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Glory (1989) Poster

(1989)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

After Col. Shaw is notified of his promotion, he and Maj. Forbes are outside talking. Maj. Forbes is drinking champagne from a Dom Pérignon bottle. This champagne (made by Moët & Chandon) was first made in 1921 and released for sale in 1936.
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In the scene where the 54th Massachusetts has just marched past the Southern plantation, a group of slave children run out to wave at them. After being greeted by Undertaker, they wave. One of the slave children has a digital watch on his hand.
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At one point Shaw tells Sergeant Major Mulcahy "at ease." During the Civil War this command did not exist. The command would have been "rest" or "in place rest."
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When Rawlins is promoted to Sergeant-Major, he is handed the insignia sewn onto a blue cloth backing. While this is common with Civil War reenactors, the stripes of the era were individual stripes that had to be sewn on one-by-one.
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When the 54th is first shown marching past a mansion in Georgia, there is a square concrete curb visible on the left side of the road (to the soldiers' right).
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The corrupt character of Gen. Charles Garrison Harker portrayed in the film by Bob Gunton was not present in South Carolina at the time the 54th Massachusetts was there. He was part of the Army of the Cumberland's Tullahoma Campaign in Tennessee at the time and was only 25 at the time, unlike Gunton who was 44 at the time of his portrayal.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Pvt. Trip is being brought before Cpt. Shaw for desertion, the beatings of the drum are off.
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As the 54th Massachusetts is preparing for battle at James Island, Rawlins shouts to the solders "All right men, form a firing line! Over here!", but he is not speaking.
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After Rawlins hands out a rifle to Trip the latter fires it into the air with an audible "click" (as in no round loaded), but the hammer is still in cocked position meaning Trip never actually pulled the trigger and thus showing the "click" was added post-filming.
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Character error 

In the scene where Shaw finally loses patience with the Quartermaster, he marches in and demands 600 pairs of shoes and 1200 pairs of socks. After the initial interchange, Matthew (Shaw) says "Do you really think you can keep (pause) 700 Union soldiers..." Patently Matthew had forgotten just how many pairs he needed and the slight pause indicates he had momentarily forgotten his lines.
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When handing out Enfields, Morgan Freeman says that they are ".57 caliber Enfields rifles," when in reality, they were .577 caliber. The crate that they are in says .577 caliber as well.
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Continuity 

During the battle at James Island, within a second, and without orders to attach them, all of the 54th Regiment are shown with their bayonets mounted for the charge.
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When Shaw and Cabot are talking to General Harter about their transferring their men to combat command, Cabot has his hands on his lap when the camera faces him, but as the camera faces General Harter, Cabot's face is leaning on one hand.
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The Confederate soldier that Trip wrestles with gains a hat just before being clubbed.
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Shadow on Shaw's face when he tells men he will tear up his cheque.
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The position of the sun as Shaw inspects the beach before Fort Wagner.
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When Major Forbes arrives on the scene when the 54th is starting a fight with the white Union soldiers, the corporal the Major calls out the rank changes from corporal to sergeant and back.
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The sky changes from clear to overcast multiple times during the scene on the beach prior to the charge of Fort Wagner.
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The length of Forbes facial hair when General Strong is giving his speech and then later the next day during battle.
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When Shaw, is wounded at the battle of Antietam, he crawls up against a dead soldier. When Rawlins finds him, he is lying next to a completely different man, though neither is supposed to have moved.
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At James Island, Thomas' bayonet sticks out of the confederate soldier's chest, with Thomas right behind him. In the next shot of the soldier's back, there is no wound, bayonet, rifle, or Thomas.
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During the scene where they are first mustering in, the buckle on Colonel Shaw's kepi moves from the right side of the chin strap to the center, and back again several times.
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During the first battle, somehow bayonets are fixed before they charge. When they first form the line in that scene, bayonets are obviously not fixed. There is never an order given to fix them.
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When Trip is scuffling with the white soldier on the road. Sgt Major Rawlins walks up to break it up, his coat is unbuttoned with his undershirt clearly visible. When the scene cuts to his dialogue, his coat is buttoned all the way up.
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When Rawlins is promoted to Sergeant-Major on the boats, he is called to front and center. As he does so, he salutes, with his palm facing forwards, to the officers. However, in the next shot, his palm is facing down to the ground.
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When Shaw is seen riding on his horse, using his saber in practice cutting watermelons, it is before Christmas and watermelons would not have been available for practice. They come in the late spring and early summer.
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When Gen. Strong is telling the men about Wagner, it's supposed to be July 17, because they go into battle at Wagner on the 18th. Robert, however, says, "You should have seen us in action two days ago," which was not possible, since they fought at James Island on the 16th.
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Errors in geography 

During the final battle scene with the 54th forming up for the attack on Ft. Wagner on the beach, the ocean is to their left. This would mean that they were headed south instead of north. Fort Wagner was actually attacked from the south, therefore, the Atlantic Ocean should be on the right, not the left.
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Factual errors 

The manner in which Colonel Shaw dies in the movie is based on fact. His final words were "Forward, Fifty-fourth!" before he was shot several times in the chest. The film depicts him falling on the parapet; in fact, he made it to the top, and his body fell into the fort.
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In the film, Shaw asks who will carry the colors if they should fall during the assault on Fort Wagner. In reality, it was General Strong who asked this question, and Shaw was the one who volunteered to carry them.
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Flogging was banned in the Union Army in 1861. Pvt. Trip would not have been whipped, at least not by someone as by-the-book as Colonel Shaw; however, there were harsh punishments, such as being "spread eagled" on the spare wheel of an artillery limber, which often broke the man's back.
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In the movie, Shaw is surprised when the men refuse pay that was reduced because they are a "colored" regiment (though he eventually joins them in their refusal). In reality, the refusal was his idea, and he encouraged them to do it.
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The character of Col. Montgomery is portrayed as a greedy, cynical, and hypocritical racist who relishes his former days of being slaveholder. The real James Montgomery was a actually a fanatical abolitionist in the vein of John Brown (for whom he considered mounting a rescue mission). Montgomery's fanaticism did lead him to plunder and burn Darien, GA. Montgomery's motives were sincere (if immoral and brutal), and not cynically excused as portrayed in the movie.
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As Rawlins hands out the Enfield rifles, he calls out each one's serial number. Authentic Enfield rifles don't have serial numbers, but the reproductions do.
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In the movie, it is claimed that "over half" of the regiment was lost during the assault on Fort Wagner. However, official records state that the 54th sustained 272 casualties, which is closer to 40%. Of these casualties, only 116 were fatalities, just under one fifth of the men to storm the fort. If the 156 soldiers that were captured are included, it would bring the total to "over half". In formal military terms, though, "casualties" include captured soldiers. In any event, by most standards, including those of the Civil War, these are heavy casualties and the regiment was widely viewed as having performed bravely indeed.
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Gov. Andrew wanted the 54th to be an elite unit and so did not accept runaway slaves. In fact, among the soldiers of the 54th there was a private who was a medical doctor and all, or nearly all, of the men could read and write.
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The film depicts the 54th Masachusetts Infantry Regiment training through the Christmas holidays of 1862 (after the September 1862 Battle of Antietam), but the real 54th Massachusetts did not organize until March 1863, just four months before attacking Fort Wagner in the climactic scene.
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Shaw did not receive the request to be Colonel of the 54th while at a party in Boston, nor did he accept immediately. In fact, he refused the command at least twice, feeling himself unworthy. It was only after some convinving by his friend (and the man who would later marry Shaw's sister) Charles Russell Lowell, commander of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, he would accept the command. Lowell's own command was unique in that 5 companies of Californians (known as the California Battalion) served in it.
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The film depicts the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry training through the Christmas holidays of 1862 (after the September 1862 Battle of Antietam). But the real 54th Massachusetts did not organize until March 1863, and it was engaged in its first battle on James Island, South Carolina, on July 16, 1863, and then Fort Wagner (the final battle in the film) on July 18, 1863. The 54th went on to fight at Olustee, Florida (February 20, 1864); Honey Hill, South Carolina (November 30, 1864); and Boykin's Mill, South Carolina (April 18, 1865).
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When Colonel Shaw volunteers to lead the charge on Fort Wagner, he tells General Strong, "you should have seen us in action two days ago - we were a sight to see". The skirmish Shaw was referring to occurred on James Island, SC on July 16th, 1863. The charge on Fort Wagner occurred two days later on July 18th. But the film portrays Shaw's conversation with General Strong as taking place on the 17th, with the regiment resting that night (the singing scene) and making the charge the next day (the 18th). So what he should have said was "you should have seen us in action yesterday", not "two days ago".
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When Col. Shaw is in camp at Readville, his horse tack has yellow leather. This was Cavalry colors. Generally, all black or sometimes blue tack was used.
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The night before the big attack on Fort Wagner, you can see the men's breath which is unlikely for South Carolina in July.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When the 54th returns from the Battle of James Island, the melody to "The Bonnie Blue Flag" can be heard in the background. While "The Bonnie Blue Flag" is a patriotic Southern song, actually closer to a Confederate National Anthem than "Dixie", the melody was not exclusive to that song and there were other songs with the same melody, including a humorous song titled "The Arms of Abraham" lamenting the experiences of a draftee in the Union Army, and the melody was popular on both sides of the war.
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In the opening scenes, when Shaw is seen marching beside his soldiers towards the Antietam battle, the rank insignia on his epaulets change from that of a captain (two bars) to that of a second lieutenant (no insignia within the epaulet borders) because it's a flashback.
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When the African-American children's choir sings right before the burning of the town, the choir sings "My Country 'Tis of Thee." The scene takes place in 1863; these lyrics date to 1831.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the charge on Fort Wagner, the 54th endures heavy mortar fire. The morning after, as the camera pans over the beach showing dead soldiers, there's not one mortar hole to be found.
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After Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins talks to a group of children standing by a white fence, he walks away and you can briefly see a digital wrist watch on a child on the right side of the screen as they wave goodbye.
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During the assault on the fort, the bayonets are obviously rubber.
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When Shaw is shot during the assault on Fort Wagner, a cable is clearly seen trailing from his leg as he falls to the sand. The director points this out in the UK DVD version of the movie.
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The gun that Thomas hits a Confederate soldier with bends right before he is stabbed in the final attack.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Crew or equipment visible 

When Col. Shaw is killed, the wire connected to his squib is visible extending out of his boot.
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Factual errors 

When Shaw is being buried, he is shown being thrown into a mass grave still in his uniform minus his boots and socks. But, according to Confederate General Johnson Hagood, Shaw's body was stripped and robbed before being thrown into the grave.
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See also

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

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