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Saving Private Ryan
Robert Rodat





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 sons-of-bitches, they're going to get it, you're not going to get a scratch.





REIBEN: Captain, can I put in for a transfer?

MILLER: Sure, meet me at the top, we'll start the paperwork.





REIBEN: I'll be Goddamned! I'm not dead!

SARGE: Captain, if your mother saw you do that, she'd be very upset!

MILLER: I thought you were my mother.





MILLER: Jesus Christ! What the hell are we swimming in?

REIBEN: Shit, sir.

SARGE: Fertilizer, Captain, I think we're in a cranberry bog.

REIBEN: Out of the frying pan, into the fucking latrine.





REIBEN: Sir, what if they send some other company into Caen ahead of us while we're pinned down here?

MILLER: Don't worry, we're the only Rangers this side of the continent, we've got to be first into Caen.

SARGE: Who cares?

REIBEN: I care. Don't you know what Caen's famous for, Sarge?

SARGE: Frogs?

REIBEN: Lingerie.

SARGE: Yeah? So?

REIBEN: 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. 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?

MILLER: Reiben, how the hell do you know so much about lingerie?

REIBEN: 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.

MILLER: There's a war on, good chance they're not still making lingerie in Caen.

REIBEN: 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.

REIBEN: Happy to, sir.





MILLER: Respectfully, sir, sending men all the way up to Ramelle to save one private doesn't make a fucking, goddamned bit of sense. Sir.

COLONEL ANDERSON: You think just because you hold the Congressional Medal of Honor, you can say any damn thing you please to your superior officers?

MILLER: Yes, sir, more or less.

COLONEL ANDERSON: Alright, I'll give you that. Continue.

MILLER: 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.





REIBEN: 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, sir...

MILLER: Sorry, I need a B.A.R. man, you're the best.

REIBEN: No, I'm not, Kaback is, honest. Or what about Faulkner? Or that little guy with the glasses?

MILLER: Trust me, you're the best.

REIBEN: But, sir...





MILLER: Sergeant, I need a truck.

SUPPLY SERGEANT: Sorry, sir, fresh out of trucks, how 'bout a '38 Ford Roadster, hard-top, red with black interior.

MILLER: White-walls?

SUPPLY SERGEANT: No white-walls, sir, there's a war on.





JACKSON: Cap'n, does that mean we got to walk all the way up to Ramelle?

SUPPLY SERGEANT: What's at Ramelle beside a lot of Germans.

MILLER: A paratrooper named Ryan. He's going home, if he's alive.

SUPPLY SERGEANT: Senator's son?

MILLER: No, three brothers of his were killed in action. Command wants him out of there.

SUPPLY SERGEANT: Damn... I got a couple brothers...





MILLER: I'm looking for Corporal Upham.

UPHAM: Sir, I'm Upham.

MILLER: I understand you speak French and German.

UPHAM: Yes, sir.

MILLER: Do you have an accent?

UPHAM: A slight one in French. My German is clean. It has a touch of the Bavarian.

MILLER: Good, you've been re-assigned to me, we're going to Ramelle.

UPHAM: Uh, sir, there are Germans up at Ramelle.

MILLER: That's my understanding.

UPHAM: Lots of them.

MILLER: Do you have a problem with that, Corporal?

UPHAM: Sir, I've never been in combat. I make maps. I translate.

MILLER: I need a translator, all mine have been killed.

UPHAM: But, sir, I haven't held a gun since basic training.

MILLER: It'll come back to you. Get your gear.

UPHAM: Sir, may I bring my typewriter? I'm writing a book and I... Uh, how about a pencil? A small one.

MILLER: Go, go...





UPHAM: Hi. So, uh, you're all Rangers? I'm Upham. Ignore these, please, I know all that breaks down in combat.

REIBEN: You want to shoot him, or should I?

WADE: It's not my turn.

REIBEN: Jackson?

JACKSON: Hell, no, last time I shot a corporal, Cap'n Miller near bit my head off.

UPHAM: Miller?

MILLER: I don't want anybody to shoot him, that's an order. He speaks French and his German has a touch of the Bavarian.





REIBEN: 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.

MILLER: There's always a bright side.

REIBEN: I'm listening, sir.

MILLER: Well, I, for one, like cheese.

WADE: Hell, I don't mind going to Ramelle, as long as there's something up there for me to blow up.

REIBEN: Well, you're a happy idiot.





MILLER: 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. Wade, the radio.

UPHAM: You can tell all that, just by the sound, sire?

MILLER: 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 to tell.





UPHAM: So, where are you from?

REIBEN: Get lost.

UPHAM: So, where are you from?

JACKSON: You writin' a book or somethin'?

UPHAM: As a matter of fact, I am.

JACKSON: Figured.

WADE: 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: What about the Captain? Where's he from?

JACKSON: You figure that out, you got yourself one nice prize.

SARGE: 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 all.

JACKSON: The whole kit and caboodle.

UPHAM: But everybody's heard of him, he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, he saved a dozen men.

REIBEN: We know.

UPHAM: Somebody must know where he's from, what he did for a living.

SARGE: Somebody probably does.

UPHAM: Why don't you just ask him?

JACKSON: The Captain prefers not to discuss certain aspects of his life, in particular, everything up to and including his enlistment in the United States Army.

SARGE: 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.





JACKSON: 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 mission.

MILLER: You didn't volunteer, Jackson.

JACKSON: I most likely would have, sir, had I been given the opportunity.

REIBEN: 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.

JACKSON: 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.

REIBEN: You know what a B.A.R. weighs? Nineteen and a half pounds, not counting ammo. And you think these things are comfortable? They may look good but they weigh twelve pounds each, that's thirty-six pounds, right there.

WADE: 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 complaining.

REIBEN: That's because, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions, you are a happy idiot.





WADE: Look at Upham, you don't hear him complaining.

UPHAM: Well, as a matter of fact, I was just thinking... 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.

REIBEN: Jesus Christ, he's a natural!

MILLER: Upham, are you sure you've never been in combat?

UPHAM: Positive, sir, I'm certain I'd remember.

MILLER: He's good.





UPHAM: What is that?

JACKSON: Thirty-ought-six, Norton long-barrel with dual-groove, parallel rifling, elevated three-glass scope and a single-throw hammer.

UPHAM: The Army gave you that?

JACKSON: Yep.

UPHAM: You must be a hell a shot.

JACKSON: Not where I come from.

UPHAM: That must be four thousand yards.

JACKSON: Forty-two-hundred, I figure.

UPHAM: You take account of the wind?

REIBEN: Dang right, he take 'count of the wind, ain't ya'll ever heard a Kentucky windage?

JACKSON: Reiben, how many times I got to tell you, I'm from Tennessee.

REIBEN: They got squirrels there, too, right?





REIBEN: Captain, could you please explain the math of this mission to me?

MILLER: Sure, what do you want to know?

REIBEN: Well, sir, in purely arithmetic terms, since when does six equal one? What's the sense in risking six guys to save one?

MILLER: Ours is not to reason why.

REIBEN: Huh?

MILLER: Never mind, don't worry, we'll pick up this kid, high-tail it back to division, everything'll work out fine.

REIBEN: I'd much rather die in Caen than Ramelle, sir. It's a personal thing.

MILLER: Reiben, there's a fairly good chance you're not going to die at all.

REIBEN: Easy for you to say, sir. Fucking James Ryan, I'd like to wring his fucking neck.

SARGE: Jesus, Reiben, think of the poor bastard's mother.

REIBEN: Hey, I got a mother. Jackson, you got a mother?

JACKSON: Last I knew.

REIBEN: Wade, Sarge, Corporal Insect, all of us, hell, I'll bet even the Captain has a mother.

REIBEN: Well, maybe not the Captain, but the rest of us have mothers.





JACKSON: Sir, I have an opinion on this matter.

MILLER: I'd love to hear it.

JACKSON: Seems to me, Cap'n, this mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.

MILLER: Go on.

JACKSON: 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 sniper rifle here anywhere up to and includin' one mile from Adolf Hitler, with a clear line of sight, war's over.

MILLER: Reiben, I want you to listen closely to Jackson. This is the way to gripe. Jackson, continue.

JACKSON: 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 weapon here 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.

MILLER: Wade?

WADE: Hell, I don't mind this mission, sir, as long as there's something up at Ramelle for...

REIBEN: ...for you to blow up, yeah, yeah, we heard that.

MILLER: Upham?

UPHAM: Pass.

MILLER: Sarge?

SARGE: I'm just here to keep a bunch of numb-nuts, including one certain, frequently suicidal, tempter-of-fate, from getting themselves killed.





REIBEN: And what about you, Captain?

MILLER: 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?

REIBEN: I'm sorry, sir, I apologize. But if you weren't a captain, or if I were a major, what would you say?

MILLER: In that case, I would say this is an excellent mission, with an extremely valuable objective, worthy of my best efforts. 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.

REIBEN: Sir, if you were not a captain, I would compliment you, now, for being an excellent liar.

MILLER: 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... my home town, which shall remain un-named.





MILLER: Any further thoughts on the subject?

REIBEN: 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 James Ryan.

MILLER: I'll make a note of your suggestions but I'll leave that last one to you, especially if he's already dead.





SARGE: You ever going to open those letters?

MILLER: Maybe.

SARGE: It's not normal, not reading letters from home.

MILLER: Since when have things been normal?





MILLER: What's the pool up to?

UPHAM: Over three-hundred.

MILLER: I'll tell you what, if I'm still alive when it hits five-hundred, I'll let you know and we'll split the money.

UPHAM: If that's the way you feel, why don't we wait until it's up to a thousand.

MILLER: I don't expect to live that long.

UPHAM: Five hundred, then.





UPHAM: Good luck, Captain.

MILLER: Don't need it, I'm a cat, I've got five lives.

UPHAM: The men said, nine.

MILLER: 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.

UPHAM: That only leaves three.

MILLER: Plenty.





MILLER: You know why I'm such a good officer? Because of my mother. Have I ever told you about her?

SARGE: Bits and pieces.

MILLER: 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.

SARGE: And what about your own hand?

MILLER: 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.





MILLER: You know the first thing they teach you at O.C.S.? Lie to your men.

SARGE: Oh, yeah?

MILLER: 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.

SARGE: And how do you bluff yourself?

MILLER: 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. Ten thousand. Any number you want. See? It's simple. It lets you always choose mission over men.

SARGE: Except this time, the mission IS a man.

MILLER: 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?





MILLER: What the hell's the matter with you, Jackson?

JACKSON: Sir, I ain't feeling so chipper on account of Wade.

MILLER: Who's Wade? I said, who the hell is Wade?

JACKSON: Sir, I understand what you're doin', but I respectfully request permission to grieve in my own manner.

MILLER: 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, you understand?

JACKSON: Sir, I understand. I don't like it, but I understand.





REIBEN: I've given this a lot of thought, sir. The best thing that could happen is, we find Ryan and he's dead.

MILLER: Why's that?

REIBEN: 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 alive.

MILLER: Except for the last part, that one's not bad.

REIBEN: 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.

MILLER: I don't like that one.

REIBEN: 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. And him.

MILLER: But we accomplish the mission.

REIBEN: 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 division.

MILLER: Has anyone ever told you, you're officer material?

REIBEN: No, sir.

MILLER: That's a mystery to me.





JACKSON: So, that's Ryan.

REIBEN: Looks like a flaming asshole to me.





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 included.

UPHAM: I'd like to stay, too, Captain.

MILLER: You don't count.





REIBEN: See, Captain? The vote's unanimous.

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!

REIBEN: 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.

MILLER: 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?

JACKSON: Yes, sir.

REIBEN: Of course, sir.

ALL THE OTHERS: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

MILLER: In that case... I vote we stay.





RYAN: I'd like to go, sir.

MILLER: No, private, I want you to stay here, keep your head down, don't do anything brave or stupid.

REIBEN: Aren't they the same thing, sir?

MILLER: Reiben, I don't know what I'd do without you.





RYAN: What was the name of the guy who got killed coming up here?

SARGE: Wade.

RYAN: 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?

SARGE: A good man, kind of cheerful, Reiben, here, used to call him a happy idiot.

REIBEN: Like hell, I did.

RYAN: My brothers would be mighty pissed off at me, if they knew I let some guy get killed trying to keep me alive.

SARGE: You didn't let anybody get killed, you didn't even know we were coming up here.

RYAN: Sure, I know, but... Goddamn it all...





MILLER: English teacher, Addley, Pennsylvania.

UPHAM: What'd you say, Captain?

MILLER: I teach English at Addley High School in Addley, Pennsylvania.

REIBEN: Well, I'll be goddamned, I knew it.

JACKSON: Like hell, you did.





Note: Quotes were taken from the original screenplay and differ from the actual movie.



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