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Battle of the Bulge (1965) Poster

Goofs

Continuity 

When the German spearhead commences its attack, the footage is flipped - the machinegun in the hull of the tanks appears to be on the right-hand side of the hull. This is the driver's side of the tank. The footage changes regularly in this perspective.

Anachronisms 

The German Tiger tanks and American Sherman tanks were actually American tanks from the Korean War era. Most Sherman tanks were scrapped after the war, and the remaining Tiger tanks are in museums.
Early in the movie, Henry Fonda's character visits the "up front" front. In one scene, there is a soldier in a bunk reading a folded magazine, and the viewing audience can see the page he is not reading. The magazine is the April 1964 issue of Playboy and the page he has opened is the beginning of a pictorial on Playmate Donna Michelle. In the same shot a photograph of Rita Hayworth as "Gilda" can be seen on the wall. "Gilda" was not released until 1946. The action takes place in 1944.
In the scenes of the Allies using an airplane, the plane is a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which didn't have its first flight until 4-5 years after World War II ended.
When Duffy is first introduced, putting 'merchandise' back on his tank, he asks one of his men to get him some cigarettes. The man goes to the rear of the tank and opens a box containing cartons with various brands. The carton removed for Duffy are Lucky Strikes in their 'prewar' green livery. In 1942, Lucky Strike changed their packaging colors from 'green and red' to 'white and red'. Their ad campaign stated that "Lucky Strike Green had gone to war."
When the team of American engineers arrives at the Our River Bridge to destroy it, the lead engineer says to Lieutenant Schumacher (Ty Hardin): "I'm sure loaded with C-4, can you use any?" However, C-4 was not developed until 1956. Composition C, C-2 and C-3 were the types of plastic explosives used by the U.S. Army during WW2.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Robert Ryan says to an aide, "Get me Blue Code, 301" Then we hear what is supposed to be the aide saying it, but it's a dub of Ryan's exact words "301" with Ryan's voice.
Early in the film when the reconnaissance plane is pursuing the German staff car, the car is traveling on a gravel/dirt road but the sound of squealing tires is heard. Tires don't squeal on gravel.
When the mostly-teenage German tank commanders are performing "Der Panzerlied," you can see that they are lipsynching; the singing voices are clearly not their own.

Character error 

Early in the film, we are shown a column of American vehicles retreating in disarray. In the forefront is a stalled jeep being rocked by several men. Much later, General Grey observes a column of retreating American vehicles and says that "This time they're retreating like soldiers." However, this is the same film clip shown earlier except that it has been flipped left to right (the jeep being rocked is now on the other side of the frame.) Since the film clip is the same, General Grey really has no basis for his statement.

Continuity 

Kiley flying in an airplane takes a picture of Hessler traveling on the ground in a staff car. The picture shown later was obviously taken from ground level.
As a German tank overruns an American blockade, two soldiers place plastic explosives on the tank which disappear and reappear in subsequent shots.
The reason the Americans cannot receive air support is because of poor weather. When the artillery is brought in on a train, the sky is perfectly clear.
When Major Wolenski knocks out a Tiger tank in the first battle scene, Colonel Hessler calls it over the radio, referring to it as "Tank 104". But, when the tank limps off the road, the ID number painted on the back of the turret is "01".
When the Fallschirmjaegers first jump out of the plane, there is one paratrooper with a white parachute, the rest are black. When they reach the ground, all of the parachutes are white.
When the Germans are exiting the transport plane, the close up shots of the plane shows it is a Junkers Ju-52. In the wide shots it shows a Douglas C-47.
When Col. Hessler asks headquarters for permission to assault Ambeleve, he is told he has until 0400 hours, and it appears to be the late afternoon. However, when the bombardment starts, it is obvious that the sun is already rising, and by the time the armor assault starts it is daylight.
When Guffy, is saying goodbye to his business partner, his crash helmet disappears and reappears between shots.
When General Grey is standing on the steps of his new headquarters a messenger runs up and hands him a folded white piece of paper but when he and Colonel Pritchard walk inside seconds later its the Colonel that is holding the paper and hands it to him telling him ts the intelligence information he had requested earlier.
When Kiley shows General Grey the pictures from the airplane he took the picture are wet later in the picture are bone dry.
In the opening scene all external shots of the recon plane show clear skies. Yet shots from the cockpit and from the colonel's car show it is mostly cloudy.
When Amlève is being bombarded, the boulangerie is destroyed twice, as the same explosion is seen from two different angles several seconds apart.
At the beginning of the scene where Major Wolenski confronts Colonel Hessler about the Malmedy Massacre, Wolenski's Infantry Branch (crossed rifles) insignia is upside-down (butts up and muzzles down relative to the shirt collar). Midway through the scene the insignia becomes correctly placed.
The battle is suppose to be a surprise attack. Yet, at the very beginning of the initial advancement of the columns(49min mark), we see a tank fire a round. The commanders were even sending reports back to headquarters confirming that: "No enemy opposition encountered". The tank that fired wasn't even in the 1st row of the column. Tanks don't fire rounds without a target. Especially when they don't want to give their position away.
The actual m47s portraying the German tanks have the hull machinegun on the left side, however the models for special effects shots have the hull machinegun on the right.
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The position of the door of Hessler's command caravan does not match between interior and exterior shots.
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When Hessler dismisses the courtesan, he picks up her coat and bag from his bed, walks to the door and shoves it all the way open. All the while she is walking towards him. He hands her her bag and she crosses in front of him headed for the door. Abruptly there is a shift and she is facing him as he throws her coat over her shoulder and shove her towards the suddenly closed door which SHE has to open.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In several exterior shots, you can clearly see the movie lights reflected in the soldiers' helmets.
When the last vehicles get over the bridge (moments before the cover of the German soldiers gets blown), the shadow of a camera can be seen on the side of the last truck as it passes by.
When the German infiltrators radio back about the cannon on the railcars, light from a movie light or the light from a reflector can be clearly seen (moving) on the back of one of the soldiers.

Errors in geography 

The Battle of the Bulge was fought in the densely-wooded Ardennes Forest of Belgium, not in a semi-arid environment.
Tank and battle field sequence filming occurred at the US Army Yakima firing range along the east slope of the Cascade Range in Washington State. This region is roughly 2,500 to 3,500 ft. above sea level with an arid high desert climate. Clearly, this is out of place when compared to the Ardennes Forest region.
There are no mountains in the Ardennes as seen in the movie.
When the train (carrying the guns) is nearing the first bridge, you can see several men (perhaps railway workers) standing along the side. They are wearing shirts and cowboy-like hats which indicates that it's very hot. The Battle of the bulge took place during the very cold winter of 1944.
When the Sergeant and the Lieutenant get pointed in the wrong direction, you can see the road-sign pointing to Ambleve (left), and to Malmedy (right). Since the sign is supposed to be twisted, this means that they came from the east. Being east at 42 km from Malmedy, and 36 km from Ambleve, they would have been several (10-15) kilometers in Germany.

Factual errors 

Whenever a "German" half track is visible, it is clearly an American M3A1 painted in German white camouflage instead of the sd.kfz.251, which would be correct for the battle.
The opening narration states that "Montgomery's 8th Army was in the north..." Montgomery did command the British forces in NW Europe, but the 8th Army, formerly commanded by him, was in Italy.
Common in military movies and TV, nearly every salute is done incorrectly. The enlisted man or lesser grade officer is supposed to hold his salute until returned. Everyone learns that in basic training. Yet here, the salute is a quick up/down nearly every time.
All of the American vehicles in the movie use a German Red-Green-Brown camouflage color scheme, however in late war 1944 only olive drab/black camouflage schemes were used on armor. In winter white wash was used on armor to blend in with the snow on some vehicles. Transport vehicles, artillery etc. were still painted in basic olive drab. In one scene we can even see a Bazooka with a camouflage paint scheme.
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When Colonel Hessler is at a conference with his Panzer officers, he points out with his finger on a map the place of the Our River, which they should cross. He is actually pointing near the area of Brussels, some 100 miles west of the real Our River. The same thing happens when General Grey asks his officer the location of the German spearhead.
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The movie portrays the entire German spearhead as consisting of King Tiger tanks. In fact, only 100 were available for the Bulge operation. Additionally, Peiper, the commander appointed to command this force, was horrified at having to deploy the 70 ton monsters through the narrow Ardennes roads.
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Miscellaneous 

During the train sequence, when the train is delivering big guns, the film cuts between views of the train on the track and views from the footplate. The two views are clearly of different tracks. The track shown from the footplate has clearly visible overhead electrification pylons. The views of the track showing the train do not have electrification pylons.
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Revealing mistakes 

As Hessler approaches Ambleve he is seen riding in the hatch of his tank as it moves forward. He raises a pair of binoculars and the subsequent shot is shown POV through the binoculars. The image of the town is completely stable, but should have been jostled about as the tank was moving forward. The next shot show Hessler once again astride the moving Tiger, binoculars in hand.
The Germans discuss that they will be using jets against the allies, and look at some models of them. However, the models look nothing like the ME-262 or the HE-162, the 2 jet fighters the Germans actually did use in the war.
The radio transmitter used by Col. Hessler in the German command vehicle is an American, Hallicrafters SX-28, which is a receiver incapable of transmitting.
The bazookas used by the Americans are actually Spanish M-65 rocket launchers, introduced after World War II. In addition, the M-65 uses an 89mm rocket, while the American M1, M1A1, M9 bazookas used a 60mm rocket, although the German Panzerschreck, introduced in 1943, used an 88mm rocket.
When the Germans disguised as MPs parachute behind US lines, they are shown just as they've landed and are depicted as a tightly clustered group. In fact, paratroops (especially when they jump at night) tend to drift and scatter on the way down and require time to regroup upon landing.
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When LTC Kiley attempts to shoot Col. Hessler at the Our River bridge, the German infantrymen who dismount in response shout various lines like "Es kam von da oben" ("It came from up there") and "Da sind sie" ("There they are"). The foleys of these lines are also used (repeatedly) in subsequent scenes (such as the capture of Lt. Weaver and Sgt. Duquesne) even though they are entirely inappropriate to the events being depicted; they are simply being used as "generic German dialogue."
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When Hessler's tanks are bombing Amlève, you can see several houses being hit. When these houses explode, you can see that they are made of steel plates. There are no bricks, stones or pieces of concrete flying around.
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In the beginning of the movie when Kiley visits Grey in the headquarters, General Grey says to a soldier near the Christmas tree: "Step outside". If you watch this soldier carefully it's clear that he's just standing there, waiting for the order. In fact, he looks at Grey and then starts leaving too early, before the command is said.
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When Kiley is at the Our River bridge and sees Hessler, he asks the sergeant for his rifle to shoot Hessler. The rifle does not have the rear sight assembly installed. Only the sight ears of the receiver are visible.
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Guffy's tank takes a direct hit in the final tank battle, blowing away most of the turret. Not only is Guffy unhurt or even affected by the hit, the radio still works.
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When 'Henry Fonda (I)''s character first meets Telly Savalas' character blocking the road, Savalas shouts "Hold it! Hold it!". The shot changes and Savalas shouts "Hold it! Hold it!" again. It is obvious that this is the same recording played slightly quieter.
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At the end, while the credits are rolling, a fly over scene of the battlefield is shot. At first the cameras perspective seems to be looking down and back from the rear of the filming aircraft, on the abandoned tanks and burning equipment. However notice the smoke moving down into the wreckage. The film is being run backwards. Later, the same scene is shown correctly, looking down and forward of the aircraft.
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See also

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

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