30 Of The Most Embarrassing Movie Anachronisms

LOL June 27, 2019 By Hugo

With millions of dollars injected into Hollywood productions, you'd assume that each facet of the filming process would be covered and fact-checked to within an inch of its life. However, even Tinseltown's greatest minds aren't immune from mistakes, as these notable anachronisms proved.

Shutterstock/ Aaron Amat

Astonishingly, neither the cast or crew involved in these films picked up on the historical inaccuracies, which ultimately led to many red faces in the production department! 


1. The Aviator

Miramax

While Martin Scorsese's biopic on the late inventor Howard Hughes went down well with critics, eager-eyed film buffs were quick to pull the director up on one particular scene.

The scene concerns the film's protagonist, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, ordering ten chocolate chip cookies in a scene set in 1928. However, chocolate chip cookies didn't come into mainstream circulation until the 1930s.


2. Titanic

Paramount Pictures

Another film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, James Cameron's Titanic soon broke box office records as well as sweeping the board at the Academy Awards with a total of 10 awards from 13 nominations.

Still, for a film set in 1912, you'd think a man as methodical as James Cameron would have eliminated any possible anachronisms, but even great directors make mistakes. The mistake comes when Jack is telling Rose about his days fishing with his father in Lake Wissota, despite the place not existing until being formed by a dam in 1917.


3. Forrest Gump

Paramount Pictures

The movie Forrest Gump is a mainstay favorite around the world, and that's no doubt in part thanks to Tom Hanks believable performance as the movie's namesake lead, with his innocent, and positive approach to life proving a lesson for us all. That said, even Forrest Gump's affable nature couldn't distract us from one glaring mistake.

The scene comes when Forrest receives a letter from a 'fruit' company called Apple thanking him for his investment in the company. However, the letter is dated 1975, which is a major flaw in the movie as Steve Jobs's iconic company didn't go public until 1981!


4. Gladiator 

Dream Works

Gladiator was a remarkable film that put Russel Crowe firmly on the map as one of Hollywood's go-to leading men, but his character's nickname, "Spaniard" wasn't properly researched by the director, Ridley Scott.

If he had done his reading, he would have found that "Spaniard" derived from the old French word "espaignart," which didn't come into the French lexicon until the 14th century- Gladiator is set in 180. 


5. Back to the Future

Universal Pictures

The beautiful guitar Marty McFly plays with when he travels back to the year 1955 is historically inaccurate as the ES-345 model wasn't released until 1959.

In fairness, even music aficionados would have trouble spotting this one!


6. Gone with the Wind

Loew's Inc

Gone with the Wind may be a Hollywood classic, but it was also privy to a few inaccuracies like forgetting that electrical lights during the mid-1800s didn't exist.

How embarrassing.


7. Dallas Buyers Club

Focus Features

A rookie mistake on an otherwise solid film, Matthew McConaughey's character Ron Woodroof has a poster of a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 in the background of his office. 

Yet the model was built in 2013, despite the film being inspired by events that took place in 1985.


8. The Hurt Locker

Voltage Pictures

Kathryn Bigelow rightly became the first female recipient of the Academy Award for Best Director when her Iraq war-inspired film The Hurt Locker was released, yet there is one glaring mistake in the movie.

In a lapse of judgment, Bigelow forgot to do her research on the tech giant YouTube after failing to amend a scene which involved a soldier warning his team that an Iraqi with a video camera would put footage of them on YouTube. And that would be a reasonable piece of dialogue if it wasn't for the fact that the movie takes place in 2004- a year before YouTube launched.


9. Public Enemies 

Universal

Despite the all-star cast, Public Enemies wasn't much of a smash with critics or cinemagoers, and as it was a historical piece chronicling the famous gangster John Dillinger, you'd think the director would know his stuff.

Clearly, he didn't, as Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson were killed before John Dillinger in the movie despite Dillinger outliving them in real life!


10. The Green Mile

Warner Brothers

The Green Mile was adapted from a serial novel by Stephen King and saw the earnest do-gooder John Coffey sentenced to death by the electric chair after allegedly murdering two children.

But Coffey's death by electric chair in a Louisiana prison was an anachronism as the state didn't implement that mode of execution until 1940- five years after the story took place.


11. The Shawshank Redemption 

Columbia Pictures

As well as being up there with the likes of Papion and The Midnight Express as one of Hollywood's best prison movies, The Shawshank Redemption is also one of the most beloved films of all time and regularly tops IMDB's top 250 list.

However, despite its cult status, seasoned auteur Frank Darabont failed to notice that the Raquel Welch poster Andy Dufresne uses to conceal his escape hole was from a movie released in 1967. Dufresne escaped in 1966.


12. Braveheart

Paramount Pictures

Mel Gibson's Braveheart is a tour de force in what a historical, action-packed film should look like, yet one thing the film got completely wrong was allowing the film's protagonist, William Wallace, to wear kilts.

Despite the garment being a staple part of Scottish wardrobes, they didn't exist until the 16th century, yet despite taking place in the 1300s, the film wasn't shy to use the clothing item on most of the cast. 


13. The Untouchables

Paramount Pictures

Another classic movie on our list that wasn't immune to making a schoolboy era, The Untouchables had a scene that saw the Canadian maple leaf sported on several liquor crates.

However, while you may not know it yourself, the maple leaf design seen on today's Canadian flag wasn't designed until 1965- 30 years later than the movie's setting.


14. Independence Day

Fox

David’s famous tirade in Area 51 sees him mourn the planet's gradual destruction from the human race before he drunkenly knocks over a bin with the words “Art Dept. 

While this could have been a subtle form of symbolism about how life is just one big pile of pretentious art, we're pretty sure it belonged to the set dresser. 


15. The Goonies

Warner Brothers

Towards the end of this much-loved adventure movie, Data reveals to a reporter that the scariest part of his adventure was fighting an octopus. However, that scene wasn't in the theatrical release, something that seemed to go unnoticed in the editing department.

It made the final cut once Disney Channel began airing the film in the 1990s.


16. Commando

Fox

Commando was a film that propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger's career to new heights even though there were countless mistakes in the movie.

Just take John Matrix’s Porsche. Despite being damaged beyond repair in basically every other scene, it somehow manages to fix itself the moment the film transitions to a new scene!


17. Almost Famous 

Dream Works

Cameron Crowe's coming of age movie may have been one of the best 90s films in Hollywood, but its countless anachronisms let it down, not least because most of the songs weren’t released in the story's 1973 setting. 

For instance, Deep Purple's ‘Burn’ was released in 1974, yet it can be heard blasting through the speakers in one scene. Many post-it notes are also used in the film even though they weren't sold until the late 70s.


18. The Godfather 

Paramount Pictures

Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather may be one of the best Hollywood movies ever made, but he's never managed to get over a mistake in one of the shots. Whilst minor compared to other errors on our list, the scene saw hippies dressed in 70s clothing roaming in a background window as Michael is making his way into Fredos. That scene was set in the 50s.

Less minor mistakes include the use of a police car that debuted 10 years after the events of the film. 


19. Kate and Leopold

Mirimax

This one is so bad, it's good! Hugh Jackman plays a Duke from 1876 who scolds a man for not being aware of the plot of the opera La Boheme. Yet the opera didn't premiere until 1896.

And there's more. A US flag with the full 50 stars appears in another scene. For those with an ounce of American history knowledge, they'll know the flag only had 37 stars in 1876. 


20. Pulp Fiction 

Miramax

One of Quentin Tarantino's breakout movies, Pulp Fiction may be considered the legendary auteur's best film, but there’s a glaring error in the apartment scene after Jules and Vincent escape a round of bullets.

If you zoom in behind the hitmen, you'll already notice bullet holes on the wall. While the scene includes a powerful epiphany about the life of a contract killer, the schoolboy error takes away its poignancy. 


21. 10,000 BC

Warner Brothers

Mistakes in this movie appear so often it becomes something of a running joke the longer you watch this stinker. For instance, researches didn't know that an 18-ft Sabretooth tiger did not exist in the titular period.

And there there's the small matter of the movie's frequent use of domesticated horses. This is another glaring error as they did not become acquainted with humans until 4000 years after the setting of this movie. 


22. The Doors 

Bill Graham Films

Oliver Stone’s much-maligned biopic of the notorious rock band seemed destined to fail. After all, it was in Development Hell for years, and in just one of many mistakes, Val Kilmer's character is seen leaning on a window ledge in with a billboard for the 1991 film Another 48 in the background.

The film .as set in 1971.


23. Apollo 13

Universal

It's April 1970, and Jim Lovell’s daughter is holding on to a copy of The Beatles’ Let it Be, which is quite odd seeing as the album wasn't released until August 1970. Who knows? Maybe they forget to add a scene with the manager of The Beatles handing out pre-released copies?

On top of this, a Sharp model television from the 1980s makes several appearances. Dear oh dear.


24. Quadrophenia

Universal

This cult classic British movie is famed for its Who music soundtrack, but most of the music featured wasn't released in the movie's 1964 setting.

There's also the small matter of the Motorhead t-shirt. As far as I know, the band hadn't formed in 1964.  How do these people find work in Hollywood?!


25. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Lucas Films Ltd

Indiana Jones is a kickass middle-aged man, but like your grandfather's political views, it hasn't aged well. But that's for another article. In this instance, we're just going to focus on the historical inaccuracies in the Last Crusades.

It doesn't take a history professor to work out that the famous book burning scene is totally out of synch with the actual events that happened in 1933 – five years before the film's setting.


26. Dirty Dancing

Vestron Pictures

Patrick Swayze was a Hollywood icon long before Dirty Dancing cemented his status as a handsome stud who's pretty much the embodiment of physical and artistic perfection.

Anyway, the problem with his film is that it's supposed to be set in the 60s. Yet everything about it screams the 1980s. Did the costume team get the memo?


27. Pride and Prejudice

Universal

In the film adaptation of Jane Austen's romantic novel, Elizabeth Bennet is seen wearing rubber wellington boots in many scenes. Given that the book was written in 1813 and put into a contemporary setting, this wouldn't have occurred as the rubber boot was not produced until 1853.


28. Django Unchained

Colombia Pictures

There are many deliberate anachronisms in Quentin Tarantino movies as the director often opts for style over accuracy and tries to capture an era of filmmaking rather than the era the film is set in. For example, Django Unchained has more a feel of a 70s western come Blaxploitation film about rather than an anti-slavery epic set in the 1800s.

This is evident with his lead character wearing sunglasses throughout the film. sunglasses, however, were not invented until 1925.

Admittedly not as bad as some of the others on this list but if you know your history, this one will be irksome.


29. Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark 

Lucas Film Ltd

The 1981 action-adventure epic was set in 1933 and had many actors clad in authentic Nazi uniforms and other ephemera of the era. However, some of these soldiers are seen sporting war medals. But with the war not starting until 1939, these medals would not yet have been awarded.

Another issue is that an extra on set didn't wear clothing of the era and instead strolled about in a T-shirt and jeans. It's hard to get your head around a visionary genius like Steven Spielberg not noticing a man in modern clothing walking through a street supposedly set in the 1930s!


30. American Hustle

Colombia Pictures

The film that sees a bunch of crooks trying to make money in a massive con is set in different periods in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In it, actor and comedian Louis C.K plays an FBI supervisor called Stoddard Thorsen. In one scene Thorsen sports a Rolex 116718 GMT Master II wristwatch.

The problem is that, although the brand Rolex existed at this time, this particular model wasn't manufactured until 2010. Whoops.


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