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The Rocketeer (1991) Poster

(1991)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Set in 1938 but mentions Deutschemarks, which weren't introduced until 1948. The German currency at the time was the Reichmark. The term "Deutschemark" was used for double-D alliteration because Campbell's line was "He pay you in dollars or Deutschemarks?"
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In the first air show scene (and later in the nightclub), press photographers have 4"x5" Speed Graphic press cameras of a post-war model with the polished aluminum (shiny) lens boards. In 1938 they would have had black painted wooden lens boards.
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In 1938 we see the "Spruce Goose" which was designed in 1942, but not built until 1947.
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When Hughes show the Nazi documentary about the rockets attack, the title uses the Univers condensed font. This typography was not invented until 1957.
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The final scene shows a stop sign that is white letters on a red background. The White-On-Red color scheme was first mandated in the 1954 revision of the MUTCD, Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, section 29.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Lothar says "Where's the rocket?" the words don't match his mouth.
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Character error 

When the Nazi agent is yelling at Sinclair, he shouts, "Ich habe meine Bestellung, und du auch!" ("I have my order, and so do you!") The German word for a military order is "Befehl." "Bestellung" is the order you give to a waiter.
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During filming of "The Laughing Bandit," the first ruined take has Sinclair saying, "None other" then stabbing the villain. The second take reverses the order before being ruined.
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Continuity 

After Cliff puts on the rudder helmet so he can steer/control the rocket, he is frequently seen turning his head without changing his course or direction.
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When Cliff straps on the rocket to save Malcolm, he leaves two buttons undone, yet when he blasts off, he's completely buttoned up.
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The color of the endcap on the Gee Bee's control stick changes from red just as Cliff takes off to yellow after he flies over the car chase.
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When Peevy first places the wad of gum on the rocket for "good luck", it is dead center on the rocket pack. The next time we see the pack up close, in the attic, the gum has moved to the right.
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When Cliff says, "How do I look?", the chinstrap on his helmet is undone, but immediately afterwards, when Peabody says, "Like a hood ornament," it is fastened.
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After the GeeBee is hit by the fleeing thieves, the long shot shows oil splattered on the windscreen. Then a close up shot shows the windscreen clean before it is sprayed with oil, then it switches back to the long shot with oil on the windscreen again.
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When Cliff nearly crashes into the truck when he's "landing", we also see him standing on the flatbed in the back of the truck (this is because it is the same shot as when they are making their getaway when Cliff is pushing the truck with the rocket pack).
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Crew or equipment visible 

When the GeeBee crashes, you can see the cable which pulls it along. The cable pulling the car into the gas truck can be seen as well.
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When Cliff rides along on the ice sculpture, the wheels underneath can be seen briefly.
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Factual errors 

When Cliff is flying around the South Seas Club, his rocket pack lights several fires, and yet his pants and boots never seem to suffer any affects from the heat.
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When Sinclair ignites the rocket pack to escape the zeppelin, the rocket exhausts are aimed vertically yet Sinclair travels horizontally. Such flight is not physically possible.
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After Cliff's Gee Bee R-1 racing plane is damaged, as he is attempting to land we see the engine temperature gauge indicating the engine is overheating. While the engine was shown being damaged, the R-1 was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr air-cooled radial and could not be overheating as airflow at the 200 mph it was flying would keep the engine cool. The oil pressure could have dropped, but the engine would not have overheated in flight - overheating would only be caused by running the engine on the ground for an extended period of time.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The word "commando" was not widely used until 1940 after the need for quickly deployed raiding forces arose after the fall of France. However, the word came from the Boer War, where it described Afrikaaner long range penetration units fighting the British, so its use in 1938 is conceivable.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the airplane race, a shot of a group of the planes shows no pilots sitting in them, revealing that the airplanes are models.
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When Peevy uses the gum to seal the leak in the jet pack, the gum would have been hard and not malleable and dry. It could not have been re-stuck to the jet pack without being softened in some way.
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There are numerous times when the rocket pack exhaust should have burned pants, bed sheets, vegetation, interior walls, truck beds, and many other items.
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When the abandoned outlaw vehicle races across the airfield, the gasoline tanker blow up before being hit by the vehicle.
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As the Rocketeer comes in for a landing at the Griffith observatory, the cable guiding the stuntman to the ground is visible.
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In the scene where Cliff flies around inside the nightclub, the rope that is pulling the food cart he is riding can be seen just before he hits the wall.
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In the scene where Cliff tries to save Malcolm, the second time Cliff flies up to the biplane and lets the engine run too long, the wire holding up his waist can be seen for a second.
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Some obvious back projection during the zeppelin climax.
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The string is briefly visible when the jet pack hooked to the "Luck Lindy" statue takes off.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

When Sinclair destroys the "LAND" of the "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign, steel frames are holding the letters. In 1938, the frames were wood, the steel was added only in 1978. Furthermore, the LAND letters stood until 1949, but that knowledge is part of the gag.
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Continuity 

After The Rocketeer accidentally breaks the cable on the Zeppelin, the German pilot is unable to move the steering wheel. Yet, when the body of Lothar crashes through the window and sends the other German pilot out the window on the other side, the steering wheel spins freely (and in the same direction the first pilot was unable to turn).
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See also

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

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