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Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (4) | Audio/visual unsynchronised (1) | Continuity (10) | Factual errors (2) | Revealing mistakes (1) | Spoilers (2)

Anachronisms 

When Harmonica climbs down the ladder, only to meet Frank at the other end of a '45, we clearly see that the ladder is electro-welded to the wagon and the steps are also electro-welded to the legs of the ladder. A rather lousy welding job, by the way! The movie takes place around 1870. Electro-welding started during the '90s, but the method got practicable only in the 1920s - and began to be commonly used in the late 1930s when the great navies (except for the Royal Navy) started to use the method for their first-line ships. The great leap forward came during WW2, when Liberty ships and many other vessels was electro-welded.
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Near the beginning, Brett McBain is shooting birds, and Timmy (Brett's son) collects the birds and shows them to his sister Maureen. The birds are chukkar partridge, which were introduced into the United States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1920s and were not present before then.
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While preparing for the wedding feast, Brett's daughter sings a few lines of "Danny Boy". The words to this song were written in 1910.
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As Frank and his gang ride away from the train, tire tracks are visible in the dirt.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

As the speed of rotation of the wind-pump sails varies the sound of the squeak does not. At no point does it match the period of rotation.
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Continuity 

In the opening scene, Stony (Woody Strode) is drinking water from his hat. Later, when the three shooters are standing across from Harmonica, his hat is covered with dust.
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The shadows change direction between cuts throughout the gunfight scene between Frank and Harmonica.
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During Harmonica's confrontation with Frank towards the end of the movie, his hair appears to have grown significantly from earlier in the film. However, when he enters the house to talk to Jill, his hair is short again.
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During the final flashback ("Keep your lovin' brother happy") from shot to shot the harmonica changes back and forth from clean and undamaged to dented and dirty.
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When Frank rides to meet Harmonica for the showdown, he is riding on a white horse, a minute later the horse changes color and is a dapple gray color.
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In the beginning scene, as Snaky is escorting the Stationmaster to the closet, he is clean shaven. Immediately after, he is sporting a several-days beard growth.
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When Harmonica arrives at the McBain ranch and plays his harmonica at night, he lights a match, which is shot out by Mrs. McBain. In the shot of Harmonica the next day when he confronts Mrs. McBain, he has a cut on his left cheek from the earlier night with the gunshot. In all following scenes, the wound has disappeared.
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During The Man's flashback which explains how he came to possess the harmonica, the harmonica changes from undamaged to damaged and back.
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Near the end of the film where 'Harmonica' shoots Frank, his hair appears to have grown significantly from earlier in the film. However, when he enters the house to tell Jill that he is leaving, his hair is short again - just minutes after killing Frank.
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At the very end of the movie, the camera pans back and we see the complete scene of men working at the station. The train and carriage has come through the embankment 'cutting' and is passing through the new station. Then the scene cuts to a camera behind the 'cutting' and the train has only just passed through it.
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Factual errors 

The train's box cars have four wheels, a rounded roof, and other features more akin to European railroad practice. The passenger cars have a more American appearance, but feature buffer and chain couplers which were not used on US railroads. The locomotive, though fitted with a bell, cowcatcher, and other applications seen on American engines, has a plate frame, whereas American engines have bar frames.
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Spanish railways have a broader gauge (1,674 mm) than the American railways, which are mostly built in standard gauge (1,435 mm). In some scenes of the film it can be clearly seen, that the "Morton Railroad" has been erected in the broad Spanish gauge.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Cheyenne shoots the man who's guarding Harmonica through the train window, there is no blood on the chair the man was sitting in, despite the fact that he was shot at pointblank range.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

When "Harmonica" shoots Frank, Cheyenne cuts his right cheek just below his eye with a razor because he jumps to the sound of the gunfire. The next time we see his face, there is no cut or bleeding.
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Continuity 

During the duel between Frank and Harmonica, Cheyenne shaves his beard (mostly his sideburns); however, his large whiskers under his ears have grown back before he dies (ten minutes later).
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See also

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

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