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Seabiscuit (2003) Poster

(2003)

Goofs

Factual errors 

During Seabiscuit's Santa Anita Handicap win, he is running dead last early in the race. The charts for the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap show Seabiscuit running no worse than fourth at any point during the race. In fact, he was in perfect striking position around the first turn and down the backstretch.
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Anachronisms 

In the paddock scenes, the bronze statue of Seabiscuit is clearly visible.
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In the montage of still photographs purporting to show the first year of the Great Depression, a truck is visible with a 1937 license plate.
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Towards the end of the movie, after Seabiscuit has won the race at the Pimlico racetrack, a lit electronic scoreboard can be seen in the background. Electronic scoreboards didn't exist in the 1930s.
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In one of his voiceovers, Tick-Tock says, "The Iceman Cometh". The phrase itself comes from the Eugene O'Neill play of the same title, which wasn't produced theatrically until 1946 and refers to George Woolf who was called "The Iceman". Though the phrase "The Iceman Cometh" isn't historically accurate, it is likely a reference to Jeff Bridges's role in The Iceman Cometh.
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All-female mariachi groups did not exist until the 1970s. In the 1930s and '40s, women were usually featured singers, rarely played an instrument, and never wore the male riding suit.
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The car radio plays music as soon as it's turned on. In the 1930s, all radios had vacuum tubes, which had to warm up for 10 to 15 seconds.
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When they allow Red Pollard to ride Seabiscuit into a field to "teach him to be a horse again", 'Charles Howard's car has a modern "antique auto" license plate.
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During races at Santa Anita Park, a turf course is inside the dirt course. Santa Anita's turf course was built in 1953.
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The jockeys all wear clear plastic safety lenses, which weren't used until after World War II.
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The jockeys have chin straps holding their hats on. Jockeys' hats didn't have chin straps until the Caliente Safety Helmet was introduced in 1956.
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The bullring in Tijuana has a modern-day Telmex (Mexican phone company) logo.
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The scenes at Pimlico and Santa Anita Racecourses show ovals equipped with the modern Fontana Safety rail, which is very wide at the top. These rails were not adopted in the US until the late 1980s. In the 1930s, the rails were narrow.
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When the four principals attend a newsreel cinema in 1938, the on-screen announcer says that Seabiscuit is "the biggest thing on four legs since Hope and Crosby." Bob Hope and Bing Crosby didn't team up until Road to Singapore.
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Union Station in Los Angeles is shown as the location where Charles Howard started the campaign to get a match race with War Admiral in 1938. However, the station did not open until 1939.
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Before Seabiscuit and Red Pollard's first race, when Seabiscuit is being loaded into the starting gate, you can see the Santa Anita racetrack sign in the background, with a digital scoreboard. Digital scoreboards were first manufactured in the 1980's.
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During an early scene showing Prohibition, the car pictured is a 1936 GM model. However, Prohibition ended in the U.S. in 1933.
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Throughout the movie, various characters are using modern (precision adjustable-power) binoculars with plastic casing.
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The United States Flag at the Pimlico racetrack has 50 stars. In the 1930s, there were only 48 states.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

While Red is exercising a horse for his former boss, the "hand start" John Deere tractor makes a sound like an electric starter.
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Late in the film, as Charles Howard worries in the bleachers about letting Red Pollard ride in the race, his wife Marcella plays with the marble game. She keeps talking in the next shot, but her lips (at the top of frame) don't move as the audio finishes.
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Character error 

At Pimlico racetrack, the Maryland flag is upside down. The Calvert family seal (gold and black) should be at the top of the pole.
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In a wide shot establishing the Pimlico location before the match race with War Admiral, the Maryland state flag is shown flying upside down. This is a common error in real life due to the unique design of the flag. The black portion of the flag should be on top; not the red portion as reflected in the movie shot.
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Red torments himself remembering how George beat him in a race saying, "Okey-doke, Johnny. There's my hole; gotta fly". George Woolf's actual words in the race were "Oops. There's my hole; gotta go".
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Continuity 

Seabiscuit continually changes from a light honey bay to a dark reddish bay. He also grows and shrinks throughout the film, and his mane switches sides. A horse's mane falls to one side or the other, it doesn't change from side to side.
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Before the final (Santa Anita) race, Red Pollard laces his leg brace in the front of his shin. During the race, the brace is laced on the outside of his calf.
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In the third race, when Tick-Tock beats Crow Segment and they sell out the infield, Seabiscuit's number is 4, except for one quick segment as they parade to the track. Then, Seabiscuit's number is 5.
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During the runaway scene, the horse's reins change from brown braided leather reins to black rubber reins.
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When Seabiscuit is being worked out after recuperating from his injury, Charles Howard sees Tick-Tock McLaughlin in the stands, reading a paper. The paper switches back and forth from being closed to opened as the camera moves back and forth between them.
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After a scene that takes place circa 1930, a subtitle reads "six years later." In the next scene, which takes place in Tijuana, the subtitles read "1933."
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Red exercises a friend's horse, and the horse bolts, you can see a blue jacket on the other side of the bush that the horse is falling over.
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Factual errors 

Red's father calls his wife Agnes. Red Pollard's mother's name was actually Edith. Red's future wife (whom we do not meet in the film) is named Agnes.
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War Admiral is repeatedly referred to as being 18 hands vs. Seabiscuit's 15 hands. The horses were actually the same height, with some sources listing Seabiscuit as the heavier of the two.
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When Red Pollard and Seabiscuit are recuperating, Red asks the track guy to mow around a tree to make a sort of track. The track guy brings out a push mower. The grass he is cutting is higher than the blades. A push mower won't cut grass that high, it will just push over it.
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In one scene, the trainer is consulting with the jockey in the jockeys' room. During the races, only jockeys are allowed in the jockeys' room
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Famed horse trainer James "Sunny" Fitzsimmons is portrayed by Irish born actor Shay Duffin speaking with an Irish brogue. Although he was of Irish ancestry the real Fitzsimmons was born and raised in Brooklyn and had no Irish accent.
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During the pivotal moment in the match race where Seabiscuit and War Admiral are head to head, the horse playing Seabiscuit has a white snip on his nose. Seabiscuit had no white on his face.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Red is hung up in the stirrup on the runaway horse, his right foot is in the left stirrup. Impossible, unless he was riding backwards.
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The "wild" mustangs that Tom Smith is chasing at the beginning of the movie are shod.
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During Seabiscuit's last race he's at the back of the pack racing against a dozen horses, but the groomed racetrack only shows three sets of horse tracks.
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During the credits, a printing plate for a newspaper page is shown. The lettering of the story and the headline "MATCH RACE" is the correct way round, whereas a printing plate is a mirror-image of the page that it prints.
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Flipped shot: After the match race with War Admiral, there is a shot of the train returning west. The numbers on the train are backwards.
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"Six-month-old" Seabiscuit is played by a much younger foal.
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When Red Pollard is in on the train going back to California, the number on the front of the train is a mirror image.
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When Tick-Tock "interviews" the woman who says she wants to see a match race, he picks up the microphone off of the desk but it doesn't have a wire coming out of it.
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When Smith sees Seabiscuit for the first time, he says that the horse walked with a limp (Seabiscuit had mildly crippled knees in real life). The horse is not walking with a limp at all.
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In one of the key moments in the film, a tractor misfires and Red Pollard's horse bolts, breaking his leg. The tractor is a John Deere D or GP. It has a flywheel that has to be turned to start the tractor. The sound it makes attempting to "start up" is that of a car engine turning.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

Frankie Howard is shown to love reading a 'Flash Gordon' book. Frankie died in 1926 and the Flash Gordon comic strip didn't start publication till 8 years later in 1934.
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When the little boy is buried, the lowering device for the casket is modern (post-1980s).
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See also

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

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