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Alexander (2004) Poster

(2004)

Goofs

Factual errors 

Craterus and Polyperchon, shown grieving at Alexander's death and then fighting with the other generals over his corpse, were not even in Babylon when all this occurred.
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This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Anachronisms 

Ptolemy I is depicted recounting the story of Alexander in 283 B.C. The Lighthouse at Alexandria, seen in the background, was built during the reign of his son Ptolemy II, around 270 B.C.
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In Gaugamela Battle, we can clearly hear that the Persian army leaders are talking Arabic. But this battle was before Arabs invasion to Persia so there weren't Arabic words in Persian.
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At the final scene, when Ptolemy is dictating to Cadmus, he mentions "the tenth of June". The Julian Calendar, the first one to contain that date, was established in 45 BC.
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The Alexander Mosaic shown when the old Ptolemy was talking did not exist until 100 BC. It was from the Roman Republic era.
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Horses are shod with modern nailed horseshoes. The most probable horseshoes at the time of Alexander should have been leather and plants "booties" of Asian origin. In the 1st century, Romans used leather and iron "hipposandals". Nailed iron horseshoes seem to have become adopted much later.
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The fruit bowl next to Ptolemy contains Fuji apples, which were not available in 283 B.C.
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The horse used as Bucephalus is a modern Dutch Friesian, the 1990's Hollywood dream horse (Zorro, Ladyhawk etc etc), and about twice the size of the ponies known in the Hellenistic period.
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Knick knacks in Olympia's boudoir include the Sumerian Goat and Tree excavated at Ur, in modern day Iraq, by Leonard Woolley in 1927. Created and buried more than 2000 years before Alexander was born, it's unlikely his Mum had one on her sideboard.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Olympias is telling Alexander that Zeus is his father, she says "I laid with him that night", but her mouth isn't moving.
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[Director's Final Cut] At Philip's wedding, when Attalus is toasting a Macedonian Queen to be proud of, he pauses to glare at Alexander but as he does so, his dialog continues without moving his mouth.
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Continuity 

In the theatrical version of the movie the scar on Old Ptolemy's forehead switches sides halfway through his first scene.
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After being wounded in the battle against the Indian king, Alexander is carried on a shield. First, his sword lies on his chest, then under his shoulder.
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When Alexander tries to ride the wild black horse, the ropes are crossed. In the next shot, they are in place.
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When Alexander is riding towards the warrior on the elephant, the arrows in his horse's shoulder blades disappear and reappear between cuts to Alexander and the elephant.
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In the final battle, before Alexander would ride towards the elephant, he is seen holding a spear, even waving it and pointing with it to his men to move forward. One second later he is carrying a sword, with the spear nowhere to be seen.
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Antigonus addresses his troops just before the jungle battle against the Indians. In a flipped shot, his right eye is missing, not his left.
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When speaking to his troops at the riverside in India, Alexander's sword switches from the left to his right side in one shot.
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In the Final Cut, when Alexander is giving his speech to his men at Gaugemela. The officer who hands him his helmet is on his right, but in the next scene he is on his left handing Alexander his helmet.
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Errors in geography 

When Aristotle is describing what he thinks might be a route to circle around to the headwaters of the Nile and travel down it to conquer Egypt, he refers to going "up the Nile," rather than down it. This may be due to the modern map convention of showing North at the top of maps and referring to traveling in a northerly direction as going "up". The Nile River flows from South to North and thus traveling down the river is going North.
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They talk about Hindu Kush in the movie. The first reference to this name shows up more than 1300 years later.
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Factual errors 

Cleitus died in Samarkand, not India.
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In the "Director's Cut," Ptolemy implies that Alexander and Hephaistion died of typhus, which is transmitted by lice. He refers to what Hephaistion drank, so the cause is more likely to be typhoid. Historians believe that typhoid killed Alexander because waters of Babylon were, and still are, notorious for it.
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In the battle at Gaugeamela, the Persian army is wearing dark clothes. Their uniforms were yellow and light purple.
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Although Cassander is a main character, and leads the cavalry under Alexander, his actual role in history is much smaller. He is first recorded in the year that Alexander died, sent by his father to Babylon. This gave rise to the idea that he came with poison that eventually killed Alexander.
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Alexander asks Darius' daughter how she wishes to be treated, she replies, "like a princess," and he grants her wish. In reality, Alexander asked the question to the Indian king Porus. When Porus replied "like a king", he won Alexander's respect and became one of his allies.
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Antigonus, portrayed in the film as one of Alexander's childhood friends, was in fact 26 years older than Alexander.
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In the movie, Alexander sustains a nearly-fatal chest wound during a forest battle against the Indians. The battle was actually in a walled city in what is now Multan, Pakistan.
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When the men mutiny at the river Beas, Craterus speaks of 'these elephant monsters' implying that the Macedonians have only heard of them. This is ridiculous, because not only had they already fought the battle of Hydaspes (depicted in the film as after the mutiny), but they also would have seen the elephants at Gaugamela (Darius had brought a few elephants to the battle, but they saw little action).
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On road marches (as opposed to marching to contact, i.e., when the enemy is in sight or there is imminent contact), the 4 to 7 metre (13 to 21 feet) sarissa would have been broken down into its two components for ease of transport. In the movie, the sarissa is always shown at full length deployment.
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On the map of the known world, the Black Sea is correctly called "Pontos Euxeinos," but the Mediterranean is called "Mare Mediterraneum." On Roman maps, it was called "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) or "Mare Internum" (Inner Sea). In the fifth century BC, Herodotos called it the "Pontos Boreios" (Northern Sea).
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When Alexander and his friends are children, they all look to be the same age. However, Ptolemy and Nearchus were several years older than Alexander.
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Nearchus was not recorded as being at Gaugamela, yet he is present.
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It is implied during the Indian battle that Antigonus has a command over the Shield Bearers, an elite division in the Macedonian army. This was not so.
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Alexander is shown riding Bucephalus in battle against the Indian King Porus. Bucephalus had actually died five years earlier, during or shortly after the Battle of Gaugamela.
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In the film, the final battle against the Indians is depicted as taking place in a jungle, whereas in reality the battle - known as the Battle of the Hydaspes - took place on the banks of the river Hydaspses (now known as the Jhelum).
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After Alexander tells his army that they'll leave India and march home to Babylon, Ptolemy narrates that Alexander marched his army "directly west across the great Gedrosian desert, seeking the shortest route home to Babylon". This is somewhat inaccurate. While Alexander did march his army through the Gedrosian desert, it certainly wasn't the shortest route home to Babylon. In fact, going through the Gedrosian desert was by far the most dangerous route possible and certainly not the shortest route. The only reason Alexander decided to march through the desert was for his own glory, because no other army had ever crossed the desert alive, and he wanted to be the first to hold the honour of doing so.
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As Alexander comforts a dying Hephaistion, he tells him that they'll set sail from Babylon and conquer various peoples and lands, one of them being "the Roman tribe" as Alexander describes them. Being a well-educated man, Alexander should have known that the Romans were not just a mere "tribe", but were a fully functioning republic by 323 BC (when this scene took place).
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The film depicts Alexander deciding against pursuing Darius after the battle of Gaugamela, instead turning back and coming to Parmenion's aid in battle, resulting in years passing before Alexander continued searching for Darius. In reality Alexander actually did pursue Darius immediately after he fled the battlefield, and for several days Alexander chased him relentlessly across the desert - almost without any water - before reaching him mere moments too late, since he had already been betrayed and killed by several of his commanders.
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Miscellaneous 

Many scenes were re-ordered in the "Final Cut." For example, Alexander's childhood is seen in flashback, not at the beginning, in chronological order. However, the end credits are the same, so the list of actors "in order of appearance" is inaccurate.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Alexander rides towards the elephant of the Indian King, his sword is obviously waggling as though made of rubber.
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The tattoo on Colin Farrell's right arm and shoulder appears in a few shots.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

Nearchus and Antigonus are shown to pursue Pausanias, murderer of Philip and then spear him to death. This is inaccurate. In fact, Nearchus, along with Ptolemy, would not have been present at Philip's murder.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Hermolaus commits suicide, he falls onto his sword. A shot later, the sword's point is sticking out of his back. However, the angle of the point and the hilt are impossible.
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See also

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

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