Revealing mistake: Before the final battle, just after Katsumoto says that the Imperial army will not surrender, there is a cut, appearing when the Japanese army are ready to attack. You can see, at the right side of the screen, a transparent man walking in front of the troops. Actually you can only see a pair of legs walking without any body.
Continuity mistake: When Algren is trying to prove to the Colonel that the soldiers are not ready to fight, by having the man try to shoot him, the first barrel band on the soldier's musket (the one closest to the muzzle) is detached and dangling just behind the front sight. It stays in this position for several shots and then magically resets itself after the weapon is fired.
Continuity mistake: Just before the final battle, a clip of the now well-trained Japanese army standing at "port arms" (holding their rifles in front of them, with their left hand on the upper stock and their right hand behind the trigger guard; the rifle is pointed up and to their left). This is a standard out of any military manual of arms. The scene flashes to several other snapshots of the other parties preparing for the big battle. When the camera shows another snapshot of the Japanese army, the film is in reverse. The soldiers are still at "port arms," but their rifles are pointed up and to their right.
Continuity mistake: When Algren is packing to leave, Colonel Bagley picks up the note that the young boy had written for Algren. In the close up, you can see the paper is light blue at the top and a light pink at the bottom. When Algren takes it from him and smooths it out, it is suddenly all light blue.
Add timeDavid Mercier
Continuity mistake: During the ninja attack, Algren, Taka and her children retreat inside their house. The older boy goes to bring his father's sword to fight a ninja and another ninja is pushing Algren's face towards a sword's edge. When the boy screams and engages in combat, we can see Algren in the back stabbing the ninja in the head with a sword fragment. A couple of short scenes later, we see Algren stabbing the ninja again, only this time he actually holds the fragment, for during the first stabbing it's still lying out of reach.
Revealing mistake: During the final battle, some samurai horsemen are lighting hay panels to create a smokescreen. At one point a horseman rides past two of them without touching them with the torch at all, and they still catch fire. Moreoever, they start to burn from the bottom, not where the flame could have touched them (which of course it didn't).
Add timeDavid Mercier
Continuity mistake: During the scene where Nobutada's top knot is cut off, his hair magically changes positions multiple times. When the police officer begins cutting his hair, you see his face close up, and there is no hair on his shoulders- it's all behind his head, presumably still connected to the topknot. You then see Nobutada from a distance. The officer's finishing cutting at his hair, and you can see a lot of it resting on the front of his shoulders. The next shot of Nobutada is a closeup on his face and shoulders again, and his hair's all behind his head- his shoulders are clean. The officer then kicks him down to the ground, and his hair's back in front. The two different angles were shot separately- one while the officer's cutting his hair and one where the officer finishes and kicks him to the ground, thus the inconsistency.
xx:xx:xxChris Moyer Grice
Continuity mistake: The first time Algren is eating with the family, there is a shot with the older of the 2 boys in the corner. He takes a bite of his food with his chopsticks at his mouth, but immediately after, his chopsticks are down in the bowl again, there is no time in between shots for him to put the chopsticks down.
Continuity mistake: In the fight scene where the ninjas invade the village, right before Algren runs in to help Katsumoto, it shows a shot of Katsumoto and two ninjas. One has a sword, the other has two sais. The two shots are close-ups on each ninja. The shots show each one having a sword. Then in the next shot, when Algren runs in, the ninja has sais again.
Continuity mistake: During the training scene near the beginning, Algren is showing a soldier how to aim and fire a rifle-musket. The soldier is looking down the barrel and is about to fire, but the musket's hammer is down (uncocked). The shot changes to the coloniel and we hear Algren talk to him. This lasts for a few seconds that are devoid of sound effects (ie. a hammer being pulled back). The shot then changes back with Algren in mid-sentence and we see the hammer is now cocked and a percussion cap has been fitted.
Factual error: In the scene before the Americans are to be introduced to the emperor, they are told that the "Meiji" emperor is reform minded. However, Meiji is a posthumous era name, in other words, given after the emperor's death, which occurred many years later, whereas he is still very young in the period depicted.
Other mistake: The Gatling guns used in the final battle scene are indiscriminate weapons. We see the warriors hit multiple times with spectacular entry and exit wounds, as well as rounds impacting with the ground leaving dust clouds. But the horses seem to be spared as if by an invisible shield.
Continuity mistake: During the climactic horseback charge, Algren is shown holding his sword with the blade pointing upwards. There is, however, one shot, immediately before Colonel Bagley shouts "Aim", where, despite Algren's hand being visibly in the same orientation (so he's not twirling the sword), the blade is pointing downwards. Immediately after Bagley shouts "Aim", another shot of Algren shows the sword back in the upwards position.
Revealing mistake: During the melee in the final battle, towards the end, Algren looks around, seeing the death around him (much of this is in slow motion). In one of the shots focusing on Algren, behind him, on the left side of the screen, you can see an army soldier using his rifle to fight in close quarters. As he brings his rifle up, it noticeably flexes, indicating that it's a stunt-friendly rubber prop, rather than metal and wood.