Best biography movie factual errors of all time

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Marco Polo picture

Factual error: Many palace scenes in the mini-series are set in the Forbidden City. This is incorrect, as the Forbidden City was built under the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and not completed until about 1420, almost 100 years after Marco Polo's death.

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Chaplin picture

Factual error: In the scene where Chaplin and his wife are traveling to Europe by ship (when they find out Hoover has expelled him from the U.S.), the film shows the French Liner "Normandie" as it is leaving New York. The date shown on the film says September 1952. The "Normandie" however, was destroyed by fire in New York Harbor on February 9, 1942 as it was being converted into a U.S. troop ship for World War II. Incidentally, they filmed the scene on the R.M.S. Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, which in reality is probably the ship that the Chaplins actually took to Europe.

James Woods
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Marie Antoinette picture

Factual error: Marie Antoinette has moved into her new vacation home following the birth of her daughter. Her friends are visiting, she is walking through the field of wildflowers, and she blows a ladybug off her finger. The camera pans upward to show her gazing at the sky. There is a very obvious vapor-trail from a large airliner cutting through the center of the camera shot, from one side of the screen to the opposite, predating jet-liners by over 150 years. (01:25:25)

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The Queen picture

Factual error: The Blairs are in a car travelling down the motorway when Tony receives a phone call from a lord. In the background the passing scenery is leafless trees and a bare winter landscape, but the events of the film take place during the English summer.

STP Premium member
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Topsy-Turvy picture

Factual error: One of the operetta excerpts shown in the movie is the humorous song "This Helmet I Suppose," during which Princess Ida's three brothers are supposed to remove their armor piece by piece, finding it heavy, hot and awkward. Partly as a result of this, the three are soon afterwards quickly and easily defeated in combat. In the film, however, only Arac, the brother singing the verses (played by Richard Temple (played by Timothy Spall)), removes his armor. The others simply stand still. (This might have made the battle scene end differently if it was shown on screen!)

CC
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Basquiat picture

Factual error: Although many thing have been changed to reflect the early-mid 80's when the film is set, it is often possible to see 90's cars in several scenes.

David Mercier
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Where the Buffalo Roam picture

Factual error: The middle third of the film recounts Dr. Thompson meeting Laszlo at the 1972 Superbowl (VI) in Los Angeles, however, in 1972 the game was played in New Orleans.

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Riding in Cars with Boys picture

Factual error: The movie takes place in Connecticut from 1961-1986. All the cars in the movie have license plates on their front bumpers, but Connecticut didn't require front plates until just a few years ago (late 90s-early 00s).

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Downfall picture

Factual error: In the scene where a chemist is preparing a solution to give to Mrs. Goebbels which she uses to kill her six children, the chemist is holding a modern day conical flask with the brand name "Schott" marked on it. Flasks pre-1950's did not have these markings.

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In the Name of the Father picture

Factual error: When the convictions are overturned, the defendants' solicitor, Gareth Pearce (played by Emma Thompson) is shown arguing their case in court. In England solicitors cannot appear in the higher courts, and in fact a barrister presented the case. However, the film is 'dramatically correct' because it was Gareth Pearce who got them freed, and the barrister in question is far too full of herself without having the honour of being portrayed by Emma T.

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Malcolm X picture

Factual error: When Malcolm is talking on the telephone in an extreme close up, you can see the connector on the phone is one of the modern snap-in modular jacks. Telephones in the 1960's did not have those.

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127 Hours picture

Factual error: In both scenes with Brian, Aron's boss, he is wearing a T-shirt that can be identified as being a product of the website www.someecards.com. This website did not launch until 2007, but the movie is set in 2003.

THGhost
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Churchill picture

Factual error: The American flag displayed when Churchill arrives at the big house to meet Eisenhower has a modern day configuration of 50 stars, not 48 as it was at the time.

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Behind the Candelabra picture

Factual error: At Liberace's funeral, when the priest concludes his prayer, the congregation responds, "And with your Spirit." This response has only been part of the English-language Catholic Mass since 2011. In 1987, the response would have been "And also with you."

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Wild picture

Factual error: At the start of the hike on the PCT she spends 10 days or so crossing the desert wearing only a tee shirt and shorts. At the end of 10 days she has no tan and there are no tan lines. Also, it appears she has no tan after walking for 80 days.

LRVAND
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Jersey Boys picture

Factual error: "Can't take my eyes off you" was released in May 1967. The recording scene of this song shows an Ampeg SVT amplifier in the background. Ampeg SVT was not available before 1969 and the specific model shown on the scene (with white rocker toggle) is a later 1976-1979 model. (01:54:10)

Gil Disatnik
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Legend picture

Factual error: During the trial the judge uses a gavel. English judges have never used gavels.

Necrothesp
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The Krays picture

Factual error: If you look at the band playing in the Regal Club the night the boy's mother first visits, the night where they first bring on the donkey, you'll notice that the drum kit used by the drummer in the band is, from what we can see, a 1980's Pearl kit, far too modern. (00:39:00)

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Phar Lap picture

Factual error: In the shot of the start of the race at Agua Caliente - some of the horses in the line up are wearing ring head bridles (an Australian stock horse type bridle) - it would be unlikely that these American horses would be racing in such bridles.

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Yankee Doodle Dandy picture

Factual error: Although quite typical for biopics of this era, certain aspects of Cohan's life are glossed over. The movie shows him in a lifelong marriage to his first love. However, he was in fact married in 1899 to Ethel Levy, and after their divorce in 1907 he married Agnes Mary Nolan, who remained his wife until Cohan's death in 1942.

Kevin Hall
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