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What The Cast Of Saving Private Ryan Looks Like Today

It may not be the most decorated war movie ever made (that accolade would actually go to Steven Spielberg's other WWII masterpiece, Schindler's List), 1998's Saving Private Ryan is a modern classic in its own right. Despite famously losing the Best Picture race to Shakespeare In Love in one of the most controversial Oscar snubs in the history of the ceremony, Spielberg's epic is remembered by audiences as one of the standout films of the '90s, with its depiction of the invasion of Normandy still as harrowing today as it was almost two decades ago. Unfortunately, while the director remains a force to be reckoned with in the film world, the same can't be said for every member of his Saving Private Ryan cast. Here's what they look like today.

Tom Hanks (Captain John H. Miller)

Leading man Tom Hanks was left doubly disappointed on the night of the 71st Academy Awards, with the agony of Saving Private Ryan losing its Best Picture nomination compounded by the fact that he was beaten to Best Actor by Roberto Benigni for his performance in Life Is Beautiful. Hanks refused to be discouraged, however, teaming up with Spielberg's friend and colleague Robert Zemeckis the following year for the hugely successful Cast Away and further establishing himself as Hollywood's go-to everyman. While some of his recent choices have seen him criticized for playing it safe (one reviewer described his performance in 2016's Sully as "sleepwalking into yet another Oscar nomination"), Hanks has been ever-present since leading his squad on their dangerous rescue mission in Europe, retaining his place on the A-list with a number of memorable performances. Next up for the 60-year-old is an adaptation of Dave Eggers' sci-fi novel The Circle, in which he'll star alongside Emma Watson and John Boyega.

Edward Burns (Private Richard Reiben)

He was Hanks' right hand man when he played cigar-smoking Brooklyn boy Private Reiben, but Ed Burns isn't likely to be starring alongside his Saving Private Ryan captain again any time soon. The New York native began to "fall in love with movies" after being exposed to the work of Woody Allen at a young age—the inspiration behind his debut film, 1995's The Brothers McMullen, created on a modest budget of $25,000. The movie won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and would help land him a part in Spielberg's epic—though in the years since, Burns has shied away from blockbusters, flitting between rom-coms and indie projects.

Burns is now perhaps best known for his TV work, making the transition to the small screen with guest parts on Will & Grace and Entourage, though his efforts to front his own show ended in relative disappointment. In 2015 Burns teamed with Spielberg's Amblin Productions for New York cop drama Public Morals, and although the show received generally positive reviews, it was cancelled by TNT after just a single season.

Tom Sizemore (Sergeant Mike Horvath)

Tom Sizemore had already appeared in two war movies (1989's Born on the Fourth of July and 1991's Flight of the Intruder) before Saving Private Ryan came along, and he'd appear in two more (Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, both 2001) shortly after—but his performance as Technical Sergeant Mike Horvath in Spielberg's 1998 film remains his most memorable turn as a military man. Sizemore's boisterous portrayal of Horvath summed up the madness that can consume normal men under extraordinary circumstances, winning him particular praise from LA Weekly.

In 2003 it transpired that Sizemore was unable to reserve his patented aggression for the screen, however, with partner Heidi Fleiss reporting the actor to police for domestic violence. The actor was convicted on seven charges of abuse and sentenced to up to four years in jail. After the verdict, he told reporters he wanted to put the whole episode behind him and get back to making movies as soon as he could, though unsurprisingly, the big offers didn't roll in right away. His attempted comeback in the 2016 Nicolas Cage-led war drama USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage met with failure, opening in only 12 theaters and being compared to a SyFy original in reviews.

Barry Pepper (Private Daniel Jackson)

Barry Pepper's life in feature films began modestly with appearances in bizarre Swiss comedy Urban Safari and misguided box office blunder Firestorm, though his big break came when Spielberg cast him as left handed sniper Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan. Pepper followed his captain and co-star Tom Hanks into Frank Darabont's well-received adaptation of The Green Mile the following year, though his next career move didn't pan out quite as well. The Canadian took on the role of Jonnie Goodboy Tyler in 2000's Battlefield Earth, famously described by veteran film critic Roger Ebert as "like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time." Battlefield cleaned up at the Golden Raspberry Awards, winning Worst Picture, and Pepper himself getting the nod in the Worst Supporting Actor category.

Unlike the film's star, John Travolta, Pepper was able to weather the critical storm and has enjoyed a healthy career as a supporting actor in the years since. He returned to the battlefield in Mel Gibson's Vietnam flick We Were Soldiers, worked under the Coen Brothers in their remake of True Grit, and recently debuted in the Maze Runner franchise as survivalist Vince, though that series (along with Pepper's career, it seems) remains stalled after lead Dylan O'Brien broke his leg on the set of planned sequel The Death Cure.

Adam Goldberg (Private Stanley Mellish)

Adam Goldberg's earliest credit of any note came as Texas teen Mike Newhouse in '90s cult classic Dazed and Confused, though if you were going to describe any of his roles as "career-making," it'd be wisecracking rifleman Stanley "Fish" Mellish in Saving Private Ryan. Unfortunately for Goldberg, the doors that Saving Private Ryan opened largely led to supporting roles and his attempt to strike out on his own ended in disappointment—kosher comedy The Hebrew Hammer only made $82,157 during its run, and he hasn't been able to get his planned sequel off the ground.

Goldberg settled back into support work for the remainder of the '00s, with his most admirable efforts coming in the 2006 Tony Scott thriller Déjà Vu and David Fincher's Zodiac the following year. He found some long-awaited acclaim after portraying Mr. Numbers in the 2014 TV adaptation of Fargo, with one reviewer calling the relationship between Goldberg and his onscreen partner in crime, Russell Harvard, "unlike any criminal twosome of its type I've seen before, even in the midst of a show that is otherwise cleverly rearranging familiar pieces of the movie and other crime stories."

Jeremy Davies (Corporal Timothy E. Upham)

Jeremy Davies has described himself as a "fortunate fool" when discussing his start in the film business, which was given to him by a young David O. Russell. The director and the actor were both feature film virgins when they teamed up for 1994's Spanking the Monkey, a black comedy with incestuous themes that to this day holds an impressive 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Four years later, he appeared as Saving Private Ryan's tritagonist Corporal Upham, delivering a jittery, sympathetic performance that would define him for a decade.

In 2008, he joined the cast of Lost as spindly-legged physicist Daniel Faraday and served up more of the same, reinforcing his image as the physically inept brainiac. After seeing the ABC drama through to its divisive conclusion in 2010, he took the part of Dickie Bennett in Justified, a role that not only allowed him to branch out, but brought him recognition in the form of an Emmy Award. The actor doesn't look likely to return to the big screen any time soon, having just won the part of Jesus in the upcoming TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Vin Diesel (Private Adrian Caparzo)

Spielberg decided to write the part of Private Caparzo for Vin Diesel after seeing his 1995 debut Multi-Facial, a drama short Diesel wrote, helmed and produced himself. The impressed director invited Diesel to the set of Amistad so he could meet him in person and liked what he saw, promising to create a tailor-made role for him in Saving Private Ryan. Of course, Diesel went on to become one of Hollywood's most recognizable action stars, portraying drag-racing gangster Dominic Toretto in the Fast & Furious films and the titular antihero in the Chronicles of Riddick franchise.

His move into comedy with 2005's The Pacifier marked a low point (a scene in which he comes out of a sewer covered in feces was described as "a metaphor for his career" in reviews), though Diesel has recently found success in voice work, something he showed a flair for early in his career with the cult animated classic The Iron Giant. He may have only used three words throughout, but Diesel's performance as Groot in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was also well received—so much so that director James Gunn has admitted that baby Groot is now an "extremely important character" in the upcoming sequel.

Giovanni Ribisi (Technician Irwin Wade)

Ribisi was first exposed to the masses as Phoebe's unstable half-brother Frank Jr. in Friends, though he made a bid to be taken seriously as an actor with his turn as medic Wade in Saving Private Ryan—his dramatic death scene is one of the film's heaviest emotional blows. His performance earned him a starring role in Boiler Room the following year, a frontrunner to The Wolf of Wall Street that perhaps deserved more attention.

Despite his best efforts, Ribisi never quite cracked the leading man market, though he's chipped in with some solid supporting roles in the years since, most notably as Scarlett Johansson's uninterested lover John in Sofia Coppola's indie classic Lost in Translation and whiny corporate administrator Parker Selfridge in James Cameron's Avatar. Ribisi has developed a close professional relationship with Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane in recent years, appearing in both Ted films as well as the widely panned A Million Ways to Die in The West.

Ted Danson (Captain Fred Hamill)

It's easy to forget that Ted Danson had a part in Saving Private Ryan, popping up in the blink-and-you'll-miss-him role of Captain Fred Hamill, a pathfinder tasked with setting up operations in the drop zone. Best known as a comedic actor, the Cheers star has made a few attempts to transition into drama over the course of his long career. He played the villainous CEO to Drew Barrymore's activist in warmly received environmental drama Big Miracle in 2012 and appeared as a therapist in Certified Fresh sci-fi thriller The One I Love two years later, though neither film was enough to propel Danson towards a complete reinvention. The silver fox looked to be settling into the comfortable life of a procedural actor in the twilight of his career, though his appearance in the second season of Fargo and lead role in new fantasy series The Good Place prove that the 69-year-old is still willing to push the boat out.

Bryan Cranston (Colonel I.W. Bryce)

Another actor you likely forgot was part of the Saving Private Ryan cast, Bryan Cranston appeared briefly as Colonel I.W. Bryce, a War Department officer. This was before he became known to family audiences everywhere as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle, playing the father of the titular teen. He worked on the Fox sitcom from 2000 until its run ended in 2006, and the two years that followed were full of minor appearances and supporting roles. In 2008, his life and career changed drastically when he made his debut as Walter White in Breaking Bad.

By the time the AMC smash drew to a close, Cranston's trophy cabinet was well stocked, taking home a number of Emmys and a Golden Globe for his efforts. The success of the show made Cranston bankable and opened the door to a number of film roles, most notably the 2014 reboot of Godzilla (in which his presence was greatly exaggerated in trailers) and 2015 biopic Trumbo. Next up for the 60-year-old is the Power Rangers reboot, which the actor recently compared to Christopher Nolan's reimagining of Batman for his Dark Knight trilogy.

Max Martini (Corporal Henderson)

Despite not being a household name himself, Max Martini's resume is full of name-drop fodder. Spielberg aside, Martini has been directed by Robert Zemeckis (Contact), Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) and Michael Bay (13 Hours), all of whom have made use of his square jaw and increasingly impressive physique. An action star at his core, Martini has previously expressed an interest in taking on "Jason Bourne"-type roles, admitting in a 2014 interview with a men's fitness magazine that he wanted to end up somewhere between Matt Damon and Sean Penn. Funnily enough, the next time we saw him was as Christian Grey's head of security and most trusted bodyguard in Fifty Shades of Grey. He'll reprise the role in upcoming sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, due out 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Paul Giamatti (Staff Sergeant Hill)

Paul Giamatti's career was given the kickstart it needed after he appeared in Howard Stern's hit 1997 comedy Private Parts, a bizarre autobiographical biopic that follows the radio personality from boyhood to nationwide fame. Giamatti gave a memorable performance as Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton, a composite character who represented the various radio directors Stern had clashed with over the years. The actor was inundated with character work the following year, not only appearing in Saving Private Ryan as a paratrooper but also popping up in the control room during The Truman Show and as a con man in The Negotiator.

Giamatti went on to win critical acclaim for his part in Oscar winning indie flick Sideways in 2004 and received a nod from the Academy in 2006 with a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for Cinderella Man, Ron Howard's boxing epic. "My back catalogue is insane," Giamatti told The Guardian at the time, "kind of random and all over the place." His choices have remained sporadic, staying on the Academy's radar with appearances in films like 12 Years A Slave while not being afraid to take on roles in brainless blockbusters such as San Andreas.

Nathan Fillion (Private James Frederick Ryan)

Saving Private Ryan was Nathan Fillion's first taste of the big time, though the part was relatively small. He was cast as Private James Frederick "Minnesota" Ryan, a paratrooper mistaken for the Private Ryan that Captain Miller and his men are trying to save. He went on to appear in the last season of Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer and followed the director onto his cult sci-fi western series Firefly, which the Canadian actor called his "favorite job ever" despite the show being axed after a single season. One show that did manage to go the distance was ABC's Castle, Fillion's light crime drama that ran for eight seasons before coming to an abrupt conclusion in 2016.

Fillion will make a brief return to the big screen in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with leaked set photos confirming he'll play Simon Williams, a movie star who previously fought alongside the Avengers under the moniker Wonder Man. The images show a movie theater adorned with fake film posters featuring Fillion (one of which appears to be a Tony Stark biopic), though whether this will be a simple Easter egg or the seeds of a future Avenger remain to be seen.

Leland Orser (Second Lieutenant DeWindt)

Leland Orser has one of those faces you're sure you recognize, but you're not sure where from. A career character actor, Orser's first gig was as a "Richard Gere type" in a coffee commercial that he was ultimately cut from. He went on to ply his trade in numerous films and TV shows, though precious few of those appearances lasted longer than a single scene. He was credited as "Tech/Medical Assistant #1" in Independence Day and as "Crazed Man in Massage Parlor" in Seven, and by the end of the '90s had advanced into named character territory, cast in the minor role of downed Glider pilot Second Lieutenant DeWindt in Saving Private Ryan.

The character Orser is best known for today is Sam from the Taken films, the friend and associate of nightmare father-in-law Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) whom he portrayed dutifully for the duration of the trilogy. When Taken 3 put the proverbial nail in the franchise coffin, Orser was able to wrangle himself a recurring part in Ray Donovan, cast as a cleric investigating the execution of a pedophile priest that the eponymous hitman carried out in the show's first season.

Matt Damon (Private James Francis Ryan)

Private Ryan himself, Matt Damon has become one of Hollywood's biggest movie stars in the years since Tom Hanks and his squad went looking for him in war-torn Europe. The Bostonian was already firmly on the Academy radar, having been nominated in the Best Actor category and winning the Best Original Screenplay award (shared with longtime friend and colleague Ben Affleck) for Good Will Hunting at the previous year's Oscars, and working with Spielberg only solidified his position as an up-and-coming talent.

Before long, Damon became a household name, known for his high-octane performances as no-nonsense spy Jason Bourne as well as crafty thief Linus Caldwell, a role he'll reprise when he makes a cameo appearance in the upcoming all-female spinoff of the Ocean's films, Ocean's Eight. Next up for the two-time Best Actor hopeful is epic monster movie The Great Wall—a film that Damon has defended more than promoted, insisting he didn't take a role away from a Chinese actor, and that he takes Hollywood whitewashing very seriously.