Why does Tom Hanks’ hand shake in Saving Private Ryan?

Tom Hanks’ iconic role as Captain Miller on Saving Private Ryan spawned a memorable scene that referenced the PTSD he had experienced, which resulted in the shaking of his hand.

Tom Hanks portrayed the character of Captain John H. Miller in the 1998 war-action film, Saving Private Ryan. The character was a 34-year-old American serving in the 2nd Rangers Battalion of the United States Army during World War Two, holding the rank of captain and the protagonist in the film. He was respected amongst his troops, as he had endured numerous ordeals which threatened to take his life.

In the beginning, Captain Miller was a man of mystery to his men, who were curious about his past experiences. Their intrigue grew to the point that they set up a betting pool to reward whoever could find out details about Miller’s life before joining the army. It is believed that he had a traumatic life just before the Rangers embarked on their mission in Portsmouth, England. As a result, Miller’s right hand began to shake uncontrollably, and although no reasons were given, it was suspected that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).