Saving Private Ryan

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Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 film that follows the efforts of a World War II Normandy invasion Company Commander and his special squad to locate a soldier whose brothers have been killed in action, in order to return him to his thrice-bereaved family.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat.
The mission is a man. taglines

Captain John H. Miller[edit]

  • Like finding a needle in a stack of needles.
  • This Ryan better be worth it. He better go home and cure some disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb, or something. Because to tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade ten Ryans for one Vecchio or one Caparzo.
  • You see, when...when you end up killing one of your men, you tell yourself it happened so you could save the lives of two or three or ten others. Maybe a hundred others.
  • [Dying words, to Private Ryan] James... earn this. Earn it.

Sergeant Mike Horvath[edit]

  • I don't know. Part of me thinks the kid's right. What's he done to deserve this? He wants to stay here, fine. Let's leave him and go home. But another part of me thinks, what if we stay, and by some miracle we actually make it out of here alive? Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, shitty mess. And like you said, Captain: We do that, we all earned the right to go home.

Private James Francis Ryan[edit]

  • Tell her that when you found me, I was here, and I was with the only brothers that I have left. And that there's no way I was gonna desert them.
  • [Older James Ryan at Captain Miller's grave] My family is with me today. They wanted to come with me. To be honest with you, I wasn't sure how I'd feel coming back here. Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. And I've tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me.


Capt. Miller: [Goes to soldiers huddled behind a beach obstacle] The seawall! Move up to the seawall!
Soldier: Sir, I'm staying!
Capt. Miller: Clear this beach, make way for the others!
Soldier: This is all we've got between us and the Almighty!
Capt. Miller: Every inch of this beach has been pre-sighted! You stay here, you're dead men!

Capt. Miller: Sergeant Horvath! Do you recognize where we are?
Sgt. Horvath: Right where we're supposed to be, but no one else is!
Soldier: Nobody's where they're supposed to be!

Capt. Miller: Is this all, all that's made it?
Sgt. Horvath: We're scattered pretty bad, sir. There's bound to be more of us.
Capt. Miller: Not enough. This is not enough.
Sgt. Horvath: Dog One exit, it's got to be that cut on the right, or is it the one on the left? Shit!
Capt. Miller: No, no, no, Vierville is to the west of us, this is Dog One.
Soldier: They're killing us! And we don't have a fucking chance, and that ain't fair!

Sgt. Horvath: Reiben, where's your BAR?
Pvt. Reiben: The bottom of the channel, sir, the bitch tried to drown me.
Sgt. Horvath: Find a replacement.

Sgt. Horvath: [after Miller sends Jackson out under fire from German machine guns] Captain, if your mother saw you do that, she'd be very upset.
Captain Miller: I thought you were my mother.

Sgt. Horvath: [looking down on a beach strewn with dead American soldiers.] That's quite a view.
Capt. Miller: Yes it is. Quite a view.

Capt. Miller: You and I are taking a squad up to Neuville on a public relations mission.
Sgt. Horvath: What, you're leading a squad?
Capt. Miller: Some private in the 101st lost three brothers and he's got a ticket home.
Sgt. Horvath: How come Neuville?
Capt. Miller: They think he must be there somewhere along with all the other airborne mis-drops.
Sgt. Horvath: It isn't going to be easy trying to find one soldier in the middle of this whole goddamn war.
Capt. Miller: Like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles.
Sgt. Horvath: What about the company?
Capt. Miller: We take the pick of the litter and the rest get folded into Baker.
Sgt. Horvath: Geez, they took away your company?
Capt. Miller: Wasn't my company; was the Army's, or so they told me anyway. Get me Reiben on BAR, Jackson, Wade, Beasley, and Caparzo.
Sgt. Horvath: Beasley's dead.
Capt. Miller: Alright, Mellish, then. Got anybody who speaks French?
Sgt. Horvath: Not that I know of.
Capt. Miller: What about Talbot?
Sgt. Horvath: This morning.
Capt. Miller: Oh. Assemble a motor pool on the beach while I go dig up another interpreter. [leaves to command post]
Sgt. Horvath: Alright. Listen up.
Pvt. Caparzo: Where are we going?
Sgt. Horvath: You're going to be sent home wrapped in an American flag with a hunk of cheese in your ass, Caparzo, you smart-ass.
Pvt. Reiben: Wait, I thought you liked it in the ass.
Sgt. Horvath: What?
Pvt. Reiben: I thought you liked it in the ass.

Pvt. Mellish: [Upham gives him a tap on the shoulder] Hey! You want to get your head blown off, you fancy little fuck? Don't ever fucking touch me with those dirty little rat claws again. Get the fuck back in formation.
Cpl. Upham: I was just wondering where you're from, that's...[Mellish glares at him. Upham walks ahead to Caparzo] Uh, Caparzo, is that it?
Pvt. Caparzo: Hey, drop dead, corporal.
Cpl. Upham: Got you.
Pvt. Caparzo: And another thing, every time you salute the captain you make him a target for the Germans. So do us a favor, don't do it. Especially when I'm standing next to him. Capisce?
Cpl. Upham: Alright, capisce.
Medic Wade: Corporal, what's your book about?
Cpl. Upham: It's supposed to be about the bonds of brotherhood developed between soldiers during war.
Pvt. Caparzo: [laughs] Brotherhood? What do you know about brotherhood? Get a load of this guy, Fish. Why don't you ask the captain where he's from?
Pvt. Mellish: Yeah, ask the captain. He'll tell ya everything you wanna know about him.
Pvt. Reiben: You want to explain the math of this to me? I mean, where's the sense in risking the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?
Capt. Miller: [Quietly]Twenty degrees. [Speaks up] Anyone wanna answer that?
Medic Wade: Hey, Reiben, think about the poor bastard's mother.
Pvt. Reiben: Hey, doc, I got a mother, you got a mother, the sarge has got a mother. Shit, I'll bet that even the Captain's got a mother. [Looks at Miller] Well, maybe not the Captain, but the rest of us have got mothers.
Corp. Upham: "Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."
Pvt. Mellish: La-la-la-la-la-la-la. What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Corporal? We're all supposed to die, is that it?
Capt. Miller: Upham's talking about our duties as soldiers. We have orders and we are to follow those orders, and that supersedes everything, including our mothers.
Corp. Upham: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
Pvt. Reiben: Even if you think the mission's FUBAR, Captain?
Capt. Miller: Especially if you think the mission's FUBAR.
Corp. Upham: What's FUBAR?
Pvt. Mellish: Oh, it's German.
Corp. Upham: [who is fluent in German] Never heard of it.
Pvt. Jackson: [At Miller] Sir, I have an opinion on this matter.
Capt. Miller: Well, by all means, share it with the squad.
Pvt. Jackson: Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.
Capt. Miller: Yeah, go on.
Pvt. Jackson: Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift. Made me a fine instrument of warfare.
Capt. Miller: Reiben, now pay attention. THIS is the way to gripe. Continue Jackson.
Pvt. Jackson: Well, what I mean by that, sir, is if you's to put me and this here sniper rifle, anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line of sight, sir, pack your bags fellas, war's over. Amen.
Pvt. Reiben: [At Jackson] Oh, that's brilliant, bumpkin. [At Miller] Say Captain, you don't gripe at all?
Capt. Miller: I don't gripe to you, Reiben. I'm a Captain. We have a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, and so on and so on and so on. I don't gripe to you. I don't gripe in front of you. You should know that, as a Ranger.
Pvt. Reiben: Well, I'm sorry, sir, but let's say you weren't a Captain, or maybe I was a Major. What would you say then?
Capt. Miller: Ah, well, in that case, I'd say this is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover, I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life, and the lives of my men — especially you, Reiben — to ease her suffering.
Pvt. Mellish: He's good.
Pvt Caparzo: I love him.

[Miller and his group have arrived at the outskirts of Neuville. Miller is speaking to Hamill.]
Capt. Hamill: How was the road in?
Capt. Miller: Scenic. We lost most of our ammo.
Pvt. Mellish: Not to mention one of our men.
Capt. Hamill: [Speaking to another soldier] Lieutenant, redeploy that bazooka to the other side of the road!
Soldier: Yes, sir!
Capt. Hamill: And get Ryan up here.
Soldier: [Running away from Hamill] Ryan! Ryan! Front and center! Ryan!
Pvt. Reiben: [Seeing Ryan running down the road] Here comes our boy. [Ryan runs past Reiben. At Horvath.] Told ya he was an asshole.
James Frederick Ryan: [At Hamill] Sir, Private Ryan, reporting as ordered, sir!
Capt. Hamill: At ease. Captain Miller 2nd Rangers wants a word with you.
Capt. Miller: [Directing Ryan] This way. [Miller stops and sits on a rock] Take a knee. [He does so, taking his helmet off as well. Pause] Private, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. [Pause] Well, there isn't any real easy way to say this, so, uh...I'll just say it. Your brothers are dead. [Ryan has a saddened look on his face.] We have, uh, orders to come get you 'cause you're going home. [There is a long pause]
James Frederick Ryan: [crying] Oh, my God, my brothers are dead. I was gonna take 'em fishing when I got home...
Capt. Miller: I'm so sorry, James.
James Frederick Ryan: [sniffling] H-How'd they die?
Capt. Miller: They were killed in action.
James Frederick Ryan: T-That can't be. That can't be, my brothers are still in grammar school.
Capt. Miller: You're James Ryan?
James Frederick Ryan: Yeah.
Capt. Miller: James Francis Ryan from Iowa?
James Frederick Ryan: James Frederick Ryan, Minnesota? [Hamill has a confused look on his face] W...Does that mean my brothers are okay?
Capt. Miller: Yeah, I'm sure they're fine.
James Frederick Ryan: Are you sure that they're okay though? How-
Capt. Miller: We're looking for a different Private Ryan. This is just a big foul-up.

Capt. Hamill: What've you heard? How's it all falling together?
Capt. Miller: Well, we've got the beachhead secure, problem is Monty's taking his time moving on Caen, we can't move out 'til he's ready.
Capt. Hamill: That guy's over-rated.
Capt. Miller: No argument here.
Capt. Hamill: We gotta take Caen to take St. Lo.
Capt. Miller: You gotta take St. Lo to take Valognes.
Capt. Hamill: Valognes, you got Cherbourg.
Capt. Miller: Cherbourg, you got Paris.
Capt. Hamill: Paris, you get Berlin.
Capt. Miller: And then that big boat home.

Capt. Miller: You see, when... when you end up killing one of your men, you see, you tell yourself it happened so you could save the lives of two or three or ten others. Maybe a hundred others. Do you know how many men I've lost under my command?
Sgt. Horvath: How many?
Capt. Miller: Ninety-four. But that means I've saved the lives of ten times that many, doesn't it? Maybe even twenty, right? Twenty times as many? And that's how simple it is. That's how you... that's how you rationalize on making the choice between the mission and the man.
Sgt. Horvath: Except this time, the mission is a man.
Capt. Miller: This Ryan better be worth it. He better go home and cure some disease or invent a longer-lasting light bulb, or something. Because to tell you the truth, I wouldn't trade ten Ryans for one Vecchio or one Caparzo.

Pvt. Reiben: What's the saying? "If God's on our side, who the hell could be on theirs?"
Cpl. Upham: "If God is for us, who could be against us?"
Pvt. Reiben: Yeah, that's it. What did I say?

Capt. Miller: Tell, me Reiben, if you had to do it again, how'd you think you'd react the next time?
Pvt. Reiben: Me? I'd shoot myself before I ever got off the damn boat.

[After letting "Steamboat Willie" go, Reiben confronts Miller]
Pvt. Reiben: I guess that was the, uh, decent thing to do, huh Captain? [Pause]
Capt Miller: Get your gear. Let's go.
Sgt. Horvath: [At Reiben] You heard him. Gear up. [Pause] The captain just gave you an order.
Pvt. Reiben: Yeah...Like the one he gave to take this machine gun. That was a real doozy, wasn't it Sergent?
Sgt. Horvath: Soldier, you are way out of line.
Pvt. Reiben: [At Miller] Yes, sir. That was one hell of a call coming to take this nest, but...The hell, we lost one of our guys going for it. I swear, I hope Mama Ryan's real fucking happy knowing that little Jimmy's life is a little bit more important than two of our guys! But then again, we haven't even found him yet, have we?! HAVE WE?! [Sgt. Horvath grabs Reiben and throws him to the ground and attempts to grab him again.] Get the hell off me.
Sgt. Horvath: Reiben, get up. [Reiben gets off the ground] Gear up. Fall in.
Pvt. Reiben: I'm done with this mission. [Reiben walks away and Horvath runs toward him.]
Sgt. Horvath: Hey! HEY!
Cpl. Upham: [At Horvath] Sir...
Sgt. Horvath: [At Reiben] Don't you walk away from your captain. Reiben, get back in line!
Pvt. Reiben: No, sir. I'll spend for the rest of my life in the stockade if I have to, but I'm done with this. [Horvath pull out a pistol on him]
Sgt. Horvath: [Aims the pistol at Reiben] I'm not gonna ask you again, soldier. Fall in!
Cpl. Upham: Captain!
Pvt. Jackson: Aw, now this is bullshit.
Sgt. Horvath: FALL IN.
Pvt. Reiben: You gonna shoot me over Ryan?
Sgt. Horvath: No, I'm gonna shoot you 'cause I don't like ya.
Pvt. Jackson: Sarge, if he wants to go, just let him go!
Cpl. Upham: [At Miller] Are you letting this happen?! Captain! You see this?!
Pvt. Mellish: Captain, sir. Sir, Ryan's dead.
Cpl. Upham: Bullshit!
Pvt. Jackson: Sir, we have a situation you might...
Cpl. Upham: That is Bullshit!
Pvt. Mellish: Captain, I have a sixth sense about these things. I know it in my bones.
Pvt. Reiben: [At Horvath] You didn't kill that son-of-a-bitch Kraut, now you're gonna shoot me?
Sgt. Horvath: He's better than you.
Pvt. Reiben: Then why don't you just do it, Sarge? Do it man. Put one in my leg and give me that million-dollar-wound!
Pvt. Reiben: Well, put your money where your mouth is and do it then! Do it! Pull the trigger already!
Sgt. Horvath: You don't know when to shut up. You don't know how to shut up.
Cpl. Upham: [At Miller] Captain, please.
Capt. Miller: [At Upham] What's the pool on me up to?
Sgt. Horvath: [At Reiben] YOU ARE A COWARD SON-OF-A-BITCH!!!
Pvt. Reiben: [At Horvath] I'm waiting, Sarge.
Capt Miller: [At Horvath; breaks up argument] Mike, what's the pool on me up to? Wha-Wha-What it is up to? Wh-What is it up to? 300? 300 dollars? 300? Is that it? I'm a schoolteacher. [Pause] I teach English composition in this little town called Addley, Pennsylvania. It's uh...Last 11 years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of a baseball team in the springtime.
Sgt. Horvath: I'll be doggone.
Capt Miller: Back home, I tell people what I do for a living, they think, "Well, that figures." But over here, it a...a big...a big mystery. So I guess I changed some. Sometimes, I wonder if I changed so much, if my wife is gonna even recognize me, whenever it is I get back to her. And how I'll ever be able tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan...I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. The man means nothing to me. He's just a name. But know, if going to Ramelle and...finding him so he can go home, if that earns me the right to get back to my wife, well then, that's my mission. [At Reiben] You wanna leave? You wanna go off and fight the war? All right. All right, I won't stop you. I'll even put in the paperwork. Just know, every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel.

Capt. Miller: James... I'm here to tell you your brothers were killed in combat.
Pvt. Ryan: Which... which ones, sir?
Capt. Miller: All of them.

Pvt. Ryan: It doesn't make sense, sir. I mean, why me? Why not any of us? Hell, these guys deserve to go home as much as I do. They’ve fought just as hard.
Capt. Miller: Is that what they're supposed to tell your mother when they send her another folded American flag?
Pvt. Ryan: You can tell her that when you found me, I was here, and I was with the only brothers I have left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she'd understand that.

Pvt. Reiben: You know what that song reminds me of? It reminds me of Mrs. Rachel Troubowitz and what she said to me the day I left for basic.
Pvt. Mellish: What, "Don't touch me"?
Pvt. Reiben: No. Mrs. Rachel Troubowitz was our super's wife. She comes into my mom's shop to try on a few things, all right? And she’s easily like a, uh, a 44 double E.
Pvt. Mellish: Double E?!
Pvt. Reiben: I mean, these things are massive.
Sgt. Horvath: Those are big!
Pvt. Reiben: And I've got her convinced that she’s like a 42D, all right? So we're in the dressing room, she’s trying to squeeze into this side-cut, silk-ribboned, triple panel girdle with the, uh, shelf-lift brassiere and it's beautiful because she's just pouring outta this thing, you know?
Pvt. Mellish: Is it tight?
Pvt. Reiben: It's beautiful. And she sees me and she can tell I got a hard-on the size of the Statue of Liberty, right? And she says to me, "Richard, calm down." And she says, "Now when you're over there, if you see anything that upsets you, if you're ever scared, I want you to close your eyes and think of these. You understand?" So I said, "Yes, ma'am."


  • The mission is a man.
  • In the last great invasion of the last great war, The greatest challenge for eight men... was saving one.
  • There was only one man left in the family, and the mission was to save him.


External links[edit]

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