The Alamo

Factual error: Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes into the "restored" full-length video version, there's a birthday party for little Lisa Dickinson, and the Alamo defenders sing "Happy Birthday" to her. The Alamo battle happened in 1836. According to David Ewen's "All the Years of American Popular Music," the song "Happy Birthday to You" was composed and copyrighted by sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill, first as "Good Morning to All," in 1893.

Add time

Factual error: After the first attack, Travis asked Dickerson to report the killed. Dickerson says "13 Killed." In fact no defender of the Alamo was killed until the last battle on March 6.

Add time

bobmcdow4984

Factual error: The movie's opening scene manages to get wrong almost every historical detail except the names. Sam Houston was never in San Antonio with Colonels Neill, Travis, and Bowie. Then-governor Henry Smith - not General Houston - made Travis a colonel (in December). Bowie did a lot of drinking and carousing, but that never caused him to be demoted or to lose a command. Bowie did marry into the Mexican aristocracy, and he acquired a lot of land, but it would have been ridiculous for Travis to therefore doubt his loyalty to the rebellion. Bowie was one of the rebellion's best-known firebrands and had just taken San Antonio from the Mexicans.

Add time

Factual error: The mock-up of San Antonio de Bexar shows the buildings connected mostly along a single street, like towns in innumerable westerns. Actually, San Antonio was laid out with its buildings around plazas, in the Spanish style.

Add time

Factual error: The last we see of John Wayne is when, mortally wounded, he lunges into the powder magazine with alighted torch and blows it up. In actuality, this was attempted by an Alamo defender named Robert Evans who was shot dead in the process of unsuccessfully trying to do just this.

Add time

Factual error: When Bowie first walks into the chapel, you can see all the way back to the eastern wall. By this time, there would have been a dirt ramp leading up to two 12-pound cannon that overlooked the wall. In the same scene, the doorway to Bowie's left is where the powder magazine would have been, and to the right is where the women and children were. In the movie, these uses for the rooms are reversed.

Add time

Factual error: When the scout comes in and describes a huge cannon the Mexicans have, there are actually two mistakes, one of continuity and one historical. The continuity mistake involves the powder horn the scout is wearing. When you first see him it is facing with the tip one direction. The scene then cuts to Bowie. When it cuts back to the scout again the powder horn is turned the opposite direction. The historical mistake involves the cannon itself. The largest cannon used in the battle was in possession of the Alamo defenders. Santa Anna brought only small field pieces on the winter march from Mexico.

xx:xx:xx

Factual error: Travis says he is married. Actually he was divorced by this time.

Add time

Factual error: When Crockett and Bowie discover Sande's powder and weapons cache, Davy picks one up and exclaims, "Rifles!" In fact, those are smoothbore military muskets, possibly British pattern, French pattern, Spanish Model 1807, or Springfield Model 1822, and only the British army had rifle regiments. Davy, being a rifleman would never mistake a musket for a rifle.

Add time

Factual error: Travis never took his orders from Houston, and Bowie never took his orders from Travis. Colonel Neill (not Houston) left Travis in charge at San Antonio while he went on a 20-day furlough to be with his family - not to go north with Houston (since Houston wasn't there to begin with). Travis then rashly asked the militia to elect a leader, and they chose Bowie. Eventually the two agreed to share command, Travis over the regulars and the volunteer cavalry, Bowie over the garrison volunteers. By February 24th, however, Bowie was very ill (probably with typhoid) and was bedridden for the rest of the siege, leaving Travis as the de facto commander. In the movie, he isn't confined to his bed until the final assault, and then as the result of a wound.

Add time

Factual error: Bowie's wife had died in 1833, and from cholera, not plague. Her two sisters actually joined Bowie in the Alamo.

Add time

Factual error: The final assault began before dawn, around 5:00 in the morning. Travis was killed almost immediately by a shot in the head.

Add time

Factual error: Sam Houston twice places San Antonio on the Rio Grande (once he calls it the "Rio Bravo," which is the Mexican name for the same river). But San Antonio is on the San Antonio River, about 150 miles from the Rio Grande. Travis likewise seems to have a shaky grasp of geography. When he is explaining the situation to Crockett, he makes an "X" in the dirt and says that that's Santa Anna. Then he makes a line to represent the Sabine River. On the opposite side of the line, he makes another "X," to represent Houston. Then he jabs his sword into the dirt and says, "Somewhere in between . . . is the Alamo." His little map puts both Houston and the Alamo somewhere in Louisiana.

Add time

Factual error: The last battle is fought in daylight. In fact in was still dark out on March 6. By dawn all the defenders were dead.

Add time

bobmcdow4984

Factual error: The facade of the chapel is slightly anachronistic: the two upper windows were not added until the 1840's, and the top was more level - for the movie, it was deliberately distorted to suggest the famous hump by which people recognize the Alamo today. The chapel itself was built to scale, but the rest of the compound is about 75% as big as the original - otherwise, the Alamo compound is generally quite accurate.

Add time

Factual error: After the altercation between Bowie and Travis, Davy Crockett informs Travis that he had only fought Indians, except for fighting the British. Nowhere in Crockett's biographies does it indicate he participated in any battles against British troops.

Add time

Factual error: Houston sent Bowie to San Antonio with orders to blow up the Alamo and withdraw to Gonzales. It was Bowie's idea (not Travis's) to stay and fortify the Alamo.

Add time

Factual error: Colonel Fannin's men were massacred after the siege of the Alamo, not before. The most likely reason Fannin never got to the Alamo with reinforcements was simply that he didn't have any supply wagons

Add time

Factual error: Travis calls Susannah Dickinson his "cousin." They were not related. And Susannah would have been about 15 years old, with black hair, while her daughter, Angelina, was about 15 months.

Add time

Share

Follow

Join the mailing list

Add something

Share

Follow

Most popular pages

Best movie mistakesBest mistake picturesBest comedy movie quotesMovies with the most mistakesNew this monthElf mistakesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl mistake pictureFriends mistakesMan on Fire endingCast Away questionsJustice League triviaHow the Grinch Stole Christmas quotesShrek plotJim Carrey movies & TV shows15 biggest mistakes in TitanicWonder Woman mistake video

Mistakes

When John Wayne is running about near the chapel with a torch. Inside the chapel, you can see a lot of Mexican soldiers just standing there not doing anything.

More...

Trivia

In 2010, on the 50th anniversary of the release of the film a reunion was held at The Alamo Village. Of the main actors only 6 of them were still alive. 69 year old Frankie Avalon was there and five defectors were there with Mrs John Wayne. Richard Widmark (Jim Bowie) had died in 2008.

More...

Follow