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The Tom Hanks Classic That Inspired The Suicide Squad's Opening Scene

When James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" arrived in theaters and on HBO Max in August 2021, DC Comics fans weren't fully prepared for the director's unhinged take on Task Force X. The film, which centers around a violently funny adventure across the fictional island of Corto Maltese, was well-received and currently boasts an impressive 90% critics score as well as an 82% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film, notably, doesn't acknowledge the events of director David Ayer's "Suicide Squad," despite the fact that many DC fans still want to see Ayer's original version of the film.

That said, several characters from the 2016 movie, including Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) all appear in Gunn's 2021 sequel. They're joined by a diverse batch of newcomers, all of whom possess some truly bizarre abilities. However, most of the film's fresh faces are slaughtered in a bloody frenzy on a beach in the movie's memorable opening sequence. While their deaths are all undeniably surprising, their demises also make it clear to the audience that any characters could be killed off at any moment — even those fans may already be familiar with.

Taking all this into account, fans of the film may be surprised to learn that the movie's creative team took inspiration from one classic Tom Hanks movie when they were developing the vicious opening sequence of "The Suicide Squad."

The Suicide Squad's opening took inspiration from Saving Private Ryan

While speaking to journalists on the set of "The Suicide Squad" (via Collider), producer Peter Safran said, "The opener of our movie, it's basically 'Saving Private Ryan.'" 

The producer's comment reveals a surprising but fair comparison between the opening Omaha Beach Landing scene in director Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and the beach massacre in "The Suicide Squad." The former sequence follows allied soldiers as they storm the Normandy beaches for the first time and are met with a hail of gunfire. It's a brutal, gritty scene that puts the audience right in the thick of the action, and it reportedly cost $12 million of the film's $65 million budget to make (via Esquire). "The Suicide Squad," notably, has a lot more fun with its version of a beach landing, and Warner Bros. even built an entire set to make the sequence feel as real as possible.

"We built a beach on the backlot here that's 260 feet across. A giant tank, wave machines, thousands of trees," Safran said. "We shot there for the first 10 days of shooting where it was 'Saving Private Ryan' at night, on this beach, explosions and helicopters and the whole thing."

The producer revealed that he thinks the construction of the set resulted in better performances from the film's stars, saying, "It just feels so real for the actors to be running through the sand, hiding behind big boulders, swimming in from the tank onto the beach, all that stuff." Production Designer Beth Mickle similarly pointed out the differences between working on a practical set and a green screen, noting, "That's where the limitations of CGI worlds really do come into play because you just don't get that same sort of interaction with sand flying back and hitting people, and them coming up from the water."