Glory (1989)

23 mistakes

(28 votes)

Glory mistake picture

Revealing mistake: When the 54th Mass. marches past a liberated plantation some black children wave them on. One of them is wearing a digital wristwatch.

Factual error: In the assault on Fort Wagner, the regiment attacks the fort from the wrong side. In reality, the troops attacked from the south.

Continuity mistake: During the first battle in the woods, the Union Regiment levels their un-bayonetted weapons and fires a volley at the Confederates. About 3 seconds later, without the order having been given, they are in hand to hand combat with bayonets fixed.

Factual error: The 54th Mass. actually consisted of educated, middle-class Northern blacks, not illiterate, runaway slaves as depicted in the film.


Factual error: In some of the scenes in the video during their time at Readville camp, they celebrate Christmas. In actuality, the first volunteers arrived at Readville in February of 1863, and Shaw died in July of 1863, along with most of the regiment, so there is no possibility of having a Christmas during that time.

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Suggested correction: This is not a documentary. It's a movie based on actual events. Therefore the filmmakers have a right to change things as they please.


While filmmakers can make up anything they want, for films considered to be based on historical events, they can only make up things as they could have happened. They can't make up things that couldn't have happened without it being considered a mistake (what one might consider an anachronism). Since no volunteers where with Shaw at the camp in Readville during Christmas time, it's a valid mistake to show them celebrating Christmas.


Suggested correction: The 54th regiment arrived at Readville Camp, Massachusetts on November 27, 1863, not February.

First off, the 54th did begin recruiting and training at Camp Meigs in Feb 1863 and departed March 1863, and Shaw was in charge. The correction make no sense to say they began training under Shaw after Shaw died. And, they still wouldn't have been able to celebrate Christmas based on the correction.


Factual error: During the burial scene at the end of the movie, the corpses of the 54th soldiers are shown with only their shoes removed. In reality, the corpses of the 54th dead were stripped of all usable clothing, as the South was desparate for any uniform parts (source: "A Brave, Black Regiment" by Louis Emilio). At the very least, the corpses of the officers would have been picked clean by souvenir hunters.

Visible crew/equipment: When Shaw gets shot, he falls down. When he falls, you can see the squib wire out of his boot.

Other mistake: In the final scene when they are about to charge Fort Wagner, Mathew Broderick yells "forward march!" and takes his first step with his right foot when it should have been his left foot like the rest of the battalion.

Factual error: In the movie, the soldiers of the 54th Mass. were not issued their uniform until long after enlistment. However, according to many history books about 54th Mass., the soldiers of 54th Mass. were issued their uniform immediately after enlistment.

Continuity mistake: When the men refuse to accept their pay, the Colonel tears his paycheck in half. It tears straight down the middle. There is a brief shot of the men, and the camera returns to the colonel. There is a piece of his check in his hand and the tear is now diagonally across the paper.

Revealing mistake: Rubber bayonets quiver every time the Federal troops hit the sand for protection during the climactic assault on Fort Wagner. It sort of wrecks the mood.

Factual error: During the training of the regiment, there is one scene where Colonel Shaw is shown practising his swordsmanship. A row of stakes has been placed in the ground and a watermelon tied to each one which he slices apart with his sword as he gallops past.The caption tells us that it is February 1863 in Massachusetts. There is no way you could get fresh watermelons in that state at that time of year in 1863.

Factual error: One of the characters of Glory is a mute drummer boy. However, 54th Mass. was established as a regiment composed exclusively of the cream of Northern black society. Because only the most healthy and robust African-Americans were allowed to enlist in this regiment, many recruits were rejected for medical reasons. Union military officials of 54th Mass. would not have recruited any handicapped person.

Continuity mistake: During the fight in the forest, when the 54th go hand-to-hand with the Confederates, Denzel Washington grapples with an enemy soldier on the ground. In one shot the Confederate is hatless; the very next second he is wearing a hat.

Other mistake: In the scene where muskets are issued to the 54th Massachusetts, only Pvt. Jupiter Sharts is revealed to be a marksman worthy of training the other troops by virtue of having previously hunted squirrels. The camera then zooms to a closeup of Pvt. Sharts aiming down the barrel with the wrong eye closed.

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Suggested correction: There are many people who are opposite eye one buddy shoots a gun right-handed but is left eye's common, and isn't a mistake.

Steve Kozak

Depends on exactly what the mistake is saying - to me it reads like the eye over the barrel is shut, which would throw his aim off significantly.

Audio problem: In the scene where Matthew Broderick is addressing the potential members of the 54th on horseback (right after he accepts the position), the army band is playing, but the visuals don't match the music. While we hear drumrolls, we only see single hits on the snare drums by the actors. And at least one drummer is playing in mid-air.

Continuity mistake: As the 54th charge Fort Wagner across the beach there is a long range shot of the troops running from the left to the right of the screen. Watch Matthew Broderick. He is holding his large wide-brimmed hat, which he does not wear (or even carry) in previous and subsequent scenes!

Factual error: In the scene where Elwes and Brodrick are talking about the colored regiment (~13:00), Elwes is holding a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne. The first vintage of Dom Pérignon is dated 1921 and would not have been available during the Civil War. (00:13:00)

Continuity mistake: When the colonel rips his paycheck the sun is shining down on his face, but in the next shot the sun is shining from the side.


Factual error: When Morgan Freeman is helping hand out rifles to the recruits, he is reading off the serial numbers. Enfield rifles of the Civil War era did not have serial numbers.

Colonel Robert G. Shaw: Good morning gentlemen, I am Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. I am your commanding officer. It is a great pleasure to see you all here today. It is my hope that the same courage, spirit, and honor, which has brought us together, will one day restore this Union. May God bless us all.

More quotes from Glory
More trivia for Glory

Question: Is there a website, books or vhs/dvd that tells the entire documentary of Robert Shaw and the 54th Mass that the movie is based on?


Chosen answer: The History Channel has a DVD you can buy called, The Civil War Journal, one of the episodes is about the 54th Mass.


More questions & answers from Glory

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