American fiction often portrays real-life experiences of a given period in history. Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was based of the true story about the Niland brothers, who fought in the second world war in the Pacific theatre and the European theatre. Three of the four were presumed dead and after finding out that the last brother dropped in with the 101st Airborne in Normandy on D-day, captain Miller had orders to assembled a team and set of to find him. Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, being set in the Pacific theatre during the second world war.
Desmond Doss who is a combat medic as only one goal, save his brothers in arms. One can compare this to Saving Private Ryan because both Doss and Miller have one mission, save people. By examining the the situation for Doss and soldiers of world war two and comparing them to the situation miller was in, one can see that Steven Spielberg’s movie Saving Private Ryan is an accurate display of a soldier’s courage and honor to find just one man and bring him home. Saving Private Ryan is based of the true events of the Niland brothers.
The Niland brothers who are of Irish descent are from Tonawanda New York, Edward Niland, the oldest, Preston Niland, the second oldest, Robert Niland, the third oldest, and Frederick Niland, the youngest. In the movie, James Francis Ryan is portraying Frederick, he is part of a 101st airborne detachment that is dropped behind the beach landings in the countryside of Normandy. As women are typing the grief letters that will be sent to the loved ones of that fallen soldier, she notices that three of these letters bare the same last name “Ryan” which would be the Niland brothers.
She takes them to the staff advisor and they movie upward to General Marshall He has a meeting with his advisors, he then reads a letter from Abraham Lincoln: Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln. He then orders the return of the last remaining brother James Francis Ryan in this case Fritz Niland. Three days earlier. June 6th, 1944 dog green sector, omaha beach. Captain Miller and the rest of his men are heading for a very unpleasant beach. The men are focused and very nervous, some are vomiting others shaking with fear.
As the landing craft approach the beach they drop the doors and the men are immediately gunned my germans on the dunes overlooking the beach, the notorious mg-42 rips the men apart they have to jump into the water. But many drowned as the weight of their gear pulls them to the abyss. After pushing up the beach taking heavy casualties they breach the sea wall and start taking the german held positions. A few days later, Captain Miller reports to his company headquarters where he is given the task of finding James Ryan and bringing him home alive.
Captain Miller then reports to his squad and hands out the order and assembles his men and they move out. They move into a town where they meet up with a group of paratroopers and move through the town, pvt. Caparzo a member of the rescue team is shot by a German sniper and died minutes later. After hearing word there is a pvt. Ryan in the town Captain Miller requests an audience with him. Captain Miller Said “well there’s no easy way to put this so i’ll just say it… your brothers are dead, they died in action”. (Captain Miller, Saving Private Ryan) Pvt.
Ryan replies “that can’t be… my brothers are still in grammar school”. (Pvt. James frederick Ryan, Saving Private Ryan). They move out that night. They arrive at a rallying point where they find a soldier in Ryan’s company and get his location. A long the way, the squad encounters a radio post held by the germans. Captain Miller orders him and his men to neutralize the german threat so other patrols won’t get ambushed. After the small firefight medic Wade has been critically wounded in the stomach and is loosing to much blood.
He then gets a shot of morphine, and succumbs to his injuries moments later While they are moving through an open field they take cover behind the vegetation, as a recon element of the second SS rolls thru the field. A group of three men on the other side of the half track ambush it with a small pop rocket bazooka. They finish of the rest of the germans and reveal themselves. They find the Ryan they are looking for and are very happy to see him. They head to the town where they must defend a bridge. When Captain Miller reveals the bad news pvt.
Ryan Request to stay and defend the bridge with his fellow men and upsets the rescue party but they agree and help defend the bridge. Sgt. Horvath: I don’t know. Part of me thinks the kid’s right. What’s he done to deserve this? He wants to stay here, fine. Let’s leave him and go home. But another part of me thinks, what if we stay, and by some miracle we actually make it out of here alive? Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful, vile mess.
SS panzers and german troops push the town all the way to the bridge in fierce close quarters combat. The remaining Gi’s including Captain Miller, pvt. Ryan and a few others are about to blow the bridge when Captain miller is shot retrieving the detonation wire. He pulls out his sidearm and fires at an approaching tiger tank. After his eight shots, the tank bursts into flames as a American P-51 destroys it. Ryan, Reiben, and upham rush to Captain Miller’s aid but it is too late.
With is last remaining breaths he whispers to Ryan “earn it… James… earn this”. Captain Miller lead his brave squad on a mission they thought was not important but realize i was more than that. They succeed on saving private Ryan, and he returns home safe. In the Niland brothers case only two of the four are killed in action and two survive and return home. After being sent home Fritz became an MP for the duration of the war and was later awarded a bronze star for his service, he passed away on December 1, 1983. One great film based on compelling true events.