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Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Poster

Goofs

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

At the end of the movie a graphic states that 99 people were tried and sentenced at Nuremberg and that by the date of the movie (1961) none remained in prison. Some critics have pointed out that Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess was tried at Nuremberg, found guilty on two of four counts charged (crimes against peace and conspiracy) and sentenced to life in 1946. He died in 1987 still imprisoned in Spandau Prison. Yet the caption in the film states that the statistic refers only to the Nuremberg trials "held in the American sector." Hess and the other major defendants were tried by the International Military Tribunal (with judges and prosecutors from each of the four victorious Allied powers). After this major trial, other trials were held in each of the four occupation sectors. By 1961, all of the defendants sentenced in the American trials were indeed free; the graphic is therefore correct.
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Jump to: Character error (2) | Continuity (5) | Errors in geography (1) | Factual errors (3) | Miscellaneous (1) | Revealing mistakes (2)

Character error 

When William Shatner's character (Capt. Byers) swears in Montgomery Clift, the Clift character (Peterson) fails to use the headphones, yet answers the question as if he understood the oath. There was no indication that Byers spoke German nor that Peterson, who was feeble minded, spoke English.
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When the defense lawyer Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) is questioning a witness, he first asks if they had sworn to "The Civil Servant Loyalty Oath of 1934". However, then the prosecutor's assistant is asked to read the oath from "The Reich's Law Gazette, March 1933".
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Continuity 

Right after Richard Widmark states that "the defense rests", he sits down next to his assistant attorney. A moment later the assistant's arms have changed position and Widmark's hands have changed position.
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The US Army collar insignia appears, disappears and reappears sometimes in the same scene.
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Right after Rolfe completes the quotation from Oliver Wendell Holmes regarding sterilization, we see Haywood with his hand on his mouth. The wider shot that follows shows him with his hand on his cheek.
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Mr. Wallner complains to Lawson about being disturbed "in the middle of the night", but when Lawson is shown approaching and entering the Wallner home, it is clearly in full daylight.
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When Col. Lawson is talking to the general about the fall of Berlin, the JAG insignia on his jacket appears and disappears throughout the scene.
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Errors in geography 

The northwest corner of the concentration camp map, around Belgium and the Netherlands, shows about three extra countries.
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Factual errors 

At the night club, when the reporter Max Perkins tells Judge Haywood that he couldn't give a story away on the trials because the American people aren't interested, Haywood remarks, "But the war's only been over for two years," to which Perkins replies, "That's right." The film's opening title card says "Nuremberg 1948" - three years after the end of World War II. The actual Judges Trial, upon which this film is based, was held in 1947. It is likely that the title card is incorrect.
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The housekeeper, Mrs. Halbestadt, says that Mrs. Bertholt's husband was executed in connection with the Malmedy massacre during the Battle of the Bulge. Although many Germans were found guilty for the massacre and some were sentenced to death, none of then was ever actually executed.
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When the defendants are shown entering the courtroom, they are seen entering from another, brightly lit, nondescript room. When the last has entered the courtroom, the MP closes the door between them. The real courtroom had an elevator, with a sliding door, which brought defendants to the courtroom from the basement.
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Miscellaneous 

In an outdoor scene, several US Army MPs are shown in the background standing at parade rest with rifles. Instead of being armed with the standard issued rifle of the day, US M-1 Garands, the guards are holding British Lee-Enfields, which were used in WWI and WWII by the British Army.
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Revealing mistakes 

When showing the concentration camp films, Colonel Lawson is standing in front of the screen. His shadow should be cast on the screen due to the projector's light, yet it's not visible. This suggests that the films were actually a rear projection.
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The American judges and German defendants speak through an interpreter. At first, there is a substantial delay in the dialogue while the translation takes place but eventually the reactions becomes nearly instantaneous (for example, when the judge says "You may be seated", the defendants sit down right away without waiting for translation). The translation delays were likely dropped to keep the movie from dragging.
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Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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