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Chariots of Fire (1981) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

A five-striped red-yellow-blue-white-black flag is shown flying next to the US flag in the stadium. Although this is the correct flag for the Republic of China in 1924, China did not participate in the Olympics until 1932.
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Anachronisms 

In the 1920s, the Canadian flag was either the Union Jack or the Canadian Red Ensign. The red maple leaf flag was not introduced until 1965.
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In the 1920s, American flags had 48 stars, not 50.
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In the long shot of the departing boat that takes the athletes to France, there's a rather obvious radar antenna. Fortunately, it's not rotating.
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When Eric and Jennie Liddell talk on the hill in Edinburgh, a man jogs across the background in a 1970s/80s tracksuit.
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Houses at the end of the track at the Scotland-France meeting have modern double-glazed windows.
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In the 1924 the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was not yet using the set and costume designs seen in this film. These designs were executed by Charles Ricketts for the 1926 production of "The Mikado" at the Savoy Theatre.
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A modern day EXIT sign can be seen over a door as they attend "The Mikado".
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

On the boat to France, Abrahams is seen supposedly playing the piano, but the notes we see him strike bear no resemblance to the music we hear.
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Character error 

At the end of the montage "He is an Englishman" Harold is cheered for by the audience, presumably as the soloist. But the solo from HMS Pinafore is for the boatswain, and Harold is dressed in superior officer's clothes.
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Continuity 

Eric momentarily loses the crumpled paper from his hand during the 400m race at the Olympics.
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When Colonel John Keddie meets Sam Mussabini, the cane in Keddie's hand jumps from his right hand to his left, so that his right hand is free to shake Mussambini's.
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Before the last race Scholz gives a piece of paper to Lidell with a Bible quote, which he holds in his left hand. This piece of paper disappears during the race and reappears at the finish line.
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When Eric Liddell is in the locker room getting ready, before going over to wish Abrahams luck, the camera is in a close up on him. He walks past a row of showers and the man in the final stall is seen facing the camera and holding a towel. The angle then switches to a far away shot and the man is now naked, showering with his back to the camera.
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Crew or equipment visible 

Just before the group of people enter the ball where the Prince of Wales is, we can see the camera and the camera man's shadows in the back of the lady in light green dress (the last one going inside). And the guy in the right side of the shot is looking at the camera too.
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Errors in geography 

(at around 30 mins) Just before Abrams and Montague register at the Porters' Lodge of "Caius College, Cambridge 1919" their taxi is seen driving along a street and stopping at "the" College entrance. The street is Trinity Lane at the back of Caius College and the entrance is not that of Caius College but of Trinity Hall. Even the Trinity Hall crescent can be seen above the entrance.
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In the first Cambridge scene, set in 1919, passengers are seen on the railway station's footbridge. In fact, pressure from 19th century Cambridge University leaders opposed to railways led to special conditions being imposed on the station before it was constructed, and one of these was that it must have no footbridges; although one was added later, it was demolished again in 1863 and since then the station has had level access to all platforms. In 2011 work began on a second platform which will be connected to the original platform by a pedestrian bridge.
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Factual errors 

Early in the film (at about 10 minutes in) the narration says "Thursday October the tenth, 1919...". That date was in fact a Friday that year.
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The Parade of Nations is completely out of order. The US team is shown first, then the British team, then the French team (immediately preceded by Cuba). The official report of the Eighth Olympiad indicates that the Parade of Nations took place in French alphabetical order, beginning with South Africa (l'Afrique du Sud). Greece would not lead off the parade until 1928.
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The fictional Lord Lindsay and the real Aubrey Montague are shown attending Harold Abrahams memorial service in 1978. In reality Aubrey Montague died on 30th January 1948 and so could not actually have been present.
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At the beginning of the Scotland vs. France match, the "Marseillaise" has been edited and is not sung in its original words and music.
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Some historical details (some minor, some not) have been altered for the sake of the narrative. We're inclined towards leniency.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

In 1924, the future Edward VIII was Prince of Wales. At the meeting between "the committee" and Eric Liddell, Lord Birkenhead calls him "David". Some have assumed that this is a goof because he is played by David Yelland, but in fact the prince was known to his friends and family as David.
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After the Olympic flag is raised, the sixth verse of the French national anthem is sung. The first, fifth, and sixth verses are the most commonly sung verses of the Marseillaise.
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Before the 400 m race, the crowd can be heard chanting "U-S-A!" Although some have believed this to be an anachronism, it was in fact a common cheer for American teams at international sporting events in the early 20th century. For example, in Leni Riefenstahl's documentary 'Olympia', American spectators are heard using the "U-S-A!" chant to cheer on Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
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Revealing mistakes 

In the first race between Liddell and Abrahams the runner in the first lane (runner #6) is actually winning the race at the finish line and pulls up to ensure that Liddell wins.
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In the Mikado scene, the three women singing are barefoot and wearing flip-flops, not the traditional Japanese sandal with white socks.
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The note that Jackson Scholz hands to Eric Liddell at the Olympics is addressed to Mr. Liddel (only one "L" at the end.)
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See also

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

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