Cinema isn’t just about the story itself or the performances delivered by the actors and actresses. It also isn’t just about the lighting or the musical score. More often than not, the sets, the props, and even the clothes that actors wear can significantly influence how the movie might be received. From props used for the wrong time period, misappropriated cultural details, wrong costumes, or issues with continuity—there’s no shortage of filming blunders that you can find. With such huge investments put into the creation of movies, we’re surprised that these even got past the editing room! Here are our favorites:
This 2004 film was a success in the box-office but got a lukewarm reception when it came to the critics. Inspired by Homer’s epic, Iliad, there were high expectations long before it was even in the theatres. Given the period in which it was set—everything had to be grand in scale, yet grounded in realism. This is where the movie missed the mark; going so far as featuring a luxurious pink parasol in one scene, which didn’t really exist in Ancient Greece at the time. One need not have a degree to get this right, a simple online search would have cleared it up.
A film that is loved globally and across different generations, Pulp Fiction is an absolute classic. Some fans of the director and the movie might even go so far as call it perfect—but it isn’t without its flaws. In this case, it’s a timing fluke that might put off a few people. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, you’ll notice that even before the bullets hit anything, the wall behind our Jules and Vincent were already riddled in holes. It’s not that easy to spot unless you already know what to look for, so to their credit—this one’s forgivable.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
When dealing with time travel in any movie, a lot of things can easily go wrong. Much research is needed in order to get accurate details. Whilst Back To The Future is an iconic piece of cinema, it still “sinned” when it came to the time dilemma. Remember that scene during prom where Marty performed a guitar solo? Sure, it was electrifying—but the guitar he was using shouldn’t even exist in that time period. The Gibson ES-345 wasn’t made until 1958, while the movie was set in 1955. Nevertheless, the film was so successful it made more than double the investment money.
One of the most notable things about Julia Roberts, as an actress, is her refusal to do nude scenes in movies. It has been this way since she started, so wardrobe malfunction is pretty terrible—if looked at from that perspective. There was a shot of her character, Vivian, wearing a thin gown that’s about as close to nudity as one can get. Given her history, it’s safe to assume that this was not part of the script. After this scene, one of her breasts got exposed, too. We have to give her credit for turning that faux-pas into a career-launcher, though.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
Back when the internet wasn’t as easily accessible as it is now, doing research for films would have been a particularly tedious task—even if you were experienced. For this iconic movie, very few things can be considered a flaw, but there is one detail that many wardrobe historians would always frown upon. It would be that pink dress, worn by Debbie Reynolds while portraying Kathy Selden, which didn’t fit in the 1920s at all. Luckily, it didn’t affect her stellar performance. We should all be grateful that we can even take online classes to learn about fashion history these days!
A true American classic, this film has reached cult status since it was first released. Like the others on this list, it is still beloved by today’s generation of moviegoers and subject to their scrutiny as well. Few can fault this film, but for the discerning, one scene where Forrest is finally reunited with Jenny is one they probably wish they could reshoot. You’ll notice that in the background there’s an iron set upright on an ironing board—within the next moment it is shown lying flat. Thankfully, it’s just a minor continuity issue that doesn’t really affect the film’s value to any degree.
It can be considered one of the most ambitious film projects ever; the film had a huge budget to work with, one of the greatest film directors at the helm, a stellar cast of actors, and a team of experts making sure that everything is perfect. But even professionals can experience lapses—in this case, it’s a switch-up when it comes to Rose Dawson’s beauty mark. First, it was on the left, but somehow it got moved to the right after some time. Looks like money management isn’t the only thing they had to worry about; someone should have kept an eye on Rose’s mole, too.
I DREAM OF JEANNIE
The story of one adorable genie and her mortal husband is one that has fascinated audiences and made fans laugh during the 1960s. The show made use of practical effects to portray “magic”, but it doesn’t always work out as planned. There’s that one episode where Jeannie had scenes with her evil twin—which meant that Barbara Eden had to appear onscreen for both characters, simultaneously. The team did use a stand-in, but in one scene, the magic is revealed when the double’s face appears in full view. It just goes to show the degree of improvement that special effects have gone through within the last few decades!
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Set during biblical times, this movie took plenty of liberties when it comes to wardrobe. Just take their use of lacy underwire bras for example. This wouldn’t have been too bad had it not been visible underneath the actress’ dress! Starring as Nefretiri, Anne Baxter’s beauty was only highlighted further by the vivid blue of her dress. Unfortunately, such a color would have been an impossible feat during those times—since commercial dyes didn’t really exist unlike in the present. Still, we have to give this movie credit for creating some truly memorable set pieces and beautiful costumes despite not being fully accurate.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
More often than not, film extras fade into the background of a scene. This is how it should be, after all. They are meant to help create the mood or atmosphere, helping establish the place and situation our main characters are in. For this particular faux-pas, however, the extra stands out because of how out of place they appear. The film is set in 1936 and whilst everyone else is wearing appropriate garb, you have one guy just hanging out in his shirt and jeans. We’ll give this guy credit—he makes for a great Easter egg that film lovers would enjoy trying to find.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to making historical films is getting things right. Pearl Harbor received much criticism for glaring mistakes when it comes to this. The film was set in 1941, so stylists should have paid more attention to what the women were wearing. There were a number of scenes where they had bare legs— except the fashion-savvy women of this time would’ve worn nylon stockings with dresses. Even during the nylon shortage, they would paint thin lines down the back of their legs to mimic the look. Investments should have been made for accuracy, too, not just in beauty.
This critically-acclaimed film depicted one of the darkest moments in U.S. history—the American Civil War. Due to the number of accolades it has received, for both the acting and the overall design of the movie, it isn’t without flaws that observant viewers would have noticed early on. In the midst of all the action, you’ll notice a soldier right in the foreground—his arm raised in the air. Nothing wrong with that until you notice the digital watch on his wrist! The degree of influence this particular mistake has on that scene is very minor and only a few people managed to spot it.
Choreographing the fight scenes for this period film must have been quite the feat to accomplish, but there’s no denying— it was well worth it. Gladiator is one of the most visual films out there; everything so visceral and realistic that it places viewers in the “sandals” of our main characters. That’s before it pulls you out of the fantasy, once you spot Russel Crowe’s exposed Lycra shorts in one of the scenes. Rome made many things fashionable—but we’re certain these fearsome warriors wouldn’t go around wearing these. We have to give Russel credit for making it look good, though.
This film is one of those classics that goes well with moviegoers across all ages. It received plenty of accolades when it was first released and was, overall, a real feel-good film that you’ll likely watch a few times again. Unless you’re the type to fixate on filming mistakes; if that is so, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from one minor wardrobe issue: the strapped helmets. It may be inaccurate for the time, but we’re sure this was done for the safety of the actors and stunt doubles. No one wants insurance claims that could have been avoided, after all.
Another cult favorite, this 1984 film isn’t just beautifully shot in black and white—it also has one of the most fascinating stories to boot. The director did take a number of creative liberties, which include historical inaccuracies that didn’t sit quite well with critics. Viewers who may not be knowledgeable about period dress wouldn’t notice it, but those in the know will immediately point out the zippers in the costumes. These didn’t exist during Mozart’s time and wouldn’t be available in the market until 1918! Who knows? This minor faux-pas aside, we have to credit the movie for being an absolute masterpiece.
There’s plenty to love when it comes to this 1969 musical; from the beautiful dresses to the nostalgic set design, it really brings to life the time period it is set in. With this, it isn’t so much about choosing the wrong wardrobe or someone being seen in plain clothes on screen— but rather, in missing small details when it comes to continuity. You’ll find this in the scene where Cornelius is seen dancing with a girl whose red dress seemed to transform from having a dirty hem that dragged across the flooring to being completely tidy the next! A minor mistake that’s easily missed.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
This next mistake requires an observant eye in order for you to spot it. This 2008 film might be widely acclaimed and considered by many as a cinematic classic, but it isn’t without its flaws. Look at the photo above—see anything wrong with it? Try looking down, to the bottom of Daniel Plainview’s boots. You won’t find anything gross down there, but you’ll notice the pattern of the soles. Those are waffle soles and for the time period the film was set, which was 1898, it wasn’t supposed to exist yet. Bet you’ll pay more attention to the flooring in films next time.
Released back in 1992, this film was successful with critics and in the box office as well. Despite the relatively small budget of $14 million, it managed to gross more than triple that amount, and even went on to win 4 out of 9 nominations. The mistakes on this film aren’t even that noticeable, but for the curious—you’ll find one on Gene Hackman’s wardrobe. He is seen wearing pants with loopholes, a clothing feature that didn’t exist back in 1880. Still, the costumes for this film were all excellent and that’s credited to the designers who worked on it.
When it comes to Quentin Tarantino, the director has such a distinct way of putting his films together. There’s action, plenty of thrills, and his own brand of offbeat humor. In Django Unchained, there’s no shortage of these—including a fashion accessory that we’re sure was put in the film on purpose. It simply has to be. Take not of Jamie Foxx’s sunglasses, something that was not available during the period in which the film was set. But it is this type of quirkiness that fans have come to love about Tarantino films. Besides, give Jamie some credit for making it look natural.
Another period film classic that is still beloved by many today. It tells of William Wallace’s story, a role that Mel Gibson portrayed to perfection— going into battle while proudly sporting a kilt. However, this is where the issue arises. The kilt is strongly associated with the Scottish people, but it didn’t exist back in 1280— the period when the film was set. Is it a forgivable mistake? Not quite. For the sake of historical accuracy and with respect to the Scottish folk, more investments towards research should have been done prior to designing the costume for the film. That’s just our two cents, though.
Unlike the sunglasses from Django Unchained, this was certainly a case of oversight when it comes to appropriating the right accessories for the time period. Detailing the life of Jim Morrison and The Doors, set back in the ‘60s and ‘70s before his death. Val Kilmer plays the role impressively but was wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses that were not released until a decade after the events of the movie have taken place. It is a fitting tribute to the rock and roll legend, but we do wish more investments were made into fine-tuning the details. It would’ve made the film even better!
More than a decade after its release, this film still manages to make hearts flutter and remains a favorite for movie dates. As beautiful as this film is, even its romanticism cannot make us look past some of its flaws. This one’s fairly minor and only noticed by those who paid keen attention to the very handsome Lon Hammond, Jr. You might find his hair switching from black to brown in various scenes. It is a minor flaw, but it could have significant issues had it been more obvious. We’re sure the producers are glad that this oversight didn’t cause the production’s bankruptcy!
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Devout fans of both the novel and film will tell you that this masterpiece is as close to perfection as it can get. Close, because it does have some flaws that, though minor, can really take you out of the story once you spot it. Just take one of the scenes where we’re shown an adorable little baby—it’s one of the many heartwarming moments in the film until you notice that the baby is wearing a modern diaper! It isn’t really all that terrible and was likely an oversight during editing. At least they didn’t mistakenly include other modern conveniences such as electricity, right?
THE LAST SAMURAI
It may not have been the biggest film of 2006, but it did receive decent numbers in the box office and fared quite well when it comes to the critics. Well, mostly. See, whilst the film was excellently put together, there’s one wardrobe inaccuracy that really put some people off. This would be Tom Cruise’s samurai gear. At first glance, the intricate piece of armor is a real beaut, but the style does not fit in with the 1876 period the film was set in. The 1600s armor would’ve been obsolete by then. To their credit, they did manage their mistakes.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
It’s easy for the small details to get lost in the flash and bang of special effects when it comes to superhero movies, which is why some simply go by unnoticed. In 2011’s Captain America movie, however, there is one glaring mistake that it is said to have ruined the experience for some viewers. The error? Soldier Jim Morita’s earpiece. Considering the film took place during World War II, this tech wouldn’t have existed then. Fortunately, despite mixed reactions to the error, it wasn’t enough to push the film into potential bankruptcy. Everybody loves the Captain, after all – so we also forgive this one.
ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES
Alright, so this next film wasn’t exactly critically-acclaimed and was received with mix reviews for the most part. It did make a lot of money in the box office, however. A whopping $390.5 million, in fact. However, one scene certainly left viewers frowning and questioning what it was they were seeing exactly. It begins with a telescope, one that is completely out of place for the period the film is set in. If we’re being specific, these weren’t even invented until the 17th century. A small error, but the degree of influence it had over that moment was quite impactful – but sadly, in a negative way.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
One of the most beloved World War II films, it earned various accolades and has moved audiences to tears globally. Movie enthusiasts liken it to a masterpiece, owing to the amount of thought and detail that was put into every scene. That said, amidst the chaos of war, there is one error that’s a little hard to overlook—despite everything else that’s happening in the movie. Check the soldiers with their black boots. Nothing out of the norm? Wrong. For that time period, they would have been wearing brown ones. Nevertheless, the film still deserves credit for showing us the painful reality of war.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
If you’re one of the people who had their eyes half-covered during this film, then you likely missed this particular wardrobe malfunction. Note the scene where Sarah Michelle Gellar is seen distraught and climbing up a rope. The perspective here switches to that of the cameraman, where audiences are given more than a little peek into what her ill-fitted dress should have been hiding. We’re thinking this one was unintentional so we have to wonder why it got past the cutting room floor. We’re not sure what the budget was for this movie, but investments in better and more appropriate dresses should’ve been considered.
It isn’t just female actresses who experience wardrobe malfunctions whilst on set. Just take Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, his character walks up to a group of punks—whilst stark naked. The scene might have been shot from afar, but audiences certainly saw more than what they were expecting. Still, given the quality of the ‘80s version, you’d have to look really hard to see anything. For that, you’ll have to get the remastered Blu-ray version. People were surprised when this was first released. We hope no heart attacks occurred; pretty sure insurance doesn’t cover this one.
GANGS OF NEW YORK
Plenty of big Hollywood names were attached to this film, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cameron Diaz, to mention a few. The film is set in 1863, during the New York Draft riots, making it a piece that was subject scrutiny when it came to historical inaccuracies. Particularly, in the uniforms that the firefighters wore. Audiences noted that it appeared no different from what firemen wear today. A glaring mistake considering that many of its features would have been unavailable back then. Aside from this faux-pas, the film does deserve credit for its realistic portrayal of the historical event.
And we have more wardrobe malfunctions! This time, it happened to Natalie Portman on the 2004 film, Closer. One of the most memorable characters, the actress plays a stripper with cotton candy hair, a feature that’s become just as iconic as the movie itself. For such a risqué role, the actress really only showed off a fair amount of skin. Nothing too scandalous – at least, not intentionally. See, there was one scene where there was an issue with her undergarment—exposing the actress accidentally. We have to give Natalie credit for maintaining her composure and not missing a beat despite the little mishap, though.
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE
The second Indy film on our list! This film raked in a total of $474 million despite only having a budget of $50 million. That might seem like chump change considering how much other action-packed movies cost, but it is still a hefty amount. Which is why we cannot overlook this one historical inaccuracy that editors missed. We’re talking about the medals pinned onto the uniforms of the Nazi soldiers—they wouldn’t be seen with those until the end of the war. It’s completely out of place in the movie’s timeline. Online classes in history would have probably helped avoid this little error.
There’s more than enough thrills in this 2001 film to keep audiences engaged, so an unintentional nip slip could have easily gone unseen. Well, this wasn’t quite the case as many moviegoers were quick to point it out. It’s in that scene where Tom Cruise’s character captures Julie and is seen tying her to the bed. Cameron Diaz’s character is dressed in a sheer gown, which eventually slips and reveals her breast. The actress was quick to remedy this, but the scene still made it to the theaters anyway. We can credit Cameron for her professionalism; but, again, we wonder how this got past editing.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN III
It’s one thing to have a minor detail of your film be historically inaccurate, but to have an entire plot based upon an error is just a bit much. The people behind the movie franchise probably didn’t think it through when they thought it was a good idea to put the Black Pearl’s crew on a quest to Singapore during the 1700s. Unfortunately, Singapore was not an established country at the time and hadn’t even been given that name. Given the fictional setting, some would think nothing big of it. However, it would have been better had they made investments in a bit of realism.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Beautifully shot scenes, memorable lines, stellar performances—these are some of the things that truly make this adaption of Jane Austen’s novel a classic. The director may have taken certain creative liberties and often strayed from the novel itself, we can’t quite look past the historical inaccuracies shown in the movie. Such is the case with Lizzie’s rubber boots—these weren’t even invented at the time. A minor detail and is mostly hidden under the character’s long dresses, but each time they are shown? Our heart breaks just a little. Nonetheless, we give credit where it is due. The costumes in this film are stunning!