Upon its release, Saving Private Ryan was lauded for its realisitic portrayal of the storming of Omaha Beach by US GI’s in World War II. The scene is used today in the military to show the horrors and psychological impact of pitch warfare and is commonly named the “best” battle scene ever filmed.
Creating it was not an easy feat. At the steady hands of Steven Spielberg, the shooting took over 15 days to film using over 1,000 extras and the main actors. CineFix’s “Art of the Scene” works to capture that effort in a 10 minute video complete with interviews of the key staff members who worked to make it happen.
The shoot was ambitious, with many new technologies implemented to assist with the video, but its the behind-the-scenes work that was, at least to me, most impressive. Simply put, there was not enough uniforms from World War II remaining which prompted the manufacture of over 2000 realistic uniforms including contacting the original manufacturing company of the GI boots.
However, new technology was rigged up for “squibs” or bullet-impact simulators which were timed to the various weapons used in the shoot. A particularly difficult shoot was the MG42 as viewed behind the German gunners. The production team spend a whole night working on the squibs and only got two shots to get the scene correct or spend another day rigging squibs.