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Lincoln (2012) Poster

(2012)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Mary Lincoln worries that Robert will be killed by a sniper. The term sniper was not used in the US until well after the Civil War. The equivalent term was sharp shooter.
During the House of Representatives voting for the Thirteenth Amendment January 31, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant was shown wearing the four star rank of a General. At the time, he was a three star Lieuenant General. Official records show that he did not attain the rank of a four star General until 25 July 1866.
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Shortly after Thaddeus Stevens tell the full House that he's not for racial equality, he walks outside into the rotunda area and sits down. He is quickly joined by an angry fellow Representative. The shot of him sitting on a bench in the rotunda shows a modern electrical outlet in the wall below him.
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Filming took place in the Virginia State Capitol. On the wall behind the Speaker of the House is an inscribed marble tablet which reads: "Erected by THE SOCIETY OF THE COLONIAL DAMES OF AMERICA IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA 1916". Additionally, the society itself was not formed until 1890.
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In the planning for the Wilmington attack the term barrage is used several times. The term at that time was bombardment. The barrage as a tactic was developed in the 1880s by the British, and the first English military usage of the term was in WWI at the battle of Neuve Chapelle, 10-13 March 1915.
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After one of the House sessions, the camera pans to the Washington statue in the Virginia Presidents room at the Virginia State Capitol. Shots from the front include the bust to the right, President Woodrow Wilson, who was born 28 December 1856, and was only 8 years old when the movie is set.
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William Bilbo mentions that Lincoln's face is on the 50-cent piece. Lincoln appeared on the 50-cent fractional currency piece (paper currency that was issued instead of silver coins during the Civil War), but not until the fourth series, which started in 1869.
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Early in the movie there is a military band playing. There is a clarinetist who's using a modern Boehm-fingering clarinet. Until the 1930s or so clarinets were made with the Albert fingering keys. The curved register key is the Albert giveaway, which is not seen in the band's clarinet.
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Near the beginning of the film, Thaddeus Stevens leaves his office. He opens a door, and it closes via an automatic door closer, which was invented in the 1880s.
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Modern (turning) doorknobs are seen throughout the movie. Patents for the doorknob weren't filed until 1878. Though some versions existed, they weren't common.
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When Robert Todd Lincoln meets his father after the visit to the wounded soldiers there is a section of electric conduit emerging from the building in the background.
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Mary Todd Lincoln refers to the Executive Mansion as "White House" incorrectly as that term was initiated 38 years later in 1901 by Theodore Roosevelt.
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Character error 

When Lincoln is in the War Department telegraph room and beginning to tell his story about Ethan Allen, he states that Allen took Fort Ticonderoga in 1776. The correct date was May 10, 1775.
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At the beginning of the film, a young soldier tells Lincoln that he'd heard Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address two years earlier. The scene is set in December 1864 or early January 1865. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on 19 November 1863, 13 months earlier.
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W.N. Bilbo refers to murderous congressman "Bob" Hollister, when in fact the character is determined to be named Harold Hollister during the vote on the 13th amendment.
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Continuity 

When Thaddeus Stevens takes the original bill after the vote, he folds it in half vertically. When his housekeeper, Lydia Smith, reads it to him in bed, the document's crease is horizontal.
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When Grant and Lincoln are talking at the house during Lincoln's visit to Petersburg, they both stand up, Lincoln extends his hand to shake Grant's hand, and Grant takes it. In the next shot, Lincoln extends his hand and Grant takes it again.
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In the opening scene, as the soldiers start to disperse and return to their units, the shot from behind Lincoln shows Private Green turning and throwing his gun around his shoulder. In the next scene, shot from behind Private Green, he turns and throws the gun around his shoulder again.
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Throughout the speech by Lincoln to his cabinet which begins with him slamming the table and saying, "I can't listen to this anymore..." Seward rests his clasped hands under his chin. As Lincoln says "...with the fate of human dignity in our hands" Seward lowers his hands from his chin. In the very next shot, as Lincoln shouts "Now! Now! Now!", Seward's hands are once again clasped under his chin resulting in a "jump cut."
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After the vote, Thaddeus Stevens obtains the document to take it home for the night and folds it vertically. When he gets home his maid opens it horizontally.
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Preston Blair takes Tad Lincoln by both hands. In shots from one angle, Blair's hands under Tad's. In shots from another angle, Tad's hands are under Blair's.
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When Robert waits outside the military hospital, the shot from inside the hospital shows the American flag over the door billowing in a breeze. In the next shot, from outside, the flag is completely still.
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When the President slams his hand on the desk to stop everyone from arguing, he hits his glasses, which move in front of his book. Two pans later, the glasses have disappeared.
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When President Lincoln is speaking to Private Green and Corporal Clark, shots from behind the soldiers show a hard rain falling, with water dripping off Clark's hat every few seconds. Shots from in front of the two soldiers shows very little rain, and no water drips from Clark's hat.
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When Lincoln and Tad are going to the military hospital in the carriage, Lincoln clearly puts the papers he is working on in a folder on his left. In the next shot, the papers are back in his lap, and he puts them in the briefcase.
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When General Grant's staff emerges from Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865, Ely Parker is behind Grant and stands with his hands crossed in front of him. In the next shot, Grant starts descending the stairs to greet Robert Edward Lee, and Parker emerges from inside the courthouse crossing his hands.
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While the amendment is being debated in the chamber, the papers on the stand the speaker uses vary between shots.
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At the end of Lincoln's short conversation with Seward and Mr. and Mrs. Jolly, Seward's cigar is much shorter than it should be after only a few puffs.
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Errors in geography 

During the debate on the day before the vote is taken, Lincoln's team has to rush back to the White House to secure a letter from Lincoln which will reassure the house that he has not met with Confederate commissioners. The team members are seen running out of the Front of the Capitol to do this. But the Capitol was built the wrong way round and, in reality, they would have rushed out the back to get to the White House faster.
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In many of the scenes set in the House of Representatives, the marble behind the Speaker bears the words "State of Virginia." All of the House scenes were filmed in the Old Chamber at the Virginia State Capitol, in Richmond, Va.
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Factual errors 

In Lincoln's death scene, he is shown lying somewhat on his side, on top of the covers on a bed at the Petersen House (across from Ford's Theatre). In reality, Abraham Lincoln lingered nearly ten hours and had been put into bed under the covers to keep him warm, and diagonally, because he was so tall he wouldn't have fit otherwise.
When Congress debates and ultimately votes on the 13th Amendment, every desk in the chamber is occupied. Eighteen seats should have been empty, because of the states that seceded.
When the Speaker of the House does the Congressional roll call, in alphabetical order by state, he starts with Connecticut. He should've started with California, which was admitted to the union in 1850 and had 3 representatives in the 38th congress (March 1863 to March 1865).
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In 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton "commissioned" Tad Lincoln an artillery 2nd lieutenant. In the film, Tad wears the uniform of an infantry lieutenant colonel, outranking his brother, Captain Robert Lincoln, by two grades.
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Two Connecticut Congressmen vote against the 13th Amendment during the movie, however, all four Connecticut Congressman actually supported and voted in favor of the Amendment in 1865.
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The U.S. Capitol dome is shown as being gray in color, when, in fact, it has always been completely white since its completion in 1863.
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The two-seat horse buggy ridden by Lincoln had two men in the front, but they're in the wrong places. The shotgun rider should be on the right, and the coachman, with the whip, should be on the left, to protect pedestrians from the whip.
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In the film, Tad's speech is very clear. Historically, Tad Lincoln was described as having a pronounced speech impediment due to a cleft palate, making his words hard to understand.
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In the scene where Lincoln is speaking with Ms. Keckley on the North Portico, columns can be seen along the north facing wall of the White House to Lincoln's left. The White House has never had columns along this wall.
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Lincoln's "True North" metaphor has one fatal flaw: Lincoln says that a compass will "point you True North," but a compass will actually point towards *magnetic* north. The magnetic North Pole is slightly off from the geographic North Pole, so a compass does not actually point true north.
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Miscellaneous 

Raymond H. Johnson plays Republican Congressman John F. McKenzie, but the end credits list a different actor. Raymond H. Johnson is listed in the End Credits as Raymond Johnson, under House of Representatives.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Thaddeus Stevens says that the 13th amendment will be the first time slavery is mentioned in the Constitution. Slavery is often believed to be mentioned explicitly - particularly in the first paragraph of Article 1, Section 9 - but it was not. In fact, the absence of the direct mention of slavery formed the basis of an argument made by abolitionists including Lysander Spooner that slavery was unconstitutional even before the 13th amendment.
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On 14 April 1865, the pit orchestra plays Ludwig van Beethoven's "Egmont" Overture. The scene is a play (not a concert) attended by Tad Lincoln that night at Grover's Theater: "Aladdin! Or His Wonderful Lamp."
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Abraham Lincoln's secretary, John Nicolay, was Bavarian by birth, but immigrated with his parents to the United States at age 6, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and did not speak with a German accent. (Despite this, in the 1992 documentary Lincoln, his letters were read by future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his usual trademark Germanic accent.)
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Revealing mistakes 

Early in the film, Lincoln meets with Seward and others in a White House office or drawing room, and bright daylight streams through a window in the background. The camera briefly pans past a clock that reads 5 pm, very close to sunset in mid-November.
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See also

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

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