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Stargate (1994) Poster

(1994)

Goofs

Plot holes 

When the villagers assist in the Earth group's break for freedom, they seem to have quickly gained an understanding of how sub-machine guns are operated without anyone's help. While the principle of "point and pull the trigger" is pretty obvious and could be quickly discovered, there is still the issue of the safety catch. In addition, it would appear that O'Neil's soldiers stored their weapons loaded and charged - something no soldier would do with a weapon that was being transported in a container.
This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Anachronisms 

When miners have celebration feast or "welcome party", one group of them sitting around fireplace. It's clear that fire is coming from a gas ring burner, not wood.
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In the opening scene, depicting a car from the 1920s, the sound effect of the horn is obviously of a dual-note horn from a modern car.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

It is clear that the cat's mouth does not move the last time the cat meows onscreen.
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Character error 

The gold jewelry given to Daniel Jackson was referred to as the "Eye of Ra." However, the engraving on the medallion is the "Eye of Horus." There is no such thing as the "Eye of Ra" in Egyptian mythology.
Dr. Jackson at one point refers to the writing as "hieroglyphics," which no self-respecting Egyptologist would ever do. "Hieroglypic" is an adjective. An Egyptologist would call the writing either "hieroglyphs" or "hieroglyphic writing."
The character, Lt. Perretti is wearing fatigues with Tech. Sgt. stripes.
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Continuity 

Right before the team goes into the Stargate for the first time, Catherine gives her necklace to Daniel. Shortly after, there is a shot of Catherine watching them go, and you can clearly see the necklace still around her neck.
When Daniel and his team first enter the city, his pendant is tucked under his shirt, but in the next shot out of his shirt, then in the next shot, tucked back into his shirt.
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When O'Neil is thrown into the watery prison cell, Kawalsky's dog tag jumps about between shots. Additionally, when shot from the front, he is wearing a jacket, but from the back he's wearing only a t-shirt.
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When Daniel Jackson reaches the other end of the stargate for the first time his face is all sweaty. In the next shot his face is completely dry.
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When Dr. Jackson and company encounter the guards in the pyramid, he is not wearing his glasses, however, in the next shot after the guard shoots at the others outside, we see Dr. Jackson with his glasses on.
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The symbol for Orion that doctor Jackson identifies using the newspaper changes. In the earlier shots of the cover-stone, the lowest symbol lacks the arm and bow that we normally associate with Orion, and does not look like the symbol Jackson draws but when he goes over to the cover stone to compare the symbols (the arm and bow make a sudden, momentary, reappearance, just for that shot). Also, the computer image of the sixth symbol, which you see when they're activating the gate the first time, ALSO lacks the arm and bow.
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Shadow sizes and directions in the desert scenes.
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The pace at which the bomb's timer ticks down changes several times.
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Cloud patterns changing constantly, and sometimes no clouds at all, between shots during last battle scene.
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When Ra looks out into the desert and states "The caravan is coming", we see the caravan moving in the distance, approaching the two obelisks near the pyramid. The shadow of the obelisks is at about 10 o'clock (with the caravan at 12). The scene then shifts momentarily to seeing the caravan approaching the obelisks from much closer to the obelisks. The shadow of the obelisks now point down, towards 7 o'clock.
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When Daniel is explaining the six point theory on the white-board, the shape of the cube and the six points vary noticeably between shots.
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During the final fight, O'Neil kills the guard by trapping him under the teleporter at his chest level and activating it. The device only decapitates him at the neck and just his head comes through the receiving end.
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When Daniel is explaining to the scientists and military personnel how the symbols work to activate the gate, there is at one point an insert shot of Daniel circling the Origin symbol for Earth in blue sharpie. In all other shots of the white board and papers, there is no blue circle around the Origin symbol for Earth.
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When O'Neil grabs the weapon from one of the guards and aims it at 'Ra', the children gather around him to form a shield. However, a moment later, the children are not there, in fact, far less children are in the scene than previous.
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Crew or equipment visible 

After Jackson is awakened by the desert beast, O'Neill looks out into the desert. You can clearly see the crew and a very large bounce card in the right lens.
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The camera crew is clearly visible reflected in the dark sunglasses O'Neil and the rest of the team wear in the beginning of the movie. This is most noticeable in the Blu-ray release of the movie due to the higher resolution video.
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In the first attack on the village, after the leader is knocked down by an explosion, a ship swoops down from the sky and the model's cables and guide wires can be seen.
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When O'Neil orders the soldier to "radio" base camp and keep it secure until they return...just before they are initially escorted by the miners to the village, two circular stage lights can be seen reflected in O'Neils' sunglasses whenever Kurt Russel's head is facing forward.
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Factual errors 

When Stargate was initially tested with a probe, they had a system that indicated the probe's molecular deconstruction and a star map to show its location, which turned out to be "on the other side of the known Universe". Although by that point in the movie they had some general idea about Stargate's operation, it wouldn't be enough to construct devices capable of such functions, which go far beyond our present knowledge (the movie clearly implies that the events happen in the 20th century). In particular, a star map indicating the position "on the other side of the known Universe" simply cannot exist, if only because all existing star maps encompass only a small portion of our Galaxy, which is just a tiny speck compared to the size of the observable Universe. Somehow they managed to squeeze every star in the Universe into a glass board some 15 feet in length.
The candy bar that Daniel gives to the village leader isn't melted but still crunchy even after hours spent in the desert in his shirt pocket and being dragged through the sand by the yak-like creature. Even though there is "military grade chocolate" bars, known as "The Desert Bar", created to withstand heat of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit Daniels bar was clearly not that variety but was a common 5th Avenue chocolate bar.
The crew is using a satellite receiver when on the other world. A receiver needs a satellite in orbit to relay a signal. They could not have sent up a satellite. And they could not have been communicating with earth.
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The premise is that the glyphs represent star constellations which are used as a kind of coordinate system. However, many 'star' constellations as viewed from Earth do not only contain stars, let alone stars that actually are 'close' to one another in space. They only appear that way. Many supposed 'stars' in constellations first identified via naked-eye astronomy have long since been identified to actually be galaxies or nebulae which are in fact a lot further away than the actual stars of the constellation. This feature alone means constellations are at best a very poor basis for a coordinate system.
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When the Earth team reaches the mining camp and scans the mineral, the readout comes back, "Quartz: primary element." Quartz is not an element, but a mineral compound, something a sophisticated mineral analyzer would probably be able to deduce.
Nuclear weapons come fully assembled (for both safety and security reasons not the least of which is to contain radioactivity). An arming device is required to enable the weapon. There should be no reason for Colonel O'Neal to do much more than insert the arming device and activate the timer on the weapon.
John Diehl's character is continually referred to as "Lieutenant Kawalsky", however, his rank insignia is that of a "Lieutenant Colonel". A lieutenant colonel is usually addressed as "Colonel", and never a "lieutenant" since the Lt. Col rank is four steps higher than a lieutenant.
At one point, one of the characters comments that the Stargate is made of the same "mineral" that the natives are mining. This cannot be technically correct, as a mineral is a naturally occurring substance, whereas the Gate must be made from the metal that is refined from the mineral (i.e., 'ore').
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Among the ribbons displayed on Jack O'Neil's uniform is the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM). Jack wears a bronze oak leaf cluster on his NDSM ribbon, which is incorrect. Someone who has earned more than one NDSM would wear a 3/16" bronze service star on the ribbon, not an oak leaf cluster.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

During Dr. Daniel Jackson's first discussion of the age of the cover stones, Dr. Barbara Shore mentions carbon dating. Carbon dating technique would be useless on stone or metal; it can give the age only of once-living matter. However, the carbon dating might have been used on discovered organic residue that the cover stones were placed on top of or that has some other connection to them.
Despite the amount of machinery used to activate the gate on Earth, none was needed on Abydos. The Stargate's ring spins like a combination lock. Once the correct symbol is aligned, the mechanism locks it in and the ring is twisted to the next one. All the machinery in the silo was to ensure that no one had to turn the ring by hand.
When discovering a very significant archaeological artefact, the workers at the site take it upon themselves to throw ropes around it and raise it up to a standing position through the use of the force of dozens of people. Why do they want to do that? Not only is this completely unnecessary, but they risk destroying the artefact with all that rough handling. Today, archaeological finds are treated with the lightest of touch to keep that from happening. However, in those early days of the science, people were not always so careful. On more than one occasion, archaeologists the likes of Schliemann himself destroyed what later turned out to be invaluable artefacts during their 'treasure hunts'.
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The premise is that the glyphs represent star constellations which are used as a kind of coordinate system. If that were so, then the problem on the other side would not be to find some tablets to help decipher the symbols. The actual problem would have been that the star constellations look completely different when seen from a different planet thousands of light-years away. In fact, with changes of magnitude, some stars might not be visible at all, while other stars form completely different constellations when watching the night sky from the remote planet. So you would have to observe the night sky until you found all the constellations used on the remote gate, but even if you identified them, you would have no clue where Earth was in that second coordinate system. However the Ancients seem to have already taken this into account, with the stargate addresses being specific to each stargate (As Daniel points out when they see video of the other stargate from the probe footage "These markings are different. They don't match the symbols on our gate."). Therefore, all they would need is the cartouche on the Abados cover stones in order to have the location of Earth ... which they had, but what they DIDN'T have was the symbol for the point of origin, Abados (the pyramid with 3 moons). With a one-to-one relationship, stargate addressing wasn't an issue with this movie, however it BECAME an issue when they made the movie into a TV series (SG1), with Abados having multiple addresses it could dial to.
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Plot holes 

There are 39 glyphs (symbols) on the stargate. After Daniel "discovers" the 7th symbol in the dialing sequence, and they dial the first six, the technician comments that six symbols was as far as they'd ever gotten in the (minimum) three years they'd been working on the device. With only 39 possible options for the 7th symbol, using simple trial and error, they would've discovered the 7th within 39 attempts (33 assuming no repeats in the sequence). At just one attempt per day, and they would've figured it out in a month. The same thing applies to the gate on Abydos - they knew the first six. Even though the 7th was worn off, there were only 39 possibilities.
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You may need seven coordinates to characterize an abstract 'course' to a position in three-dimensional space as described, but in practice, the starting position for a jump through the stargate must always be the stargate itself, at its current position, wherever that may be. Therefore, there would not be a need to dial a seventh glyph. But that would have meant there was no need to bring in the main character Daniel Jackson, they could have just dialled combinations at random without even understanding what the glyphs meant or how many were needed to reach another stargate.
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The true purpose of the mission (the destruction of the Stargate on Abydos if enemies were found) was not explained in any sensible manner. If O'Neil was expected to detonate the nuclear weapon, what was supposed to occur if he was injured or killed and could not complete the task? Additionally, the assembled group was not warned of the possible risks of mission failure which violates basic military protocols. Assuming that some of the men had families, sending them on what was possibly a suicide mission without informing them of that fact and asking for volunteers risked the mission becoming a failure if the men discovered the true reasons and then disobeyed orders or mutinied.
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Ra plans to send back the bomb with its power boosted 100 times, and expects this to end civilization on Earth. It's not said what the normal yield of the bomb is, but there is no reason for it to be enormous. A two megaton bomb boosted to two hundred would be no bigger than the biggest bombs already tested. The highest yield nuclear weapon tested was 50Mt "Tsar."

It would also explode underground and probably do little damage. But there is nothing to indicate that Ra knows where the Earth-based Stargate is, so that much is reasonable. Ra obviously added power to the bomb in order to overload the Stargate at earth causing an explosion bigger than the bomb. Although these point were only giving in SG1, the audience would have no idea about what the gate was made of or how it would react to a nuclear blast.
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The entire mystery requiring Jackson's presence on the science team, is their inability to recognize the seventh symbol. Given the simple back and forth "dialing" system of the gate, this was not enough of a challenge. All that was necessary, was to "dial" the first six characters repeatedly, changing the final one, until the thing worked. A much better plot device, would have been to have Jackson discover the correct ORDER of the characters somehow, or some other reasonably necessary mystery.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the team first exits the pyramid, Jackson presses his hands against the "solid" stone wall as if testing it for stability. The wall can be seen moving when Jackson presses it.
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When O'Neill and the team first discover the mining operation, the long lines of natives that are supposed to be walking back and forth between the mines and the central tent do not move at all but are in fact static images.
When the team first gets to the village from the mine camp, Brown takes a picture of the town. If you look closely, you can see that the shutter on the camera is still closed.
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During the dial up as the chevrons are locking, the symbols on the computer screens do not match up with what is on the Stargate.
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You can see O'Neil's shirt is already cut before the "kid" scratches him on the back in the last fight scene.
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The three "moons of Abydos" seen above the pyramid are obviously images of Earth's moon, merely re-sized and rotated relative to each other.
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During the desert battles, crowds of immobile mannequins are visible in the background. (See trivia.)
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After leaving Col. O'Neil's house, the 2 Air Force gentlemen get into a car. As they open the driver and passenger side doors, the numbers are different. (The numbers should match if it is a true government vehicle with the first 2 digits representing the year the car was made. The passenger door as 82 while the driver door has 78. Clearly the vehicle is from the 80's.)
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When Air Force personnel leave O'Neil's house in their government vehicle with government license plates, the reflection of a California license plate is seen in the rear window (it was laying flat on the rear shelf behind the rear passengers seats). This is presumably the car's real-world license plate.
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The assembled Air Force special forces operators brought only sub machine guns and not M-16s, nor M4 carbines, on the mission. This made no tactical sense as they didn't know if their opposition was wearing body armor, nor if they would have to engage them at a distance. Sub machineguns ranges are slightly farther than those of standard handguns whose ammunition they also use. They would, however, would be largely useless over distances of 100 yards or greater and thus have been nearly useless on Abydos.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

When the transport rings are coming down on the last warrior and Ra screams, his fillings are visible. Although it's not impossible for a being from a technologically advanced race to use fillings, it is highly unlikely that the filmmakers had this explanation in mind.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

As Colonel O'Neil tries to defuse the bomb, Daniel's mouth doesn't move when he asks "How much time do we have left?" and O'Neil's doesn't move when he answers "forty-five seconds."
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Continuity 

When O'Neil arms the bomb, he flips the toggle switch up from its downward position. Later, when he tries to disarm the device, the switch is down again and he once more flips it up.
When Jackson first picks up the "dead" Sha'uri, her legs are exposed. A brief moment later, they are covered.
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Blood on Anubis's face when he is decapitated by the transport rings.
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Revealing mistakes 

When O'Neil kills one of the guards in front of Kasuf, the guard had previously been beating the workers with his staff. Although the staffs are shown to be rigid in the battle scenes, here it wiggles and recoils after striking the worker, obviously made of rubber.
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See also

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

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