Towards the end of the movie Saving Pvt. Ryan, most of the soldiers led by Capt. Miller (Hanks) are dead and he himself too is fatally injured. It is obvious that they have been overwhelmed by the enemy forces and he is going to die.

There is a scene where he is sitting with his back supported by a truck and a Tiger tank is approaching. If my memory serves me right, they have already fired quite a few bazookas at it to no avail.

At that moment Hanks takes out his .45 pistol and starts firing at the tank. Had he gone delirious because of his injuries or the war at large? Or was it his resilience in the final moments?

Why would a person fire bullets at a tank?!!

  • He was aiming at the drivers port, if he was able to kill the driver he would stop the tank
    – Sean
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:26
  • Why would a person throw a gun at superman when shooting bullets at him didn't work? Refuge of a desperate man.
    – cde
    Dec 19, 2016 at 3:36
  • @cde Although I appreciate your answer, this has already been considered in my question.
    – Sayan
    Dec 20, 2016 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


It was definitely the last resort of a desperate man. Broken and dazed, his company in tatters, Miller doggedly pulls out his pistol and fires at the tank in a futile but defiant gesture.

His mission was over, Ryan had been found and given the message, Miller's trusted sergeant lay dead at his side, as far as Miller was concerned this was the end of the road.

So, in answer to your question, it was a combination of resilience, defiance and resignation that caused Miller to unload his pistol at the approaching tank.

  • I would consider it an act of resilience too, except for the dazed look in Hank's eyes. He looked kinda lost, and not exactly of sound mind!
    – Sayan
    Jul 15, 2013 at 6:45
  • 2
    I always assumed that he was aiming for the barrel, hoping for the ultra unlikely chance to hit the tanks explosive projectile (I don't know if that is technically possible). Look at his aim when he fires the last shot, right when the tank is destroyed. I thought of that scene as that it leaves it open to the viewer if Miller somehow contributed to destroying the tank. But your answer is probably correct.
    – Rev
    Aug 19, 2013 at 19:16
  • 2
    Interesting POV @Rev1.0
    – Sayan
    Aug 20, 2013 at 5:42

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