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Steamboat Willie is a major antagonist in the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan.

He was a German soldier stationed at a small bunker guarding a radio station close to a French town. He meets up with Captain John H. Miller and his squad and is spared by them, but this later turns out to be a mistake.

He was portrayed by Joerg Stadler.

Biography

When Captain John H. Miller's squad assaults the command post Steamboat Willie is seriously injured and, after burrying the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers he killed in the battle is set free un armed and blindfolded as he is ordered to walk 1000 paces northwest to turn himself in to Allied patrols as a P.O.W. Instead, he is most likely picked up by a Waffen SS patrol.

In the final battle in Ramelle (which resulted in the deaths of Sergeant Horvath, Private Jackson and Private Mellish among others), Willie turns up among the Waffen SS assault and injures John Miller with a newly acquired rifle. Miller would later die from his wounds.

After the last Tiger tank was destroyed by P-51 Mustangs, Corporal Upham held Willie's group at gunpoint and when Steamboat Willie tried to reason with the corporal, Upham eventually killed Steamboat Willie and avenged Private Mellish.

Trivia

  • In real life, Steamboat Willie's murder at the hands of Corporal Upham would be considered a crime, as Upham killed Willie once he had surrendered, which would technically make Upham a war criminal and Willie's squad could testify that he killed Wille in cold blood. It's unknown if the film intended to imply this, however, as Upham is never mentioned or seen afterwards.
  • While Saving Private Ryan doesn't have a definitive main antagonist, Steamboat Willie is the closest it has to one, as he is the only German soldier who is given a name and has a bit more importance than the others.

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