Factual error: The locomotive pulling the train carrying the nitroglycerin has a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement. The earliest 2-6-0 was built in 1853, 3 years after the film is set, and had their leading axles mounted directly and rigidly on the frame of the locomotive, rather than on a separate pivoting truck as the engine in the film has. The engine overall more closely resembles an 1880's vintage engine than an 1840's engine.
24th May 2015
16th Feb 2015
Factual error: The steam locomotives seen are dull faded gray. The railroads of the 1800's had great respect for the trains that brought their business. As such, their locomotives (even those in freight or yard duties) were painted in vibrant colors, with their bells, whistles, and other brass components highly polished. The replica engines at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, as well as various other preserved 1860's and 1870's vintage locomotives all give you a good idea of how steam engines appeared during the show's time. It wasn't until around the turn of the century that corporate greed had taken its toll on the trains' appearances.
19th Jul 2014
Factual error: The Yonah in the film, portrayed by a 1920's-built replica of an 1830's vintage engine with a 4-2-0 wheel arrangement, is significantly different from the actual engine. The real life Yonah, built in 1849, had a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement just as the General and Texas engines. Also, the Yonah had a cowcatcher, a headlight, and sand box, all of which the engine in the film lacks.
18th Jul 2014
6th Jul 2014
Factual error: The film shows Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and other Microsoft executives meeting with IBM and convincing them to use their new operating system, MS-DOS, despite it having not yet materialized, to which end Bill and the others then go to Seattle Computer Products to acquire their 86-DOS system. In reality, IBM had approached Microsoft for an operating system. At the time, Microsoft was using the CP/M operating system developed by Digital Research, and thus recommended IBM to them. However, negotiations fell through, and IBM tasked Microsoft to find another OS for their use. To this end, Gates approached Seattle Computer Products, and purchased their 86-DOS system.
17th May 2014
17th May 2014
Factual error: While the hospital did sustain some damage during the actual battle at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese forces did not deliberately target or fire upon it. Hospitals are usually avoided in battles as the people within are not in any condition to fight back and it would just be consuming ammunition that would be needed for attacking more practical targets such as enemy aircraft, assault vehicles, weapon repositories, and such.
1st Feb 2014
16th Jan 2014
Continuity mistake: The train that the Marx brothers are driving is a locomotive of a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement. However, when the train runs off the track, the locomotive is portrayed by a 2 truck Climax type engine of a 0-4-4-0 arrangement. Then, the train reverts to the 2-8-0 once it returns to the tracks.
12th Jan 2014
12th Jan 2014
Factual error: The red cars are seen traveling with poles raised on both ends. The wheel at the raised end of the pole, which collects power from the wire, must always be trailing the car. Basically, streetcars going forward have the rear pole raised and front pole lowered, and vice versa. They would not be traveling at normal operating speeds with the front pole raised, as that would damage the wiring system.
Factual error: The General in the film has marked differences from the real engine as it appeared during the Civil War. The engine had three domes rather than two, and had ankle bars extending the full length of each side. The General in the film more closely resembles the prototype's post-1893 appearance.
Factual error: Keaton's "General" locomotive is numbered '3' in the film, and the "Texas" is numbered '5'. The Western and Atlantic Railroad, like other railroads throughout the southeastern US, had only given its engines names, not numbers. The railroad began numbering its engines after the war, giving the General and the Texas the numbers '39' and '49', respectively. The General was renumbered 3 in 1880, at the time being the third oldest engine on the roster. The Texas was renumbered 12 at this time, then 212 in 1890, never carrying the number 5.
28th Jul 2013
12th Jul 2013
Revealing mistake: The caboose and two bunk cars are uncoupled and sent rolling down the hill, with troops locked inside. As the cars roll off a cliff, troops can be heard yelling. However, as the cars hit the ground and shatter into rubble, the wood does not appear to be blood stained, nor does there appear to be any sign of bodies in the debris. The cars were obviously empty for the scene, and given the circumstances of the soldiers allegedly trapped within them, it's unlikely that any of the soldiers could've gotten out in time.
Join the mailing list
Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.