One of the best war films in history is ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ From whatever perspective you take, the film had everything needed to be topnotch. The visuals, the sounds, and the story were all there. While many already established actors like Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, and an already increasingly popular Matt Damon were in the film, there were other actors who put on the army green that would later become far more successful as their careers progressed.
For a while it looked like Vin Diesel was going to become the next big action star. Unfortunately for him he has found little success away from the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise. Still a very established and in some terms a respected actor, Diesel made one of his first impressions on us in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ as the first man in the company to die.
An even shorter appearance than Diesel, actor Bryan Cranston was in the film as a one-armed officer at the War Department. Cranston was not well-known by the public at this point so he seemed like any other actor. Not long after he got his first starring television role on ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ only to follow that up with a far different role as Walter White on ‘Breaking Bad.’
Until ‘Saving Private Ryan’ the biggest role Jeremy Davies had was in David O. Russell’s ‘Spanking the Monkey.’ In a more mature role and with fewer Oedipus tendencies, Davies played the company’s cartographer. Davies received multiple nominations for his role in the film, often overlooked due to the magnitude of the overall movie’s impact. Davies has since gone on to have many roles in film and television, two of the bigger ones being on ‘Lost’ and ‘Justified.’
Taking on the role of the company’s medic made Giovanni Ribisi’s film career. He had already been on many television shows including ‘The Wonder Years’ and ‘The New Leave It To Beaver.’ Immediately after ‘Saving Private Ryan’ though, Ribisi began primarily acting in film. Starring roles in ‘The Other Sister’ and ‘The Mod Squad’ came soon after. Ribisi has now become one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood, currently back on television with the show ‘Dads.’
Another successful actor from the company is Adam Goldberg. Goldberg probably had one of the hardest to watch deaths in the film, but he rebounded in his career with many varied roles. Golberg is an actor constantly working on television and on the silver screen. Not quite leading man material, he has still created a niche for himself, typically playing somewhat comedic roles.
Star of ‘Castle’ and the popular sci-fi series ‘Firefly,’ Nathan Fillion had a short yet memorable moment in ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ Fillion played Private Ryan – not the one they were looking for. He was the poor soldier told that his brothers had died only to soon realize they may have been alive and well due to a misunderstanding. Prior to ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Fillion was a soap opera actor.
Actor Barry Pepper has had an impressive film career since his days as the company’s sniper. Rebounding from the box-office bust ‘Battlefield Earth,’ Pepper’s first notable role was playing Roger Maris in the HBO Movie ’61*.’ Several other notable movies throughout his career, Pepper has returned to roles portraying military men multiple times like he did in ‘We Were Soldiers’ and ‘Flags of Our Fathers.’