The Prestige

Plot hole: Julia dies in the underwater escape trick tank because the axe couldn't get her out in time. However, if she was able to open the lid from inside the tank, get up, over, and down, then close the lid (all quickly, silently, and without assistance) when the trick goes properly, then there is no reason that the four men standing around could not have simply lifted the lid, either acting a key in the fake padlock to preserve the trick, or using a key if it's real. At this point she could have gotten her head above water and draped her hands over the side of the tank to stay up. That done, the crisis is over, and she must only wait to calm down enough to get herself down, or be assisted. Cutter built the tank, so he knew how strong the glass was. The only explanation for using the axe was to allow Julia's death, thus advancing the plot.

Phixius Premium member

Continuity mistake: Hugh Jackman puts a tan vest on twice in the scene when we first meet his wife.


Revealing mistake: When one twin (presumably Alfred) is removing the other twin's fingers, "Alfred's" upper arm passes through his twin's head as "Alfred" reaches for the hammer. [Fixed on DVD.]

Phixius Premium member

Continuity mistake: When the hotel clerk show Angier Tesla's machine in its box, he has his hands behind his back, and then moves them in front of his body. Yet when the camera cuts to behind the clerk, his hands are still held behind him.

Visible crew/equipment: When Angier goes to Tesla's laboratory and walks to the gate, on the far right side of the fence a figure can be seen, apparently holding something ahead. It seems to be one of the film crew holding a boom mike upright. (00:09:35)

Other mistake: This mistake occurs when Borden crashes Angier's act. Borden emerges from the trick door for the Transported Man trick, feigns surprise, and then "discovers" the bound and gagged double suspended above the stage. When Borden says "Ah, the Great Danton" you can see the ring and pinkie fingers on his left hand moving, even though he had already lost them by this time in the movie. We know that it has to be after the time BOTH twins lost their fingers because Olivia observed Borden's trick and says that "it is the same man" because she was fooled by both Bordens having their gloves stuffed.

Factual error: When Angier and Cutter are looking for a new workshop they enter a room, with a fully glassed wall on one side. A very modern white radiator is in the room. (00:35:00)


Factual error: When Robert Angiers (The Great Danton) meets Nikola Tesla for the first time at the laboratory in Colorado Springs, Tesla makes his grand entrance by walking straight through the crackling electrical discharge arcs of a full-size, fully-powered Tesla Coil. This is impossible, given that Tesla is not protected in any way from the multi-million-volt arcs of electricity and radio-frequency energy. In reality, an unprotected human being would suffer instant heart failure from the high-voltage discharge, and internal organs would literally cook from the extreme radio-frequencies. Oddly enough, the myth that an unprotected human being could survive within the Tesla Coil's discharge field was inadvertently started by Tesla himself, in real life, when he posed for double-exposure publicity photos that appear to show Tesla casually sitting and reading a book within the active discharge field.

Charles Austin Miller
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: Nikola Tesla, in this movie, is building a machine that uses electrical discharges for teleportation/duplication. The electrical currents he passes through are from the machine and not a fully powered Tesla coil, or magnifying transmitter. Next to that, at radio frequency the damage to the skin can be decreased by having a small metal object with you to deter the current and evenly disperse it over the body. Doing it just this once to show the effects is dangerous but not directly harmful. Since Tesla is an expert at the field he knows what frequencies are harmful and how to take precautions. He of course teaches those to the Great Danton who later on passes into electrical arcs himself for the trick.


The original submission is 100% correct as a factual error. The fictional correction might serve to explain a plot hole, but a fictional explanation does not negate the fact that a human being would die almost immediately within such a discharge field in real life.

Charles Austin Miller

Except its not "such" a discharge field. Its the same type of arc that Danton passes through himself every night in his show. Like I said, in the movie its not a fully powered tesla coil but a fictional device, thus any real life errors are irrelevant.


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More for The Prestige


Alfred Borden: Everything's going to be all right, because I love you very much.
Sarah: Say it again.
Alfred Borden: I love you.
Sarah: Not today.
Alfred Borden: What do you mean?
Sarah: Well some days it's not true. Maybe today you're more in love with magic. I like being able to tell the difference, it makes the days it is true mean something.



During Borden's performance which ends with Angier shooting him, on at least two occasions the bill for the show can be seen off to one side. About halfway down is the name "Harry Dresden", the name of the wizard protagonist from the Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher.