The amount of work that goes into making a movie is difficult to comprehend for anyone who’s not in the industry. It takes writing, producing, directing, casting, filming, editing, and more… Basically, it’s a pretty grueling process, to say the least! While everyone strives to make a movie that’s as close to perfect as possible, with so much going on it’s understandable that small mistakes might slip into the final product unnoticed. No matter how many times you edit and re-edit the film, some minor goof is going to slip through the cracks.
Sure, we all make mistakes from time to time. However, it’s a bit harder to forget them if they’re part of a film that’s in the public eye. People on the internet sure love to find things to criticize and pick apart. Imagine their glee when they spot a mess-up in a film! Sometimes, members of the crew pretty conspicuously wander into shot. In other cases, objects appear on the screen that didn’t actually exist at the time the film is set. Here are some of the most awkward movie mistakes that have been spotted over the years. You won’t be able to unsee them after this!
17. The random cowboy in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
While a ‘pirates vs cowboys’ movie is a great concept, it’s not the one Disney was going for in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. While a sole cowboy does appear in the movie, it was clearly an accident that wasn’t picked up on in the editing stage. When Captain Jack Sparrow returns to the helm of his ship, a lot of his crewmates are understandably busy making preparations for an important journey. However, one conspicuous figure can be seen just as Jack utters the immortal phrase “on deck, you scabrous dogs!” A film crew member dressed in a plain white tee and a cowboy hat is staring out to sea in the background of the shot, seemingly unaware that the camera has caught him. Maybe the producers thought we just wouldn’t notice?
16. A car being in background shots in Braveheart
When you’re filming a historical epic set in late 13th-century Scotland, you’d think it’d be a priority to remove all traces of modern life from your movie set. Unfortunately, the makers of Braveheart didn’t get this memo. At numerous points during the film, little mistakes are pretty easy to spot. Most conspicuous is a parked car being in the background of one of the film’s most important battle scenes. On top of this, a white van is visible during the funeral scene of the main character’s wife. It kinda ruins the magic a bit, doesn’t it? It’s not like vehicles are exactly small objects, either. How did the filmmakers not notice that they were there? Maybe they were too distracted by the hordes of extras dressed as fearsome Scottish warriors. Who knows.
15. The stormtrooper who hits his head in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
This particular movie mistake has become something of an in-joke in the Star Wars fandom. It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment that’s definitely worth looking out for. While Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are infiltrating Darth Vader’s ship to rescue Princess Leia, we get a nice shot of some evil Stormtroopers marching through a control room door. It’s all very menacing… Until one of the Stormtroopers hits his head on a doorframe. There’s an audible ‘clunk’ and his helmet makes contact with the set piece. That poor guy. He was probably the laughing stock of the Death Star after that incident. Still, it’s become a much-loved moment in the saga, even if it was a total accident.
14. The visible cameraman in Harry and Draco’s Chamber of Secrets duel scene
The duel between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy is one of the most dramatic scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s full of intrigue, surprises, and… Modern technology? Wait… That shouldn’t be there! In one shot of the duel, a cameraman and his apparatus can be seen in plain view. The poor guy sticks out like a sore thumb among a group of robed-up school children. Somehow, this managed to slip past the movie’s editors and make it into the final cut of the film. Considering Muggle technology isn’t even supposed to work on Hogwarts grounds, there’s no way this mistake can be explained away easily. It’s a massive goof, plain and simple.
13. Cher’s magical reappearing car mirror in Clueless
While Cher Horowitz will forever be one of our favorite teen movie heroines, she does have one major flaw. The girl really, really can’t drive. Her attempts at making a vehicle move safely and steadily are laughable to watch, but also seriously concerning. However, constant crashes may not actually be a problem for Cher, as a Clueless movie mistake made her car magically fix itself. During her driving test, Cher can be seen clipping another car, breaking off her passenger mirror. Just a few seconds later, though, a shot of the car reveals the mirror to be intact! Was it magic, or just a continuity error? Probably the latter.
12. A modern-day guy appearing in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rule number one if you’re making a movie set in the past: make sure there are no anachronisms visible on the screen. Modern technology, modern clothes, things that hadn’t been invented yet… They’ve all got to go. While Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark generally does a good job of transporting us back to the 1930s, it does occasionally slip up. One notable goof comes in a scene that sees Jones drinking in a Cairo bar, mourning the apparent death of his former lover Marion. While most background characters are dressed in appropriate traditional Egyptian getup, one guy brazenly walks through in a modern T-shirt and jeans. Way to bring us back to the 1980s, random extra.
11. Dorothy swapping shoes in The Wizard Of Oz
While a character’s shoes magically changing color mid-scene would be noticeable in any movie, it’s particularly noteworthy in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy’s shoes, while she’s in Oz, are actually pretty famous. They’re the red slippers she, er, borrows from the dead feet of the Wicked Witch of the East! Like, it’s an important plot point. You’d think the movie’s producers would have kept an eye on Judy Garland’s footwear, but in one scene, she suddenly ditches the famous pair for some simple black shoes. Lo and behold, a couple of shots later, the ruby slippers return. It’s a minor gaffe, but still a pretty obvious one.
10. The kid who covers his ears way before a gunshot in North by Northwest
Either this character from North by Northwest had psychic abilities, or his child actor jumped the gun a bit in one memorable scene. At one point in this Alfred Hitchcock classic, Marie Saint’s character shoots Cary Grant’s when the two confront each other in a diner. One kid in the background seems to know what’s coming: he plugs his ears to block out the gunshot noise quite a while before the weapon is actually fired. Rather than being able to predict the future, it’s more likely that the extra got sick of the noise after numerous attempts filming the scene. Still, you’d think the editing team would have picked up on this one!
9. Julia Roberts’s transforming croissant in Pretty Woman
This endearing rom-com about a businessman who falls in love with a prostitute features Julia Roberts in one of her most memorable roles. Roberts portrays Vivian, the titular Pretty Woman who agrees to be Richard Gere’s escort for a week. While the film generally lives up to the good quality you’d expect from a high-budget rom-com, there’s one pretty obvious mistake that should never have got past the editors. After her first night staying with Gere’s character, Roberts is seen eating a croissant for breakfast. A second later, this croissant transforms into a half-eaten pancake. After another brief cutaway, we return to Roberts now holding the same pancake, now magically whole again. Ummm… Either Pretty Woman is set in a world that has transforming pastries, or somebody messed up there.
8. Taylor’s disappearing tattoo in She’s All That
She’s All That is one of those 1990s teen movies that everyone’s seen. It’s a classic high school rom-com with a twist that was a box office smash upon its release. It’s even in the process of being remade for the millennial generation! While we undeniably adore this movie, there is one major mistake late on in the film that we just can’t get past. In one memorable scene, ‘popular girl’ Taylor Vaughan gets a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder blade. However, at the end of the movie, the tat is nowhere to be seen when Taylor wears a shoulder-revealing outfit. Did she regret it super quickly and get the tattoo removed? The more likely scenario is that the makeup team forgot to reapply the temporary tat onto actress Jodi Lyn O’Keefe. Awkward.
7. A pair of Converse shoes cropping up in Marie Antoinette
There are two major issues with the fact that a pair of Converse trainers crop up in period drama Marie Antoinette. Firstly, such shoes were pretty obviously not invented in the 18th century. How did they even end up on set next to some 1700s-style heels? Someone in the prop department clearly wasn’t paying enough attention. Secondly, even if Converse DID exist in Revolutionary France, there’s no way Marie would be seen dead in them. She was way too extravagant and opulent for that! Jewel-encrusted Converse, maybe, but plain ones? No way. Not only is this a blatant anachronistic error, it doesn’t even fit in with the crazy fashion choices of the woman in question.
6. Multiple technology fails in Gladiator
Were the makers of Gladiator even paying attention while they were filming the movie? So many bits of modern technology make their way into scenes! That’s not great when you’re making a movie about Ancient Rome, guys! The first example comes from a chariot race, in which a gas canister is quite clearly visible on the back of one of the wooden vehicles. Like, they didn’t even try to hide it. Another pretty obvious goof comes from another chariot scene, in which a crew member in a modern outfit can be seen trying (and failing) to hide behind a building. In fact, denim-wearing crew members are noticeable in quite a few of the film’s scenes. Despite all of this, Gladiator still managed to win five Oscars. Did standards slip that year or something?
5. Frodo’s scar changing place and shape in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The final movie in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Return of the King, is riddled with little mistakes that only the most discerning eyes would spot. Unfortunately for Peter Jackson, there are plenty of people on the internet who’ve made in their business to nit-pick his masterpiece. One widely-known recurrent goof in the movie relates to a facial scar that Frodo gains during the movie. Apparently, the makeup artists kept forgetting exactly where said scar was supposed to be painted on Elijah Wood’s face. It moves around constantly, at one point briefly swapping cheeks before returning to its original position. Did they even try for consistency at all? It seems not.
4. The gas lamp that has an electrical cord in Gone With The Wind
Another period movie, another historical inaccuracy that’s borderline ridiculous. While this may not be the biggest issue with Gone With The Wind – its racism and sexism are somewhat more concerning – this is still a noticeable goof. The mistake in question involves a brief shot of Melanie, Scarlett O’Hara’s best friend. At one point in the movie, Melanie grabs a lamp presumably to light up a darkened room. While this is supposed to be a Civil War-era oil lamp, it has a pretty conspicuous wire coming out of it. Yeah… Electric lamps weren’t really a thing back then, guys. The props department was a bit sloppy with this one.
3. Han Solo’s magical reappearing jacket in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
One of the most emotional scenes in the entire Star Wars saga is the conclusion to The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo finds himself getting frozen in carbonite, a process that could render him unconscious for all eternity. As Han’s waiting to face his doom, Princess Leia finally admits that she loves him. Han says he knows (ummmm, no “I love you too”?) and is then plunged into the carbonite. During all of this drama, you may not have noticed a bit of a continuity error. When Han first gets shackled up ready to be frozen, he’s no longer wearing his leather jacket. A few shots later, the jacket is back, despite Han still being tied up and unable to put it on. George Lucas was so embarrassed by this that later editions of the film were edited to remove the offending jacket. Oh dear.
2. Terrorists breaking the same window twice in Die Hard
Ah, Die Hard: everyone’s favorite part-action, part-Christmas movie. While it’s generally regarded to be one of the best action films of the 20th century, this Bruce Willis thriller isn’t immune to a mistake or two. In one hilarious gaffe, the movie’s antagonists somehow manage to smash the same window twice in one scene. As in, they smash it once, it magically fixes itself, and they smash it again a few minutes later. Very strange. Another common mistake in the movie is apparent “corpses” still breathing or moving, despite being confirmed dead by other characters. Clearly, some of the movie’s actors just didn’t know how to stay still on command.
1. Hermione’s hair totally changing shape in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, one of Hermione Granger’s key physical attributes is her frizzy, bushy hair. It’s mentioned numerous times in the early books and even becomes a plot device in Goblet of Fire when Hermione actually decides to magically straighten it. To make the movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as accurate as possible, producers decided that Emma Watson should crimp her hair to get the ‘Hermione’ look. Unfortunately, this made for some pretty staggering hair inconsistency between – and even within – scenes. Take the flying lesson, for example. One minute, Hermione’s hair is totally crimped. The next, it’s suddenly smooth again. But wait – a second later some loose waves have appeared! Was it magic? Probably not – it just sounds like the hair department couldn’t be bothered to crimp young Watson’s hair every five minutes.