERE - LATE AFTERNOON
A small town has been reduced to rubble and is still an active
battlefield. HEAVY SMALL ARMS FIRE. GRENADE AND MORTAR
EXPLOSIONS. MEDIUM ARTILLERY BEYOND. American soldiers
crouch in doorways, FIRING at well-placed Germans.
Some French civilians dash across a street. A man and a
couple of women, one carrying a child. They make it across
and disappear into the remains of a building.
Miller runs up and flattens himself against a wall at a
corner. Sarge and the other men follow in leap-frog, spread
out down the block behind him.
Miller glances around the corner, taking a quick mental
picture of a GATHERING OF G.I.'s crouching in the cover of
an alley across the street and down the block. They are
CAPTAIN HAMILL, about Miller's age, and HIS MEN.
As Miller ducks back behind the corner, A GERMAN BULLET
SMASHES into the bricks where his head was an instant before.
Miller motions Jackson across first.
Jackson gathers himself, takes off. GERMAN BULLETS BLAST,
kicking up the cobblestone behind him. Jackson zig-zags and
makes it to the cover of the far side.
Dang! That was close!
Miller nods to Upham.
Upham, scared shitless, doesn't move. Miller speaks to him
Zig-zag, change your pace a couple
times, you'll be alright.
Upham's frozen. He can barely breathe. Miller sighs.
Okay, I'm going to draw fire for
But if I do, you goddamned well better
Upham nods. Miller gathers himself, takes a deep breath.
CLOSE SHOT: MILLER'S HAND quivers.
Looks to Upham
Upham nods, still terrified.
MILLER STEPS INTO THE OPEN
Stands motionless, presenting himself to the German snipers.
A GERMAN BULLET HITS THE BRICKS NEAR MILLER.
He doesn't budge.
UPHAM TEARS ACROSS THE STREET very, very fast.
REIBEN watches Upham run.
Hey, that guy can move.
A GERMAN BULLET WHIZZES PAST Miller's ear. UPHAM gets to
the far side.
MILLER DUCKS BACK around the corner. Reiben and Wade don't
even react to what Miller has just done. Sarge is pissed.
He shakes his head at Miller, like an irritated parent.
(under his breath so
only Miller can hear)
Captain, he's fast!
(glances at Sarge,
speaks to Reiben)
Glad of it.
On the other side of the street,
crouches in a doorway with Jackson.
Upham is a bit in shock, less from
the nearness of the bullets than
from what Miller just did for him.
DASHES across the street.
GERMAN BULLETS TRAIL HIM, shattering the cobblestones, inches
HE MAKES IT across. Calls back to Sarge.
Bring 'em over.
UPHAM, tries to thank Miller.
Miller ignores him, motions to Sarge, Reiben and Wade.
One at a time.
Ducks out of the doorway and crouch-
runs down the block. He passes a:
BOMBED OUT BUILDING
Out of the line of fire. A dozen
dead American soldiers lined up on
the ground. The battered, bloody
bodies, only partially covered by
Some badly wounded G.I.'s are being treated next to the dead.
Blood puddles have spread out onto the sidewalk.
Sees the dead and wounded, shows no
reaction. Runs to:
Captain Hamill and his men are bunched
there, out of the line of fire.
He's sending off a squad to continue
Captain hamill Fundamentals, short runs, double up at the
corners, one man close, one man wide. Be careful. Go.
The squad takes off. Captain Hamill sees Miller. The two
captains glance at the bars on their shoulders, then speak
Captain hamill How was the road in?
We had a jeep until a few hours ago,
a nice one, it had a cute little
flag with a couple of stars on it.
Captain hamill Oh, what a shame.
One by one, Miller's men join them in the alley.
We called in a strike on the eighty-
eights that took it out, but it's
the Kraut spotter that counts,
wherever the hell that bastard is.
Captain Hamill points across a wide field toward a distant
chateau that has a private chapel with a fifty-foot steeple.
Captain hamill That's where your boy is. We've been trying
to get him since this morning. He killed two of my men trying
to get close enough for a shot. Miller eyes the distant
Jackson steps up. Miller points to the steeple. Jackson
knows what he's supposed to do. He puts down his M-1 and
takes off the long, zippered, leather sheath, strapped to
He spits a massive bullet of tobacco juice, then calmly and
methodically unzips his leather case and pulls out a very
unusual, long-barrel, rifle.
Miller and his men give him some room. Hamill and his men,
along with Upham, watch curiously.
Jackson opens a two-foot tripod with a flick of his wrist,
sits down and carefully attaches the rifle to it. Then he
takes a scope from a narrow wooden box and mounts it. He
adjusts the eye-piece and clicks in the bolt-action. Upham
What is that?
Jackson pulls back the bolt and loads a single, over-sized
Thirty-ought-six, Norton long-barrel
with dual-groove, parallel rifling,
elevated three-glass scope and a
The Army gave you that?
You must be a hell a shot.
Not where I come from.
Jackson sights on a tree about a thousand yards
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