Saving Private Ryan (1998) Screenplay Analysis

Saving Private Ryan (1998), written by Robert Rodat, is a fantastic movie – so how is the screenplay? Well, this is the first screenplay I am analyzing, so I do not have much to compare it to. Fortunately, I now have read a few scrips but that also means it has been a few weeks since I have read this one, so I am going off of memory. Therefore, I am keeping this analysis succinct.

Script Formatting Notes

  • Draft Read: Unknown
  • Type: Spec
  • Page Count: 127

Overall Thoughts

I must have read an early version of this script as it was nothing like the final movie… and it was generally not that great. I caught a few typos throughout. The script felt unpolished.


A World War II movie where a group of battle-hardened soldiers have to rescue a fellow soldier whose three brothers died in combat – Yea, that’s a good premise. The plot flows well.


The characters were well thought out. Some of them, particularly the younger enlisted soliders, were one-dimensional.

Dialogue & Pacing

The dialogue is solid and the pacing is solid, which is never easy when the majority of it seems to happen when the characters are simply walking.

Emotional Impact

We feel for the characters. Each of them has a unique personality but through all the complaints they are all committed to saving Private Ryan.

Another reoccurring motif is Miller’s shaking hand, which he struggles to control. It is somewhat ambiguous what his hand represents beyond the physical and mental stress of many years of combat, but it is well conveyed through the script.

Best Part of The Script

D-Day, which is the opening scene really stands out. The descriptive writing really conveys the seriousness and terror felt by the soldiers. Below is the YouTube video of the produced scene, which is very similar to the script.