Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Tom Hanks: Captain Miller
[Being told he can go home]
Private Ryan : Hell, these guys deserve to go home as much as I do. They've fought just as hard.
Captain Miller : Is that what I'm supposed to tell your mother when she gets another folded American flag?
Private Ryan : You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left. And that there was no way I was deserting them. I think she'd understand that.
Captain Miller : I'm a schoolteacher. I teach English composition... in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I've been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it's a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I've changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I've changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I'll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don't know anything about Ryan. I don't care. The man means nothing to me. It's just a name. But if... You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that's my mission.
[to Private Reiben]
Captain Miller : You want to leave? You want to go off and fight the war? All right. All right. I won't stop you. I'll even put in the paperwork. I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel.
Captain Miller : He better be worth it. He better go home and cure a disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb.
Private Jackson : Sir... I have an opinion on this matter.
Captain Miller : Well, by all means, share it with the squad.
Private Jackson : Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.
Captain Miller : Yeah. Go on.
Private Jackson : Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift, made me a fine instrument of warfare.
Captain Miller : Reiben, pay attention. Now, this is the way to gripe. Continue, Jackson.
Private Jackson : Well, what I mean by that, sir, is... if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line of sight, sir... pack your bags, fellas, war's over. Amen.
Private Reiben : Oh, that's brilliant, bumpkin. Hey, so, Captain, what about you? I mean, you don't gripe at all?
Captain Miller : I don't gripe to *you*, Reiben. I'm a captain. There's a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don't gripe to you. I don't gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.
Private Reiben : I'm sorry, sir, but uh... let's say you weren't a captain, or maybe I was a major. What would you say then?
Captain Miller : Well, in that case... I'd say, "This is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover... I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life and the lives of my men - especially you, Reiben - to ease her suffering."
Mellish : [chuckles] He's good.
Private Caparzo : I love him.
[they make mocking kissy-faces at each other]
Captain Miller : You see, when... when you end up killing one of your men, you see, you tell yourself it happened so you could save the lives of two or three or ten others. Maybe a hundred others. Do you know how many men I've lost under my command?
Sergeant Horvath : How many?
Captain Miller : Ninety-four. But that means I've saved the lives of ten times that many, doesn't it? Maybe even 20, right? Twenty times as many? And that's how simple it is. That's how you... that's how you rationalize making the choice between the mission and the man.
Captain Miller : Well when I think of home, I... I think of something specific. I think of my, my hammock in the backyard or my wife pruning the rosebushes in a pair of my old work gloves.
Private Ryan : This, this one night, two of my brothers came and woke me up in the middle of the night. And they said they had a surprise for me. So they took me to the barn up in the loft and there was my oldest brother, Dan, with Alice, Alice Jardine. I mean, picture a girl who just took a nosedive from the ugly tree and hit every branch coming down. And... and Dan's got his shirt off and he's working on this bra and he's tryin to get it off and all of a sudden Shawn just screams out, "Danny you're a young man, don't do it!" And so Alice Jardine hears this and she screams and she jumps up and she tries to get running out of the barn but she's still got this shirt over her head. She goes running right into the wall and knocks herself out. So now Danny's just so mad at us. He, he starts coming after us, but... but at the same time Alice is over there unconscious. He's gotta wa... , wake her up. So he grabs her by a leg and he's drag, dragging her. At the same time he picks up a shovel. And he's going after Shawn, and Shawn's saying, "What are you trying to hit me for? I just did you a favor!" And so this makes Dan more angry. He tries to swing this thing, he looses the shovel, goes outta his grasp and hits a kerosene lantern; the thing explodes, the whole barn almost goes up because of this thing. That was it. That was the last, that was, Dan went off to basic the next day. That was the last night the four of us were together. That was two years ago. Tell me about your wife and those rosebushes?
Captain Miller : No, no that one I save just for me.
Private Reiben : You wanna explain the math of this to me? I mean, where's the sense of riskin' the lives of the eight of us to save one guy?
Captain Miller : Twenty degrees. Anybody wanna answer that?
Medic Wade : Reiben, think about the poor bastard's mother.
Private Reiben : Hey, Doc, I got a mother, all right? I mean, you got a mother. Sarge's got a mother. I mean, shit, I bet even the captain's got a mother.
[he turns and looks at Miller, who has a bemused expression on his face]
Private Reiben : Well, maybe not the captain, but the rest of us got mothers.
Upham : "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die."
Mellish : La-la, la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la, la-la. What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Corporal, huh? We're all supposed to die, is that it?
Captain Miller : Upham's talking about our duty as soldiers.
Upham : Yes, sir.
Captain Miller : We all have orders, and we have to follow 'em. That supersedes everything, including your mothers.
Upham : Yes, sir. Thank you sir.
Private Reiben : Even if you think the mission's FUBAR, sir?
Captain Miller : *Especially* if you think the mission's FUBAR.
[Listening skeptically to German propaganda coming over a loudspeaker]
Captain Miller : "The Statue of Liberty is kaput" - that's disconcerting.
Private Ryan : [after being told he can go home, to himself] It doesn't make any sense.
Private Ryan : It doesn't make any sense, sir. Why? Why do I deserve to go? Why not any of these guys? They all fought just as hard as me.
Captain Miller : Is that what they're suppose to tell your mother when they send her another folded American flag?
Private Ryan : Tell her that when you found me I was here and I was with the only brothers that I have left and that there was no way I was gonna desert them. I think she'll understand that. There's no way I'm leaving this bridge.
[talking about how to disable the tanks]
Captain Miller : You take a standard G.I sock, cram it with as much Composition B as it can hold, rig up a simple fuse, then coat the whole thing with axel grease. Now when you throw it, it should stick. Its a bomb that sticks, its a "sticky bomb". Think of a better way to knock out the tracks, I'm all ears.
Private Reiben : This is great, now we gotta surrender our socks.
Captain Miller : Private, I'm afraid I have some bad news for ya. Well, there isn't any real easy way to say this, so, uh, so I'll just say it. Your brothers are dead. We have, uh, orders to come get you, 'cause you're going home.
Pvt. James Frederick, Ryan : [starts sobbing] Oh, my God, my brothers are dead. I was gonna take 'em fishing when we got home. How - How did they die?
Captain Miller : They were killed in action.
Pvt. James Frederick, Ryan : No, that can't be. They're both - That... That can't be. My brothers are still in grammar school.
Captain Miller : You're James Ryan?
Pvt. James Frederick, Ryan : Yeah.
Captain Miller : James Francis Ryan from Iowa?
Pvt. James Frederick, Ryan : James Frederick Ryan, Minnesota.
[the whole crew looks embarrassed]
Pvt. James Frederick, Ryan : Well, does that - does that mean my brothers are OK?
Captain Miller : [half-smiles] Yeah, I'm sure they're fine.
Captain Miller : [on Omaha Beach] Bangalores up the line! Bagalores up the line!
Sergeant Horvath : Heads up, bangers comin' your way.
Private Caparzo : [a soldier's helmet is struck by a bullet and he then takes it off] Jesus, lucky bastard.
[the other soldier is then shot in the head and falls dead]
Sergeant Horvath : Stars.
Lieutenant Dewindt : Yeah, Brigadier General Amend, deputy commander, 101st. Some fucking genius had the great idea of welding a couple of steel plates onto our deck to keep the general safe from ground fire. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell me about it until we were just getting airborne. Well, that's like trying to fly a freight train. OK? Gross overload. Trim characteristics all shot to hell. I nearly broke both my arms trying to keep her level. And when- and when we released, you know I cut as hard as I could, tried to gain some altitude and still keep her from stalling. We came down like a fucking meteor. And that is how we ended up. And the others, they stopped easy enough OK, though, you know? We were just-we were just too damn heavy, you know? The grass was wet, downward slope and all. 22 guys dead.
Captain Miller : All that for a general?
Lieutenant Dewindt : One man.
Private Reiben : Lot of that going around.
Captain Miller : The world has taken a turn for the surreal.
Captain Miller : Keep the sand out of your weapons. Keep those actions clear. I'll see you on the beach.
Captain Miller : [after Reiben courageously saves Ryan from being hit by a tank shell] . RYAN!
[run to the building Reiben pulled Ryan behind]
Captain Miller : Ryan.
Private Ryan : [to Reiben, who is sitting on Ryan] Get off of me!
Captain Miller : Are you all right?
Private Ryan : Uhh! GET OFF OF ME!
Private Reiben : Yeah. I'm fine too Captain. Thanks.
Captain Miller : You and I are taking a squad over to Neuville on a public relations mission.
Sergeant Horvath : What, you leading a squad?
Captain Miller : Some private in the 101st lost three brothers and he's got a ticket home.
Sergeant Horvath : How come Neuville?
Captain Miller : Eh, they think he's up there somewhere, part of all those airborne misdrops.
Sergeant Horvath : It's not gonna be easy finding one particular soldier in the middle of this whole goddamn war.
Captain Miller : Like finding a needle in a stack of needles.
Sergeant Horvath : But what about the company?
Captain Miller : We take the pick of the litter and the rest get folded into Baker.
Sergeant Horvath : Jesus Christ. They took away your company?
Captain Miller : Wasn't my company, it was the Army's. So they told me, anyway. Give me Reiben on BAR, Jackson, Wade, Beasley, and Caparzo.
Sergeant Horvath : Beasley's dead.
Captain Miller : All right, Mellish then. We got anybody speaks French?
Sergeant Horvath : Not that I know of.
Captain Miller : What about Talbot?
Sergeant Horvath : This morning.
Captain Miller : Oh... all right. I'm gonna try to dig up another interpreter. Assemble at battalion motor pool on the beach.
Sergeant Horvath : Yes, sir. Listen up...
Private Caparzo : What are we gonna do?
Sergeant Horvath : What?
Private Caparzo : What are we gonna do?
Sergeant Horvath : You're goin' home wrapped in an American flag with a hunk of cheese in your ass, Caparzo, you smart-ass! Now listen up...
Private Reiben : I thought you liked it in the ass.
Sergeant Horvath : What?
Private Reiben : I thought you liked it in the ass!
Corporal Upham : [Wade lying down, shivering with pain and anguish, after being shot through the stomach] Tell us what to do... tell us how to fix you.
Captain Miller : What can we do Wade? Tell us what to do.
Medic Wade : [Wade still shivering] I could use some... I could use a little Morphine.
Captain Miller : [Capt. Miller to Sergeant Horvath] Okay... Give it to him... Give it him!
Captain Miller : It's like finding a needle in a stack of needles.
Captain Miller : Get your gear. Let's go.
[Reiben stays put]
Sergeant Horvath : You heard him, gear up. Your captain just gave you an order.
Private Reiben : Yeah, like the one he gave to take this machine gun. That was a real doosey, wasn't it?
[walks over to Miller]
Sergeant Horvath : Soldier, you are way out of line!
Private Reiben : Yes sir, that was one hell of a call coming to take this nest, but hell, we only lost one of our guys going for it. That's right, I hope Mama Ryan's real fuck'n happy knowing that Little Jimmy's life is a little bit more important than two of our guys! But then again we haven't found him yet have we? Have we?
Captain Miller : [to the squad while pointing at Caparzo's dead body] THIS is why we don't pick up children!
Private : [shouting and under intense fire] What's the rallying point?
Captain Miller : Anywhere but here!
Sergeant Horvath : What are your orders?
Captain Miller : Sergeant, we have crossed some strange boundary here. The world has taken a turn for the surreal.
Sergeant Horvath : Clearly, but the question still stands.
Captain Miller : I don't know. What do you think?
Sergeant Horvath : I don't think you want to know what I think.
Captain Miller : No, Mike, I do.
Sergeant Horvath : Well, part of me thinks the kid's right. What has he done to deserve this? He wants to stay here, fine, let's leave him and go home.
Captain Miller : Yeah.
Sergeant Horvath : But another part of me thinks what if, by some miracle, we stay, and actually make it out of here. Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful shitty mess. That's what I was thinking, sir. Like you said, Captain, we do that, then we all earn the right to go back home.
Captain Miller : Oh, brother!
Upham : So where are you from, Captain? What'd you do before the war?
Captain Miller : What's the pool up to?
Upham : [chuckles] Uh... up over three hundred, sir.
Captain Miller : Well, when it gets up to five hundred, I'll give you the answers and we'll split the money. How about that?
Upham : Well, if that's the way you feel sir, then I feel it's my duty and your command to suggest that we wait until it gets up to a thousand, sir.
Captain Miller : [pause] What if we don't live that long?
Upham : [makes a show of considering] Five hundred?
Captain Miller : Five hundred would be good, yeah. Get some sleep Corporal.
Upham : Yes, sir.
Captain Hamill : We sure as hell could use you around here, but I understand what you're doing.
Captain Miller : You do?
Captain Hamill : Yeah. I've got a couple of brothers myself.
Captain Miller : Oh.
Captain Hamill : Good luck.
Captain Miller : Thank you.
Captain Hamill : No, I mean it. Find him. Get him home.
Captain Miller : We are not here to do a decent thing, we are here to follow fuckin' orders!
Lt. Col. Anderson : What about *our* casualties?
Captain Miller : Well, the figures were, 35 dead, times two wounded. They just didn't wanna give up those 88s.
Lt. Col. Anderson : It was a tough assignment, that's why you got it.
Captain Miller : Yes, it was.
Lt. Col. Anderson : John, I've got another one for ya...
Captain Miller : Yes, Sir.
Lt. Col. Anderson : This one's straight from the top...
Captain Miller : This is all? That's all that've made it?
Sergeant Horvath : We're scattered pretty bad, sir. There's bound to be more of us.
Captain Miller : Not enough, this is not enough.
Sergeant Horvath : Dog One-It's got to be the cut on the right, or is it the one on the left, shit!
Captain Miller : No, no. Vierville is to the west of us, so this is Dog One.
Captain Miller : Covering fire !