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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The Nazi banners at the film's beginning are sheer and translucent: silk, nylon or rayon. Nazi banners were constructed of wool and were never translucent.
As Bruno is waving goodbye to his friends near the beginning of the film, you can see some gates behind his friends. There were electronic motor actuators on these gates that would not have been around during the 1940s.
The exterior of the house is far too modern from the inside during that period of time.
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During the breakfast scene where Maria is scrubbing the blood stains off the floor a phone is seen attached to the wall which is too modern at that period of time.
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Character error 

In the scene where mother is knitting while listening to the radio, the actress is knitting using the British method, holding the wool in the right hand and "throwing" it. No German mother knits the British way and would use the continental method, holding the wool in the left hand and "picking" the stitch.

Continuity 

In the scene where the boy is playing draughts on his bed, the colour of the pieces changes - to start with the white pieces are to the left of the shot, in the next shot the black pieces are.
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When in the commandant's office, both he and his wife look and point in the opposite direction to the camp they are referring to, as the camp is behind the house, not in front of it.
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When Bruno selects the tyre for his swing in the shed, Pavel selects a tyre which has less tread, and is also a different pattern to the one which is then used as the swing.
(at around 47 mins) After Bruno visits Shmuel and throws the ball into the concentration camp, Bruno comes back to the house, and as he shuts the back door he is caught by his mum. Yet as the camera moves to his mum and back to Bruno, the back door is ajar again.
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The "hero" sandwich that Bruno attempts to smuggle out for Schmuel appears to be about six inches long. When it is later discovered on the ground after having fallen out of Bruno's pocket it is several inches longer.
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Factual errors 

At the going away party in the Berlin house, the band is playing jazz music. This is highly unlikely in an SS officer's home, circa 1942 as the Nazis has prohibited Jazz music in the 1930s.
Near the end of the film Bruno and Shumel are led on a march with other Jewish inmates to the gas chambers by Sonderkommandos. In reality though Sonderkommandos despite having no choice but to work for the Nazis didn't help to kill the other Jews but instead helped to dispose of the dead after the Jews were gassed to death.
At Auscwhwitz, (and other camps) there were double fences, 3 meters apart, around the compound. Too much distance for an outsider to touch an insider.
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In the train Gretel is saying a prayer before sleep, but Nazis excluded any religious education from the schools, as well as following such traditions was not welcomed by the regime.
In a running gag Shumel is seen near the fence doing nothing. In reality Jews that were slacking off were killed by the Germans.
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Apparently Bruno is allowed to do activities such as playing 'airplanes' and draughts (checkers), while until she is brainwashed Gretel plays with her dolls. In reality children in Nazi families were forbidden to have fun and instead focus on the 'Fatherland' and support the Third Reich. This explains why Herr Litz told Bruno he had to turn his mind to the 'real world' which was why Gretel decorated her room with Nazi posters and dressing up like a female solider.
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Ralf, Kotler and the other soldiers would also wear Nazi armbands which they don't in this film.
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Miscellaneous 

Despite Ralf claiming both his parents were bombed in Berlin with his mother being killed his father has no injuries.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

"The story mixes up the German Wehrmacht (army) and the SS (Hitler's paramilitary "protective" forces). While the Wehrmacht was not directly involved in the holocaust (though they committed war crimes and killed civilians), the SS was in charge of the concentration camps. Bruno's father's uniform is a mix of Wehrmacht and SS. The Wehrmacht uniforms were green, whereas SS uniforms were black and had the skull ("Totenkopf") symbol on the cap." Incorrect: the black "allgemeine SS" uniform, so beloved of Hollywood because of its iconographic qualities, was discontinued during the war. On the green 1940-1945 SS uniforms, the black colour was only retained on the peaked cap bands, the collar patches, as underlay for badges and on some varieties of shoulder board pipings. Camp Guards wore copper-brown uniform piping, the "waffenfarbe", denoting the camp guards branch. Just look at the original pictures of uniformed SS guards in the camps from the period 1940-1945.
The dedication document shown at Bruno's grandmother's funeral is titled "von dem Führer" (by the Führer). It has been claimed even though the grammatically correct German would be "vom Führer", the text would still be too sparse and informal for such an occasion as a funeral. However, "Vom" is just a contraction of "von dem" but "vom" is more colloquial in German. An official piece of writing like shown in the movie would state "von dem", that is, if such a dedication is actually based on an original anyway.
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"In the beginning of the film the main character's father has the common SS bullets on his right collar. Shortly after, the Father's uniform collar changes to a Skull and Crossbones patch, which is inaccurate. The Skull and Crossbones or "Totenkopf" was worn on the SS man's Hat." This is not a goof: the Totenkopf insignia was used as a "trade" badge on the collar patch by that branch of the SS that guarded and administrated the camps, the so-called "Totenkopf-Verbaende" that were part of the SS-Verfuegungstruppen". They wore this variant of collar patch in combination with copper brown piping, "waffenfarbe", denoting the camp guards branch. The SS hat badge consisted only of a skull, without crossbones. Just look at original pictures of uniformed SS concentration camp guards.
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Revealing mistakes 

At the farewell party in Berlin at the beginning of the film, the singer with the dance band was using a Shure 55SH, an iconic American microphone. However the Germans would have used Sennheiser or Neumann microphones. They were very proud of their engineering, and pioneered early audio recording technology which is still sought after by collectors and studios.
The Kommandant (SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lt.-Col.) is wearing the "Blut-Orden" (Blood Order) on his right breast pocket which was awarded SS members who took part in the Munich Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923. However, on his right forearm he should also have the "alter Kämpfer (old fighter)" chevron, similar to a corporal's stripe, which was awarded to all SS members who served prior to 1933 - which as a veteran of the Putsch the Kommandant was supposed to wear.
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Gretel, who gets brainwashed to supporting the Third Reich, throws away her dolls to act more 'mature': but if you look carefully when she gets a present from Elsa, a doll is seen near her bedside.
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Spoilers

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

At the end when Bruno is in the gas chamber and his family is getting to him to save him in time, the poison is poured down the chamber just before Bruno's dad arrives, and we learn it is too late. However, Zyklon B, the poison gas used in the chambers, took 10-20 minutes to kill everyone in the room.

See also

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

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