You can’t really blame a famous film or TV show for making a mistake every now and then. Productions can be an expensive, emotional, and time-consuming mess, and sometimes things get missed. That said, there’s also nothing wrong with pointing and laughing when hilarious mistakes happen. How many of these onscreen goofs did you notice?
No, sorry, we’re not talking about that movie, but rather a 1983 crime film nobody saw despite starring Sean Penn. By all accounts a good film, this coming-of-age tale was praised by Robert Ebert specifically for its cinematography. Which is funny… mainly because the film shows us one of the people he is praising.
In one particularly messy brawl, the filmmakers clearly wanted to cover multiple angles as opposed to multiple takes — inadvertently featuring one of their cameramen in full view. It’s bad, possibly the worst case of a crew member caught in the frame, and yet it was amazing left in the movie for us to enjoy.
Back to the Future
You’ve likely seen this movie a million times without knowing it, but the DeLorean’s speedometer in Back to the Future certainly appears to have a flux capacitor of its own. That’s the best explanation for why the odometer ticks back hundreds of miles between shots.
And what’s even weirder — the dashboard itself appears to change slightly in the few seconds between Marty checking it a second time! What in the world happened while filming this scene that required the filmmakers to use two completely different cars? How demanding could this cutaway shot possibly be?
Elaborate car crashes and spectacular explosions aren’t exactly repeatable events when it comes to filmmaking. This is an especially big setback with a film like Gladiator where could easily reveal a moving piece that takes you out of the historical setting. You know, like if you accidentally revealed a gas canister during your big chariot race.
Yep — this is exactly what happened during the “Battle of Carthage” when a chariot flips, only to reveal the very-modern means in which it was propelled through the air. The moment is brief, but as undeniable as an accidental moment of nudity. Only in this case it’s a much more family-friend undercarriage being exposed.
Game Of Thrones
We’re definitely not blowing any minds by mentioning this trenta boner in one of the final episodes of Game Of Thrones, a mistake the internet has been more than happy to point out. That said, for a show that averages to $10 million an episode, you’d really think they’d at least notice this one in post.
So, do we know whose cup it was? While the smart money is on Emilia Clarke, the actress has denied it — along with the rest of the cast, who appear to be throwing each other under the bus. One thing has been confirmed: that isn’t actually a Starbucks coffee, but rather a shop local to the show’s production.
With its bullet time effect, the original The Matrix might be one of the last films to revolutionize cinematography on the same level as the steadicam or digital video. It also created a whole new type of action never before seen, spawning a cascade of tributes and parodies. Also, the film hung a jacket on a camera and hoped we wouldn’t notice.
In a move as brilliant as it is hilarious, the filmmakers needed to shoot a close up of Neo (Keanu Reeves) opening a reflective door knob without showing the entire crew in the process. The solution was to drape a matching coat and tie onto the unit, almost masking it in the shot. We say almost because, well, it doesn’t look like a person so much as a headless ghost wearing a coat and tie.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
It’s hard to stand out on the crew of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the famously eccentric pirate captain at the center of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Sparrow is such a flamboyant character that it’s virtually impossible to notice any of the other pirates in his employ — that is, unless you’re clearly part of the regular film crew and wearing a big white cowboy hat, arguably the funniest thing to wear when accidentally in the background of a movie shot. Good on you, unknown hero of cinema.
Given Jack Sparrow’s chaotic nature, we suppose that it’s possible he hired an actual cowboy on one of his many adventures. Or perhaps it was an example of multiverses colliding, and a character from Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger fell through into Captain Jack’s world. Or maybe it’s just a dude in a cowboy hat who wasn’t supposed to be in the shot.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
We all know it — that beautiful moment where the already-inept stormtroopers prove their reputation when one of them hurdles head-first into a futuristic door, nearly toppling over in either pain or embarrassment. It is, 100%, a beautiful moment in time. What you may not know, however, is just how beautiful this moment really is. Because it turns out that this extra’s problems extended far beyond his upper half.
The truth is that, according to the stormtrooper himself (played by actor Laurie Goode), the main cause for this unfortunate noggin slam was the distraction by an upset stomach he was experiencing throughout the day. Or as he puts it “I had paid three to four visits to the loo.” So next time you watch that, keep in mind that you’re watching the cherry-topping on a profoundly terrible work day.
Not every day a producer points out a glaring flaw in their own TV show, but this is exactly what happened with The Simpsons boss Matt Selman on Twitter — who pointed out a pretty key problem with the well-known episode “And Maggie Makes Three”. Let’s see if you can find the problem for yourself.
In a scene where Marge is telling Homer that she is pregnant with Maggie we can very clearly see a picture of baby Maggie on the wall. Because like most animated programs, completely redrawing a regularly-used background is a pain in the ass that usually serves no purpose (except for this, obviously).
It goes without saying that the original Jurassic Park remains one of the best special effects films even compared to today’s standards — mostly due to the limited CGI and stress on animatronic puppets. This is what gave us the terrifying raptors who pounced their way through our childhood nightmares.
See that part to the left of the raptor that looks like its tail?
If you look close enough during this infamous kitchen scene, you’ll find that even raptors needs pets too, because there’s a surprisingly long moment in which a human hand pops out of nowhere to help balance the impressive dinosaur puppet. Even when you notice it — this is still one of the best-looking films ever made!
Doing a period film presents a whole new library of opportunities to hilariously screw up. Specifically, making sure that there isn’t anything modern in your un-modern movie. This seems like it would be a simple enough task for Braveheart, a film that mostly takes place surrounded by grass and trees.
And yet, amazingly, things still managed to go very wrong when the warring horde is briefly seen rushing away from what appears to be a white car parked in the background. In this tiny sliver of an otherwise classic film, the battle closer resembles a LARP session than a historical epic.
The serial killer thriller Red Dragon, the third film to feature Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, takes place somewhere between 1980 and 1991. Therefore, It is simply a temporal impossibility that any of its characters would own a copy of 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire. And yet, there it is, burning a big continuity hole in the VHS collection of one of the villainous Tooth Fairy’s victims.
It might seem like a nitpick, but there is something intensely amusing about a film like Red Dragon, the intense prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, being thwarted by a lighthearted 90s comedy about Robin Williams dressing like an elderly nanny to stalk his children. Honestly, that’s not too unlike the plot of Red Dragon, now that we think it aloud.
In an episode of Friends titled “The One with the Mugging,” our beloved Monica (Courtney Cox) keeps morphing into a totally different woman for the shots in which she’s only peripherally present. It turns out the showrunners didn’t think she would show in frame, forcing us all to wonder about the rando briefly barging into their conversation.
Actors can’t be expected to sit around all day, which is why we have “stand ins” any time the production needs to block a scene or give other actors an eyeline. For obvious reasons, we usually never see these stand ins at all. Still, it’s a moment that feels downright surreal when devoid of context.
That isn’t the only time Friends slipped up. Just take this next mistake that made us feel like we’re in an alternate reality…
When you’re working on a studio television set, it seems pretty hard to screw up the continuity on major details without going out of your way to change it. And for the show Friends, there was a pretty big reason to do just that — specifically: changing the apartment numbers of all the characters mid-season.
Why did the numbers 4 and 5 suddenly shift to 19 and 20? Because the characters were repeatedly shown living on a higher floor in their building — otherwise known as “not apartments 4 and 5”. Instead of living with the mistake, the set designers quietly changed the numbers and hoped nobody would notice (we did).
As we already pointed out, there’s a lot of new and fun ways to screw up a period piece with accidentally modern props. While that’s usually in the form of a slightly newer car or background costume, sometimes a show or movie will go above and beyond by including something far more hilarious. You know, like an extremely obvious coffee cup.
In the case of Downton Abbey, the producers of this period drama released promotional photos featuring a conspicuously placed plastic water bottle behind actors Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael – an invention roughly thirty years ahead of when the show takes place. After realizing their mistake, the studio deleted the photos instead of embracing it and giving the characters Aquafina-branded flapper hats.
Quantum Of Solace
One imagines there are dishwashers and labor workers out there who dream of taking the easy street and making it big in Hollywood… only to end up playing a dock sweeper in the newest James Bond film. Okay, maybe that’s not a broad type of person, but certainly the story we like to tell about a specific background extra in Quantum Of Solace – a man who is clearly pretending to sweep.
Logically speaking, the non-sweeping motion was no doubt an instruction by a director concerned with the sound of the sweeping bleeding into the dialogue. But the end result is a guy who looks like his mom is forcing him to do chores on Saturday morning. we like to think that this hero simply stopped caring about being a believable sweeper after the sixth or so hour of being forced to perform menial work in the hot sun on a long shoot day. God bless him.
Avengers: Infinity War
It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but nonetheless shocking for a such a high-budget production. One of the more striking features of the Avengers character Mantis is her jet-black eyes — an easy enough effect to replicate with contact lenses or digital manipulation. That is, unless the filmmakers forget to do it altogether.
As one eagle-eyed Redditor has spotted, this appears to be the case for the Infinity War scene in which Star Lord and Tony Stark argue over a plan of action. During a cutaway to a bored Drax, Mantis can be clearly seen sporting a set of unaltered peepers instead of the digital replacement.
The Avengers have been under close watch by fans, as Redditors have proven by spotting this next mistake…
Thanks to Reddit, fans are already spotting problems with the newest Avengers: Endgame. Depending on who you ask, this particular error ranges somewhere between “blink and you’ll miss it” and “once seen you can’t unsee.” See the clip for yourself and judge!
It happens in the bottom right corner of the shot when a CGI fighter goes from berserker to completely frozen in a matter of seconds — seemingly at the end of an animation loop. Are they simply in shock of all the carnage around him or did the VFX crew accidentally let this one slip? The jury is still very much out for this one.
It’s literally impossible to say or think an unkind word about the movie Jaws, so our only assumption is that the following crew cameo is 100% intentional and probably brilliant in a way we simply aren’t understanding. The scene, if you’re curious, is when the ill-fated Ben Gardner sets out to go shark hunting.
Highlighting the rush for the Kintner bounty, Gardner and his pals haul-ass it out into the ocean — as seen in a wide shot of the venturing boats. One of which, if you look closely, clearly contains the full camera crew getting a second angle of the event. Because when you’re terrifyingly over-budget and behind schedule, every take counts!
Not exactly a beacon of perfection, the movie Anaconda exists in our hearts and minds as a delightful journey through the thick jungles of mediocrity. And yet, it amazingly features an all-star spectrum ranging from Jon Voight to Ice Cube. It is a gift. A terrible, terrible gift.
It also has one of the funniest post-production cheats of any film. In a scene where the boat was meant to be going from left to right, the editor merely reversed a shot, solving the problem while creating an entirely new one in which water defies physics. It appears even water wants to escape this movie!
As we mentioned earlier, people were mighty amused when Game Of Thrones forgot to exclude a certain to-go chalice from one of their shots. While that is an exceptionally large oversight — this list clearly proves that it’s not uncommon. Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet would agree with us, as a recent Instagram post has proven.
In an act of solidarity, the actor shared a moment from the show where a cameraman is clearly seen off to the side — hidden in the bushes like some kind of mythical creature or curious stalker. It’s a good point taken, but also ignored for the sake of writing extensive internet lists on the subject.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
It’s safe to say that if this list proves anything, it’s that even Steven Spielberg isn’t immune from a few visual errors every now and then. Often these are statistical inevitabilities from a long-running show or series, or in the case of Raiders of the Lost Ark, an absolute necessity to avoid murdering your lead actor.
And this is why, at least on early copies, we could absolutely see the reflection made from a pane of glass between Harrison Ford from an angry cobra. Often deadly when provoked, the filmmakers clearly had the common sense to protect the poor little snake from its dangerous co-star.
Best known for pushing the boundaries of a sitcom format, Seinfeld had entire episodes solely devoted to masturbation or waiting at a restaurant. There was a whole plot line with a meta-show inside of the real show, and the series ended with everyone just going to jail. It’s a beautiful thing to stand back from and admire.
And so you probably remember the one where the whole gang is trapped in a parking lot, unable to find their car. What you might not remember is the entire crew showing up in the reflection of a passing car — a pretty common mistake that nonetheless manages to take us out of the story every single time.
One of the few casualties of the switch to widescreen was the dignity of many older TV shows that never paid mind to that extra space on the side of the shot. Very often is this extended area an uncovered rock of crew members and exposed equipment. One of the better examples is the X-Files episode “Signs and Wonders”.
While deep in an investigation, our protagonist agents walk and talk as they approach a person of interest. And that’s when we get the entire lower half of a nearby boom operator, his presence no concern for a director intending to crop the shot for network TV. If only they knew what the future held!
Superman: The Movie
Marlon Brando is the patron saint of lazy acting, having been famously known for writing his lines on a baby or nearby Robert Duvall to avoid memorizing them. Nothing says “top of your field” more than using an Oscar-winning actor as an easel, or that time he had his lines fed to him through an earpiece while making The Island of Dr Moreau.
It’s probably no surprise to learn that if you go back and watch the original Superman, the actor is clearly wearing an Earthly wristwatch while playing the alien father Jor-El. Because when even Francis Ford Coppola can’t get him to stand up for a scene, who is going to tell him to lose the Rolex?
Director Kevin Smith has repeatedly gone on the record saying that he doesn’t pay much mind to the cinematography of his films. No better proof than his extremely 90s Chasing Amy, and the scene where Joey Lauren Adams reconnects with Ben Affleck after a particularly dramatic monologue.
Filmed as a oner, it’s more complex than a lot of shots in Smith’s films. And perhaps this is why, during his long walk in the rain, Affleck’s character passes by several shop fronts proudly reflecting the many crew members walking beside him. It’s a familiar gaffe, but one that especially stands out considering the theme of loneliness in this moment.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
If ever there was a movie that could be renamed to “Mistakes Were Made”, Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace would be a serious contender. Aside from the giant examples, there are also a series of small flaws in the prequel series, some more hilarious than others. For example, have you noticed this obvious imposter when Jedi Council arrives on Naboo?
Clearly meant to be Mace Windu, it was either a reshoot or the exotic filming location that found the filmmakers sans a Samuel L. Jackson, requiring the use of his obvious stand in instead. The result is just some random dude quietly pretending to be a Jedi, relieved that no one has noticed (and proving how useless the Force apparently is).
Rumble in the Bronx
In what has to be a five-star example of “computer acting,” a phrase we’ve invented to describe actors just randomly pressing buttons on a keyboard to make it look like they’re hacking, there’s a scene in the 1995 action film Rumble in the Bronx where a kid goes to town on a Sega Game Gear. The only problem is that the handheld system very conspicuously lacks an actual game cartridge.
One of the most delightful parts of 90s cinema is the profound lack of knowledge shown toward the internet and video games. Much like how many modern filmmakers whiff on the subject of memes and social media, we simply didn’t have enough writers and directors who grew up with this budding tech. What insanity that faux Game Gear player in Rumble in the Bronx was imaging while frantically pushing those buttons we may never know.
While the CG certainly holds up, the featured technology in Jurassic Park is a whole other story. From “interactive CD-ROMs” to 3D control room desktops, there’s simply no escaping that 90s aesthetic we once considered cutting edge. Undoubtedly the best moment is when the traitor Nedry is having a “live” chat with his contact at the dock.
Aside from the terrible video quality, any casual watcher might also notice the unhidden progress bar on the bottom of the Quicktime screen — something that would only occur if the video was pre-recorded. In other words: this is far from a “live” chat, something we’re guessing Steven Spielberg wasn’t computer savvy enough to conceal.
North By Northwest
Even the classiest of classics can have glaring and hilarious mistakes, it seems. It’s either that, or there’s a hidden subplot in North By Northwest where a child discovers he has psychic powers — correctly sensing that something violent and loud is about to happen. Is he the past form of Professor X? Let’s go with yes!
In the scene where Eva Marie Saint throws the hell down on Cary Grant, firing a gun in the process, one young extra clearly anticipated the upcoming bang. And instead of acting surprised, he preemptively blocked his ears to protect from the sound. A good safety measure that makes for some terrible background acting!
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
File this under “contested”, because according to Mark Hamill himself this rather well-known flub from A New Hope is nothing but garbage lies. The scene in question is when Luke exits his X-Wing following the Battle of Yavin, and in his excitement supposedly yelled Carrie Fisher’s real name.
In a recent series of tweets Hamill insists that he was actually saying the words “there she” as opposed to “Carrie”. And in fairness, if anyone would know it would be him. Or maybe this is part of some insidious lie to cover up the truth? One that goes deeper than any of us could even imagine? We’ll never truly know.