"The tanks and other vehicles were fairly easy to find but not the landing craft. We found some in England and a couple in Scotland, but, interestingly enough, the majority of them were in Palm Springs, California.

We bought them and built cradles to ship them over. They arrived in Southampton and we sent them to a refurbishing yard. Then we put them on another ship and sent them to Ireland. It was a pretty big moving operation for the transportation department.

There are twelve of these landing craft in the movie and several hundred in the background," states Ian Bryce, producer.

Spielberg was unflinching in his desire to depict the Omaha landing as it really happened. "Omaha Beach was a slaughter," the director recounts. "It was a complete foul-up: from the expeditionary forces, to the reconnaissance forces, to the saturation bombing that missed most of its primary targets. Given that, I didn't want to glamorize it, so I tried to be as brutally honest as I could."

After all the planning, preparations and rehearsals, the attention to authenticity down to the last detail worked its own magic. When Spielberg called "Action" the cast could not help but feel transported from a movie set to an event half a century past.

"The adrenaline rush was like nothing I had ever experienced on any other movie, because it was chaos as soon as you stepped out there," Tom Hanks remembers. "There were people falling and explosions going off around you, and it was not hard to imagine that the carnage was real, that it was caused by bullets and mortars and shells. There's terror in our eyes in some of those scenes, and rightly so, because we were genuinely scared... and we knew that it was all fake."

Edward Burns adds, "I'm really glad we shot the D-Day invasion at the beginning of the schedule because it changed the way we looked at every scene that followed it. Nobody was prepared for how horrific it really was, and you really got a sense of what those guys went through."

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Saving Private Ryan © 1998 DreamWorks SKG & Paramount Pictures Corporation & Amblin Entertainment, Inc.
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