Is Saving Private Ryan based on a true story?

226312 10: Actor Tom Hanks receives his Oscar at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA., March 27, 1995. (Photo by John Barr/Liaison)
226312 10: Actor Tom Hanks receives his Oscar at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, CA., March 27, 1995. (Photo by John Barr/Liaison) /
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There are going to be a few movies to watch on Memorial Day. Saving Private Ryan is one of them, and one thing you’ll want to know is whether it is based on a true story or not?

There are a lot of movies and TV shows that are loosely based on a true story. If they’re not actually telling some sort of dramatized version of events, they do gain some inspiration from events that actually happened.

Saving Private Ryan is a popular movie when you’re looking for a well-told war movie. It doesn’t focus on the war. Instead, it focuses on getting to one soldier who needs to be brought home before he makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Tom Hanks stars as Captain Miller who is tasked to lead his men through enemy territory to look for one Private Ryan, played by Matt Damon. Ryan’s brothers have been killed in action, and he is the last surviving child in the family. The military doesn’t want to leave a mother without any children, so it’s a race against time before Ryan is killed in action, too.

Saving Private Ryan is loosely based on a true story

Of course, the background of World War II is truth. There are elements of the war story told that are based on real events that happened.

What you actually want to know is whether the main story is real. Would the Army send men out to find just one person to save them from making the ultimate sacrifice for their country? Surely that would be something crazy to do in wartime.

Well, it turns out that this is loosely based on a real story. It’s based on the story of the Niland brothers. After the tragedy of another set of brothers, the Sullivan brothers, on the USS Juneau (both brothers were on the same ship and were killed in action), the military decided to put all of the Niland brothers in separate regiments. There was a chance that at least one brother would make it back home that way.

One of the Niland brothers was shot down over Burma and went missing in action. Military.com makes it clear that if this happened in wartime and over Japanese territory, it would carry an automatic “killed in action” weight.

Two other brothers were sent to the European invasion, where they were also killed in action. The letters of all three death arrived at home in a short space of time, and it was devastating for the family. The Army decided to pull the fourth brother, Fritz, out of the war. Regimental Chaplin Father Francis Sampson was tasked with the job of locating Fritz and getting him back home.

Fritz was located, and he returned home in 1944. He remains in New York, where he served as an MP.

There was some good news at the end of the war. The brother who had been MIA over Burma had been captured and was a Prisoner of War. He was saved at the end of the war when the Japanese POW camps were liberated. He was certainly traumatized, but the family had two brothers back home in the end.

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Saving Private Ryan is currently streaming on Netflix and Paramount+. You can also buy it on Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, and more digital platforms.