Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit (2003)

55 mistakes

Factual error: In the shot of the infield at the Saratoga racetrack several Canada geese are shown landing. However, the calls inserted on the soundtrack are the quacks of mallard ducks not the honks of Canada geese.

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Factual error: Many of the main characters are using modern-day binoculars (black, plastic) throughout the entire movie.

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Factual error: In the shot where Pimlico racetrack is shown and the dateline shows November 1, 1938, the Maryland flag is upside down. The black and gold squares should be at the inside top and they are not.

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Continuity mistake: In the race for the $100,000 purse (that Rosemont wins), just after Seabiscuit takes the lead, there's a closeup of Seabiscuit's head and Pollard's right leg - Pollard is wearing the brace he made later in the movie after his leg was shattered. Obviously, the shot was taken from those filmed for the Santa Anita race later in the film.

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Factual error: In the scene where Seabiscuit is weaned from his mother, the narrator says that he was six months old at the time. However, the foal used in the movie is less than one month old.

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Factual error: Jockeys did not wear goggles and their skullcaps did not have chinstraps in the 1930's. Protective equipment for jockeys was practically non-existent during Seabiscuit's racing days.

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Visible crew/equipment: When Red has the accident and the horse is trying to get on its feet there is a clear view of the stuntman's face.

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NancyFelix

Revealing mistake: After William Macy interviews Jeff Bridges and when the narrator is describing Seabiscuit's fans (the scenes are about an hour apart), you see shots of people in trees. They are the same shot.

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Factual error: Two men are trying to start a John Deere Model D tractor, which backfires, startling the horse. The wrong sound effect is used; it sounds like a V8 engine being turned over by an electric starter. The tractor's flywheel, on the left side, is shown stationary. Turning the flywheel by hand is the usual starting procedure for a JD tractor of '30s vintage. For over 40 years John Deere tractors used a two-cylinder engine, which make a distinctive popping exhaust sound. The movie is right on one thing, JD tractors could backfire.

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Factual error: Pollard did not lose his sight in a fight, as the film suggests. He lost it when he was galloping a horse for exercise and a horse going in the opposite direction kicked up a clod of dirt that struck him at the base of skull and knocked out the cerebellum on his left lobe. (right side, left lobe).

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Factual error: Statements are made in the movie that War Admiral was "almost 18 hands" tall, when in reality, War Admiral was only 15.3 hands tall. War Admiral's nickname was "the giant killer." Seabiscuit stood 15.2 hands tall. Both horses were considered very small as racehorses.

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Revealing mistake: In the beginning scene, where the horse tamer is chasing the "mustangs", you can occasionally see the glint of a horseshoe on various "wild horses".

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Factual error: The flat top inside rail at Santa Anita racetrack is a new style safety rail.

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Factual error: When Red Pollard is showing the doctor his homemade brace, his bare leg shows no sign of having been nearly severed or of undergoing multiple surgeries. There are no scars, atrophied muscles, or discoloration of any kind. In reality, Pollard's leg was permanently disfigured.

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raywest

Deliberate mistake: In the final race of the film, Seabiscuit performs a flying lead change at the gallop while crossing the finish line, in the famous shot taken underneath his neck. Horses normally only switch their leads around turns while racing; it's something done to relieve pressure on the leading foot. From taking the shot over and over again, the horse playing Seabiscuit was probably tired out and a little tender and began to perform lead changes in other places in an attempt to be more comfortable.

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Revealing mistake: In one scene we get a view of people standing beside a vintage automobile. A license plate is mounted on the vehicle's rear fender and we get a clear view of the back of the license plate. The plate appears to be made out of aluminum and pressed into the plate is a relief image of an antique automobile. What we are seeing is a modern license plate issued by some state for a vintage automobiles. (In Iowa a car must be at least 25 years old to qualify for such a special plate.)

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Factual error: In the scene where Red Pollard is walking hots, he is leading the horse around on a mechanical walker which did not exist at the time.

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Other mistake: When Marcela and Howard are viewing Seabiscuit for the first time (when he's weaving all over the place) it looks like it was done before as Seabiscuit follows a thin ribbon of disturbed ground that is weaving in and out. Its unlikely any other horse would be weaving like that.

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Continuity mistake: When Seabiscuit races War Admiral he has a white snip on his nose and no white markings on his feet, but in the final race of the movie there is no white snip on his nose and that horse has white socks (coloring) on his front feet.

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Factual error: When they are heading east to race with War Admiral, there is a scene at the Los Angeles Union Station. This is in 1938; the station was not opened until the following year.

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Factual error: Pollard never told Smith and Howard he was blind in one eye. He kept it a secret, presumably until the eye paled or his fame had dropped off and no one really cared any more if he was blind or not.

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Factual error: When Frankie Howard died he was not alone - he had two friends with him who were either thrown clear or managed to get clear after the crash. Also, it was not his father that was the first one on the scene. Frankie's friends headed off and summoned a man called Doc (I can't remember his surname) with limited medical knowledge he used for the local lumberjacks.

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Factual error: In the final race, Red Pollard is shown with a number 9 on his sleeve, indicating Seabiscuit's starting position. In fact, Seabiscuit had the number 1 starting position (this can be seen on historical footage).

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Factual error: In the final race, one of the horse's saddle pad flips up in the wind and reveals a synthetic-type foam rubber lining. This was unavailable in 1938.

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Other mistake: In the hospital scene where Tom Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Howard and the groom are in the waiting room, it is mentioned that the evidence of the surgery taking time is noticeable by the light changing where Mr. Smith remains in the morning. In Seabiscuit, Mr. Howard, or Jeff Bridges, waits all night long to hear the results of the surgery, not Tom Smith.

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Continuity mistake: In Seabiscuit's first race under Pollard, at the start the announcer says, "Pirate Cove breaks first with Geronimo on the outside. Silver Treasure is third followed by Seabiscuit." But when it cuts to Seabiscuit, there are six horses in front of him, placing Seabiscuit seventh. Seabiscuit would have to be barely moving to lose that much ground that fast.

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Factual error: During the times where Red is in the hospital, they show Red several times with a cotton blanket with a certain type of weaving they didn't use until the 1960's. In the 30's they were still using single weave blankets. Kind of hard to explain, but older nurses could tell you.

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princesskelli

Factual error: The license plates on the cars were dated TX 1937. I don't recall the movie ever happening in TX and they had not reached 1937 on the time line, yet.

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Factual error: During the end credits, some newspaper typesetting material is shown. The type should be shown in reverse with the letters backwards. However, the type is not reversed and you can read the words.

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Factual error: In the shot with Howard and Red riding in the thirties vintage Buick, Howard flicks on the car radio, and the sound is instant. In those days, car radios were vacuum tube type, and needed several seconds to warm up before you would hear anything.

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Factual error: There is a scene at Saratoga where the grandstand is viewed from the backstretch. In the 30's the grandstand was not that large. Since then, there have been several additions to the grandstand. You can plainly see the new clubhouse (the white area on the left) which was just added recently. In fact this particular view should have shown the "Wilson Mile" chute which is no longer in existence but was in the 30's.

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Continuity mistake: In the movie, War Admiral is described as standing 18 hands tall, compared to Seabiscuit's 15.2 hands. Although this is not historically correct (according to contemporary sources, both horses stood around 15.2 hands) the size disparity created by the movie is not carried on in the match race, where the two horses appear to be the same size.

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Factual error: Orange twine was shown to tie bales of straw, twine of that type wasn't used until the late 70's or early 80's

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Factual error: When Seabiscuit and crew are returning by train to California after the big match race in Baltimore, the locomotive seen is a distinctive model used only by railroads in Canada.

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Factual error: In a scene that is captioned: Tijuana, Mexico 1932; Jeff Bridges is being driven in a 1936-7 Buick.

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Continuity mistake: In the scene where everyone is waiting for Red to get out of surgery, a nurse walks by with a stethoscope around her neck. This is a mistake for a couple of reasons. Number 1, it is a modern style Littman stethoscope that wasn't used until the 1970's. The old stethoscopes of the 30's look really different than they do now. Also, back then, nurses didn't routinely carry stethoscopes like they do these days to do assessments.

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princesskelli

Factual error: The Pimlico race track has a modern electronic scoreboard. It's visible when we see the race course in the morning before the race starts as well as after the race.

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NancyFelix

Factual error: In the scene where Red is with the Mexican girl and half the screen goes dark to show that he's blind in one eye, it should actually be less than half the screen. The visual fields of the eyes overlap to allow for depth perception. You can see for yourself by putting a pencil vertically at the tip of your nose and closing one eye - if you look straight ahead you can still see things on the other side of the pencil. Red should be able to see slightly more than half of what's in front of him.

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Continuity mistake: When Tick Tock McGlaughlin watches Seabiscuit being prepared for racing again he pretends to be reading a newspaper. When Charles and Tom talk to him he is holding the newspaper open with both hands, but at the end of the conversation he is suddenly holding the folded newspaper in one hand.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: In the first of Red's boxing fights he gets very badly hit on his right eye. When he is leaning against the ropes blood is running down his cheek, but when he turns around the lower part of his cheek is clean.

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NancyFelix

Factual error: In the scene where the Seabiscuit Special is headed East, they make a stop in Albuquerque. If you look closely, in one shot there are palm trees in the background. There are no palm trees in the vicinity of the Albuquerque train station.

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Continuity mistake: Before the race at Pimlico a crowd of reporters is waiting at the stable window for Seabiscuit to be worked out. The way they are leaning in the window sill varies greatly between close-up and a wide angle that shows them and Tom.

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NancyFelix

Factual error: The doctors tell Red he has broken his leg in 13 places, however the X-ray shown later is not indicative of an injury of that nature. The two fractures you see in the X-rays are considered non-unions (fractures that aren't healed properly and are unstable) but we should also see some type of hardware that would be needed for that many fractures. Surgeons have been using internal screws on fractures since the turn of the century.

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Continuity mistake: When Red is telling the new jockey all about Seabiscuit's peculiarities, he tells the jockey not to use the crop on the left because a previous trainer had beaten him on that side. Earlierwhen the horse was working with that trainer, they show him being beaten on the right side.

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Continuity mistake: Before his first race after his accident Red puts a leather brace on the injured leg. He ties it in front, but when he walks over to Seabiscuit the brace is tied on the side.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: Before the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral, Charles and Mr. Riddle take their seats. They exchange a few words, then Riddle turns away to talk to his seat neighbor, but when the camera cuts to Charles we see Riddle in the background still looking at him as he did before.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: When the protagonists listen to Mr. Riddle on the radio Tom's hand covers his mouth. When the camera angle changes he is holding his arm over his stomach.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: When Charles gives Red $20 with his left hand he is holding a newspaper under his right arm. The camera angle changes that we see Charles' upper body from behind, he puts his right hand on Red's shoulder, and when we see the whole Charles again the newspaper has disappeared.

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NancyFelix

Factual error: When Charles gives Red a $20 advance he hands over a modern bill.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: When all the protagonists are sitting on one bench in church Red has a big smile on his face. When the camera angle changes to a close-up his smile is completely gone.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: After the death of his son we see Charles sitting in an armchair playing with the small marble game. The way he is holding the game changes back and forth between shots.

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NancyFelix

Continuity mistake: After the car race into the mountains Charles gives a speech. When a photographer takes a picture a huge cloud arises from the flashlight and drifts over to Charles. However, in the next two shots the cloud is gone, but in the third shot it's back again.

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NancyFelix

Revealing mistake: After the race where Seabiscuit beats War Admiral, we see the train on the return trip home. If you look closely, the engine number on the locomotive is reversed, indicating that the film was flipped.

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Other mistake: Red Pollard's operation for his injured leg occurs over many hours (as evidenced by the changing light and darkness on Tom Smith as he waits for the results.) Yet when the doctor appears to tell Smith that Pollard will walk again, he seems to be freshly shaven. Surely if he had just been involved in a lengthy surgical procedure, he would not have had time to shave.

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Continuity mistake: When Chris Cooper is standing next to the barbed wire fence at the beginning of the film and he puts his finger on it, the positioning of his hand is different from the wide shot to the close up.

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Sheridan Whiteside

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