by Robert Roday
Typed for the Internet by:
David Pritchett firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- 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 away and
FIRES. Evaluates. Calibrates the scope. He re-loads.
Jackson FIRES AGAIN. Evaluates. Perfect. He wipes the
dirt and sweat from his forehead, puts his eye to the sight
and waits, absolutely motionless.
That must be four thousand yards.
(without taking his
eye from the scope)
Forty-two-hundred, I figure.
You take account of the wind?
Jackson doesn’t dignify that with an answer but he looks
back with an expression that clearly says, “What are you,
some kind of fucking idiot?” Reiben puts himself between
Upham and Jackson.
(put-on Southern accent)
Dang right, he take ‘count of the
wind, ain’t ya’ll ever heard a
Jackson keeps his eye to the scope and his finger on the
Reiben, how many time I got to tell
you, I’m from Tennessee.
They got squirrels there, too, right?
Jackson FIRES. Waits. A tiny smile. He starts taking apart
the rifle. A very impressed Captain Hamill barks to his
radioman. Captain Hamill Get a hold of Command, tell them
the St. Mere road is open.
The Radioman cranks up his radio. Captain Hamill turns to
Captain Hamill How far back is the rest of division?
Very far, they’re not coming this
way, they’re going to take Caen first.
Captain Hamill Goddamn it, I was afraid of that. We’re in a
lot of trouble up here, and it’s gonna get worse before it
gets better. How many men did you bring?
Five, but we not staying, we’re on
our way to Ramelle.
Captain hamill Shit, are you the guys going up to find Private
Yeah, you know about that?
Captain hamill Command radioed, wanted to know if he came in
with the early wounded or dead.
Several of CAPTAIN HAMILL’S MEN, among them a GENTLE-FACED
PRIVATE, prick up their ears at the mention of Private Ryan.
Captain hamill We’re supposed to tell you, they intercepted
a German transmission after you left. The Krauts have two
companies on their way to Ramelle to take back that bridge,
they’ll be there sometime late tomorrow.
Captain Hamill If Ryan’s alive, you’d better get him the
hell out of there before those Krauts show up.
How do we get out of here?
Captain hamill You don’t, until tonight, we’re hemmed in
real tight. After dark you try to slip out to the east. If
you tip-toe, stay off the main roads and roll a few sevens,
you’ve got a fair chance of making it up to Ramelle by
Miller processes the information. Captain Hamill shakes his
Captain hamill Tough, huh? Three brothers?
Captain hamill We sure as hell could use your help here, but
I understand what you’re doing?
Captain hamill Good luck.
Captain hamill I mean it. Find him. Get him home.
Miller is a bit taken aback by Captain Hamill’s forceful
sincerity. Then he shakes it off and motions to his men.
Let’s find someplace to hole up.
Miller nods to Captain Hamill, then, as he moves to the head
of the alley, Miller passes Upham.
Sir, I’m sorry about what happened,
It was nothing.
But you could have gotten killed and
Like I said, it was nothing.
(to the men)
Don’t bunch up.
He takes off, crouch-running back down the block. Upham
watches him go.
Did you see what he did, back there?
He stepped right into the open, so I
could get across.
Shit, that was no big deal.
They can’t kill him.
Like hell they can’t.
Wade’s right, it’s some kind of
scientific, magnetic thing, I can’t
explain it, but I’ve seen it.
We all have, he’s got nine lives, or
he’s bulletproof, or some damn thing.
The men are equal parts joking and admiring. Sarge is
No one’s bulletproof. No one.
C’mon, stay low.
Sarge takes off after Miller.
EXT. ST. MERE CATHEDRAL – DUSK
Miller and his men are bivouaced in the middle of the ruins
of a medieval church. Miller, settled into a comfortable
spot in the debris, eating his K-rations, looks very relaxed.
Captain, could you please explain
the math of this mission to me?
Sure, what do you want to know?
Well, sir, in purely arithmetic terms,
since when does six equal one? What’s
the sense in risking six guys to
Ours is not to reason why.
Never mind, don’t worry, we’ll pick
up this kid, high-tail it back to
division, everything’ll work out
I’d much rather die in Caen than
Ramelle, sir. It’s a personal thing.
Reiben, there’s a fairly good chance
you’re not going to die at all.
Easy for you to say, sir.
Fucking James Ryan, I’d like to wring
his fucking neck.
Jesus, Reiben, think of the poor
Hey, I got a mother. Jackson, you
got a mother?
Last I knew.
Wade, Sarge, Corporal Insect, all of
us, hell, I’ll bet even the Captain
has a mother.
Miller smiles. Reiben eyes him and reconsiders.
Well, maybe not the Captain, but the
rest of us have mothers.
You have orders, too.
Sir, I have an opinion on this matter.
I’d love to hear it.
Seems to me, Cap’n, this mission is
a serious misallocation of valuable
military resources. Miller Go on.
Well, sir, by my way a thinkin’ I am
a finely made instrument of warfare.
What I mean by that is, if you was
to put me with this here sniper rifle
anywhere up to and includin’ one
mile from Adolf Hitler, with a clear
line of sight, war’s over.
Reiben, I want you to listen closely
to Jackson. This is the way to gripe.
Yes, sir. It seems to me, sir, that
the entire resources of the United
States Army oughta be dedicated to
one thing and one thing only, and
that is to put me and this here weapon
on a rooftop, smack-dab in the middle
of Berlin, Germany. Now I ain’t one
to question decisions made up on
high, sir, but it seems to me that
saving one private, no matter how
grievous the losses of his family,
is a waste of my God-given talent.
Hell, I don’t mind this mission,
sir, as long as there’s something up
at Ramelle for…
…for you to blow up, yeah, yeah,
we heard that.
I’m just here to keep a bunch of
numb-nuts, including one certain,
frequently suicidal, tempter-of-fate,
from getting themselves killed.
Reiben eyes Miller.
And what about you, Captain?
Miller looks at Reiben, shocked.
Reiben, what’s the matter with you?
I don’t gripe to you. I’m a captain.
There’s a chain of command. Griping
goes one way, up, only up, never
down. You gripe to me, I gripe to
my superior officers. Up, get it?
I don’t gripe to you, I don’t gripe
in front of you. How long you been
in the army?
I’m sorry, sir, I apologize.
But if you weren’t a captain, or if
I were a major, what would you say?
Miller considers his response.
In that case, I would say this is an
excellent mission, with an extremely
valuable objective, worthy of my
Reiben rolls his eyes. Miller plays it straight, with no
In addition, as I pointed out earlier,
I have a fondness for cheese and I
hope to have the opportunity to sample
some of the Ramelle products, when
we arrive there, to see if they live
up to their excellent reputation.
Moreover, I feel heartfelt sorrow
for the mother of Private James Ryan
and I’m more than willing to lay
down my life, and the lives of my
men, especially you, Reiben, to help
relieve her suffering. The men
thoroughly enjoy the performance.
Sir, if you were not a captain, I
would compliment you, now, for being
an excellent liar.
But I am a captain. If I were not a
captain, I would thank you for the
compliment and tell you that the
ability to lie comes from being a
top-notch poker player, which I am,
having learned at the side of my
mother who is, by popular acclaim,
the best poker player in…
The men all learn forward expectantly, believing they’re
about to find out Miller’s home town. Miller smiles.
…my home town, which shall remain
The men ease back, disappointed.
Any further thoughts on the subject?
Yes, sir, as a final note, I’d like
to say, fuck our orders, fuck Ramelle,
fuck the cheese capital of France
and while we’re at it, fuck Private
I’ll make a note of your suggestions
but I’ll leave that last one to you,
especially if he’s already dead.
The men wince and laugh. Miller checks his watch and gets
We move out in two hours, try and
get some sleep.
The men know when to can it. Without another word, they all
settle down into the debris, close their eyes and try to
follow Miller’s order. Upham looks around at these strange
men, then, a simple, hard glare from Miller makes him follow
Miller looks at his men, then pulls out his map case and his
flashlight. He turns it on, in the dim glow of the light,
he studies his maps while his men rest.
EXT. ST. MERE CATHEDRAL – NIGHT (LATER)
Dark. ARTILLERY RUMBLES IN THE DISTANCE. Reiben, Jackson,
Wade and Upham sleep. Miller still sits in the glow of his
flashlight, studying his maps. Sarge lies near him, awake,
watching him. Sarge notices some unopened envelopes in
Miller’s map case and speaks quietly to him.
You ever going to open those letters?
Miller keeps his eyes on the maps.
It’s not normal, not reading letters
Since when have things been normal?
You got me. Afraid of bad news?
Miller looks at Sarge. A moment passes between the two of
them, then miller takes refuge in the maps. Sarge looks at
You think they’ll be alright?
They’re fine. As long as they can
gripe, they’ll be alright.
And what about you?
Miller considers the question, doesn’t answer.
They guys here aren’t going to be
able to hold out until battalion
Command isn’t going to let them
withdraw and the Germans sure as
hell aren’t going to let them
Three for three.
If we stayed, we could make a
You’re kidding yourself.
You never know.
They sit in silence for a moment.
I hope this boy Ryan is worth it.
Now you’re the one kidding yourself.
Hell of a mission.
Yup, hell of a mission.
Miller looks at his watch, rises and barks at the men.
Rise and shine, boys. Let’s go.
Grumbling, the men get up and start shouldering up their
EXT. ST. MERE STREET – NIGHT
SMALL ARMS FIRE ECHOES through the village. DISTANT ARTILLERY
BOOMS. Miller leads his men from the ruins of the cathedral
toward the outskirts of town. They’re just a small squad,
but these six, heavily-armed men, in full battle gear, are
EXT. ST. MERE – OUTSKIRTS – NIGHT
Miller’s men are getting ready to move out. Captain Hamill
and a few of his men are there to see them off. Suddenly:
A FLASH OF LIGHT APPEARS ON THE HORIZON
Then REPEATED FLASHES OF LIGHT. The sky is on fire. The
AIR TREMBLES. A FAR OFF RUMBLING THUNDER ROLLS over the
countryside like a tidal wave.
Then, THE OPPOSITE HORIZON LIGHTS UP AS WELL.
IT’S A MASSIVE ARTILLERY BATTLE. The MAGNITUDE OF THE FURY
is incredible, strange, other-worldly.
EVERY MAN THERE IS TRANSFIXED.
Frozen in place. The lights play on their faces.
MILLER looks down and sees his hand quivering.
SARGE notices, says nothing.
MILLER stares at his hand, forcing it to stop. Their eyes
go back to the BLAZING SKY.
Makes you feel small, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t take this.
Upham’s face shows more fear than awe.
I wasn’t made for this.
You think the rest of us were?
Upham recoils. Miller instantly regrets his words. He turns
to Upham and sees that he’s really scared. Miller get a
hold of himself and speaks gently.
Don’t worry, Upham, God’ll protect
you, this shit’s gonna keep him up
all night, anyway.
Upham manages a slight smile. Miller watches the lights for
a moment more, then he pretends to shrug it off.
Let’s go, this ain’t what they pay
Captain Hamill is next to snap himself out of it. He points
Captain hamill Along the wall, about thirty yards, there’s a
gate, on the other side, a drainage ditch, stay low until
you clear the second field, then you’ll hit the woods.
As Miller and his men shoulder their gear and prepare to
move out, on of Captain Hamill’s men, the Gentle-Faced Private
who was so interested in the talk of Private Ryan, steps up
with a couple bandoleers of B.A.R. ammo. He offers them to
Gentle-faced private Here.
Reiben looks at the bandoleers and is about to give a smart-
ass response, when a look at the Gentle-Faced Private’s
vulnerable expression stops the comment dead.
Gentle-faced private My older brother was killed at
Guadalcanal…these might come in handy.
Reiben takes the ammo.
Just what I need.
Miller steps over, takes the bandoleers from Reiben and hands
them back to the Gentle-Faced Private.
Thanks, but you may need these more
than us, or Ryan.
Captain Hamill nods to the Gentle-Faced Private who takes
the ammo back.
Let’s move out.
Miller and his men head off along the wall into the darkness,
lit intermittently by the distant flashes. Captain Hamill
and his beleaguered men, watch them go with dread and a
strange bit of hope.
EXT. FRENCH COUNTRY SIDE – NIGHT
The FINAL RUMBLES of the DISTANT ARTILLERY fade away. The
night is dark. The band of six Americans makes their way
warily along a French cart path. Sarge eases up alongside
Miller and speaks quietly to him. The others don’t overhear.
Sarge How long’s your hand been shaking?
A couple of weeks. It started in
Portsmouth when they brought us down
Is it getting worse?
No. It comes and goes. It stops
when I look at it.
You may have to find yourself a new
line of work, this one doesn’t seem
to agree with you anymore.
I’ll be alright.
Sarge looks at Miller, closely, evaluating him, they walk
EXT. FRENCH CART PATH – NIGHT (LATER)
Farther along. The men are tired but alert. Jackson is at
point. Miller behind him. The others at intervals. Sarge
brings up the rear.
A SOUND. Jackson stops. No one speaks, they communicate
only with hand signals.
JACKSON SIGNALS to Miller, ten, twenty, thirty men coming.
MILLER SIGNALS for the men to get off the path. They ease
into the brush. An instant later, a PAIR WARY GERMAN INFANTRY
REIBEN grips his B.A.R. and looks to Miller for permission
to open up. Miller shakes his head and signals, “let them
go.” A moment later AN ENTIRE PLATOON OF GERMANS rounds the
bend. Fifty men. Heavily armed. REIBEN breathes a sigh of
relief and lowers hi B.A.R.
THE GERMAN PLATOON passes, their boots no more than two feet
from the faces of the hidden Americans. Upham is wide-eyed
with fear. The others are stone-faced.
THE GERMANS PASS.
MILLER MOTIONS for his men to hold their positions.
UPHAM doesn’t see the signal. He stands, breathing a sigh
of relief, just as a GERMAN WHIP-TAIL SQUAD appears, trailing
the platoon by thirty meters, protecting their rear.
UPHAM FREEZES. He’s standing, barely in the shadows, nearly
exposed. Shitting bricks.
Pissed, MILLER prepares to fire. The Whip-tail squad
Then, the GERMANS PASS, miraculously, not seeing Upham in
the shadows. They walk on and disappear. Upham is weak-
kneed, amazed that he’s still alive.
MILLER shoots a devastating glare at him, then signals the
rest of the men to follow him into the woods. Upham scurries
after Miller, staying close on his heels.
EXT. FIELD – NIGHT
The little band of Americans walks along the edge of a field,
parallel to a cart path. Wary.
Miller notices Jackson and Wade drifting too close to each
other. He SNAPS HIS FINGERS, getting their attention, and
motions curtly for them to open it up a bit. They do so.
EXT. CROSSROADS – NIGHT
Dark. FAINT DISTANT ARTILLERY. Miller checks the map as
Sarge shines a red flashlight on an array of directional
signs. One of them reads: “Ramelle 16 Km.” Miller puts
away the map. Checks the horizon. The first glow of dawn
It’ll be light, soon. Let’s pick it
EXT. FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE – DAWN
First light. The SOUND OF DISTANT GUNS has been replaced by
the CHIRPING OF BIRDS. The Americans are taking five.
Miller stands, a bit apart from the others, looking out at
the view. It’s lovely. Dew shimmers on the long grass.
The war is far away.
Upham walks next to him. They look out at the view together
without speaking for a moment.
It looks like a Renoir.
Yes. Do you know Sibelius’ Fourth
Symphony, The Normandy?
I’ve been humming it.
It seemed appropriate.
You know classical music?
Where are you from, Captain?
What’s the pool up to?
Upham smiles, caught.
I’ll tell you what, if I’m still
alive when it hits five-hundred,
I’ll let you know and we’ll split
If that’s the way you feel, why don’t
we wait until it’s up to a thousand.
I don’t expect to live that long.
Upham looks closely at Miller and sees that he means it.
Five hundred, then.
Miller takes a last look at the view and allows himself to
feel an overwhelming wave of sadness. Then he turns himself
back into a commander and barks at Upham.
Let’s go, private.
Miller strides away. Upham watches him, trying to figure
him out, then he simply follows him.
EXT. HEDGEROW LANE – DAWN
The seven Americans walk along a hedgerow lane, untouched by
war. Spreading trees arch gently over the lane which is
lined with hedgerows, thick, rooted masses, impenetrable,
hundred of years old.
Miller sees SMOKE AHEAD. He motions to the men. They
advance. Ext. french farm – day A burning house and barn.
An old FRENCH FARMER kneels on the ground, weeping, next to
this SLAUGHTERED FAMILY, two adult women, an adult male and
a boy, no more than ten. His animals, a pair of cows and a
draft horse and some pigs are dead as well, shot to pieces.
A DEAD AMERICAN PARATROOPER lies sprawled in the dirt with
empty shell casings around his body.
Miller and his men approach carefully. Miller motions to
Upham who squats down next to the French Farmer and speaks
gently to him in French.
The FARMER SPEAKS SOFTLY as if in a trance. Upham stands
Five nights ago, he found this
paratrooper caught in a tree with a
broken leg. The leg got infected.
Last night he went to Ville Cholet
to get a doctor. The doctor refused
to come and when he got back, this
is what he found. The Krauts must
have shown up while he was gone.
Did he see any sign of them?
Upham gently asks. The FARMER ANSWERS.
No, but he heard firing, just east,
less that a kilometer.
Thank him and tell him we’re sorry
about his loss.
Miller heads off without glancing back. The men hesitate.
Sarge jerks his head for them to move out. They do so.
Upham squats down and speaks softly to the Farmer, puts his
hand on the man’s shoulder, then rises and follows the others.
EXT. HEDGEROW FIELD – DAY
A beautiful, hedgerow-lined field of tall grass. The last
of the dew and morning mist is just burning off.
The six Americans walk carefully through the woods to the
edge of the field.
Miller notices something. He silently signals stop, crouches
and scans the field and the hedgerow on the far side.
Sarge and Jackson ease up next to him. Jackson points to
some trees nearby, freshly shattered and pock-marked with
Wade calls quietly from a tangle of roots and brush.
Staying low, they join Wade who has found:
TWO DEAD AMERICAN PARATROOPERS
A trail of blood and flattened grass leads from the field.
MILLER, SARGE AND JACKSON
Crawl to the edge of the field, scan the far hedgerow. The
others crawl up behind them.
In the shadow by those two trees.
My guess, too.
What is it?
A machine gun.
Miller eases back from the edge of the field into the cover
of the brush. He stands and takes off his pack.
Sir, I’ve got an idea, let’s go
We can’t leave it here.
We left them eighty-eights.
They don’t send planes to put out
Two flank runners with surpressing
fire. I’m going right, whoever goes
left has to be fast.
Upham steels himself and steps forward.
Sir, I ran the 220 in high school.
He’s fast, Captain, I saw him.
Miller takes Upham’s measure. Wade laughs with a sneer.
Shit, that’s nothing, I ran twenty-
Wade goes left.
Wade joins Miller in peeling off his extra gear. Upham is
Wade takes a grenade from Upham’s chest strap.
I would have won the states if some
bastard hadn’t tripped me in the
Miller points the others to their firing positions.
Sarge, Upham, here. Jackson, Reiben,
ten yards, either side.
As they take their positions, Miller and Sarge speak quietly,
out of earshot of the men.
Rule of thumb, Captain, says you
ought to detail this one, instead of
Miller looks at the two dead paratroopers.
Yeah? What rule of thumb is that?
How about I go right, sir?
How about you take your position?
How about you shut up and take your
Sarge finds a spot. Miller joins Wade. Miller waits near
Upham as the other men settle into their firing positions.
Good luck, Captain.
Don’t need it, I’m a cat, I’ve got
The men said, nine.
What do they know?
I had nine, but I feel through the
ice when I was seven, my brother
pulled me out. Then I used one when
a grenade landed in my foxhole in
Sicily, it was a dud. I figure one
on the beaches, one on the cliffs
and two getting here.
That only leaves three.
Miller sees that the men are in position. He nods to Wade.
Miller and Wade take deep breaths. Miller Now.
MILLER AND WADE TAKE OFF AT FULL RUNS.
Onto opposite sides of the field. Nothing happens for a
A HEAVY GERMAN MACHINE GUN OPENS UP. MURDEROUSLY LOUD.
SHATTERING THE QUIET.
IN THE NEST
A squad of Germans, dug deep, BLASTING
THE MACHINE GUN, a BIG SCHWARZLOSE
8MM, a stunningly powerful weapon.
Four Germans in the nest, four more
Takes the FIRST FIRE. He HITS THE
DIRT. The BULLETS SCREAM just over
THE MACHINE GUN SWINGS TOWARD WADE MILLER JUMPS UP AND SPRINTS
WADE HITS THE DIRT
The BULLETS GRAZE the back of his helmet.
SARGE, REIBEN, JACKSON, UPHAM
Zero the machine gun. FIRE fast as they can. Their BULLETS
THUD INEFFECTUALLY into the hedgerow.
THE MACHINE GUN SWINGS BACK TOWARD MILLER WADE JUMPS UP AND
SPRINTS MILLER HITS THE DIRT
Bullets SMASH into the ground all around Miller.
FIRES A LONG BURST from his Thompson.
No effect. Pissed. POPS THE CLIP.
SLAMS in another. FIRES.
THE MACHINE GUN SWINGS FROM MILLER
He rises and runs. Fast. Almost to the far hedgerow.
Ten more yards. Too slow. A deadly
row of BULLETS KICK UP DIRT toward
Makes it to the far side. Scrambles
up the roots. Dives through the
On a slight rise. Can’t hit the
dirt. A line of bullets. Desperately
WADE IS HIT. HEAVY BULLETS RIP APART HIS BELLY. He spins.
SARGE, UPHAM AND THE OTHERS are horrified. FIRE at the nest.
STRUGGLES through the hedgerow.
Stumbles onto the path. Rolls to
his feet, running. Swings his
Thompson into firing position. Racing
toward the nest.
SARGE AND THE OTHERS POUR FIRE at the nest.
Tearing along the path. Sees a German
rifleman. FIRES A BURST. CUTS HIM
DOWN. Runs over the body without
SARGE STEPS INTO THE OPEN, INTENTIONALLY DRAWING THE GERMAN
FIRE from Miller.
The GERMANS ZERO SARGE. BULLETS THUD all around him. Somehow
he’s not hit.
TEARS THROUGH THE TREES. BLASTS his
Thompson. CUTS DOWN two more German
riflemen. Grabs a grenade. Pulls
The Germans see Miller coming. Wheel
from Sarge. Too late.
THROWS the grenade, VEERS and DIVES.
THE GRENADE EXPLODES. The four Germans in the nest are
SARGE hollers to the others.
HOLD YOUR FIRE!
Rolls to his feet. FIRE another
BURST. KILLS the last of the German
riflemen. Doesn’t pause. RUNS onto
SARGE AND THE OTHERS
See Miller running toward Wade. They instantly RACE onto
Lies in the grass. Holding his belly.
Astonished by the pain.
ALL THE AMERICANS RUN
Converging on Wade. Miller points, and yells, without slowing
REIBEN, UPHAM, PERIMETER! COVER!
REIBEN AND UPHAM
Stop instantly. Turn toward the
perimeter of the field.
Roots through his medical kit as he
runs. Dropping and scattering
inessentials behind him.
Wide-eyed. Not even writhing. Too
MILLER AND SARGE GET TO WADE
Throw themselves onto the ground next to him. They both
tear out sulfa-packs. Sarge frantically fumbles. Ripping
one open. Powder spills.
REIBEN AND UPHAM repeatedly glance back at Wade.
Pulls Wade’s hands from the wound.
Pours sulfa powder.
About to pour his sulfa. Sees the
wound. Stops. Knows it’s fatal.
Throws the sulfa aside. Quickly pulls out a morphine pack.
Fumbles with a second sulfa bag.
Sulfa, more sulfa…
Frozen in agony. Looks at Miller.
Sees him preparing the morphine shot.
They both know.
Yeah…morphine…make it a
SHOVES THE NEEDLE into Wade’s neck.
Thick vein. Pumps the morphine
straight to Wade’s brain. Motions
impatiently to Sarge.
More morphine, hurry up, come on,
Hesitates. Then drops his sulfa.
Fumbles in his pack. Finds the
Snatches the morphine from Sarge.
Quickly and efficiently prepares a
second shot. He’s done this before.
On guard, glancing back. Pissed
Goddamn it…Goddamn it…Goddamn
Freaked out. Trying to keep his
eyes on the perimeter. Can’t.
Gives Wade the second shot.
Feels the effects of the first shot.
He sees Upham and manages a pained
WADE LOCKS EYES WITH MILLER. Looking at him without blame,
without forgiveness. Drifts with the morphine. Then: WADE
ALL ARE FROZEN IN PLACE
UPHAM begins to weep.
REIBEN FURIOUSLY MUTTERS:
Goddamn it…Goddamn it…Goddamn
Is silent. Motionless. He gently
closes Wade’s eyes. His hand quivers
slightly as he unclips one of Wades
dogtags. He fumbles and drops it.
Miller stares at his hand and steadies it before the men
see. He picks up the dogtag and pockets it.
Then Miller carefully re-packs the un-used morphine and sulfa,
rises and picks up his Thompson.
Upham shakes his head.
That was no twenty-two flat.
Miller SLAMS A FRESH CLIP into his Thompson.
He lied. Let’s move out.
Miller turns and walks away without looking back. The men
hesitate, then slowly follow him.
EXT. FRENCH COUNTRY COW PATH – DAY
A narrow footpath, arched over by trees, almost a tunnel.
The five G.I.’s walk, spread out.
Fuck Private James Ryan, fuck him,
just fuck the goddamned son-of-a-
Shut up, will you?
You shut up, this is the most fucked
up mission I ever heard of. Goddamned
Ryan, fuck the little bastard.
Just shut up, Ryan didn’t kill Wade.
The hell he didn’t.
Miller motions to them curtly.
Keep it down.
They shut up. Miller falls in step to Sarge. Speaks quietly,
the men don’t hear.
We’ve got to find someplace to hole
up for a bit.
Sarge looks at Miller closely.
Let’s just find someplace.
EXT. NARROW GULLY – DAY
Miller leads the men into a heavily overgrown gully. A good
Rest. One hour. Jackson, Reiben,
perimeter. Keep your eyes open.
I’m going to re-con.
Miller speaks authoritatively and says the right things, but
there’s something missing. It’s subtle. Only Sarge notices.
He watches Miller head off into the brush alone.
EXT. SMALL CLEARING – DAY
Miller walks into a small clearing, slows then stops. The
life drains from him. He stands there, looking at the dirt,
tilting his head, this way and that, as if listening for
faint, distant voices. His face shows a battle raging within,
as he fights to keep from losing it entirely. Behind him,
Sarge steps to the edge of the clearing and watches. Miller
senses his presence, turns and looks at him if he were a
thousand miles away. Sarge sits down on a log and waits.
What was the name of that kid at
Anzio, the one who got his face burned
Yeah, Vecchio, I couldn’t remember
his name, he was a good kid, remember
how he used to walk on his hands and
sing that song about the man on flying
You know why I’m such a good officer?
Because of my mother. Have I ever
told you about her?
Bits and pieces.
She’s the best poker player you ever
saw. My father used to go to these
Saturday night games and lose his
shirt. Finally, my mother gave him
an ultimatum, either she gets a
regular seat at the table or she
locks him in every Saturday night.
He squawked and so did his buddies
but after a while they gave in and
from the first night she sat down,
she never lost. She could read those
cocky bastards like they were playing
open hands. And he bluffs? He had
sixteen levels of bullshit. Her
eyes, the tone of her voice, her
bets, her jokes, the way she sipped
her coffee, she was a master. She
won more money on shit hands than
anyone in the history of the game.
Every Saturday night, my father would
lose two, three hundred bucks and
she’d win it all back and then some.
And I’d stand there, glued to her
shoulder, from the time I was five
years old, watching every hand, every
move, studying how she did it.
That’s why I’m such a good officer,
I can look at a man’s face and tell
you exactly what he’s holding, and
if it’s a shit hand, I know just
what cards to deal him.
And what about your own hand?
No problem. A pair of deuces? Less?
So what? I bluff. It used to tear
me apart when I’d get one of my men
killed, but what was I supposed to
do? Break down in front of the ones
who were standing there waiting for
me to tell them what to do? Of course
not, so I bluffed, and after a while,
I started to fall for my own bluff.
It was great, it made everything so
much easier. Sarge Is that why your
hand’s been shaking?
It could be worse. You know the
first thing they teach you at O.C.S.?
Lie to your men.
Not in so many words, but they tell
you you can have all the firepower
in the world and if your men don’t
have good morale, it’s not worth a
damn. So if you’re scared or empty
or half-a-step from a Section Eight,
do you tell your men? Of course
not. You bluff, you lie.
And how do you bluff yourself?
Simple, numbers. Every time you
kill one of your men, you tell
yourself you just saved the lives of
two, three, ten, a hundred others.
We lost, what, thirty-one on the
cliffs? I’ll bet we saved ten times
that number by putting out those
guns. That’s over three hundred
men. Maybe five hundred. A thousand.
Then thousand. Any number you want.
See? It’s simple. It lets you always
choose mission over men.
Except this time, the mission IS a
That’s the rub. I liked Wade. Who’s
Ryan? If they’re both standing in
front of me and I have to shoot one
or the other, how do I choose? Look
at my hand, there it goes again.
John, I’ve got to tell you, I think
you’re about used up.
I think you’re right, Keith.
You want me to take over?
The question helps Miller pull himself back together. He
looks at his hand and forces it to stop shaking again.
No, but if I get any worse, you’ll
have to relieve me.
Just what I want to do.
They share a smile.
You know Wade was the eleventh of
the twelve, you’re the last one still
Don’t let yourself get killed, if
you do, they might make me give back
the medal and then I won’t be able
to lip off to colonels anymore.
I’ll do my best.
They shake their heads at the madness of it all. Miller
Hell of a…
Ah, forget it.
Miller picks up his Thompson and looks around, re-orienting
himself. He’s about ninety-five percent there.
Thanks for drawing that machine gun
You’re welcome, John.
But, that’s my personal brand of
stupidity, I feel kind of proprietary
about it, if you do it again, you’re
Sarge allows himself a slight smile.
Miller jerks his head for Sarge to follow. They head back
to the men.
EXT. CLEARING – DAY
The men are all in their private worlds, thinking of Wade.
No talk. Miller and Sarge walk back into the clearing.
Miller barks at the men.
Up. We’re moving out.
I thought you said we had an hour,
Well now I’m saying we’re moving
out. Get off your ass.
The men get up. Jackson is a bit slow.
What the hell’s the matter with you,
Sir, I ain’t feeling so chipper on
account of Wade.
No one responds.
I said, who the hell is Wade?
The men exchange looks. Jackson speaks for them.
Sir, I understand what you’re doin’,
but I respectfully request permission
to grieve in my own manner.
You’ll grieve the way I tell you to
goddamned grieve. There is no Wade,
there was one, but he died a long
time ago, he’s been dead for so long
you can hardly remember his name,
Sir, I understand. I don’t like it,
but I understand.
Good, now get your goddamned gear.
The men pick up their equipment and prepare to move out.
Sarge and Miller exchange a silent look. Miller shakes his
head to himself, amazed that the men still allow this shit
to work. He knows they have no choice.
EXT. FRENCH ROAD – DAY
Miller and his men walk along the road. The men are silent,
EXT. FRENCH PATH – DAY
Miller checks his map. figures out where they are. Folds
up the map, points the way and they move out.
EXT. FRENCH FIELD – DAY
More progress. The men are still grim.
You know what the best possible thing
that could happen is?
Yep, you step on a rusty nail, get
lockjaw, never say another word as
long as you live.
Miller laughs. Miller I’ll bite, Reiben.
I’ve given this a lot of thought,
sir. The best thing that could happen
is, we find Ryan and he’s dead.
Well, sir, consider the possibilities.
A: Ryan is alive. We have to take
him back to the beach. Knowing you,
you don’t let him carry my gear,
even though he really should, and we
all get killed, trying to keep him
Except for the last part, that one’s
B: Ryan is dead. He’s been blown
up by the German equivalent of Wade,
whose name I know you don’t want me
to mention. There’s nothing to find.
The biggest piece is the size of a
pea. We wander around, looking for
him until the Germans pick us off,
one after another.
I don’t like that one.
Neither do I, sir. C: And this is
the worst one, we find Ryan and he’s
wounded. Not only does he not carry
my gear, we have to carry his gear.
But we accomplish the mission.
Maybe. But what if he dies on the
way back? you see what I’m saying,
sir? The best possible situation
is, he’s dead, we find his body,
more or less intact, we grab one of
his dog-tags and high-tail it back
to the beach, or better yet, we head
over to Caen and catch up with
Has anyone ever told you, you’re
That’s a mystery to me.
No one smiles, but they trudge a bit less.
EXT. CROSSROADS – DAY
The SOUND OF HEAVY FIRING. Miller checks a map in the brush
near the crossroads. A sign reads: “Ramelle 3 Km.” Miller
folds up the map.
Looks like we’re going to beat those
Kraut companies to Ramelle.
Suddenly Miller stops dead. He listens, hearing something
the others don’t hear. He motions for them to freeze, they
- The SOUND grows louder. It’s an OMINOUS RUMBLE.
I don’t think so.
EXT. FRENCH ROAD – DAY
THE RUMBLE turns into the ROAR OF A BIG GERMAN CONVOY. Troop
trucks, armored personnel carriers, a regiment of crack
Wehrmacht troops. Heavily armed. Imposing. Crossing a
CAMERA PANS DOWN TO REVEAL
Miller and his men crowded into a culvert under the bridge.
Brush and debris partially shield the ends of the culvert.
GERMAN FLANK SQUADS
Hurry along the fields on either
side of the road, trying to keep up
with the vehicles. MILLER AND HIS
MEN Catch a glimpse of an approaching
German Flank Squad. They flatten
themselves into the mucky water.
Ready their weapons. Prepare to
THE GERMAN SQUAD
Approaches the bridge.
PAIR OF GERMAN PRIVATES
See the culvert obscured by brush. Move to check it out.
Is just about to open up on them.
THE GERMAN SERGEANT
Sees his Flank Squad lagging behind
and CALLS to them.
THE GERMAN PRIVATES
Obey. Hurry after the rest of the
IN THE CULVERT
The Americans breathe again.
I wonder where they’re going.
Same place we are.
Jackson, at the mouth of the culvert, motions that the coast
is clear. They head out.
EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF RAMELLE – DAY
A gently-sloped valley with scattered farm cottages and small,
cultivated fields, bordered by ancient, moss-covered stone
walls. The twos is visible beyond.
Miller and his men crouch-run to the cover of one of the
stone walls. Miller pulls out his binoculars.
ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE FIELD
There’s a large gathering of German troops and vehicles.
Scans the Germans with his binoculars.
Looks like tea time, maybe they’re
I sure hope so.
What do you think they’re waiting
Just then they hear an OMINOUS RUMBLE, deeper and more
threatening that that of the convoy. The sound gets LOUDER
and LOUDER. Miller and his men exchange looks. They know
that sound, they don’t like it.
FOUR MASSIVE GERMAN TANKS
Appear down the road, heading for the German soldiers who
greet them enthusiastically. The tanks are tigers, huge,
far bigger than an American Sherman. Each one, sixty-two
tons, with a big 88-mm gun, four heavy machine guns and
impregnable armor. Each one, an infantryman’s nightmare.
There are four of them.
Puts away the binoculars and jerks
his head for his men to follow, low,
along the wall. The men are happy
to do so, looking back nervously at
the German tanks.
EXT. TOWN SQUARE – RAMELLE – DAY
The SOUNDS OF SPORADIC SMALL ARMS FIRE. The town square is
a deserted battlefield, littered with burning debris, shell
casings and bodies, German and American and a few French
civilians. Miller and his men enter the square, weapons
ready, leap-frogging from doorway to doorway.
Miller and Sarge crouch-run to the cover of some overhanging
debris. They listen, trying to pinpoint the exact source of
Sarge motions his guess. Miller nods in agreement. He
signals for the men to follow him around, not toward, the
They move on, dashing from cover to cover.
EXT. BRIDGE – RAMELLE – DAY
A dozen AMERICAN PARATROOPERS on the bridge exchange SPORADIC
FIRE with a few German snipers hidden in the buildings near
the bridgehead. The bridge has clearly been the scene of
heavy fighting. Craters, burning debris and shell casings
are everywhere. The bridge is intact, only slightly damaged.
There are dozens of German bodies along the riverbank on
both sides of the bridge.
MILLER AND HIS MEN
Crouch-run and take cover as they get within sight of the
Looks like they’ve been having a
hell of a party, here, Captain.
ON THE BRIDGE! WE’RE COMING IN.
A YOUNG BUT GRIZZLED VOICE calls back.
VOICE FROM BRIDGE
KISS MY ASS, FRITZ.
YOU FIRE AT US AND I’LL DO A HELL OF
A LOT MORE THAN THAT.
VOICE FROM BRIDGE
WHO WON THE ’38 ARMY-NAVY GAME?
Miller turns to his men. They all come up empty.
I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA. HERE WE
(to his men)
What if our guys open up, sir?
You’re only allowed to shoot at
Germans, that’s one of the rules.
Have it your way, Captain.
Miller takes a breath, then DASHES out into the open, toward
THE GERMAN SNIPERS OPEN UP
Bullets SMASH INTO THE GROUND around Miller.
POUR FIRE at the German positions,
SURPRESSING THE GERMAN FIRE.
ON THE BRIDGE
The Paratroopers pour a HEAVY STREAM
OF BULLETS at the German positions.
Miller makes it to the bridge and DIVES over a defensive
jumble of crates, sandbags and bodies.
He finds himself next to SERGEANT BILL FORREST who was the
young but grizzled voice that called out. With Forrest are
some very worn-out, young AMERICAN PARATROOPERS. Miller
catches his breath. Forrest Navy, sir, twenty-one to
nineteen. They won on a field goal in overtime.
I’ll keep it in mind.
(calls to Sarge)
OKAY, SARGE, ONE AT A TIME.
Miller and the paratroopers FIRE COVER for Miller’s men as
they come in. Miller and Forrest alternately take and FIRE.
Forrest Are we glad to see you, sir, we were supposed to
hold this bridge for twenty-four hours, it’s been six days.
Things are tough all over. We’re
looking for a Private James Ryan.
Is he here?
Forrest motions to one of the paratroopers.
Forrest Go get Ryan.
What do you want him for, sir?
Miller doesn’t answer. Jackson leaps over the barricade and
scrambles to them.
Jackson, get a hold of command.
Jackson cranks up the five-thirty-five. Miller turns to
How many men do you have?
They pause to FIRE, covering Sarge, the last of Miller’s men
to leap over the barricade.
Forrest Eleven, sir. We started with thirty-six. The bridge
was easy to take but the Krauts have been coming back at us
ever since. They must want it intact or we’d be long gone.
Jackson speaks into the radio handset, repeating Miller’s
hailing I.D. No response.
Forrest Sir, what do you want with Ryan?
Miller doesn’t answer, he looks past Forrest and sees:
PRIVATE JAMES RYAN
Dashing from cover to cover, making
his way toward them. Ryan is an
American classic, nineteen years
old, earthy, handsome, sharp, cocky.
Though he’s exhausted, unshaven, and
smeared with dirt and blood, he’s
very alive. His eyes shine, his
face has a spark. You can’t help
but love this kid.
All watch Ryan run toward them.
So, that’s Ryan.
Looks like a flaming asshole to me.
Their eyes remain glued to Ryan as he makes it to the
barricade. He salutes Miller.
I’m Ryan, sir. You wanted to see
Miller looks at Ryan for a moment, amazed that he’s finally
face-to-face with him. Ryan waits. Miller hesitates,
searching for words. Then he speaks gently but clearly.
Miller Private, I’ve got some bad news for you. Your brothers
have been killed in action.
The life instantly drains from Ryan. His breath comes hard.
Somehow he remains upright.
Ryan All three?
Ryan sways. Miller grabs him and eases him back, leaning
him against some sandbags.
Are stunned at the news. They look
at Ryan, there’s nothing else they
Also look at Ryan, but then, one
after another, they turn away,
adverting their eyes, looking a their
own boots, the debris on the bridge,
the sky, anything other than Ryan.
We’ve been sent to get you out of
here. You’re going home.
Ryan weakly waves Miller off. Miller motions to his men and
the paratroopers to move away. They do so, giving Ryan a
Forrest Three brothers, the poor son-of-a-bitch.
Sergeant, we’re moving out and I’m
taking you and your men with me.
Forrest But, sir, our orders are clear, we’re to hold this
bridge until we’re relieved by forward elements of the Twenty-
I’m giving you new orders, Sergeant.
Forrest Sir, you can’t do that, these orders are from command.
I’m not going to leave you and your
men here to get killed. Get them
together, we’re moving out.
A VOICE from behind them speaks simply, clearly, firmly.
They all turn and see Ryan standing there. Miller is about
to automatically rip Ryan a new asshole for contradicting
him, but he quickly calms himself, gently touches Ryan on
the arm and speaks softly to him.
Come on, Private, you’re going home.
Ryan jerks away from Miller.
All eyes are on Miller and Ryan. Miller remains patient.
Private. I’m sorry about your
brothers but staying here and getting
yourself killed isn’t going to help.
Sir, if the Krauts are holding this
bridge when division shows up, our
guys are going to be sitting ducks.
This bridge cannot be held. The
Germans have two companies less than
three miles from here. They have
That news clearly affects Ryan and the other paratroopers,
but Ryan holds his ground. Ryan Sir, I’m still not going.
Miller speaks with restrained, but growing, anger.
Private, if you want to commit
suicide, that’s your choice, but
you’re going to have to wait until
after I get you back to the beach.
And you’re not going to take these
men with you.
Ryan stands eye-to-eye with Miller.
I’m not leaving, sir.
Miller starts to boil over.
The hell you aren’t, you’re comin’
with me if I have to drag you every
inch of the way. You hear me,
I hear you sir, but I’m not leaving.
Miller grabs Ryan by the lapels and shakes him. Ryan doesn’t
Listen you little son-of-a-bitch
you’re coming with me or
Ryan speaks softly.
What are you going to do, sir, shoot
Miller considers it. Then REIBEN SPEAKS UP from behind
Uh, excuse me, Captain.
Miller slowly turns and glares.
So, what are a few tanks, sir?
Miller’s more amazed than pissed off. Reiben smiles.
He’s right, we can’t shoot him…well,
we could but we’d get in an enormous
amount of trouble. And he’s right
about the bridge, it’s a hell of a
lot more important than he is.
JACKSON STEPS FORWARD.
Miller turns his glare on Jackson.
Seems to me, we got us a opportunity,
here, to kill two birds with one
stone. Command seems to think keepin’
this boy alive is worth somethin’.
If we was to do that and hold this
bridge, good chance we’d get us a
bucket full of medals. I might even
get me one ‘a them big, fancy ones
like you got, so’s I could sass any
officer in the whole dang army, you
Miller does a slow burn.
UPHAM STEPS FORWARD
I’d like to stay, too, Captain.
You don’t count.
SARGE STEPS UP
I do and personally, I’d rather get
the hell out of here, but somebody’s
got to stay and take care of you and
these pin-head privates of yours.
Miller looks at FORREST AND THE PARATROOPERS.
Forrest We weren’t planning on going anywhere, sir.
See, Captain? The vote’s unanimous.
Miller’s eyes almost pop out of his head. Miller The vote?
What the hell are you talking about? We don’t vote. This
isn’t a democracy. This is the army, I give orders, you
follow them. We don’t vote!
Yes, sir, of course, sir, I was merely
speaking hypothetically. IF this
was a voting situation, then the
vote would have been unanimous. But
of course, it’s not a voting
situation, you’re the captain, and
you give the orders, sir.
You’re goddamned right, I give the
order. Vote! Jesus Christ! Listen
to me, you little pissant pieces of
shit, I am the ranking officer here
and what I say goes, is that clear?
They all quickly nod.
Of course, sir.
All the others Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Miller looks from face to face.
In that case…
I vote we stay.
That’s what they wanted to hear. Miller doesn’t give them
time to enjoy it, he immediately starts barking orders.
Reiben, the B.A.R., there. Jackson,
get up on the bridgekeepers hut with
your sniper rifle. Sarge, you and
Upham move that machine gun so it
can cover the left flank, it’s
worthless where it is. Forrest, I
want a full inventory of all your
weapons, ammo and ordnance. Go.
They all hurry off, except for Ryan who locks eyes with Miller
for a moment.
Thank you, sir.
Yeah, yeah. I want you right next
to me, no matter where I go, you
Alright, come with me.
Miller shakes his head at himself and strides off to check
the defensive perimeter with Ryan at his side.
EXT. BRIDGE – DAY
Miller and Reiben watch as Forrest, Ryan and a couple other
paratroopers lay out their weapons and ammo inventory.
Forrest Two machine guns, twenty-two grenades, two Gammon
grenades, six satchel charges, twenty-six M-1’s, eight Tommy
guns and about sixty rounds per man.
Reiben looks at the sparse array of weaponry.
Sir, can I change my vote?
Miller sighs, worried.
EXT. BRIDGEKEEPER’S HUT – DAY
Jackson, perched on the bridgekeepers hut, protected by a
crescent of sandbags. His eye is at his scope. He FIRES.
A GERMAN SNIPER
Falls from a window on the edge of
Sits beside Jackson with a pair of
binoculars, searching for another
target. The German sniper fire has
subsided for now. Ext. bridge – day
Miller watches as Ryan and several
other paratroopers dig a series of
trenches across the street, leading
to the bridge.
Reiben, Jackson and Upham, stone-faced, watch Ryan.
Miller eyes the buildings near the bridge head. He speaks
to Sarge who holds several satchel charges.
Sarge, see what you can do to make
those buildings inhospitable.
Just then they hear the sound of A BIG GUN FIRING IN THE
DISTANCE. They all turn at the sound.
I can tell what the gunners had for
Those guns are close.
Forrest Just south of town. The Krauts have a two gun
emplacement, we saw it on the way in. That’s how we knew
they wanted the bridge intact, they didn’t blow the crap out
Let’s hope they don’t change their
Upham listens to the eighty-eights with particular interest.
INT. BUILDING – DAY
Within sight of the bridge. Sarge carefully plants a wire-
triggered satchel charge at the door of the building. He
sets the wire, then carefully backs away.
EXT. BRIDGE – EVENING
Reiben and Ryan pile sandbags, finishing a forward machine
gun nest. Miller looks around, evaluating, Sarge and Upham
at his side.
What do you think?
Well, if we had ten times the men
and a lot more ammo, we might stand
a chance, but not against those tanks.
What are we going to do?
We’re going to hope like hell the
tanks were on their way somewhere
Let’s hope, because we’re sure as
hell not going to do any damage to
them with what we have here.
What about our grenades?
Those are Tigers, they have six-inch
armor, they don’t even notice
Would they notice and eighty-eight?
Sure, you got one?
The Germans do.
Miller is stone-faced, then he smiles.
Upham, go find Jackson, he and I are
Upham runs off. Sarge shakes his head.
Out of the mouth of babes.
EXT. BRIDGEHEAD – NIGHT
Dark. Miller, Jackson and Forrest darken their faces with
blackening soot. The rest of Miller’s men and several
paratroopers, including Ryan, look on. Upham is distressed.
Upham It was my idea, sir, you’ve got to let me go.
Upham, you’ve got to learn the
difference between whining and
griping. You can’t just rely on
natural ability, you’ve got to study
There you go again, that’s whining,
that’s not okay.
Goddamn it, sir…
That’s better, but you’ve still got
a long way to go. Talk to Reiben,
he’s a natural and works at it, he’ll
give you some pointers.
Leave him to me, Captain, I’ll have
him pissing and moaning with the
best of us.
See to it.
RYAN Steps up to Miller.
I’d like to go, sir.
No, private, I want you to stay here,
keep your head down, don’t do anything
brave or stupid.
Aren’t they the same thing, sir?
Reiben, I don’t know what I’d do
without you. Sarge, keep Ryan close
to you and alive.
Miller checks Jackson and Forrest.
Forrest Yes, sir.
You betcha, sir.
Miller, Forrest and Jackson prepare to move out.
Y’all come back.
Reiben, are you makin’ fun ‘a the
way I talk?
(heavy southern accent)
Jackson shoots him a glare, then he follows Miller and Forrest
into the darkness. Sarge, Ryan and the other watch them go.
EXT. GERMAN EIGHTY-EIGHT EMPLACEMENT – NIGHT
A German eighty-eight FIRES, sending its big shell into the
night. It’s eight-man crew re-loads.
IN THE DARKNESS
A slight movement. It’s Miller. He
crawls to the edge of the emplacement
and freezes in the shadows.
A moment later he’s joined by Forrest. A moment after that,
Jackson silently crawls up to them.
Eyes the emplacement. Looks for a
weakness. There is none. He motions
to Forrest and Jackson to wait. The
three of them settle into the
EXT. MACHINE GUN NEST – BRIDGE – NIGHT
Sarge, Upham and Reiben sit with Ryan in the darkness. Ryan
is lost in thought, far away. One after another, Miller’s
men eye him.
Private, I’m sorry about your
Ryan nods. Then, with some difficulty, he makes the trip
from Iowa back to France. He turns to Sarge. Ryan What was
the name of the guy who got killed coming up here?
Wade. Huh, he died coming up here
to keep me alive…I never met
him…he didn’t know me from Adam,
strange. What was he like?
A good man, kind of cheerful, Reiben,
here, used to call him a happy idiot.
Like hell, I did.
My brothers would be mighty pissed
off at me, if they knew I let some
guy get killed trying to keep me
You didn’t let anybody get killed,
you didn’t even know we were coming
Sure, I know, but…
Goddamn it all…
The others nod in agreement. They look closely at Ryan.
EXT. GERMAN EIGHTY-EIGHT EMPLACEMENT – NIGHT
Dark. No firing. Two German soldiers on watch.
It’s Miller. Easing through the
darkness. Closer to one of the
Miller sees Jackson easing up behind another sentry. Miller
nods to Jackson. They move at the same moment. Behind the
sentries. SLIT THEIR THROATS.
BEHIND THE EIGHTY-EIGHT
Forrest removes the wheel-blocks.
A GERMAN SENTRY
Approaches. He sees Forrest. Just
as he’s about to open up with his
sub-machine gun, Miller grabs him
from behind, STABS him, eases the
body silently to the ground.
MILLER AND JACKSON
Join Forrest at the eighty-eight.
Together they attach the eighty-eight’s carriage to the
ANOTHER GERMAN SENTRY
Rounds a corner. Sees them. OPENS
UP WITH HIS SUB-MACHINE GUN.
Forrest DIVES, FIRES BACK.
Race over, FIRING.
Covering them, OPENS UP. Kills the
MILLER frantically attaches the eighty-eight to the truck.
FORREST CUTS DOWN, several more Germans.
JACKSON TAKES A GRAZING SHOT IN THE SHOULDER.
Giving Miller cover.
MILLER LEAPS into the cab of the truck.
JACKSON AND FORREST LEAP into the back.
JACKSON FIRES into the approaching Germans.
Is shattered by bullets.
Glass flies everywhere, cutting Miller on the face and hands.
In the back of the truck.
Spraying the Germans with his Thompson.
MILLER FLOORS IT.
The truck DRIVES through the Germans.
The Germans FIRE at the truck and trailing eighty-eight.
MILLER, JACKSON AND FORREST Drive into the night.
The Germans FIRING after them.
EXT. ROAD LEADING TO THE BRIDGE – NIGHT
Miller, Jackson and Forrest barrel down the road through a
gauntlet of Germans. As they approach the bridge, the other
American’s FIRE COVER for them.
Miller drives the truck onto the bridge.
SMASHES INTO THE SANDBAGS
THE OTHER AMERICANS, with Ryan in the lead, leap over the
barricade and drag the captured eighty-eight onto the bridge.
RYAN! GET BACK THERE!
Ryan ignores him. They get the eighty-eight safely behind
the barricade. Miller grabs Ryan.
Miller fumes. he sees Reiben, Sarge and Upham, shrugging,
clearly not pissed at Ryan.
Don’t do that again.
I won’t need to sir, it’s already
here, behind the barricade so…
Miller glares at Ryan, then strides off.
EXT. FIELD – NIGHT
Miller and Upham carefully dig up a German mine. Very
gingerly they place it on a growing pile of other mines.
EXT. ROAD LEADING TO BRIDGE – NIGHT
Miller and Ryan lay a mine into the dirt. They cover it and
step back carefully.
Then they proceed with the next. Upham is covering their
tracks while Jackson is digging the holes in which they’ll
place the rest of the mines.
EXT. BRIDGE – NIGHT
Quiet. Dark. Everything is ready. There’s nothing to do
now but wait.
ON THE BRIDGEKEEPERS HUT
Reiben and Jackson sit behind the sandbags. They can see
Ryan sitting in the moonlight about twenty yards away, manning
the rear machine gun nest with Sarge.
What do you think?
I think I’m we got that eighty-eight.
I mean, Ryan, what do you think of
He ain’t half-bad, I guess.
They’re quiet for a moment.
He ain’t Wade.
Nope, he ain’t Wade.
Their eyes keep coming back to Ryan.
Crouch-runs through the shadows and
stops at the bridgekeepers hut.
Miller points, directing Reiben to the forward machine gun
REIBEN jumps down and moves forward.
MILLER runs across the bridge and joins Sarge and Ryan in
the rear machine gun nest.
You set? Sarge nods.
Miller and Sarge exchange a look. Then Miller slips off to
check the others.
EXT. BRIDGE – DAWN
First light. The Americans are ready for battle. WE SEE
them in their positions:
REIBEN AND UPHAM
Manning the forward machine gun nest.
Behind the sandbags, on top of the
FORREST AND THE PARATROOPERS
Behind the second of two barricades set up between the forward
and the rear machine gun nests.
RYAN AND SARGE
Manning rear machine gun.
At the bridgehead, waiting.
SOUND FROM DOWN THE ROAD
All eyes turn.
SINGLE GERMAN SOLDIER
Dashes across the street. Exposed only for an instant.
Then another. And another.
Cocks his Thompson. Settles down
behind some sandbags.
HERE THEY COME!
A RUSH OF GERMANS ADVANCE, BLASTING AT THE BRIDGE.
THE AMERICANS RETURN FIRE
OPENS UP with the MACHINE GUN.
At least fifty of them, advancing on
the bridge. Running from cover to
cover. A squad pushing a French
truck, using it as a shield.
Calmly picking off the attacking
THE GERMAN INFANTRYMEN
Make their way down the streets.
Along the riverbank. Through the
houses. There are GERMANS FIRING
from all directions.
REIBEN FIRES IN ARCS.
Sees Reiben and Upham being cut off.
Grabs the B.A.R., stands and fires.
REIBEN AND UPHAM
Running out of ammo. See that there’s
nothing else they can do.
Time to go.
Reiben rolls out of the nest, carrying the fifty caliber.
Upham follows, carrying the ammo boxes. They run as fast as
THE OTHER AMERICANS FIRE COVER
REIBEN takes a glancing slug. Falls. Rolls and gets up.
Bleeding from the side, but not mortal. Upham helps him.
They MAKE IT TO THE SANDBAGS of the first barricade.
DIVE OVER. The Germans are almost on them.
RYAN IS FIRING
With the rear MACHINE GUN. Drops
They swarm over the first barricade.
FIRES A BURST into a German’s belly.
HITS another with the stock of his
FORREST AND THE OTHER PARATROOPERS
FIRING COVER for Miller, Reiben and Upham, don’t see a
flanking Germans squad easing along the riverbanks. Two of
the Germans LOB POTATO MASHERS among the paratroopers. THE
PARATROOPERS see the grenades. Too late.
THE POTATO MASHERS EXPLODE KILLING FORREST AND THE OTHER
PARATROOPERS RYAN SEES FORREST AND THE OTHERS DIE
No time to react.
Half a dozen Germans break through.
Miller KILLS TWO MORE WITH A BURST.
Is jumped on by one. Upham FIRES.
KILLS the German.
Struggling with a pair of Germans.
FIRES. Drops one of the Germans on
Miller with a head shot. Cuts open
Miller’s face with bits of skull.
Leaps onto the final German attacking
Miller. That German raises his rifle
UPHAM AND REIBEN AND JACKSON
All see it. SIMULTANEOUSLY SHOOT the German.
THE STUNNED GERMAN
About to kill Ryan. Torn apart by
bullets from three directions.
I got him.
Like hell you did, I got him.
He got him.
MILLER SLAMS in a fresh clip. FIRES an arc. DROPS four
Germans. Sees an oncoming RUSH OF GERMANS. BARKS to Reiben
BACK! LET’S GO!
They retreat, firing back as best they can, trying to make
it to the barricade.
Sees them in deep trouble. Leaves
Ryan firing the rear machine gun.
Grabs the B.A.R. ADVANCES, FIRING
MILLER, REIBEN, UPHAM make it to the
barricade. Dive over.
Sees they’ve made it. FIRES A FINAL
BURST. Races for cover. A trail of
bullets right behind him.
THE OTHER AMERICANS FIRE for all they’re worth. Trying to
cover Sarge. Too many Germans.
SARGE TAKES A SHOT IN THE BACK. FALLS. MILLER AND THE OTHERS
continue to fire, horrified.
SARGE STRUGGLES TO HIS FEET
Cradling the B.A.R. Stumbling toward cover. Slowing.
Desperately trying to cover him.
Open up with a volley.
Is almost there.
ALL THE AMERICANS STAND AND FIRE
As best they can. Right past Sarge. It’s not enough.
Five feet from the sandbags, his
back is TORN APART by Germans fire.
He looks down, stunned at his chest.
Amazed to see GAPING HOLES. An
instant of surprise, more than fear.
He looks to Miller. Takes two more stumbling steps. Falls
onto the sandbags. Dropping the B.A.R. over the edge. Dies.
THE AMERICANS FIRE MADLY, CONTINUOUSLY
Who killed Sarge are killed. The
others back off for now.
REIBEN, UPHAM, JACKSON, RYAN fire at the retreating Germans.
Grabs Sarge and pulls him over the
barricade. Sees that he’s dead.
THE GERMANS RETREAT.
Around the corner.
Stunned, lays Sarge down, kneeling
next to him.
Watch, start to gather.
Goddamn it…Goddamn it…Goddamn
Get back to your positions!
They follow the order. All except Ryan, who doesn’t move.
He can’t take his eyes off Sarge.
Doesn’t move. He just stares at
Looks at Miller, sees him growing
weak, starting to sway. He gently
tries to move Miller aside.
I’ll take care of Sarge…
Miller looks up at Ryan, then back at Sarge’s body. Miller
grows cold, making the same startling transformation he made
as he kneeled over Wade’s body.
Sarge? Who’s Sarge?
But this time it doesn’t work. He can’t make it stick. The
hard expression, disappears. He drifts, utterly lost. He’s
called his own bluff.
EXT. BRIDGE – NIGHT
Dark. Quiet. The distant guns are silent for once.
Waiting. Reiben, Upham, Jackson, Ryan and Miller have
tightened their perimeter.
Miller is in a trance. The others glance at him nervously.
They eat in silence. K-rations. Some bread. A last supper.
Then, from out of nowhere, Miller speaks:
English teacher, Addley, Pennsylvania.
Slowly, Miller’s men turn to him.
What’d you say, Captain?
I teach English at Addley High School
in Addley, Pennsylvania.
Well, I’ll be goddamned, I knew it.
Like hell, you did.
Captain, what about our deal?
I changed my mind.
I coach the baseball team, too.
They all sit in silence.
You know that cruise ship Wade’s
grandfather was on?
They all nod, except Ryan who doesn’t know what Miller’s
I wonder if his cabin is still
That’s not where I am. Miller No?
Where are you?
I’m in a dressing room with Mrs.
Rachel Troubowitz, our super’s wife.
She’s an easy forty-four, double E,
but I’ve convinced her she’s a thirty-
eight D and I’m watching her try and
squeeze herself into a side-stay,
silk-ribboned, three-panel girdle
with s Helf-lift brassiere.
She’s having a devil of a time,
getting into that thing.
They all share Reiben’s dream for a moment. Then Jackson
Me? I’m walking with my hound, Lucy,
it’s about an hour ‘fore sunrise and
we’re out huntin’ coon. I got me a
flask of pure Kentucky mash whiskey…
Jackson, how many times I got to
tell you, you’re from Tennessee.
I am, but I like imported whiskey.
So there I am and I hear the biggest
ole’ coon you ever did hear, ‘a
rustlin’ right there in front of me.
That ole’ boy comes right out of the
brush, I got a clear shot and he
knows he’s ’bout to meet his maker.
I aim, I got my finger tight on the
trigger and then I just smile and
say to that ole’ coon, go on, now,
you get out ‘a here. Then I sit
down on a hollow log and take me a
right long pull a’ that mash whiskey.
I don’t know, I kind of like Wade’s
idea about the cruise ship. I’ve
never been to Tahiti.
What about you, Captain?
Miller smiles. He knows exactly where he is.
I’m in my backyard, lying in my
hammock, with my arm around my wife,
listening for the sound of breaking
Say what, Cap’n?
You see, I’ve got the best house in
all of Addley. It’s not the biggest
house, but it’s got the best location,
right next to the junior high baseball
field. The garage windows face left
field. The guy who owned the house
before me had these heavy screen S
put over them. The first thing I
did when I bought the place was take
off those screens. Two-hundred-twenty-
two yards from home plate to my garage
windows. It takes a hell of a junior
high kid to hit a ball that far. I
look at my garage windows as a
Motivator and a way to scout the
kids coming up, the ones who are
going to give us a shot at the state
championship. I lay there in my
hammock and every time I hear the
sound of breaking glass, I know we’re
one step closer to winning it all.
Don’t that get kind of expensive,
It’s worth it.
To each, his own.
They’re all silent for a moment. Then Miller turns to Ryan.
How about you, James?
I’m home, playing basketball with my
brothers, it’s evenin’ time, we’re
trying’ to get in a few more points
before it’s too dark to see the ball.
That’s where I am.
They all nod. Miller tears off a piece of bread and passes
it to Ryan who tears off a bit and passes it on. They all
eat in silence.
EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF RAMELLE – DAWN
First light. Lovely. Dew shimmers. A ground fog drifts.
A SOUND. Louder. And louder. A GERMAN TIGER TANK RUMBLES
toward the village.
EXT. BRIDGE – RAMELLE – DAWN
All are awake. At their positions. Waiting.
Hears the FAINT DISTANT RUMBLE OF
THE TANK. Barely has time to react.
THE GERMANS ADVANCING AGAIN
Here they come.
FIRES a burst. Germans drops.
FIRES a burst. More Germans drop.
THE GERMANS KEEP COMING
Lots of them. Moving from cover to cover. FIRING.
Manning the forward machine gun.
Way out front. Sees that he’s going
to be cut off. He grabs the hot
gun. The barrel burns into his flesh.
He ignores the pain and RUNS BACK
toward the bridge.
HE DIVES over the sandbags. barely makes it. TRAILED BY
Take positions near the bridge.
Moving in. FIRING. Overwhelming.
Break through the perimeter.
RYAN SHOOTS one. GRAPPLES with the other two.
Sees Ryan. Races over. SHOOTS one
German. STABS the other.
RYAN FALLS BACK. Stunned, unhurt.
REIBEN only gives him a quick look. Gets to the MACHINE
OPENS UP against the Germans who are still coming. FIRES A
LONG BURST. Germans drop.
FIRES again. More Germans drop.
Take positions in the building near
They start working their way to the tops of the nearby
Making their way along the riverbanks.
REIBEN AND RYAN
Forward. Reiben FIRING. Ryan feeding
the ammo belt.
Hears that. Doesn’t hesitate. He
grabs a pair of ammo boxes. RUNS
toward Reiben and Ryan.
SEVERAL GERMANS ZERO UPHAM
OPEN UP on him.
BULLETS TRAIL UPHAM. He’s outrunning them. Almost there.
TAKES HALF-A-DOZEN SLUGS. Torn apart.
Stumbles the final few steps to the
machine gun nest. Falls on the
sandbags, giving Reiben and Ryan the
ammo. UPHAM’S DEAD.
For just a micro-second. No time. Grabs the ammo. REIBEN
FIRING. Ryan clips the new ammo belt onto the tail of the
one almost out.
Continues FIRING. CUTTING DOWN the
THE GERMANS START TO FALL BACK
Knows what that means. He hears the
RUMBLE OF THE TANKS.
TIGHTEN IT UP! HERE THEY COME!
RYAN AND REIBEN
Immediately grab the machine gun and
ammo and race back to the rear nest.
Then RYAN AND MILLER converge at the eighty-eight. THE FIRST
TANK APPEARS Huge. Terrifying. Clanking. Trailed by two
German infantry platoons.
On the bridgekeeper’s hut. Picking
off German soldiers who follow the
A GERMAN INFANTRYMAN SPOTS JACKSON. Hollers into the tanks
Stops. Grinds its gears. Turning
it’s turret towards the bridgekeepers
Knows what’s coming but he holds his
position, continuing to pick off
THE TANK BLASTS
THE BRIDGEKEEPER’S HUT AND JACKSON
ARE OBLITERATED IN THE EXPLOSION.
MILLER AND RYAN
SEE JACKSON DIE. A bare moment to
react. Then, they turn their
attention back to the eighty-eight.
Frantically turning the aiming cranks.
Lowering the barrel to point blank.
TANK AGAINST EIGHTY-EIGHT.
Which can fire first.
MILLER AND RYAN
Win the race.
FIRE THE EIGHTY-EIGHT
BLAST THE LEAD TANK DESTROY IT IN A
SHOWER OF METAL AND FLAMES
MILLER AND RYAN
Quickly reload the eighty-eight.
DESTROY THE SECOND TANK.
Shoves the FINAL SHELL into the breech
of the eighty-eight. Pats Ryan on
the back. Grabs a SATCHEL CHARGE.
RUNS down the bridge. Right toward the two advancing tanks.
FIRES THE EIGHTY-EIGHT.
DESTROYING THE THIRD TANK.
Races through the debris. Trailed
With the machine gun. Covers Miller.
Keeping most of the German infantry
RYAN jumps behind the second machine gun. Opens up. Helping
to cover Miller.
THE LAST GERMAN TANK
Turret spins. Turning toward the fast approaching Miller.
Ready to blow him to bits.
Is almost there. He arms the satchel
THE TIGER’S MACHINE GUNS OPENS UP ON HIM.
BLASTS A TRAIL OF BULLETS
Throws the satchel charge under the
tank. Rolls off the edge of the
bridge. Lands on the embankment
THE LAST TIGER TANK EXPLODES
MILLER, RYAN, REIBEN continue FIRING.
Almost out of ammo.
MILLER SCRAMBLING UP THE EMBANKMENT, back onto the bridge,
hears something over the SOUNDS OF FIRING.
HOLD IT! HOLD IT!
Ryan and Reiben cease firing. Now they hear it, too.
A RUMBLE, DEEPER AND MORE OMINOUS than any they’ve heard
More tanks… Ryan Lot’s of them
The fear on their faces turns to
resignation. They know that they
are dead men. They settle into their
positions, and prepare to fire and
They wait. The RUMBLE GETS LOUDER AND LOUDER.
THEN MILLER’S FACE STARTS TO CHANGE…a hint…of a
smile…then a real smile…
AN AMERICAN SHERMAN TANK APPEARS from over the rise. Then
ANOTHER…AND ANOTHER…AND ANOTHER…
MILLER, REIBEN AND RYAN
Stand there, stunned, watching tank after tank appear, along
with scores of heavily-armed American soldiers.
They keep coming and coming. American tanks, with wave after
wave of U.S. infantrymen, looking for targets. They find a
few among the departing Germans.
THE ADVANCING TROOPS
Run onto the bridge and start to
secure the position. A SERGEANT and
a few of HIS MEN look around,
curiously eyeing Miller, Reiben and
Ryan, battered and bloody, standing
among the bodies.
A MAJOR strides up.
Major Report, Captain.
Miller, Company B, Second Rangers,
that’s Private Richard Reiben and
that’s Private James Ryan, Hundred-
The Sergeant and several other soldiers overhear.
One of the soldiers speaks quietly to another.
Soldier That’s him, that’s Ryan.
The Major puts his hand on Ryan’s shoulder.
Major Command is looking for you, son. You’re going home.
Ryan looks up, tired. He nods.
EXT. RAMELLE BRIDGE HEAD – DAY
American tanks and hundreds of fresh troops stream down the
road and over the bridge.
MILLER, RYAN AND REIBEN
Watch. In a small area, cleared of the debris, the bodies
of Jackson, Upham, Sarge, Forrest and the other paratroopers
are laid out, neatly, respectfully, covered.
Miller and Reiben stay protectively close to Ryan, as if
they don’t want to risk him being bumped into or run over by
any of the advancing troops or vehicles.
Walks to the bodies. He kneels down
next to Sarge and looks at him for a
long moment. Then, with a steady
hand, he takes one of Sarge’s two
dog-tags. Then he does the same to
Jackson and Upham.
REIBEN AND RYAN watch silently.
Stands and walks back to Reiben and
Ryan. He hands the dog-tags to Ryan
who grips them tightly and nods in
Miller takes a last look at the bridge and the bodies, then
he shoulders his gear. Miller Let’s move out.
Reiben and Ryan gather up their gear. They walk with Miller
down the road, away from the bridge.
CAMERA CRANES UP
The three dirty, bloodied, tired men
walk down the road, ignored by the
fresh troops marching in the opposite
Upham and Jackson, what were they
Upham? Good kid, smart, he was
writing a book.
Yeah, and he was fast, too, ran the
220 in twenty-four-five.
Jackson was from West Fork, Tennessee,
he was going to be a preacher, his
father and uncles have a traveling
ministry out of the back of a stretch
He was the best friend I ever had.
Lemme tell you about Sarge…
They walk on, disappearing in the distance among the hundreds
and hundreds of American soldiers who are marching down the
road and over the bridge.