Many people find themselves captivated by period films, as they meticulously recreate historical settings. These movies aim to whisk viewers away to a bygone era, and successfully capturing the essence of that time is absolutely essential. Yet, despite the immense dedication and resources invested, there are instances when unexpected surprises slip into the scenes.
Eagle-eyed viewers often catch glimpses of objects or details in a film that were actually invented long after the events it depicts. These tiny blunders can unintentionally detract from the authenticity that the filmmakers work so hard to achieve.
In the latest buzz-worthy updates, we can’t help but mention the highly anticipated film “Oppenheimer.”
1. The Ottomans In ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ Use A Machine Gun Not Used Until After WWI
Lawrence of Arabia is one of those epic films that truly captivates through its cinematic storytelling. It’s a classic example of the genre, with breathtaking performances that leave you electrified, especially Peter O’Toole in the title role. He plays a man with a mission, determined to bring freedom to the Arabs as they strive for independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Just like other epic films from Hollywood’s golden age, Lawrence of Arabia pays meticulous attention to detail. However, no film can ever achieve perfect accuracy, and this holds true for Lawrence of Arabia and others. One notable inaccuracy stands out – the use of machine guns by the Ottomans. In the film, they are depicted using Browning M1919 machine guns, even though these weapons were not manufactured until 1919, after the events depicted in the movie.
2. Indiana Jones Uses A Rocket Launcher, Which Did Not Exist At The Time
Indiana Jones is a beloved figure in popular culture, largely due to Harrison Ford’s natural charm and charisma in the role. He has become the face of this thrilling, swashbuckling adventure genre. While the movies aim to transport viewers back in time, prioritizing adventure over historical accuracy, a few anachronisms do slip through.
One such example is the rocket launcher used by Indy, which is actually a Soviet RPG-2. Interestingly, this weapon was designed in 1945 and is still in use today in certain parts of the world. To conceal this anachronism, the movie suggests that it is a German AT launcher stolen from the Third Reich. However, the potential German models, the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust, were not invented until the 1940s.
It’s important to note that the events of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark take place in 1936, further highlighting this discrepancy.
3. In ‘Titanic’ Jack Talks About Falling Into A Lake Not Made Until After The Titanic Sank
The movie Titanic holds a significant place in popular culture. It successfully blends grandeur with intimate moments, portraying a captivating inter-class romance amidst the backdrop of the infamous shipwreck. The film stands out for its meticulous attention to detail, especially in the ship’s design.
However, the accuracy in depicting the characters’ biographies falls short. Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack Dawson, mentions going ice fishing on Lake Wissota in Minnesota. This detail is factually incorrect since the lake was not created until 1917, five years after the Titanic sank in 1912.
4. A Cheering Crowd Is Flying The Wrong American Flag In ‘Oppenheimer’
Shortly after its premiere in July 2023, keen-eyed moviegoers noticed a historical inaccuracy in a scene from Oppenheimer set in 1945. While J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy, receives cheers from a crowd, some actors are seen holding US flags with 50 stars. The issue? In 1945, Alaska and Hawaii had not yet become states, so those flags should have had only 48 stars.
This is a small mistake, but it stands out in a film that otherwise stays quite faithful to real events. Interestingly, it is worth mentioning that in another scene set in ’45, a flag with the correct number of stars can be seen.
To provide some context, the US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, but it remained a territory until 1959. Similarly, Hawaii offered itself to the US at the end of the 19th century but, like Alaska, did not gain statehood until ’59.
5. King Arthur’ Features Trebuchets Several Centuries Before They Were Used In Medieval Warfare
The figure of King Arthur has been portrayed in various ways throughout cinema history. One standout example is the 2004 film King Arthur, which aimed to cater to the audience’s desire for more realistic depictions of ancient and early medieval times. This film took a grittier and less romantic approach, placing a stronger emphasis on historical accuracy rather than romanticism and glamour.
Although the film does succeed in certain aspects, there are a few noticeable errors. One of the most prominent is the portrayal of the Picts using trebuchets. While catapults, which preceded trebuchets, were indeed used in warfare since ancient times, the trebuchet itself did not become a common feature in European sieges until the 12th century.
6. Invictus’ Features Nike Boots From The Mid-2000s
Invictus is a film that successfully combines the appeal of two different genres: political and sports. It tells the story of the South African rugby team in the aftermath of apartheid, making it a powerful and moving film. The performances by Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon add depth to the story and make it even more compelling.
However, despite being set in the 1990s, there are some interesting wardrobe choices that break the illusion of time travel. One noticeable example is the presence of Nike Air Legend boots worn by some of the team members. These shoes were actually released in 2007-2008, while the depicted match took place in 1995.
7. The Untouchables’ Includes A Canadian Flag With A Design From 1965
Brian De Palma, known for his fascination with cinematic violence, explores this theme in his film The Untouchables. The movie offers a fictionalized account of the federal government’s efforts to take down the infamous Al Capone. While the performances, production quality, and direction are commendable, it is worth noting that the film takes some liberties with historical accuracy.
One such deviation involves a relatively minor detail concerning the Canadian flag. In a scene depicting the raid on Capone, crates of liquor are shown adorned with a stylized Canadian leaf. However, the design portrayed in the film, characterized by the recognizable 11-point star, was not actually adopted until 1965, several decades later than the film’s setting. Evidently, the production team chose this design to swiftly and effectively convey the Canadian origin of the liquor.
8. Anton Chigurh Uses A Shotgun Seven Years Before It Was Actually Made In ‘No Country For Old Men’
No Country for Old Men is often hailed as one of the Coen Brothers’ finest works. It definitely falls into the darker, more somber side of their filmography, largely due to the chilling portrayal of the ruthless Anton Chigurh by Javier Bardem. Set in 1980, Chigurh wields a Remington 11-87, a weapon that he uses to devastating effect, leaving a trail of death in his wake.
However, amidst the film’s meticulous attention to period details, one error managed to slip past unnoticed. Surprisingly, the Remington 11-87 was not actually manufactured until 1987, a whole seven years after the intended timeframe of the movie.
9. Forrest Gump Invests In Apple Five Years Before It Went Public
Forrest Gump is the epitome of 1990s cinema, with its touch of sentimentality and portrayal of the title character getting involved in major events of the 20th century, notably the Vietnam War. As the story progresses, Lt. Dan puts the profits from their shrimp boat company into what he thinks is a fruit company. The savvy viewers of the ’90s, however, catch on to the fact that they’ve actually invested in Apple, the immensely successful and influential company of the 1980s and 1990s.
It’s a nice addition to the story, showcasing the serendipitous nature of Forrest’s life. Nevertheless, this moment in the film takes some liberties with the real-world chronology. In reality, Apple didn’t go public until 1980, which was five years before this supposedly brilliant investment took place.
10. A Granny Smith Apple Appears In ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl’
When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl hit theaters in 2003, nobody could have guessed just how big the franchise would become. A major factor in its success was Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the eccentric pirate Jack Sparrow, which instantly won over audiences. But let’s be honest, these movies are all about the thrilling adventures rather than strict adherence to historical accuracy.
That being said, there are some little slip-ups that eagle-eyed horticulturists might have noticed. Take, for instance, the inclusion of a Granny Smith apple in the film. The main antagonist, Barbarossa, is frequently seen munching on this tangy fruit. However, the Granny Smith apple wasn’t even cultivated until the 1860s, while the events of the film are set in the 1720s. Oops!
11. There’s A Telescope In ‘Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves,’ Even Though They Weren’t Invented Until The Early 17th Century
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a classic adventure film filled with swashbuckling action. Although some performances may seem a bit out-of-place in its British setting, it still manages to transport the viewer into the uncertain yet thrilling world of medieval Britain. Azeem, played by Morgan Freeman, is one of the many memorable characters in the movie.
One interesting aspect of the film is the liberties it takes with historical accuracy. For instance, Azeem is shown using a telescope at one point. However, this portrayal is not historically accurate. During the Middle Ages, the Arab states were known for their scientific advancements, but the invention of the telescope did not occur until 1608 in the Netherlands. It was a groundbreaking invention that would later revolutionize astronomy, especially when Galileo started using it to explore the wonders of the heavens.