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War Horse (2011) Poster

(2011)

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

When the German machine gunners reach their guns, they open fire without elevating their guns thus spraying bullets at around 1 to 2 feet above ground. However dozens of horses manage to come through this hail of bullets unharmed, while their riders sitting at least 5 feet above the ground die in scores.
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Jump to: Anachronisms (2) | Audio/visual unsynchronised (1) | Continuity (8) | Errors in geography (1) | Factual errors (5) | Plot holes (2) | Revealing mistakes (2) | Spoilers (2)

Anachronisms 

The horse is shown galloping in a trench and never having to turn, suggesting the trench is long and straight. In reality, trenches were built with zig-zags so if the enemy got in, it couldn't shoot down the trench and easily hit someone.
The motorcycle the German soldiers are shown riding is a Triumph SD, an English model introduced in 1920.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Lt. Waverly and Captain Nicholls are discussing the new caps, Nicholls says "...I fancy that cap. I'll kill you first of all." The shot changes to show Waverly's reaction. Here, Nicholls's jaw can be seen moving as if he's speaking, but nothing is spoken.
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Continuity 

Before leaving for France Major Stewart gives the order for battle; there is to be no polish so that a glinting bridle or stirrup would not give away their position. In the scenes set in France all the metal on the horse's bridles is freshly polished.
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Practice Cavalry charge scene: The adult horse Joey can be seen just prior to the practice cavalry charge with a white mark in its hair above its right eye. During the charge there is a close up of Joey's face and the white mark is absent. The color of this horse is also a slightly darker chestnut to that of the horse at the end of the charge. Subsequent shots through the film do not show this white mark and especially the shots of the young horse the mark is also absent.
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When the cavalry charge through the grass towards the Germans you can see they are running in trails previously made. When they burst into the open you can see how the grass has been flattened by a previous charge.
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When Albert is trying to befriend Joey with an apple which he is holding out at arm's length, the apple is whole. There is a short cut as Joey looks back at his mother and when we see the apple again, it has a big bite taken out of it. But Albert has not moved.
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When the younger Schroeder brother, Michael, is entering the lines to march to the front, he enters the left line (walking direction). His brother, Gunther is packing the horse and follows to get him out of line. At that moment Michael has switched line and walks in the right line of the column.
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When Ted Narracott brings Joey home for the first time, the rope falls off of Joey's nose when Ted talks to his family, but it is back in place when Ted walks the horse to the field.
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When the Germans begin their march, Gunther ties Albert's flag to the left of Michael's bag. Later when they are doing the march down the road, the flag is now tied to the right.
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As Andrew waits behind in the trench to shoot deserters, we see that he is surrounded by rats and dead soldiers, but when the camera angle changes as a couple of British troops descend the ladder, the rats and bodies have disappeared.
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Errors in geography 

The early stages are set in Devon, UK but the village houses are all of Cotswold stone, not usually found in Devon.
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Factual errors 

After the horses pull the heavy gun to the top of the hill, the gun crew loading the gun only place the projectile in before firing - in reality, the shell would have to be followed by at least one powder charge to propel it. Large caliber artillery pieces and naval guns load the projectile/shell and the propellant separately; smaller ones have them assembled as a cartridge, similar to what a rifle, machine gun or handgun fires.
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Baby Joey has a very small head marking. Foals are born with large head markings which shrink as they grow older, they do not grow with the horse.
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The young German deserter is named Michael. His named is pronounced the way an American/Englishman would pronounce it (with a k sound). A German would pronounce it with the a "ch" sound, which is an unvoiced soft aspirative sound not found in English. (Comparable to the Scottish sound "ch" i.e. in "Loch".)
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In the trenches scenes the British troops shoulder badges say Dorset but they refer to themselves as Devon boys during the assault on the machine gun nest. There were different regiments from each neighboring county until the Devon and Dorset regiments were merged until the 1957 defense review.
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The Household Cavalry was engaged at Zandvoorde, but in a defensive role. No dramatic charge took place. Also the 10th German Infantry Division was located in Lorraine at the time, not near Ypres.
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Plot holes 

The German Army camp is on an open field in enemy territory without any sentries, with around a dozen machine guns forming a defensive line at least 100 yards away from the camp, with nobody guarding these machine guns and with the camp right in the middle of the firing line of the machine guns.
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Towards the end of the film, when the grandfather, who has outbid Albert at the auction for Joey, informs him that he has travelled three days to get the horse back, how did he know that the horse was going to be auctioned? Albert only found out the day before.
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Revealing mistakes 

Anyone who has been around horses knows that the bridles would be removed at the end of every day.
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In France, the windmill with damaged sails continues to turn at a steady rate despite smoke hanging in the air, showing there is no wind.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

Before Captain Nicholls goes to his death in 1914, he listens to a gramophone recording of the beautiful song, "Roses of Picardy" by Frederick Edward Weatherly and Haydn Wood. Unfortunately for him, the song wasn't written until 1916.
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Continuity 

When the black horse is dying, there is a very dramatic shot of the sun shining from underneath Joey (from behind), but in subsequent shots, it's clear the sun is shining on the front of the horses.
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See also

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

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