This detail in Tom Hanks’ performance in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ has perplexed fans of the film


An often misunderstood quote from Stanley Kubrick about the work of Steven Spielberg highlights a trademark of the filmmaker that defines his best work. The director of The Shining, when the screenwriter Frederic Raphael said that Schindler’s List was a good representation of the holocaust, he said the following: “Do you think it’s about the Holocaust? That was about success, right? The Holocaust is about 6 million people who kill you. Schindler’s List has about 600 who don’t.”

Saving Private Ryan shares a similar message of hope in situations devoid of humanity. One question movie fans have always asked themselves is: Why do Tom Hanks’ hands shake throughout the entire movie?

Source: Dreamworks PicturesWhy does Tom Hanks’s hands shake in ‘Saving Private Ryan’?

When we’re first introduced to Hanks’ character in the film, Captain Miller, we see him working to steady his hands, which won’t stop shaking. Many have interpreted this message as a clear message about bravery and heroism as a choice. Casualties in this historically bloody battle in Normandy were staggering for both Allied and German soldiers: 4,414 confirmed deaths for the former and between 4,000 and 9,000 for the latter.

Everyone involved in this particular battle knew they were up against insurmountable odds, especially Captain Miller with his military background. Miller working to calm his trembling hands and preparing to give his life to stop Nazi Germany has been interpreted as recognizing his inherent “weakness” and building the necessary courage, through every step of storming the beach and going all out. to protect his men. , to complete the mission he accepted.

The jolt also reveals a flaw that could endanger both him and the soldiers under his command. Viewers wonder throughout the film if his trembling will become a problem. Whenever there is a pressure situation, there is additional subconscious tension in the scenes involving Captain Miller and the fate of his crew.

The cause of the tremor could be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), something Miller confides in Horvath when he reveals that he trembles, even when there is no imminent threat. To which Horvath replies: “You may have to find yourself a new line of work. This one no longer seems to agree with you.”

Ukrainian troops in combat. Saving Private Ryan Opening scene levels of

— Thomas C. Theiner (@noclador) May 14, 2022

The Wounded Warriors Project defines PTSD as: “a very common condition for many veterans after military service. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress, difficulty sleeping, and changes in a person’s thinking.” and feel.” It has other names: combat fatigue, war shock or shell shock.

Two of my favorite movies, Saving Private Ryan, Captain Miller, and #Arrival, Dr. Louise Banks, have heroic characters whose hands shake because they’re exhausted and scared. They are brave despite their fear. #The resistance

– Bobby X (@CasablancaRic) May 22, 2018 Source: Twitter | @CasablancaRicThere are those who theorize that tremors could be symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is defined as: “a progressive disease of the nervous system characterized by tremor, muscle stiffness, and slow, imprecise movements, primarily affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the brain’s basal ganglia and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.”

My uncle Peter Motta fought in the Battle of the Bulge and I never recognized him when his hands weren’t shaking. I once asked him if Saving Private Ryan reminded him of his experience and he just said that everyone had their own experience there.

— William K. Wolfrum (@Wolfrum) December 16, 2020

It’s probably safe to assume that since this is a war movie, and Captain Miller, who is of a higher rank and has active combat experience, suffers from a psychological symptom that wasn’t explored much in 1944, when the movie takes place. movie.


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