Released in July 1998, Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the best masterpieces of the war movie genre. 

The quintessential war story follows the Normandy Landings in World War II when a group of U.S. soldiers is assigned to go behind enemy lines to retrieve Private James Francis Ryan, whose brothers were killed in combat.

The film stars Tom Hanks as Captain John H. Miller and Matt Damon as Private James Francis Ryan. The cast also includes Tom Sizemore, Vin Diesel, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Paul Giamatti, and Ted Danson in pivotal roles.

The movie was lauded for depicting one of the most realistic battle scenes ever. The intensity of the scenes was breathtakingly shot with stunning visuals in different locations. 

But one question that has lingered in fans' minds is where was Saving Private Ryan filmed?

'Saving Private Ryan' Filming Locations

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, France

With an intense commitment to realism and authenticity, Spielberg went all in! The movie was filmed in various locations of England and Ireland except for the cemetery scene that took place in France at Normandy American Cemetery Memorial.

This American Cemetery is featured in the opening and closing scene of the Hollywood blockbuster. 

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Located in the west of the village of Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy and Calvados, the memorial site contains around 9,400 gravesites to honor the American troops who lost their lives in Europe during World War II. 

Ballinesker Beach, Ireland

In the summer of 1997, Ballinesker Beach was etched in history when Spielberg decided it was the perfect location for shooting the D-Day Landings.

The beach was used to recreate the exact event that went down at Omaha Beach, where the Allies’ initial massacre took place, resulting in the loss of thousands of American soldiers’ lives. 

Located on the east coast of County Wexford, Ballinesker beach was transformed into a battlefield using machine gun positions. The massive x-shaped metal structures (dropped to prevent just such a landing) were also built here.

The entire transformation cost more than $12 million and took over 11 weeks, 1,500 people, tonnes of explosives, and thousands of gallons of fake blood. The actual filming took 15 days, after which every trace of the set was destroyed, and the beach was carefully restored to its original state.

British Aerospace Factory, England

The only fictional town reference used in the movie is Ramelle, a French village, where Ryan is finally discovered towards the end of the film. 

It was built from scratch at the former British Aerospace factory, about 20 miles north of London, in Hertfordshire. The set was reused for Spielberg’s TV series Band Of Brothers.

Wiltshire, England

In Wiltshire, England, Spielberg constructed a farmhouse (and subsequently removed) on Gunsite Road, south of the village of West Kennett. The scene where the tragic news is delivered to Ryan’s family was actually filmed there. 

The location is considered an ideal location to shoot gothic horror and traditional dramas. 

West Kennet Long Barrow (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

It is highly popular with television and film crews and featured in films like The Wolfman, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Creation

Thame Park, England

The scenes which feature the ambush of the half-track vehicle and the skirmish with the German machine-gun emplacements were filmed on the lands of Thame Park, Oxfordshire. 

The chapel on the grounds of Thame Park was used as the ‘French’ church in which the American soldiers rest overnight. Thame Park House is now a private home and inaccessible to the public.