The Normandy beach landing scene in Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan cost $12 Million aloneand used over 1,500 extras!
War movies often don’t portray things the way they happened. That’s not the case with Saving Private Ryan, however.
The film has been received critical acclaim for its realistic portrayal of World War II combat.
In particular, the sequence depicting the Omaha landings was named the "best battle scene of all time" by Empire magazine and was ranked number one on TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest Movie Moments".
The scene wasn’t easy to make, though. The scene cost US$12 million and involved up to 1,500 extras, some of whom were members of the Irish Reserve Defence Forces, while others members of local reenactment groups such as the Second Battle Group who played German soldiers.
In addition, 20 to 30 actual amputees were used to portray American soldiers maimed during the landing.
Spielberg did not storyboard the sequence, as he wanted spontaneous reactions and for "the action to inspire me as to where to put the camera" It was all about authenticity for him.