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Saving Private Ryan: Looking Back on the Cast and Where They Are Now

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saving private ryan

In attics, basements, or deep into wardrobes, you will find a slowly decaying yearbook that has accumulated vast amounts of dust and serves as a reminder of just how old you are, or in the cases of black and white photographs, just how ancient. Flicking through a tattered old yearbook from your Senior year at college, it brings back that adolescent nostalgia. It may have you curious to see what became of your high-school sweetheart or the one that got away, the class clown, or the bully who inevitably ended up with a crippling drug habit and a stint in jail.

The sentiment extends beyond just educational facilities and into films too. Looking back on some of the classics perennially replayed on television and in the cultural lexicon, it can indulge our curiosity to check out where the cast is today and what they’ve been up to. In the case of this article, we take a trip down memory lane and root through the class of 1998’s multi-award-winning Saving Private Ryan.

Besides profusely defending his wife’s honor from adoring fans who dared to inadvertently trip her up, Tom Hanks’ career post Saving Private Ryan faded into a world of obscurity, with headlining appearances in low-key movies such as The Green Mile, Catch Me If You Can, Cast Away, and The Bridge of Spies, Hanks becoming a small, forgotten fish in the vast oceanic wilderness of Hollywood. Of course, I mean that with the greatest degree of irony.

Related: These Are 8 of the Best World War 2 Movies Ever Made

Tom Hanks is arguably one of the most famous actors alive, and his filmography has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since his appearance as the battle-hardened Captain Miller. He’s further enhanced his reputation as a world-leading actor with his latest movie Elvis, where he goes all-in with the role as the enigmatic Colonel Tom Parker. The Philadelphia actor has truly claimed the mantle as the king of the biopic; from Captain Phillips to Sully, his aptitude in convincingly replicating a film’s subject through his characterizations is extraordinary.

Vin Diesel’s Private Caparzo makes up a part of Captain Miller’s battalion in search of Private Ryan in Spielberg’s 1998 epic. With Spielberg having originally noticed Vin Diesel from his short film, Multi Facial, three years prior. Since 1998, the California-born action star is best known for his roles in the never-ending Fast and Furious franchise, as well as voicing Groot in Guardian’s of the Galaxy and Avengers. Diesel has tasted success in abundance, and not just through his blockbusters, but also financially, being in the top 10 highest-earning actors of 2022.

As the inconspicuous and highly sought-after Private Ryan, Matt Damon’s presence in the Academy Award-winning movie, contrary to its name, is actually rather a bit-part. While his character is left undeveloped, it is self-evident he’s a dutiful and morally obliging soldier who initially refuses to uptake the request that he withdraw from active service due to the unfortunate deaths of his three brothers. Damon, like Hanks and Vin Diesel, has accumulated quite the filmography since his Saving Private Ryan showing. The Talented Mr. Ripley, True Grit, The Martian, as well as the stellar Ocean’s and Bourne film series, are just a number of the plethora of movies the A-lister has starred in. Damon has recently been tapped to star in Ben Affleck’s new movie about Nike.

Portraying Sergeant Horvath, Tom Sizemore’s character is the deuteragonist of the movie. Second-in-command to Captain Miller, Horvath is a consummate pro, and well-versed in the art of combat. Now 60, Sizemore has since made appearances in other renowned war films in the form of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Saving Private Ryan star who has been battling well-documented drug addiction.

Edward Burns (who starred as Private Richard Reiben) has arguably been the least notable byproduct of Saving Private Ryan, while very much maintaining his foot’s immersion in acting waters, though the quality of the many movies and television shows he’s been in since the 1998 epic have typically been underwhelming.

Related: These Are the Best Steven Spielberg Films, Ranked

His most notable acting appearances have been in the movies The Holiday and Alex Cross, though Burns is a talented writer/director in his own right, winning multiple awards for The Brothers McMullen three years before Saving Private Ryan. Though he’s written and directed 14 films and TV projects since Saving Private Ryan, hardly any of them have made a big splash or are well-remembered (heard of Nice Guy Johnny, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies, or Purple Violets?).

Barry Pepper played Private Daniel Jackson, another member of Company C, who subsequently perishes at the hands of a German armored assault. Fortunately, Pepper’s luck in the real world was better and saw him go on to appear in The Green Mile alongside his Saving Private Ryan compatriot Tom Hanks, as well as the Maze Runner movies, We Were Soldiers, True Grit, Tommy Lee Jones’ underrated neo-western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and Spike Lee’s brilliant film 25th Hour.

You might remember this one bloke who owes a large proportion of his success to that show about a meth chef that was originally aired on AMC, but is now on Netflix, you know the one, Breaking Bad? That was pretty good. Okay, it was one of the most important shows of the century so far, and Bryan Cranston‘s performance is ingenious. Cranston plays Colonel Bryce of the War Department in Saving Private Ryan, following the role up as the hilarious dad in Malcolm in the Middle, and was brilliant as Dalton Trumbo in Trumbo. He co-developed starred in Sneaky Pete and was delightful in the recent movie Jerry and Marge Go Large.

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