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King Arthur (2004) Poster

(2004)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

In the final battle scene, the Woads are shown using trebuchets. Catapults would have existed in Europe at this time, but not trebuchets. The traction trebuchet did not reach Byzantium from China until sometime in the late 6th century, over 100 years after the time of the film, and the counterweight trebuchet (the one used in the film) did not reach Europe until the 12th century (over 700 years after the time of the film).
In the scene where Arthur and his knights first encounter the Woads, they are trapped by entanglements of barbed wire. The extrusion technology necessary to produce wire was not available at the time. Barbed wire was developed on the American frontier in the 1860's - patented by Joseph Glidden in 1874.
The hilts on Lancelot's swords are affixed with Torx fasteners, unavailable in fifth century Britain.
Guinevere's headdress at the end of the movie is held in place by modern bobby pins.
The Pope did not have the power to give land to a people in the fifth century. This was not possible until nearly 400 years later.
The "traitor" outside the gate of Hadrian's Wall is seen hiding in a Horse Chestnut tree. However these were not introduced to Great Britain until the middle of the sixteenth century
The swords are from well after the setting of the movie. Roman troops would have been equipped with the spatha. The swords are a medieval design which did not appear until at least six hundred years after the time setting. The other hand weapons of the "knights" are equally incorrect.
Arthur and his knights ride horses using stirrups. Stirrups were invented in China around the 4th century and were not seen in western Europe before the 8th century, two or three hundred years after the events depicted in the film.
Arthur and his knights are wearing modern shoes with modern lacings.
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In the last battle scene, the fortress is of the 3rd middle age style, dating it about 1000 years after the movie is set.
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When warning Bishop Germanius before going on the final mission, Arthur makes reference to "papal armies". Papal armies did not come into existence until many hundreds of years later in the late middle ages.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When the Woads trap Arthur and his men with barbed-wire-type enclosures, Bors can be seen yelling, however, there is no sound.
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After they rescue Guinevere and Lucan, Lancelot approaches Arthur and says "If the Saxons find us we will have to fight." His lips don't move along with the words.

Continuity 

At one point, Guinevere is wearing a dress that has one shoulder bare, but in the next scene, the same dress has the opposite shoulder bare.
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At one point, when Arthur is talking to Tristan, his hair changes from being in front of his face to brushed to the side and then back to in front of his face again between shots.
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In the opening battle Arthur beheads a Woad from horseback, swinging his sword diagonally downwards. When the headless body is shown, the neck stump is angled the wrong way as if he had swung upwards.
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When the knights are going back to the fort after the first fight, their positions in the group change between shots. After talking with Bors and Gawain, Lancelot rides forward, but in the next shot he is at the back of the group.
During Arthur and Lancelot's discussion before they leave on their mission, the lighting falls on the left side of Arthur's face in close up, and the left side of Lancelot's, despite the fact they are facing each other. In the wider shot moments later, the right side of Arthur's face is illuminated (as it should have been all along).

Crew or equipment visible 

Just after the end of the first battle with the Woads, Bors draws back the curtain of the carriage to look in on the Bishop. As he does so, the leg and boot of a crewmember is visible inside the carriage.
During the final battle scene the camera pans all around the inside of the wall. If you watch as the camera pans the very top of the wall, where the stones are staggered, you see another camera moving on a sort of zip line as the battle rages on.

Errors in geography 

The Saxons invade from the North in the film, but in historical fact, they invaded from the South, as the first Saxon Kingdoms in Britain were in Kent. Also, the Saxons did not initially invade; they were invited to Britain to help defend against raiders from the North sea, later known as the Vikings. The Battle of Badon hill took place approximately 80 years after the Roman withdraw from Britain in 496 A.D and Baden Hill itself is nowhere near Hadrian's wall, it is much farther South, most likely on the hills surrounding Bath.
One of the knights flies a hawk in several scenes. The hawk is a Harris' Hawk from the Americas, which had no commerce with Britain until nearly 1000 years later.

Factual errors 

Throughout the movie, the politics of Rome are portrayed as if the Pope ruled the empire: A bishop, rather than a military officer, is sent to deliver the knights' discharges, and the decision to send them on one last mission is made by the Pope alone. In reality, both the Western and Eastern Empires were ruled by Emperors. The Pope, on the other hand, was not even the head of the entire church (let alone an empire) at this time - he was still just the Bishop of Rome. While he was highly regarded by the rest of the bishops in Christendom, it would be another 600 years before the Pope was recognized as the head of the entire church.
Pelagius did not advance a theory of political freedom, but resisted the doctrine of original sin, arguing that one was able to perform good works and achieve salvation by sinlessness alone without requiring spiritual Grace. It was declared a heresy of the Roman Church in 418 A.D.
Despite the claims made at the beginning of the film, factual and historical inaccuracies abound.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

During the final battle, these is no one to open the gate in Hadrian's Wall, it just seems to open and close on its own. However, the extended edition shows that at least Jols and Ganis stayed behind, possibly to work the gate mechanism.

Revealing mistakes 

The winter scenes were clearly filmed in summer; there are leaves on the trees, nobody has visible frosty breath, and the snow is clearly fake.
During the final fight, there is blood on Tristan's clothes, but in the next scene it is gone.
After Dagonet's body is returned to the wall and Lucan is removing his ring, his finger straightens to make it easier even though he is supposed to be dead.

Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

When Guinevere is kneeling next to Lancelot's body at the end of the battle, modern heels are on her boots.

Continuity 

After Arthur is slashed in the neck during the ice battle, his neck is bandaged after Dagonet's funeral, although you can still see the blood. In the sex scene with Guinevere that night though, there is no bandage and not even a scratch on his neck.

Continuity 

In the final battle sequence, after the first wave of attack is slaughtered, the last survivor comes out of the door at the gate and collapses. Right before he does the door behind him closes. When we see the gate from the Saxon's side the door is open. Then it's closed on the Roman side and the door is open again in the next scene.

Factual errors 

The film begins in AD 467, and most of the main action takes place 20 years later, in roughly AD 487. However, included in the narrative is the official withdrawal of the Roman army from Britain actually (which happened in AD 410), one of St. Germanius' visits to Britain (which occurred in both AD 429 and AD 447), Cerdic and Cynric's arrival (which happened in AD 495) and their deaths (which happened in AD 534 and AD 556 respectively).

See also

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

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