O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Corrected entry: Everett is afraid of fire (as noted when the police burn down Wash's barn), yet he is seen relaxing comfortably by a campfire in a couple of later scenes.

Correction: There is a huge difference between being afraid of being burned to death by a fire which is out of control, burning down the building from which you are frantically trying to escape, and a dinky little campfire which poses no threat at all.

Corrected entry: When the Confederate flag is thrown at the Klansmen, Homer Stokes yells out not to let the flag touch the ground. John Goodman catches the pole holding the flag, then he turns the pole upside down, letting the flag touch the ground. (01:18:30)

Correction: This is not a mistake, it's a joke in the movie.

Corrected entry: When Everett and company enter the radio station, Everett asks 'Who is the honcho here?' 'Honcho' is derived from a Japanese word for 'group leader' and did not enter American slang until after World War II, by way of Allied occupation forces in Japan. (00:23:35)

Correction: True, the others might not know the word, but Everett might, being a know-it-all show-off. It also wouldn't matter to him if others did not know said word, even the man he's addressing.


Correction: The name Odysseus means "angry man." The name Pentheus means "man of sorrow."

Correction: Budweiser bottles have pretty much remained the same since 1876: so the bottle will resemble a modern one.

Corrected entry: At the beginning of the movie Everett makes it clear that it is the 17th and the valley is to be flooded on the 21st. Problem is a few nights later when the boys are out in the woods enjoying stolen pie, the newspaper that declares that the Soggy Bottom Boys are a hit is dated July 13, 1937. (00:40:37)

Correction: The date on the newspaper is "July 18, 1937" (not "July 13, 1937"). Btw, The newspaper says this is a Tuesday, but July 18, 1937 was a Sunday.

Corrected entry: If the current in the flood scene is moving from right to left, then why are Everett, Pete, and Delmar floating on the coffin from left to right?

Correction: They could be kicking against the current.

Corrected entry: Near the beginning of the movie, one of the characters states that it is the 17th and the valley would be flooded on the 21st. Yet, throughout the movie, there are too many nights that go by for it to just be the few days when the valley finally floods.

Correction: This might be a character mistake by Pete, a by-product of Everett's lies (after all, he was not actually after his loot, or in prison for any kind of loot-taking crime), or simply explained by sundry delays at the actual construction site (happens all the time even without all the turmoil in the movie); but it also could be that the day and night sequences in the "Flyaway" musical number are simply not spliced perfectly chronologically, and caused the illusion of several days when in fact it may have been less.


Corrected entry: In the movie, George Nelson goes to the electric chair. But George Nelson was never arrested in Mississippi, but was killed by police near Chicago.

Correction: Submitted and corrected in a similar manner elsewhere - this is a different, fictional George 'Baby Face' Nelson, nothing to do with the real life gangster.

Corrected entry: After falling off the train, a pump car approaches the three fellows travelling the same direction from which the train came. If this were so, the pump car would had to have been miraculously placed onto the tracks just after the train passed by.

Correction: The pump car could have been on a side track when the train passed by it, then switched back to the main track.

Correction: In this scene, George Clooney did indeed introduce himself correctly, contrary to what the initial post here indicates. He introduces himself as Ulysses Everett McGill.

Corrected entry: At the end of the film, when they are floating on the coffin in the flooded valley, there is a current moving from the right to the left. While other objects float away in the current, they stay dead still, obviously they are tied down. (01:39:45)

Correction: No, as noted in a previous correction the characters are swimming against the current, simply by moving their legs underwater.


Corrected entry: When the three guys get in George Nelson's car he hangs out the window and asks the guy in the back seat to hand him his gun, as it is handed to him there is no ammo clip in it, but within no time he is firing the fully loaded weapon even though he had no time to load it.

Correction: There is an ammo clip, it's between the two handgrips and apparently full.


Corrected entry: When George Clooney and his two pals are about to be hanged and the flooding water saves them, their hands are tied. Yet in the very next scene, when they are floating in the water, their hands are not tied.

R W Hlavac

Correction: In the rush of water that immediately follows the wave, we see several objects floating by. Dimly lit is one of the heros untying and slipping out of his bonds. If one could do it, the others could, too.


Correction: No it was not, but the musicians who performed the songs for the movie have performed under that name since then. See: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=UIDCASS80311232040360380&sql=Brhuh6jp17190

J I Cohen

Corrected entry: When Baby Face Nelson is firing his Tommy Gun at the pursuing police officers, there is a shot where he fires off a burst, re-cocks the gun, and then fires again. Why would he do that? He hasn't changed the magazine, the gun hasn't jammed, and he isn't out of ammunition. So all he's ended up doing is ejecting a perfectly good .45 bullet from his sub-machine gun.

Correction: The Tommy Gun had a flaw throughout its service life that would cause it to fire a shell, eject the empty case, and close the bolt without chambering a new round. Thus he had to cock it again.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: If you watch the TV show "Combat" you will see Sgt Saunders (Vic Morrow) do the same thing with his Thompson.

Corrected entry: Clooney and one of his pals go into a theatre to watch a movie, with John Turturro and a group of jailed convicts sitting a few rows behind. A neon "EXIT" sign is hanging in plain view in the back of the theatre. Obviously, there were no neon signs in movie theatres of the 1930s.

Correction: Neon gas was first discovered in 1897 and in 1910, Georges Claude passed an electrical current through a tube of the gas and discovered what we now see as neon signs. The sign industry almost immediately picked up on the discovery and began making signs out of it in the 1910's.

Continuity mistake: When they first meet George Nelson, the left back seat window is half way open. A few seconds after they get into his car, Delmar gives the machine gun to Nelson through the left back seat's completely open window (the camera shows the guys all the time so we can see that Delmar didn't lower the window when he got in the car). (00:32:25 - 00:33:40)

More mistakes in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Ulysses Everett McGill: What'd the devil give you for your soul, Tommy?
Tommy Johnson: Well, he taught me to play this here guitar real good.
Delmar O'Donnell: Oh son, for that you sold your everlasting soul?
Tommy Johnson: Well, I wasn't usin' it.

More quotes from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Trivia: George Clooney (Everett) was going to sing "Man of Constant Sorrow" for the film but his singing voice was very poor so he ended up lip-synching the songs instead. He said "I'm not my aunt [referring to the late singer/actress Rosemary Clooney, best known for her role in "A White Christmas" (1954)]. I decided it would be easier to just do a passionate lip-sync." He was so nervous that the tapes of his singing would get out that he returned to the studio to ensure all the evidence had been erased. The musical director of the film confirmed this but said "George is a very good singer but that style of music is very difficult and one almost has to grow up singing it in order to sing it convincingly. George did a really good version of the tune but it wasn't as good as he wanted."

More trivia for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Question: In the KKK scene, Homer Stokes says "The color guard is colored." Did he mean this literally, like Everett was a black man, or did he mean that he was white (unlikely because John Goodman is white and so is he), or is he mistaking Everett for a black man because of his dirty face?

Answer: He mistook Everett for a black man because of his dirty face. It's the only way the line makes sense.

J I Cohen

More questions & answers from O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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