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The American President (1995) Poster

Goofs

Character error 

While discussing their nervousness about their budding relationship, the President tells Sydney that all the other first ladies were married to their husbands before they came to the White House. However Grover Cleveland was a bachelor when he became President in March 1885. He married Frances Folsom in a White House ceremony in June 1886.
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During a White House Christmas party, Sydney recounts an incident on Dupont Circle, prompting AJ to ask "What were you doing up on the Hill". But Dupont Circle is northwest of the White House and Capitol Hill is to the southeast. She was away from the Hill.
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In the second of the three character errors, replace the link in the form "nm0166479" with a link in the form "Grover Cleveland", which links to the same page of facts about President Grover Cleveland. Using the form "nm0166479" serves no purpose, except to hide President Cleveland's name, and to force readers to search for this one factoid on the linked page.
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Continuity 

In the second to last scene when Sydney appears in the oval office and they are hugging. The first shot shows his hands under her jacket, the same shot then shows his hands above her coat.
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When Sydney is in the residence having dinner for the first time, she is wearing make-up. When he gives her the tour, her make-up has disappeared.
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When Lucy takes the book it is rotated 180 degrees from the position it was when the president hands it to her.
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During the Virginia Ham scene, the clock behind Sydney's boss changes times between shots.
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When Lewis is chewing out the congressman, the hand holding the telephone changes between shots.
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Near the end of the movie, when President Shepherd is speaking with A.J. and putting on his coat, at one point in the scene (while the camera is focused on A.J.) he is holding his scarf in his hand. The very next camera shot, the scarf is neatly arranged around his neck and tucked into the front of his coat.
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When Sydney leaves the residence at the White House after her first night with the President, she wears earrings that she didn't have the evening before (when she came promptly to tell him why she couldn't see him anymore). I can assure you no woman exhibits earrings like that at 5 AM if she hadn't worn them before (hiding in her pockets?!?). During the same scene, it's amazing to observe A.J. with his hands in his back, in his pockets and in his back again through the movements of cameras.
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The President's hairstyle changes as he visits his daughter for the first time.
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In a scene at Sydney's office, she goes from one jacketed arm to both arms being in the jacket between shots.
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When Sydney first spends the night in the residence at the White House, the President is awakened by Lewis stating that the press is camped out at all entrances. When Lewis comes up to the President's bedroom and then is followed by A.J and Robin, the President puts on his robe. In one shot shortly after putting on the robe the t-shirt he is wearing is scrunched up at the neck under his robe - the shot continues from a different angle and the t-shirt is perfectly straight.
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When President Shepherd is going to Lucy's room after making the deal with the Motown Three, he unbuttons his suit jacket in the hallway. When he enters the room and she informs him that Sydney is upset, his jacket is buttoned.
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At the State Dinner, the French President is talking face to the camera, while the audience can watch Sydney's turning her ring around the finger - a second later, the camera shows Sydney in front, still listening to the President's story, but keeps her hands straight now.
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When the president is first shown stepping off the presidential helicopter (having just landed) you can see in the background the rotors are completely stopped, but when the camera cuts back to the president the rotors are are now winding down and still moving slowly after the pilot shut down the engine.
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When Sydney is nervously tapping her pencil on the table before her big first date with the President, the position of her fingers on the pencil changes between shots.
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At the Christmas party, Syndey's purse cord is across her chest when she walks in but when she walks over to the president it is over her arm.
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The phone cord is under/over the President's arm.
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When the President and AJ are playing pool, the cue ball seems to behave erratically.
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When the President is giving his big speech to the press corps, Michael J Fox is shown in one shot looking to his right, the next shot he's looking straight ahead.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the scene where the President first calls Sydney (at her sister's apartment) to ask her out, the whole time of the phone call you can see the crew on the window reflection
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Factual errors 

At the end of the movie, when The President is getting ready to leave and drive to Sydney's house to beg for her back, she walks in and declares that the traffic is awful. This doesn't make sense; she wouldn't have been able to hear his conversation through the wall because the Oval Office is soundproof.
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Just after inviting Sydney to a dinner, the President is seen entering and taking off in a helicopter. As a security measure, Marine One always flies in ever-shifting groups with identical decoy helicopters, sometimes as many as five. However, in the film, the helicopter escorting the President is alone. There is a repeat occurrence at Camp David later in the film.
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When the President gets called to the Situation Room about the Libyan event while he's on his "date" with Sydney that "date" is the night after the State Dinner which is referenced as being on a Thursday night several times, making this day Friday. In the SitRoom the President and his advisers debate when they can bomb for the least amount of casualties and the President asks about the night shift. The JCS says they're on now. Friday is the Muslim holy day. In reality no one would have been working.
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The time frame of this movie is approximately from the end of November thru the beginning of January. During that time, Senator Bob Rumson would've been in the middle of the Republican Primary, and that would be what his time and effort was used on winning, not the presidency. He more than likely would not start a full campaign against the President until the primary was over, and he was declared the Republican nominee for president.
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Miscellaneous 

Near the end of the movie when Sydney asks how he was able to send flowers to a woman while he was President and The President says "It turns out I have a rose garden". Since the State of the Union address occurs in January it is highly unlikely for the rose garden to have been in bloom in January in Washington DC.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After the President's big speech at the end of the movie, staff members are walking quickly back to re-write the State of the Union address. After Leon says "Well, you don't see that every day," Louis says "Yeah - he's got the members of the press corps asking each other how to spell 'erudite.'" Although the president never uses the word 'erudite' in his speech, erudite is an apt description of his demeanor during the speech. This was a reference to his demeanor, not a reference to something he said.
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While the US President can't introduce a bill in Congress, it's common practice for him to get a sympathetic legislator to do it for him; this could be colloquially referred to as the President introducing the bill. In any case, he says, accurately, that he's "sending a bill to Congress for its consideration" which is perfectly proper as part of the State of the Union message.
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Sydney tells the guard, "This is my first time at the White House." But later, when Shepherd asks if she's ever been in the Oval Office, she replies, "I've just been on the regular tour." However, it's quite probable that Sydney was given a tour before her meeting. Lots of people who visit the White House on official business are offered a tour before their meetings take place.
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Plot holes 

Sydney gets votes for the Greenhouse emissions bill by promising "full White House support", even as the President is losing votes on his crime bill because the President's popularity is plummeting. She should be losing votes the same way the President is.
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Revealing mistakes 

At the State Dinner with the French President, when people are shown entering the White House and passing through the metal detector, the detector is clearly not switched on. They are also moving at a reasonably fast pace, sometimes passing through at least two at a time.
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In the scene where Sydney and AJ meet to discuss the legislation regarding the reduction in fossil fuels, behind AJ is hung the famous Trumbull painting of the Committee of Five presenting the completed Declaration of Independence to John Hancock and the Second Continental Congress (the subject is sometimes erroneously believed to be the document's signing). Throughout the scene, it appears that the painting has been hung backwards - John Hancock is seated to the left of the viewer instead of the right. Given the general ubiquity and fame of the painting, it is unlikely that it was hung incorrectly, indicating, instead, that the entire scene had been flipped.
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Standing clock in the Oval Office shows randomly varying times. When the President asks for the time and someone answers "3:30", the clock reads something completely different.
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In the limousine (when the President stops at the flower shop), the Washington DC visible through the car windows moves by frame by frame, instead of scrolling smoothly.
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In the limousine with Robin and Louis, the president is clearly reading from a cue card when he speaks of Sydney's involvement in the anti-Apartheid demonstration ten years earlier.
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See also

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

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