TRUST Trivia: “Saving Private Ryan”

While Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic “Gandhi” takes the cake for the most extras used in a single scene – some 300,000 people – Steven Spielberg’s 1998 World War II drama “Saving Private Ryan” employed more than 1,000 extras while filming the Normady Beach Landing scene. That scene, which is about thirty minutes long, is one of the most brutal and realistic war re-enactments ever committed to screen, and it cost some $11 million dollars to produce. Additionally, to add to the realism of the sequence, Spielberg cast more than thirty amputees to use within the action of the scene; many of the amputees were featured in close-up and tight shots, dressed up as if their limbs had just been exploded – brutal stuff, to be sure. Spielberg also requested that theaters maximize the volume during screenings during this part to make for an even more visceral experience. These strategies worked, compelling the Dept. of Veteran Affairs to set up a hotline for ex-soldiers traumatized by the movie (1-800-827-1000 for the curious).  And while “Saving Private Ryan” ultimately would be snubbed by the Academy at the 1999 Oscars, the film has gone on to become a touchstone of the World War II genre-film, eventually being used as the production model on which “Band of Brothers” – also produced by Spielberg and “Saving Private Ryan” star Tom Hanks – was based. Check out a short segment of the Normandy landing scene below: