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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

One of the songs being played in the saloon was "Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight," but the song was written in 1896 by Theodore Metz, several years after the time the story is set in.
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Anachronisms 

Another song played at the Convention is "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here" from the song "Alabama Jubilee," written in 1915 and based on the chorus of "With Cat-Like Tread," ("Come Friends Who Plough The Sea") from Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Pirates of Penzance', written in 1879. Since the "Pirates" chorus would not have been played in a convention, this references a "Hail! Hail!" usage when the piece was written later than the action of the film.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Stoddard is setting the paint cans on the fence posts, they make a tinny sound that clearly indicates they're empty. Yet when shot by Doniphon, they discharge a great amount of paint.
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Character error 

When teaching his students, Ransom asks what the supreme law of the land is. When a pupil (Pompey) gives the correct answer of the Constitution, he incorrectly tells him the right answer is the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is a statement of principles and a justification for the colonies' rebellion, but certainly not law in any way.

Continuity 

Dutton Peabody was a little lax in his typesetting. The SHINEBONE STAR newspaper Rance Stoddard complimented Peabody on ("Cattlemen Fight Statehood") was VOL XXX, No. 42. Then many weeks (or months) later at the election of delegates Liberty Valance picks up a newspaper ("Two Homesteaders Killed By Liberty Valance and Gang") which also carries the same VOL. XXX, No 42.
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When Tom arrives drunk at the dream house and staggers in, his shirt is light gray. Once he's inside and lights the lantern, his shirt is black. Then in the scene where Pompey rescues Tom from the burning house, when he first lays Tom on the buckboard, Tom's shirt is light gray again. When Tom tells Pompey to get the horses, it's clearly light gray. Then after Pompey frees the horses and the camera cuts back to Tom in the back of the buckboard, his shirt is clean and black once again.
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In the gunfight between Stoddard and Valance, Valance's hat falls off and lands in the dirt. During the flashback scene, the hat lands on the boardwalk.
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Toward the end when the Stoddards are back to pay respects to Tom Doniphon, Rance snaps his watch cover shut and puts it in his vest pocket. He then enters the room and is snapping it shut and putting it in his vest pocket again.
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When Tom enters the kitchen as Hallie is tending to Rance's wound and when he starts getting drunk his shirt is dark (probably Wayne's favorite blue, if the movie were in color). When he arrives at his ranch, the shirt is now much lighter (possibly red if in color.)
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Between several shots, the "for statehood" and the "open range" groups completely switch sides of the aisle. From outside the door looking towards the stage, all of the "for statehood" signs can be seen to the left of the aisle as you look towards the stage, while the "open range" signs are on the right. As the camera view switches to the front, showing the crowd head-on with the door at the back, the "for statehood" group is now to the right of the aisle as they face the stage and the "open range" group is facing the stage from left side of the aisle.
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When we see Liberty Valance shot the first time in the film, he stands up with his left leg stepping on the boardwalk and then brings his right leg over his left leg, stepping actually on the boardwalk. On the "replay," Valance swings his right leg over his left, steps right into the street, and falls slightly forward without touching the boardwalk with his right leg at all.
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When Tom tells Rance who really shot Valance, the election signs behind the door are totally different when entering the room to when he leaves.
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"Jump Shot" type of bad edit occurs during the undertakers scene about 14 or 15 minutes in. This is where the hat appears & vanishes on the hat box Link is holding. Both the jump shot and the continuity error are due to a re-shoot (and an obvious slightly different camera set up the second time).
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The opening shot of the movie shows the train coming around the last bend on approach to Shinbone Station. In this wide shot, the locomotive is seen pulling a cargo carriage and a passenger carriage. When the train pulls into the station a moment later, the locomotive is instead pulling two passenger carriages.
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In the reverse shot during the climactic political rally, the opposing parties switch sides.
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During the statehood/territory political rally, when Peabody completes his nomination of Stoddard for Congress, Doc Willoughby alternates between standing on the floor and on a chair between shots.
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After Doniphan shoots the paint cans, the amount and patterns of the paint on Ranse's jacket changes.
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As Hallie tends to Ranse's bullet wound from Valance, the position and cleanliness of Ranse's hand changes.
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In front of the Tom's coffin, Marshal Link's hat appears and disappears between shots on the box which he holds.
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When Tom Doniphon enters the room that the territorial convention is held, we can see several women watching the convention from outside the room. However, later when Tom and Ransom Stoddard leave the room (and when Ransom re-enters the room), the women are gone.
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During the stagecoach robbery the lead pair of horses is cut loose and pull their reins out of the drivers hands. The next cut shows the driver trying to control the team with 4 reins in his hands then it returns to 2.
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Factual errors 

When Ransom Stoddard is found and brought to the Swedish innkeepers, Nora makes him drink "Swedish aquavit", but in fact she offers him "Rød Aalborg" (translates: Red Aalborg) which is a Danish aquavit.
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In the schoolroom scene, after Stoddard incorrectly describes the Declaration of Independence as the supreme law of the land (see earlier Goofs entry), Pompey states that the Declaration begins with the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident..". This is actually the second sentence of the document, which begins with the famous phrase "When in the course of human events.." It is the Constitution that begins with "We" -- the equally famous "We the people".
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On the night of the gunfight when Mr. Pebody leaves the newspaper office to refill his jug of "courage" he blows out the lantern and the room goes dark.As it does we see light from outside stream in through the windows and fall on the wall behind him but the light that hits the right side hits the wall a moment or two before the light hits on the left side. In actuality both sides should have shown up at the same time as the room darkened.
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The train conductor at the ending scene remarks to Ransom Stoddard that the train will be able to maintain a speed of 25mph all the way to Washington. Locomotives at the turn of the century (and later) were achieving speeds in excess of 90 mph. Considering that the closing scene is 30 or so yrs later than the main part of the film, the speed quoted is much too slow! Telephone service was already established in this mid western town as evidenced in the opening scene. The date could be well after the year 1900.
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Miscellaneous 

When the senator views the dead body and asks where his boots are the undertaker says (in an attempt to explain why he didn't put them on) "they were a nice pair of boots - almost new" so the senator tells him to put them on however the boots that he brings back later are hardly new.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Ransom Stoddard, at the school scene, makes a reference to "truck farmer." This phrase refers not to the motorized vehicle, but to the much older use of "truck" meaning barter or commerce.
In the flashback, Tom Doniphon tells Stoddard that he killed Liberty Valance, it is Stoddard who shoots first, then Doniphon. But since we've been shown that Stoddard can't hit the broad side of a barn (and in fact, his aim is wild), Doniphon's probably right.
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It would have been obvious that Valance had been killed by a bullet fired from a rifle, as this would have caused much more damage than a bullet fired from a revolver. In actuality, the 1873 Winchester rifle is chambered for the .44-40 cartridge and was widely popular during that time due to the fact that the .44-40 was a pistol round in the Colt Frontier Six-shooter. It's popularity was due in large part to the fact that you only needed to carry one caliber of Ammunition for both Rifle and Pistol.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the train ride back with Stoddard and his wife, the scenery is going by so fast that it is hardly recognizable, however the conductor states that they'll be there in no time because they'll be going 25mph. At 25 mph you could easily view the countryside. Additionally, as the conductor was talking with Stoddad he was perfectly still, no swaying back and forth, as anyone would've done on a train in the 1800s.
Doniphon moves his head back just as Stoddard punches him.
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In the last scene on the train, as Stewart is returning to Washington with his wife, the scenery outside the train repeats two and a half times...including a painted crosswalk which is unlikely to have existed at that time in a rural area.
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Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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