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The English Patient (1996) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

American flags with 50 stars being waved by those on tanks instead of 48 in 1945.
German paratroops did not land via parachute in North Africa until late 1942. The fall of Tobruk was in summer 1942. Also, the German paratroopers are shown descending with a kit bag attached by a line to one leg. This was a British and American technique, not used by the Germans.
A British sergeant wears a Sunderland Football Club scarf with a logo not designed until the 1970s.
The registration plates on the cars in Egypt are of a layout that was not used till the 1980s. Also in 1930s a Cairo car plate would not carry more than 4 digits, not 6 as seen in the movie.
Shot of Jeep/truck wheel stuck in the sand shows it has a radial tyre, which were not introduced in Europe until 1948.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The music that Hanna plays on the bomb-rigged piano does not correspond with the keys that she is actually playing.

Character error 

Katherine's husband has taken off to take pictures for the British Army because, "They want maps of all North Africa, That's why he is in Ethiopia." Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa, not in North Africa.

Continuity 

The fuse on the bomb physically changes between shots while Kip works on it. And, in the extreme close-up of the wires being cut, just one connected wire is seen.
As Hana reads the note Almásy has written on the Christmas cracker paper - "the heart is an organ of fire" - we see that it is dated only "December 22". However, when we see Almásy originally writing the note in flashback, we see him date it "December 22nd 1938".
Amount of water in the glass handed to Count László upon arriving at the army poster after walking out of the desert.
Hana sweeps her wet hair off her forehead as she talks to Caravaggio; in the next shot, the hair is back on her forehead.
Hana lays on a cot, an IV in her arm, donating blood. But when she rises off the cot just as the shelling begins in the next shot, the IV is gone.
The hair Katharine twirls and pins to her head at the campfire shifts position between shots, as does her shawl.
Kip is buttoning his shirt from the top down as he darts past Hana while leaving the barn. When he turns to face her a moment later, the buttons he buttoned are unbuttoned and two lower buttons are buttoned.
The sky shifts between sunlight and overcast in scenes throughout the movie.
Just after Katherine pretends to faint at the Christmas party, we see Almásy remove his red paper crown. In the next shot, as Katherine is leaving the party, Almásy removes his crown again.

Crew or equipment visible 

When Almásy and Madox are walking through the market discussing the impending war, the camera's shadow can be seen clearly on two extras crossing in the close foreground.

Errors in geography 

Extras in the Cairo market are wearing burnooses (hooded robes) from Tunisia (filming location), not worn in Egypt.

Factual errors 

The helmets worn by the American GIs on VE day at the bridge are actually Russian military helmets.
In the Tobruk interrogation center, the German officer wears the shoulder boards of a major and the SS collar insignia of a full colonel.
Major Muller is wearing the rank insignia of SS-Standartenfuehrer, which is equivalent to full colonel.

Revealing mistakes 

When an Egyptian worker hits his head on the overhanging wall of the cave, the rock flexes.
The intervals of lightening seen as Kip, Caravaggio and Hardy carry Almásy around the well are too quick for a thunderstorm.
In the first scene with the plane flying over sand dunes: the shadow of the wing on the plane, the shadow of the plane on the dunes, and the shadows cast by the dunes themselves suggest three different positions for the sun. The shadows of the dunes also change length and direction when the camera angle changes to behind the plane in the next shot.
After Hana washes her hair she places a lamp on a table behind her, but her shadow is projected onto the wall behind the lamp.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

Hana reads to Almásy the letter a dying Katharine wrote to him, which he keeps in his book. Yet, when we actually see her reading from it, the letter is not in the book.

Continuity 

At the end of the film after Katherine dies the Count rubs saffron over her face from the thimble around her neck. When we see her afterwards, her face is clean.

Revealing mistakes 

The flash and the sound of the explosion that kills Hardy reach the monastery at the same time, despite the distance.

See also

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

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