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National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) Poster

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

Rusty suggests the family go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. When the Griswalds are at the tower, the down arrow in the background means they are clearly on either the second or first level. The elevator is the only way to the top, and the observation deck is not that big.
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Anachronisms 

During the montage of the family viewing the paintings in the Louvre Gallery in Paris (100,000 works of art in 15 minutes), the music played is 'Ca Plane Pour Moi', by Plastic Bertrand, but Bertrand is a Belgian artist, not a Frenchman...
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Clark clearly says "Fuck!" during the car chase at the end, but the word is dubbed over.
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In the beginning, the plastic container of lighter fluid makes a metallic sound when Clark and Ellen squeeze it.
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Character error 

The correct spelling of the name is Griswold. On the Pig In A Poke show, the name plate on the table in front of them spells it Griswald.
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While reading the Pig in a Poke itinerary on the flight to London, Clark is holding it upside down.
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Clark calls the street in Germany "Dipplestrabe" with a B sound. In reality, the German character represents a sound like "sz".
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Continuity 

When the Griswalds are stuck on the traffic island near Parliament and Big Ben, the long shot shows a Chrysler 180 hitting their Austin Maxi. In a close-up the other car is a Morris Ital.
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The first time the Griswalds drive their yellow Austin Maxi, Clark drives on the wrong side of the road and hits another car. The yellow Maxi's left front fender is badly damaged. In subsequent shots, the damage is much less severe.
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During take-off, the PAN AM plane shown is a cargo plane, with no windows. In the next scene, Clark sits in a window seat.
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When Clark mixes up the English hotel rooms, the door on the left leads to the lobby; the one on the right leads to the strange woman. After he meets the strange woman, he runs out and meets Ellen in the hallway, but he emerges from the lobby door, not the strange woman's door.
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When the woman at the Eiffel Tower holds her dog, a basket hangs from her left arm. In the next scene, when the dog jumps out of her arm, the basket is gone.
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At the Eiffel Tower, when Clark throws Rusty's beret, the black miniature schnauzer that jumps after it turns into a daschund.
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The "Pig In a Poke" announcer says they won a "supercharged Honda 750 motorcycle." The motorcycle shown is a Honda Rebel 250.
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Clark gets into the passenger seat, thinking it's the driver's seat. When he and Ellen change places, she leaves the door open. The door is closed when Clark reaches that side of the car.
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When the Griswalds take off to go back home, the plane that takes off is a twin-engine Airbus A-300. Immediately after the in-flight meal, the plane is a triple-engine McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
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When Clark first hits the bike rider with his car, the cyclist nurses his left leg. Later, at the hotel in Rome, his cast is on his right leg.
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Clark hits a biker in England, who is thrown across the hood from right to left. When Clark gets out to see how the biker is doing, the bike is in the front of the car.
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When the car chase ends in the fountain, Chevy Chase pulls Eric Idle out of the water to punch him, and Idle's hair is wet. In the next shot, Idle's hair is dry.
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When the Griswalds abandon their car in Germany, they also abandoned their luggage. Yet when they, are on the train, they have changed clothes.
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In the Paris hotel room, Clark flops onto the bed and falls off. He quickly gets up and sits on the side when Rusty appears to talk about acclimating to France. Suddenly out of nowhere, Clark produces a set of berets from behind him for the family to wear.
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When the Griswalds stop at their hotel and run into the English biker, the sky is dark. In the next scene, the sky is sunny.
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Crew or equipment visible 

The Griswalds stay in a very tiny hotel room. When the camera pans up towards the ceiling, the set structure holding up the wall and ceiling are visible.
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Errors in geography 

When the plane passes the Statue of Liberty, the passengers look out the window on the left, but the view shown is on the right side.
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In the opening sequence, the Griswalds' address is revealed as 8805 Skyline Drive, Chicago IL. There is no Skyline Drive in Chicago. Justice, IL, (a very small southern suburb) has a Skyline Drive, but it's not long enough to have an 8800 block.
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Factual errors 

The "Pig in a Poke" host asks the Griswalds about the leader of the 1804 American Expedition, leading them with "What Lieutenant lead that expedition?" Ellen Griswald inadvertently answers by saying Clark's name. The actual answer is "Lewis," who was a Captain. William Clark was also a Captain, but Meriwether Lewis was the leader.
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French people don't ask you to say "cheese" to make you smile for a photo, they ask you to say "souris" [mouse].
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During Ellen's dream on the plane of the Queen's reception the guests are greeting the Queen, Princess Diana, and Prince Charles and then turning away. You always face the Queen and never turn your back to Royalty in Great Britain.
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The translation for the billboard with Ellan Griswold is incorrect. The correct translation is The Woman in a Shower.
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Miscellaneous 

Eric Idle's character is shown collapsing in the fountain. It's not made very clear that this is because his leg plaster has dissolved.
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When the Griswold's are getting their picture taken in front of the fountain, as Clark is showing the thief how to use the camera, the thief's shirt has bunched up at the bottom. You can see Clark straighten his shirt as he moves around to the front of him.
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When Clark discovers the bound man in the trunk, he slams it back shut but there is a hole cut out in the trunk-lid, presumably for the camera.
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When Clark and Ellen are in the club watching the topless dancers, and Ellen notices Rusty with the hooker, she tells Clark to "Look who she's with". As he turns to Rusty and the camera shows Rusty with the hooker, the hooker's blouse slips off her shoulder, temporarily exposing her breast. It is obvious this was not scripted, and she immediately covers up.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Ellen talks to the crook in the dining room, she says she used the F-word in front of the kids. In the R-rated theatrical release, Ellen screams "Fuck!" when she sees a billboard advertising her "movie". That shot was removed from the home video version to make it more appealing to a family audience.
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Revealing mistakes 

The shot of the Statue of Liberty does not include the World Trade Center's twin towers, which were built in 1972.
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When Audrey calls Jack from the London hotel, she dials 7 numbers before Jack answers. Calling the US from the UK requires 13 numbers (001 + Area Code + 7-digit number).
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During the chase scene, when Clark jumps into the car from the bicycle, the bicycle remains straight, as if it were attached to the car.
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When Clark discovers the bound man in the trunk, he slams it shut. A hole is cut out of the trunk's lid, presumably for the camera.
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When the thief takes the Griswald's picture in front of the fountain in Paris, Ellen holds up the Paris brochure. The flag on the brochure is green, white, and orange, the colors of the Irish flag.
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When Chevy Chase accidentally hits Eric Idle's leg on the revolving door, Idle screams in pain well before the door hits his leg.
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The chase scene uses obvious stunt doubles for Clark chasing after the bad guys on the bicycle and in the car, and the bad guys in their car.
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See also

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

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