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A Few Good Men (1992) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

In one of the scenes in Kaffee's apartment he is watching a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles. The game is won at the end by the Orioles. This actual game took place on June 17, 1991, and was when the Orioles ended the Twins 15 game winning streak during that season, even though the movie was supposed to take place in September of 1992. Another game Kaffee watched on TV between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres, where a home run tied the game at 10, occurred on May 23, 1991, a game San Diego eventually won 11-10 in 12 innings.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Galloway confronts the drunk Danny about why he asked for the transfer order from Jessup, on the line where she mentions the Pentagon, what she is saying obviously does not match up with her lips.
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After Jessup says, "I have been promoted up through the chain with greater speed and success than you have," you can see from behind he is still speaking but with no dialog (widescreen version).
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After Kaffee says "I want the truth!" the reverberation of his voice in the courtroom cuts off abruptly when the shot switches to Jessup giving his retort.
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Character error 

When Col Jessup orders his clerk to get the White House on the phone the clerk responds with, "Yes, sir." In the Marine Corps the proper response for "order understood and will be carried out" is "Aye-aye, sir."
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While meeting with defense attorneys in Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Jessup says "Speak softly and carry an armored tank division." It is highly unlikely that any marine would ever say such a thing, particularly one as gung ho as Jessup. An armored tank division is an army unit. Marine divisions are basically light infantry for maximum deployability. Colonel Jessup would hardly suggest an army formation as the quintessential element of national power. US Marines have armoured battalions. It would have been more appropriate for Jessop to have said "Speak softly and carry and armoured tank battalion".
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When Dawson and Downey first arrived in DC, they are escorted from the car to the building by enlisted men, two sergeants. When given instructions by the escorts, Dawson would've said "aye, aye sergeant" both times instead of "yes sir."
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Before the testimony of Co. Jessup, Kaffee addresses Lt.Cmdr. Galloway as "Levtenant Commander Galloway" using the British/Canadian pronunciation of the word Lieutenant.
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When Kaffee asks Dawson what a Code Red is, and Dawson replies "Sir?", Kaffee retorts with "Don't answer me like I just asked you to clean the latrine". Members of both the Navy and Marine Corps would refer to a restroom/bathroom as a "Head", not a "Latrine". Latrine is an Army term.
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Kaffee once refers to Dawson as a "Corporal," when in fact, he is a Lance Corporal (one rank below a Corporal). In the Marine Corps, a Lance Corporal is never addressed as a Corporal.
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Kendrick is outranked by Ross but never addresses him as "Sir" during his testimony. While it's possible that his disdain for Kaffee would cause him to lose his military bearing on cross-examination, it's highly unlikely that he would fail to acknowledge Ross's rank.
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When Kaffee is reading the inventory of Santiago's belongings during the trial, he refers to "three khaki shirts." Earlier in the film, when in Santiago's room, there are five khaki shirts hanging on the rod.
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Capt. Ross refers to Lt. Kendrick as a "a Lietuenant with four letters of commendation," which is a truly odd boast for a Marine Officer to make considering that a letter of commendation is not an award that is recognized for military officers by the Navy or Department of Defense. A better statement would have been to say, "a Lieutenant with four Commendation Medals," since the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal is something that Lt. Kendrick might actually have received, and would be in his service record. A lieutenant receiving four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals is very unlikely (unless he had some prior-enlisted time), but is much more realistic that four letters of commendation.
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Continuity 

The night before the first day of trial Kaffee opens the door to let Weinberg and Galloway out of his apartment. As they walk to the door Weinberg opens the door again, but it had already been opened.
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The rear view mirror disappears and reappears in Kaffee's car when Markinson is in the back seat while in the same field of view.
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While Kaffee is in his apartment, with Galloway and Weinberg, playing basketball, he throws the ball into the basket, and it does not drop. Then, a minute later, the ball drops twice.
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McGaffey pulls into the parking lot at Markinson's hotel and it is more of a motel - rooms having outside entrances. When he goes to Markinson's room, it is clearly a hotel - rooms with inside entrances.
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When the Marines begin their rifle twirling drill, they have their bayonets fixed to their rifles. Halfway through the drill, the bayonets are at their sides in sheaths affixed to their belts. Yet they are never seen removing the bayonets.
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Throughout Lt. Kaffee's first meeting with Lt. Commander Galloway, the stain on Kaffee's shirt appears and disappears.
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After Kaffee has entered a plea for the two marines, Weinberg and Galloway both turn and are facing him. But in the close-up we see Galloway facing forward with only her head turned toward him and then we see her turn again.
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As Kendrick testifies, we often see the back of his head. When Kaffee asks about Dawson's latest report, Kendrick's hair is much longer.
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When Lt. Kaffee and Lt. Weinberg go to question PFC Downey and LCpl Dawson there is a camera of some sort mounted on the wall in the corner (visible in the shot in which Kaffee is standing with his back toward the corner). In the next shot of the corner, when Weinberg is in the same position, the equipment has disappeared.
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When they are examining the closet in Santiago's room, Kaffee runs his fingers across the camouflage uniforms in the close-up and they are moved out of place. The next shot shows Kaffee at the closet, but everything in the closet is perfect.
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When LT CDR Galloway sets down her cover (headgear) in the Captain's office, her cover reverses positions.
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When Kaffee talked to Ross in the bar about Markinson and took his first drink of beer it was obvious, by the level of liquid in the bottle during the drink, the bottle was not full and was drank from previously.
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After Kaffee's walk with Weinberg and his baby, discussing the forthcoming trip to Cuba, Kaffee leaves to get into his car, his shirt tail is in and out.
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In the final court scene, when Jessup tells Kaffee to call him Colonel or sir before returning to the stand, the camera is on Kaffee's back showing him pouring a glass of water then lowering his arm. The next view is from the front of Kaffee and his arm is raised again pouring another glass of water.
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Kaffee leaves his office after his secretary tells him to say "hi" to Fidel Castro, and he and Galloway are talking outside as they walk to his car. He gets out his keys and unlocks the car door, but when he climbs inside the car and closes the door, the window is already rolled down.
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During the Court room scuffle when Col Jessup threatens to rip the eyes out of Kaffee's head with the MP's restraining him, Jessup's tie is slightly ruffled. However, after he turns around and picks up his hat, his tie is so far around his neck it is hardly visible.
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When Kaffee, Galloway, and Weinberg, are at Kaffee's house and call it a day, Kaffee opens the door for Weinberg so he can leave. In the next shot the door is closed again and Weinberg himself has to open it.
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When Kaffee meets Galloway for the first time, Kaffee's apple switches hands, and the stain on his shirt disappears.
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When Kaffee meets Galloway for the first time, his cap is tucked under his left arm as he enters her office, but then it later switches to under his right arm.
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When Kaffee meets Galloway for the first time, Kaffee's second button from the top is unbuttoned when he first walks in. After he sits down, it is buttoned.
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After a day of testimony, Kaffee's briefcase switches hands twice between shots.
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Col. Jessup's tie after trying to attack Danny and fixing his uniform. (See also Mars Attacks!.)
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When Captain Ross calls McGuire to the stand in the courts-martial, Ross is moving toward the central podium between the counsels' tables. When Ross is giving McGuire the oath, however, he hasn't moved toward the podium at all, but is still behind the table.
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Jessup lowers his cigar twice between shots without apparently having had time to return it to his mouth as he has dinner with Kaffee et al in Cuba.
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In the bar, Kaffee is holding his beer bottle in his right hand as he leaps up to call Capt. Ross a lousy softball player. However, as he calls out the insult, the beer bottle is now in his left hand.
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When Weinberg is asking Dawson about shooting at his mirror, his arms are crossed over his chest. Moments later they are by his side, but he does not have enough time to lower them.
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During the initial "code red" crime, the tape is put around Santiago's face twice.
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At the end of the movie, when the two marines stand to hear the verdict, the long shot shows them to have about a foot difference in height. Move to close-up and they are a few inches different. The long shot once again shows the larger height difference.
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After the Government has rested, Lt. Kaffee, Lt. Weinberg, and Lt. Cdr. Galloway are the last ones in the courtroom, and they are arguing. Lt. Kaffee tells everyone to take the night off, and then reaches around his body with his right hand to pick up his briefcase which was sitting behind him and to his left. The next shot, from the rear, shows Kaffee talking to Galloway. He raises his right hand and shows that it is empty. He then switches his briefcase, now in his left hand, to his right hand.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Kaffee gets into his car and Markinson is sitting in the back seat, set lights are visible in Markinson's glasses in the close-ups.
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Errors in geography 

After the first day of testimony, the plot segues to Kaffee's apartment at night by showing a sunset over Washington. However, the shot angle - from the Iwo Jima Memorial looking towards the Washington Monument and the US Capitol - looks to the east and therefore is looking at a sunrise.
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Factual errors 

The doctor testifies that "lactic acidosis occurs when the body burns sugar instead of oxygen". The body always metabolizes sugar, but in the absence of oxygen, lactic acid builds up as a waste product and is toxic (=lactic acidosis).
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In both the United States Navy and Marine Corps, salutes are not rendered while uncovered (not wearing a hat). This occurs throughout the film. The correct equivalent is to simply come to attention.
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There is no such thing as "conduct unbecoming a Marine" under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The closest thing to it is what is known as "Article 133" which could carry a dishonorable discharge as a possible punishment.
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The group depicting the Marine Silent Drill Platoon in the opening credits are shown wearing Class B Dress Blues. This is the standard, and most well-known Marine Corps dress uniform, featuring ribbons on the left chest, Marksmanship Badges, and blue trousers. While the Silent Drill Platoon, as Marines, would be authorized to wear this uniform, they only wear Class A Blue-White Dress uniforms when performing.
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Kaffee is a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) after being in the Navy for nine months. A JAG officer who is a direct commissionee comes in the military as an O-2 and is promoted within six months. After nine months, Kaffee certainly would be a Lieutenant (O-3).
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There are apparently three officers in Col Jessup's unit including Col Jessup, and no Non-Comissioned Officers above the rank of Corporal. In reality, a Marine Platoon Commander such as Kendrick would answer to a Company Commander (a Captain), who would in turn answer to a Battalion Commander (a Lieutenant Colonel), and the Battalion Commander would report to Col Jessup (equivalent to a Brigade Commander). Each officer would have an NCO counterpart of appropriate rank serving as his senior enlisted advisor. A Platoon Commander would be assisted by a Platoon Sergeant (a Staff Sergeant or Gunnery Sergeant), a Company Commander by a First Sergeant, and a Battalion Commander by a Sergeant Major. Col Jessup would also have a Sergeant Major who reports directly to him, who would be his senior advisor on all issues pertaining to the enlisted men in his unit. Kendrick's Company and Battalion Commander's are noticeably absent from the film as are any of the senior enlisted advisers who would certainly have had an interest in the welfare and discipline of the Marine who's death becomes the focus of the film.
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When Lt Weinberg bring in the 2 USAF Airmen towards the end of Col Jessep's testimony with the intention of Col Jessep seeing them and influencing his testimony, this would not be allowed in a military court for this very reason. In a Court Martial proceeding, these 2 Airmen would have been kept in a chamber outside the courtroom until it was their time to testify.
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In the initial office scene with Col Jessup, LtCol Markinson is not wearing name or US Marine Corps tapes on his uniform.
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Pfc. Louden Downey when questioned by Capt. Jack Ross says that when the pick-up Pvt got to his post the vehicle, the Humvee, had a blow-out (flat tire) with no spare. This is impossible. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or Humvee has a run-flat device, consisting of a large reinforced disc inside the tire that allows the vehicle to be driven without an inflated tire for an extended period of time. If the Humvee had gotten a flat tire, they just would have driven back and gotten a new tire.
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Throughout the movie, 7 or 8 marines are seen in dress uniforms. All wear expert rifleman badges - a statistical improbability since only about 1/3 of marines earn that rating.
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When Kaffee is looking up recent telephone calls from the Marine base, you can see they're dated 1992. 6 September 1992 (when the crime took place) was on a Sunday not a Friday.
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When Daniel and Joanne investigate the crime scene, you can see the pillow on the bed is stained red with blood. However, we find out later in the movie that they were there 5 days after the crime had been committed. The blood would have turned brown by then.
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The most likely year of the trial is 1991. 6 September 1991 was indeed a Friday. 3 October was a Thursday, and 4 October was a Friday, all consistent with dialog and key scenes. But Judge Randolph then announces the court would reconvene on "Monday 19 October." In fact, 19 October 1991 was a Saturday. The correct reconvention date would have to be Monday 21 October, not 19 October. Either the incident and trial opening dates are therefore inconsistent with the reconvention date.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

In the airport scene at Guantanamo, when Cpl. Barnes arrives to pick up Naval officers Kaffe, Weinberg, and Galloway as they are getting off of the airplane, Barnes fails to don his cap (or cover, in military terminology), come to attention and salute the officers. Most military branches don't allow members to wear covers around aircraft as they tend to fly off heads and may damage aircraft propellers or engines. If anything, Barnes should just come to attention and acknowledge the officers and then wait for a "carry on" or "at ease."
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Revealing mistakes 

When Captain Ross returns to his desk after questioning Corporal Barnes, you can see him lift The Marine Corps Guide for Sentry Duty so that Lt. Kaffee can grab it from his hand.
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When Kaffee is in his office getting ready to go to Cuba, a shot is used twice. Before we go in the office, a shot of the building is shown and various uniformed people are seen walking. In the far left you can make out Kaffee's car pulling away. After Kaffee and Galloway leave the office and walk to his car (which is now parked on the right), that outside shot is used again. Kaffey pulls away and drives off to the left. You will notice this is the same shot as used before, just timed differently.
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In the last courtroom scene, after Col. Jessup has struggled with the Marine in an attempt to get at Kaffee, you can clearly see stage makeup smeared on his shirt collar and tie.
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When they are in Court, the clock on the wall doesn't change time throughout the movie. It always shows 3:34 and the second hand doesn't move. It always shows between 12 and 1 and 7 and 8.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

Lt. Col. Markinson commits suicide with a Beretta M92, 9mm pistol, albeit chrome-plated, a concession to his rank. The US Military has never issued chrome or nickel-plated sidearms to officers. In court later, Lt Kaffee describes the caliber as ".45". The Beretta 92 series is only chambered for 9mm rounds.
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Character error 

When Lt. Kaffee begins his court room questioning of Col. Jessup, he notes that the Jessup is wearing his "Class A dress uniform". However, he is actually wearing his Class A service uniform. His Class A dress uniform would be his dress blues (similar to the uniform Lt. Col. Markinson is wearing during his suicide).
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Continuity 

When Lt. Col. Markinson is dressing in his uniform prior to his suicide, he inserts the end of the belt into the belt loop without going under the left side of the buckle. In the mirror though, the belt is under the left side of the buckle.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

At the end of the movie, when Dawson says "Ten Hut" and salutes, he does it without his cover (hat). While this would be incorrect protocol normally (saluting indoors and saying "ten hut" as well), one forgets that he was just dishonorably discharged and however he conducts himself is of no matter at this point. Presumably he was saluting Kaffee to make up for putting his hands in his pockets earlier in the movie when he initially had no respect for him.
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See also

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

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