Saving Private Ryan undoubtedly ranks among the greatest war films ever made and one of the most striking and distressing depictions of the Second World War ever put to film.
Much of the credit for that goes to director Steven Spielberg, with the film’s opening Omaha beach landing alone among the most visceral and realistic action sequences ever put together.
The film’s cast deserves plenty of credit too with actors like Tom Hanks, Ed Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Barry Pepper, Tom Sizemore, Adam Goldberg and, of course, Matt Damon helping add some much-needed acting clout to proceedings.
But what many don’t realise is the star quality running throughout the film’s cast with a whole host of actors – some already established and others rising stars – featuring in a variety of supporting roles.
With that in mind, here are seven actors you completely forgot were in Saving Private Ryan.
He may have already featured regularly on Seinfeld, but Cranston was still a few years off hitting the big time when he appeared as war department colonel I.W. Bryce in Saving Private Ryan.
It’s his character who insists Ryan is rescued after hearing of the deaths of his three brothers. Two years later he landed his breakthrough role as Hal on Malcolm in the Middle.
Giamatti already had a reputation as a solid secondary performer when he was cast as the slightly hapless Sergeant Hill in Saving Private Ryan.
A small but important part, it’s Hill who guides Captain Miller and his men through the French town of Neuville and past the remaining German resistance.
A rising star in his native Canada, the part of Private James Frederick Ryan aka ‘The Minnesota Ryan’ was one of Fillion’s first roles in Hollywood.
He does a fine job too, reacting with understandable emotion to the news his brothers have died and he is coming home from the war, only for Captain Miller and Co. to realise they had the wrong man.
It might rank among the more familiar parts on this list but Danson’s appearance as Captain Fred Hamill still gets overlooked by some fans who haven’t seen the film in a while.
Hamill is the one that Captain Miller first liaises with upon arrival in Neuville, with Hamill offering shelter to the squad in a nearby abandoned church.
He may not be instantly recognisable, but Ryan Hurst will be familiar to fans of the hit series Sons of Anarchy, where he played Jax Teller’s bearded biker best friend Opie.
Hurst played Paratrooper Mandelsohn, part of a unit Captain Miller squad encounter after they are dropped 20 miles past their planned target. He also provides crucial information on Ryan’s whereabouts despite losing the hearing in one ear after a nearby explosion.
Okay, so Vin Diesel’s involvement in Saving Private Ryan isn’t a huge secret (he’s part of Miller’s squad after all) but you would be surprised at the number of fans who forget he features here.
Cast as Private First Class Adrian Caparzo, he’s one of seven soldiers handpicked by Miller for the mission and dies during a memorable sequence in which a German sniper guns him down while he attempts to help a French family.
The Irish actor was one of several cast in small roles during Saving Private Ryan’s incredible Omagh Beach opening, which was shot on the Emerald Isle.
But while the bulk of his fellow extras went on to little of note, Scott’s star has continued to rise, starting with a role as the villainous Moriarty in Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and continuing on into several big budget movies.