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Schindler's List (1993) Poster

Goofs

Character error 

(German version only) When Schindler and Goeth argue about the disposition of Helen Hirsch, we hear Goeth pronouncing the name of Auschwitz incorrectly, he says "Aus-schwitz". This error can be noticed at times in German public as people indeed seem to confuse the name of Auschwitz (which is German for the Polish town name Oswiecim) with "Ausschwitz" (where "ausschwitzen" actually means "to exude").

Anachronisms 

In the 1940s, almost all European women did not shave any of their armpits, legs, or pubic areas, especially work or death camp women who were not allowed even the basics. All but one of the women in the film are trimmed and groomed.
The bottle of Hennessy cognac as seen in the movie is the new shape released in 1990s. The original bottle shape was taller and had different label.
When one train of the male Jews were taken to Czechoslovakia, we can see some electric columns for electric rail tracks. At that time and place, all locomotives were steam-engine.
A 1950 Mercedes-Benz 170 Va can be seen during the evacuation scenes.
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The Billie Holiday song heard from a radio is not the wartime recording stated on the end credits. It's a later version from the 1950s.
The cabaret song at the start of the film - "Der fröhliche Wanderer" or "Mein Vater war ein Wandersmann," known in English as "The Happy Wanderer" - was written after WWII, in 1955.
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When the Nazis are separating healthy and sick prisoners, they play two shellac records. The second disc is labeled "Fogg Records", but Mieczyslaw Fogg founded his record company after the war; moreover Fogg recorded mostly (if not only) Polish performers at his studio, and that song doesn't resemble a Polish song.
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When Rudolph Höss meets with Schindler, Höss states that I.G. Farben needs labor for "his chemical factory" as if the name were for a specific person. I.G. Farben was in fact the name of an industrial conglomerate and the not the name for one particular individual.
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Yerushalayim shel Zahav was not written until twenty years after WWII (see trivia).
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Schindler travels in a 1946 Daimler Landaulet.
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The concrete mixer seen in the labour-camp was build in the later 50's by the company Lescha. The model is a Lescha 100.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When the evicted family is shown moving into its new ghetto apartment, a woman who is already there is rocking a baby in her arms. There is crying, but the baby itself is calm.
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Character error 

Oskar Schindler tells a guard, that only a kid can polish a 45 mm shell from inside. However, German army did not use 45 mm caliber guns at all (not counting a small quantity of captured Soviet tanks, for which the Germans did not manufacture ammunition anyway).
After the little boy takes the saddle out of the car and after Schindler says thank you - he passes on some cigarettes to a Schutz-Staffel personnel at the camp and Schindler calls him "Rottenführer", but the rank/insignia of the SS man responds to a different rank called Sturmmann which is one rank lower than the Rottenführer rank.
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During the clearing of the Krakow ghetto, a SS soldier berates another soldier for shooting the boy he was dragging back to the assembly area. This soldier repeatedly mispronounces the verb "schiessen" (to shoot) with an "i" sound instead of the correct "e", making it sound like he is using the verb "scheissen" (to defecate).
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Continuity 

After Goeth attempts to shoot the rabbi only to have his pistol fail to fire he pulls a second semi-automatic pistol from his pocket to shoot the rabbi. After this pistol also fails to fire several times Goeth hits the rabbi and walks away dropping the pistol on the ground. The pistol that he drops is a revolver and not the semi-automatic he removed from his pocket.
The Doctor who poisons his patient in an act of mercy killing is first seen covered in blood scrambling to get the poison from a pharmacy. Moments later he is seen in a perfectly clean identical coat when he is distributing the poison. A bit later he is seen carrying a wounded woman who is subsequently shot by an SS man, the former bleeding out on the doctor.
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When the kid is painting the letters "DIREKTOR" for the first time, a serif font is used. In a subsequent shot the word is shown in a san-serif, bolder, almost stencil-like font. The size of the word is also much larger than before.
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When Schindler goes to kiss the Jewish girl, he puts his hands on her shoulders. In the next shot, he pulls his hands away from her cheeks.
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In the ammunition factory, Schindler approaches the rabbi working at a grinding machine from behind and asks him a question. The rabbi does not hear it, due to machine noise, so Schindler calls him a little louder. The rabbi then switches the machine off and answers the original question, which he did not hear and Schindler did not repeat.
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At the end of the film, when we see the real survivors with their movie counterparts pay homage at Schindler's grave, each person lays a small rock on the flagstone, as per the Jewish custom. We are to assume that is a factual documentary and not a 'staged' reconstruction. But we can see that the small rocks on the flagstone change shape, color and position more than a few times, as each time the camera drops to capture the laying of these stones.
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When Schindler is reprimanded for kissing the Jewish girl by the SS officer, the SS officer picks up his cup twice in the same sentence.
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When Oskar first meets Amon over lunch, there is an officer who pours water twice, from two different angles.
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Oskar sits down at Amon's table for lunch, getting ready to eat, with the camera looking from behind Amon. When they change angles you can see him already chewing the food.
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When the men use a little boy to get ice from the roof of the train while they're going to Schindler's factory, the barbed wire on the window is in a zig-zag pattern, but the exterior shot reveals a line pattern.
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When Oskar is in bed with his wife and talking, his head is resting on her. But in the next shot, when she leans up/turns over to talk to him he is a lot further away from her.
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The position of Amon Goeth's arms as he is talking to Helen in the basement before he beats her.
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The sequence of Schindler interviewing for a secretary position opens with a wide shot showing furniture in the room that is covered while the walls are being painted. Once it cuts to a close shot, the furniture is gone.
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When the boy is caught by the Nazi troops, he drops his case next to his feet. When we cut back to him, the bag is a meter away.
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In the opening sequence when Schindler is preparing for the party (dressing up, getting money) the shape of his hands (and nails) differs from shot to shot.
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Placement of Stern's arm around a one-armed worker at Schindler's warehouse.
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When the Schindler women are being loaded back onto the trains to go to his factory, one shot shows Helen Hirsch and Rosalia Nussbaum already on the train. In the very next shot, when the SS man is removing children from their mothers, both Helen and Rosalia are suddenly back in the lines.
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When the train of women is pulling into Aushwitz, ramps are already in place next to the track. They then disappear, and are put in place when the train stops.
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Towards the end of the film, when the Russian soldier liberates the Schindler Jews who are sleeping outside of the factory, as he rides towards them on a horse there are lot of gaps on the ground between the sleeping Jews. Then the camera angle changes to a position behind the soldier, and there are far more people lying on the ground with no gaps whatsoever between them.
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The opening sequence in the train station, one can clearly see that there is no metal cover where the guy is setting up the table, yet as they begin to take names, it seems that the action is happening in a different place.
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In the final sequence, the end of the war, some of the women have hair that is too long to have grown in the seven months since Auschwitz.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Schindler and Stern negotiate with the Jewish investors outside the ghetto, Steven Spielberg is reflected on the rear window (his jacket is blowing in the wind).
The first time Amon Goeth shoots a Jewish prisoner, the large dirt squib is clearly visible in the background before it detonates.
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The scene inside the cellar between Oskar and the maid, when she faces the camera head on, there is no light coming from the right, yet as the scene progresses and the shot tightens, somebody turns on a light which becomes visible as they cut to her left and her head tilts forward.
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Factual errors 

Oskar Schindler was never awarded the Golden Nazi Party Badge, and thus couldn't have sold it to save more Jews. In any event, all but a few of the badges were made of gold-plated brass.
Among the decorations worn by Amon Goeth on his SS uniform are the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Sudentenland Medal, and the Silesian Eagle. Goeth was never awarded any of these decorations; in the case of the Silesian Eagle, Goeth would have been 11 years old when the badge was presented.
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The Golden Party Badge (Goldenes Parteiabzeichen) that Schindler is holding is the 'large' military version and not the civilian type that he would have had, if he had been awarded one.
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When the gassing story is told in the women's barracks, one woman is seen to run her hands through her hair. On her index finger is a ring. All the jewelry was confiscated.
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The list was typed up before Rebecca and Josef Bau married. She is on the list under her maiden name, Tenenbaum.
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Amon Goeth is presented as a Schutz-Staffel Major in the film. Recent examination of Goeth's service record has established that the highest SS rank he held was Captain.
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In The Plaszow concentration camp, Amon Goeths villa was situated so he could not see the camp nor could he shoot prisoners from his balcony.
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After the party at the beginning when we first see Schindler, there is a shot of a column of German solders marching down the street. One of them is carrying a MG42 machine gun over his shoulder. That weapon was not introduced until 1942, yet this scene takes place before the deadline for the Jews to move into the ghetto which, according to the movie, was in March 1941.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Schindler takes his meal he uses his fork with the right hand and his knife with the left. Not being left-handed this would be a very unusual thing for a German man to do. In fact, Germans and many Europeans do in fact cut their meat with their dominant hand, and do not rotate utensils. Rather the meat is eaten straight from the knife, so the way Schindler eats in that scene is technically culturally correct.
When they are separating the healthy from the sick, one of the men running naked is clearly not circumcised. However, many of the Jewish prisoners were not Torah observant but in fact had been assimilated into Gentile society, and thus may not have been, in fact, circumcised.
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Revealing mistakes 

Just after the little boy is held up to pull down another icicle from the roof of the train, the camera angle switches to the exterior and pulls back to show the train going by with no trace of snow or ice anywhere else on the train except right over that one doorway.
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When Schindler is getting dressed to go to the night club at the beginning of the film he pours a clear liquid into his glass on the table next to the radio and lamp from a Hennessy VSOP Cognac bottle. Hennessy VSOP Cognac has a dark, amber color and wouldn't be clear for any reason.
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At the train station, when Schindler saves Stern from being sent away, an officer is seen flipping through pages of names, but all the pages are exactly the same.
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When the doctor goes into his secret stash of fine liquors, there seems to be a ray of light inside. How is that possible since it must be inside a wall?
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Crew or equipment visible 

When Amon Goeth is hanged, the safety harness that is holding up actor Ralph Fiennes can be seen jerking the back of his coat up.
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Factual errors 

The hanging of Amon Goeth looks absolutely nothing like the actual film footage of the execution. Place, clothing, procedures, number of people involved and the graphic events that took place are all wrong.

See also

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

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