Saving Private Ryan Home
Facts Behind the Story
Saving Private Ryan--Thoughts on the Production
The making of this film - and its attendant huge popularity - was extremely good for Warriors Inc. People in the industry who had forgotten about us since Platoon, now remembered that we were still in the mix and still capable of making good films that much better. It also served to cement our relationship with Steven Spielberg who remains a fan and a friend.
In the spate of publicity that surrounded the release of Saving Pvt. Ryan, there were some apocryphal stories that abounded. Some of the media claimed we had a mutiny and that it was so miserable that the actors threatened to leave the field and quit training. It's not true. The actors complained about the miserable weather and the lack of equipment to keep them warm and dry. That's true. I refused to allow any equipment in the field that would not have been carried by a World War II Army Ranger. When the grumbling got too loud and irritating, I stood in the rain while the troops took shelter and gave them one of my patented 'Captain Dye Come to Jesus' motivational speeches. I reminded them that real Rangers and infantrymen who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day had to endure much worse and it was their mission in life to represent those men honorably and accurately. To do that, they could certainly endure some discomforts. They understood and the mutiny never happened.
One of the most memorable experiences of my career was standing on the bluffs overlooking Curacloe Beach in Ireland in full command of 1,000 infantry, 14 armored vehicles, seven landing craft and three ships to stage D-Day on the Dog Green Sector of Omaha. I certainly began to understand at that moment how General Dwight D. Eisenhower must have felt on 6 June 1944. Steven Spielberg said 'You just stage the landing and I'll get it on film.' No combat commander ever got better mission-type orders. I did it all by radio and by hand signals to my Cadre men down on the beach. It was magnificent - one of the finest most convincing combat sequences ever put on film - and I'm very proud of our part in it.
Incidentally, we intentionally did not include Matt Damon who plays the actual Pvt. Ryan in our field training, as we did not want the Rangers to bond with him. They resent him in the story and we wanted to preserve that feeling. Warriors Inc. Cadre did training for Damon and other paratroopers in his unit later in the production while shooting on other locations was taking place.