Virtually all of the extras who play soldiers in the film were members of Civil War Re-enactor groups who not only freely donated their time but also supplied their own uniforms and equipment. This ensued that the film-makers did not have pay for their own extras and that they could stage the massive battle scenes without blowing the budget. See more...
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Continuity: After Chamberlain's bayonette charge, he sees his aide wounded for a second time. The scene changes angles back and forth during their talking of how brave the boys were. An American flag is over the shoulder of the aide on close ups, but on a longer shot the flag is leaning against the tree.
Factual error: During the engagement of the 20th Maine in defense of Little Round Top there is a tremendous amount of firing going on as they repel charge after charge of Confederates. Yet, there is not a single leaf, or tree branch, that falls to the ground. With that amount of lead flying around there would have been debris everywhere. There are actual Civil War accounts where whole trees were cut in half by bullet fire.
Continuity: During the sequence at Little Round Top, the same footage is used twice. The 20th Maine soldiers discharge a volley of musketry and there is a shot of a Confederate soldier being bodily flung backwards. A short time later, the Union defenders send down another volley and we see a close-up of another Confederate falling. Only it's the same actor, same footage.
Factual error: When General Buford looks back toward Gettysburg from the cupola of the Lutheran Seminary building to see if the First Corps is approaching, the director used a colorized photograph of the town taken by Matthew Brady a few weeks after the battle to illustrate Buford's view. Unfortunately, the photo was taken from a point north of the Chambersburg Pike and the Lutheran Seminary is south of it.
Revealing: In the battle of Little Round Top, as the Confederate soldiers are backing down the hill there is one man walking backwards and loading his gun. Behind him another soldier aims his weapon and fires, shooting the first man in the side of the head. The man then ducks and waits for the smoke from the shot to clear and continues down hill.
Continuity: At the beginning of the movie when the scout is talking with Longstreet, when the scout holds up his finger and says "you didn't know they were on the move out there", a long stream of troops is seen marching to the right. When the shot cuts to Longstreet then back, they have disappeared.