Best war movie character mistakes of all time

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Gone with the Wind picture

Character mistake: When Melanie and Scarlett are talking with an (off-screen) wounded Confederate soldier, the soldier says he hasn't heard from his brother since Bull Run. Only Northerners refer to that battle as Bull Run; Southerners have always referred to it as Manassas.

mdwalker

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U-571 picture

Character mistake: At the beginning of the movie, the German sub gets surprised and severely damaged by a destroyer. The sonar man first notices the enemy destroyer approaching, but only a short time before the destroyer is already literally on top of the sub. German sonar at the time had the capacity to detect ships up to more than 7 miles away, so the sonar man really had to be asleep at his sonar station not to notice the destroyer approaching. (00:03:40)

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The Final Countdown picture

Character mistake: Following the barricade recovery of the Corsair, the Officer of the Deck instructs the helmsman to return to course "three five oh." No line officer would use the term "oh" in place of "zero", especially when giving course change instructions.

goofyfoot

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The Great Escape picture

Character mistake: The scene in the outdoor Parisian cafe is incredibly daft. First, the cafe owners call James Coburn's bizarrely-accented Australian to the telephone to keep him out of the way as their accomplices assassinate three uniformed German officers seated in the cafe in a drive by shooting. They then toast the killings with cognac, and that is the mistake - not the shootings, not the luring away of Coburn - the mistake is that the cafe proprietors celebrate the assassination of the German officers in broad daylight, in the open, without even stopping to think that such an action would have them shot, because all of this is done in the direct view of passers-by in broad daylight. Do they think those three German officers were the only ones in Paris? How did they know Coburn wasn't an undercover Gestapo agent or a French collaborator? Don't they stop to consider that in an occupied city machine gun fire is going to draw some attention from the authorities, who might just wonder what a couple of bullet riddled corpses are doing lying about the place?

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Suggested correction: Regarding the French cafe proprietors making a toast, if questioned, they could simply claim they were celebrating surviving the incident and/or needed a calming drink. Considering any ensuring panic and confusion after the shooting, pedestrians would hardly notice the waiters. Attention would be on the dead Germans. French citizens most likely wouldn't care or cooperate with the authorities. Being indifferent to German officers getting killed is not proof of involvement. Most French hardly be remorseful over their enemies' deaths. Antagonism toward the Germans was normal. It would be more suspicious if the proprietors showed concern. As far as helping James Coburn, it was pretty obvious he was neither French or German, and they took a chance to protect an innocent bystander. Also, it was to inject some subtle levity into the scene.

raywest Premium member

Rubbish. During the occupation Paris was crawling with collaborators and undercover German agents. The cafe owners are drinking champagne - not much of a nerve stiffener! - and they clink glasses in celebration of the shooting of the German officers. Their actions are beyond obvious to anyone that can see them. They simply would not take the risk and would act as if they were horrified to see their customers shot dead in their cafe.

Nope. Even if collaborators were "crawling" around, no-one would expect any French citizen to care about Nazis being killed. If questioned they can claim it was for the other reasons already stated (and they are not drinking champagne). It does not prove their involvement. Little would come of them being interrogated. As mentioned, this is a movie, and the scene injects subtle humor and is intended to show the audience that they are involved in the coordinated plan.

raywest Premium member

Again, rubbish. The Nazis occupying Paris arrested anyone suspected of belonging to or assisting the Resistance on the slightest pretext, and the cafe owners who were celebrating the deaths of three German officers would be in a Gestapo prison cell before the bodies of the dead Germans were cold. What they do after the Germans are shot is blatant, irresponsible, dangerous and completely unnecessary. They could have saved their celebrations for later when it was safe.

Once again, NOPE. Clinking glasses is not proof of possibly belonging to or aiding the Resistance. They also were not wildly celebrating. It was a quick, low-key action, and they looked both nervous and relieved. Also, I re-watched the scene on YouTube. When the car pulls up to shoot the Nazis, the street around them is completely empty. No witnesses anywhere. People are only seen far in the background. The phone call just before the shooting is a signal and indicates this was well-coordinated and timed. Secondly, the story needs to move quickly, and insignificant characters would not be seen toasting later. This also showed James Coburn (and us) that the waiters were potential allies.

raywest Premium member

You think the Nazis needed proof of someone's involvement in the Resistance? They arrested, tortured and shot innocent people on the unsubstantiated word of pro-German informers! No witnesses anywhere? What about Coburn? They didn't know who he was or where he was from. For all they know he could have been a Gestapo agent himself. The scene is absurd. Nobody is so stupid as to do what they did at the risk of dying horribly if caught doing it.

It should also be noted that the cafe owners duck behind their counter before the car carrying the gunmen shows up, and they get Coburn to do the same. They just provided incontrovertible evidence that they knew about the assassinations ahead of time.

Yes, they absolutely were part of it, and the hit was timed and planned in advance for the opportune moment. This was not a random act, and the phone call appears to be the signal that sets the events in motion. When they made the toast, they knew the street was completely empty and obviously felt it was safe to do so. Also, if Coburn was a spy or collaborator, he would have warned the Nazis, not hidden behind the counter.

raywest Premium member

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Fury picture

Character mistake: On the way approaching town the camera pans to a woman's hanged body with a sign written in German around her neck. One of the crew asked Wardaddy what it said, to which he answered something like "It reads 'I am a coward who refused to fight for the German people'." That sign actually translates to "I wanted my children not to go fight" or Anglicized for better effect, "I refused to let my children to go to war." Interestingly, once into town, there appears the corpse of a hanged man with a sign written in German that does translate to what Wardaddy said of the first sign. (00:43:00)

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Where Eagles Dare picture

Character mistake: In the courtyard of the castle there is an anti-aircraft gun. You could probably not find a worse place for a gun like that even if you tried (except maybe if you put it inside, in a windowless room). In the position it is placed it can only fire at targets directly above the castle. What you want to do is fire at targets before they reach the castle. It would be better if they placed it on the roof, or even near the village below.

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The Alamo picture

Character mistake: In a conference with Crockett and Bowie, Travis states that Fannin in Goliad is preparing to relieve the Alamo and will be ready to "march south by the end of the week." Goliad is 90 miles south of San Antonio. To relieve the Alamo, Fannin would need to march north.

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Gladiator picture

Character mistake: When Maximus is talking to Marcus Aerelius, he mentions that his wife has black hair. But in the scenes where we see her, she actually has brown hair. (00:24:40)

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Full Metal Jacket picture

Character mistake: When the Marines are navigating through the Paris Island obstacle course, Hartman is shouting "It should take you no less than 10 seconds to negotiate this obstacle!" In other words, the LONGER it takes someone to get across, the better? (00:13:27)

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Good Morning, Vietnam picture

Character mistake: When Cronauer and Garlick get stuck in traffic with the Army trucks, Garlick asks the assembled troops to guess who is in the Jeep with him. One of the troops shouts "Mork". Robin Williams played Mork in Mork & Mindy, but not until 1978, well after the setting of this film.

GalahadFairlight

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Hanover Street picture

Character mistake: Before they jump off the plane Halloran should at least have checked if Sellinger has his parachute strapped on properly, knowing that the other guy has absolutely no experience. (01:05:55)

NancyFelix

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Inglourious Basterds picture

Character mistake: Hicox salutes General Fenech, who returns the salute. But Fenech is bareheaded and therefore under British military protocol cannot salute. He would instead acknowledge the salute with a nod.

Necrothesp

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Apocalypse Now picture

Character mistake: After Captain Willard walks through the front door of the burnt out French plantation dock there's a close-up of Chief Phillips at the wheel the boat. He turns around and looks right at Chef and says, "Lance". (01:56:40)

????

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American Sniper picture

Character mistake: When Chris joins the Marine unit they are going to breach a door. Chris removes his shooting hand from his weapon to signal the breacher. He would have used his support hand.

Movie Medic

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Iron Eagle picture

Character mistake: When Doug Masters approaches his aircraft at the airfield before racing 'The Snake', Col Sinclair has a right hand access panel open on Doug's Cessna 150 upper engine cowling and is allegedly working on the fuel system saying "As lean as you were runnin', if it went into a stall, you woulda lost your engine, and would never been able to pull it out." The carburetor, gascolator, throttle linkage and carburetor control lines are on the bottom of the engine (Continental O-200). The panel he closes after sticking bubble gum on accesses the battery, the right hand magneto and the oil dipstick. Not only did Col Sinclair not do what he said he said he did without a sign-off in the aircraft's logbook, it would be totally unnecessary, as aviation updraft carburetors use a cockpit or engine controlled fuel mixture control that would have simply been left in 'full rich' position after engine start for the altitudes the aircraft would have been flying. And stalling is an aerodynamic condition of angle of attack being exceeded or insufficient airflow over flight surfaces, not fuel starvation, which is the condition being addressed. (00:11:30 - 00:12:30)

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Midway picture

Character mistake: When the Japanese attack is imminent, a soldier loads the 50 caliber machine gun rounds into the box backwards, with the rounds facing the gunner.

Robert F Baptista

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Barry Lyndon picture

Character mistake: When Barry Lyndon is talking to his mother privately, while standing on the bridge overlooking the water, Barry's mother refers to Barry's son Brian as being "at the mercy of his stepbrother", meaning Lord Bullingdon. They have the same mother. Lord Bullingdon and Brian would be half brothers, not step brothers.

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Bedknobs And Broomsticks picture

Character mistake: The closing shot of a newspaper article shows the word "rumor", film is set in England where it's spelled "rumour".

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Rambo: First Blood picture

Character mistake: When the deputies chase Rambo in the forest, sometimes Teasle refers to Shingleton as Shingleton, but sometimes he calls him Singleton.

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Kelly's Heroes picture

Character mistake: In the scene where Crapgame is sitting in the back of the truck at the end, when the men are loading Kelly's squad's take after splitting with the Germans and Oddball, Crapgame asks Fisher to verify his calculations. There are 125 boxes of gold left valued at $8,400 per box. Fisher says that they are worth $10.5 million, and each of the twelve men in the squad will get $875,000. The actual amount (125 x 8400) is $1.05 million, making a per man take of $87,500. He's off by a factor of 10 one way or another.

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