Few movie scenes capture the horror of war like Saving Private Ryan. Seeing the storming of the beach in all its ugliness—the fear, the seasickness, the bullets, the desperation, the death—gives us a cold look at the reality of D-Day and how terrifying it must have been. But just how historically accurate is that scene? History Buffs analyzes scenes from Saving Private Ryan to point out what actually happened versus what is Hollywood fiction.

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Things like soldiers sinking in the ocean because of the weight of their gear? Yeah, that happened. Soldiers being shredded with bullets while sinking in the ocean because of the weight of their gear? Probably, less likely (because of physics).

Other things (shooting an enemy sniper through a scope) are obviously fictionalized but there’s a lot of authenticity in the movie (like the premise of the movie) and a lot to learn from details that I’ve never noticed before.

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