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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

When the natives are coming down the stairs of the Nautilus, the lead native is wearing a wedding band.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

DVD subtitle gaffe: When Ned Land and Conseil are looking at the wall map in Nemo's cabin, Land asks Conseil to hand him the "calipers", written "calendars".
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Continuity 

When Ned sees the giant squid starting to sink and taking Nemo with it, he draws his knife from his belt and dives in to save Nemo. Arriving at Nemo's position, the knife is back in his belt and needs to be drawn again.
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When they wait outside Roa Pandi for the sailing ship to leave harbor, the Nautilus is seen floating closely to the island. When Cpt. Nemo orders Full speed ahead in a subsequent shot, the Nautilus is shown at open sea.
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The Nautilus attacks the ammunition ship from port side. Yet in a subsequent underwater shot, the Nautilus is seen breaching through the hull from starboard side.
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Errors in geography 

Shortly after first entering the Nautilus, Ned, Professor Arronax and Conseil watch a submarine funeral service taking place on the ocean floor. Considering the Nautilus is at the surface at the time yet is only ten feet or so above the ocean floor, this makes the water unrealistically shallow for the middle of the ocean.
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Factual errors 

When the giant squid appears, it is swimming toward the Nautilus with its tentacles first. While squid can swim in both directions, they normally move mantle first with tentacles trailing due to much better movement through the water and their gill systems adapted to movement in this direction, particularly if they are trying to swim at a high rate of speed. Also, if the squid was moving with the tentacles in front, they would trail toward the back, not stay rigidly in front of it, like a person's arms stretched out.
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The film opens on what purports to be a copy of Jules Verne's original novel. The book is turned to Chapter One, which is titled "Alarming Rumours!" The actual title to Chapter One in Verne's novel is "A Shifting Reef."
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The shark that goes after Ned and Conseil is a nurse shark. This species is actually quite harmless and shy of divers.
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Captain Nemo electrifies the hull of the Nautilus to drive off the squid and the natives. Electricity needs a complete circuit to work. Since the Nautilus is submerged when the squid attacks the sea water would have shorted out the electricity and prevented it from harming the squid. Likewise, since the natives are standing on the hull and are not grounded they would also have not been harmed.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When the Nautilus gets back underway after sinking from the New Guinea reef, Nemo states, "There are limits beyond which man and his puny efforts cannot survive, we exceeded them by 5,000 feet." Although not for another 100 years was any undersea craft built for such depth capability, and then only small research submersibles, the conceit of the film is that Nemo invented many advanced technologies far ahead of his time.
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The note that Ned Land puts in the bottle, while containing numbers representing both latitude and longitude, neglects to say whether the latitude is North or South. The note is however not useless: the unnamed state could have sent warships to both the North and South locations.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the undersea fishing sequence, there is a shot of a sea turtle that is stretched out of shape because it is non-anamorphic footage that was stretched out by the wide screen lens.
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When Nautilus is going through the underwater tunnel, there is some shots from inside the wheelhouse. One can see cliffs passing by directly under the windows. The wheelhouse is situated on top of the submarines hull, so there is no way that the cliffs can be so close to the windows.
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When Prof. Aronnax and Capt. Nemo return to the Nautilus in the dinghy, the horizon is slightly curved, revealing the scene was actually filmed in a big basin.
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When an attacked ship explodes, the men of the Nautilus are thrown AWAY from the explosion. If there was a real explosion, the Nautilus would be blown away from the explosion, and the untethered men would be thrown TOWARDS the explosion.
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When Captain Nemo and the Professor return from the mines, the skiff is heading in one direction and the sea moves in the opposite direction.
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A split second before the giant kraken clutches the rear of the submarine with its tentacles, the propeller stops rotating. There's no way a mollusk can prevent a ship propeller from rotating without taking severe damage, let alone that quick.
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As Ned runs out of the jungle, watch carefully behind him the first time he yells "hey!" You can clearly see one of the men dressed as a cannibal begin to rise and chase him. This shot and the shot of the cannibals running out of the jungle were done in one take but edited to appear as two different scenes.
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Obvious stunt double for Ned can be seen when Captain Nemo first finds the three stowaways and has them stand outside the Nautilus as it submerges.
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When the Nautilus is sinking at the end even though it is supposedly being sunk in deep water, the motion and appearance of the waves obviously show that it is sinking very close to land and a beach area.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

A wide shot from above shows the Nautilus entering the flooded crater, with the bow pointing towards the secret base. Capt. Nemo orders all engines stop and makes for the exit. However, in a subsequent outside shot the Nautilus is shown with the bow pointing away from the base.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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