Revealing mistake: 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 mistake: 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 mistake: 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, from a different camera about 35 feet down the Union line.
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.
Factual error: There are several scenes which show an American flag with way too many stars for that time period.
Continuity mistake: When the battle is happening at the end, the number of soldiers bodies after they have been killed varies from shot to shot. It shows them falling and dying in some shots, but the bodies are gone in later shots.
Revealing mistake: There is one shot where the camera shows the battlefield with a large tree in the middle of it. You can see that the tree has been cut away to make room for a power line, which has been removed for the movie.
Col. Arthur Freemantle: You call yourselves Americans, but you're really just transplanted Englishmen. Look at your names: Lee, Hood, Longstreet, Jackson, Stuart.
Lieutenant General James Longstreet: My people were Dutch.
Col. Arthur Freemantle: And the same for your adversaries: Meade, Hooker, Hancock, and - shall I say - Lincoln! The same God, same language, same culture and history, same songs, stories, legends, myths - different dreams. Different dreams. So very sad.
Trivia: 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.
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