The Monuments Men (2014) Poster


Jump to: Anachronisms (7) | Character error (1) | Errors in geography (2) | Factual errors (8) | Spoilers (3)


The map of Germany and the Low Countries that Stokes and his men look at shows a map with modern day coastlines, including the Dutch province of Flevoland. However, the 1,000 square kilometer insular province only came into being when it was reclaimed from the sea in 1968, well after the Second World War. Also, the "Afsluitdijk" (a 32km long dam sealing off the Zuiderzee) is not shown on the map, despite having been completed in 1933.
When Lt. James Granger flies over Paris in the biplane in the evening, the Eiffel Tower is illuminated. However, the lighting of the Tower and its illumination system date from no earlier than 1985.
The version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is sung with the lyrics "'Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.'' These lines were not added to the song until 1957.
The turntable playing the "record from home" is shown rotating at too slow a speed. A phonograph record at that time would be rotating at a much faster rate of 78 rpm.
While photo colorization wasn't entirely unknown in the 1940s, most of Stokes' film slides (during his post-war lecture/debriefing) would have been in black-and-white.
When the German trooper says "John Wayne" as a household name, it is unlikely the average GI would make a connection. Wayne made B Pictures for years after Stagecoach (1939) and would not achieve international fame until the end of the 40s.
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As well as the V Disc record turning too slow (appears to be turning at 45 rpm) all discs of that era were issued in ten inch size.(and 78 rpm), not the seven inch shown from several years post war.
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Character error 

Frank Stokes comments on Hitler that he was a "failed Vienna art student" during the briefing to his team. However, Hitler was not an "art student" at all in the beginning. His heart was in the architecture but he couldn't get into Academies School of Architecture because he did not finish high school. Instead he applied to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (which did not require high school diploma) but was rejected there as well. So he made living as a wannabe artist selling hand-painted postcards.
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Errors in geography 

During live fire training, the location of the World War I memorial is attributed to Saint Louis, Missouri. The sculptor upon whom John Goodman's character is based designed sculptures for St. Louis' World War I memorial, which is called the Soldiers Memorial and should not be confused with the National World War I Memorial located in Kansas City, Missouri.
One of the Monuments Men is taken for a ride on a biplane that has been hidden in a French barn. The aircraft registration number starts with a G, indicating that it was not registered in France, but in Great Britain.

Factual errors 

The Madonna was mentioned several times as having been stolen from the cathedral in Bruges. In reality, the Madonna is on display in the Church of Our Lady, not the cathedral of St. Saviours.
When US Army Lieutenant James Granger visits the apartment of Claire Simon, he is not wearing his uniform but is wearing a casual, short-sleeve shirt instead. During World War II, it was a strict rule that members of the military had to wear their uniforms at all times, on and off base, even while home on leave. Liberated Paris in 1944 was still considered a war zone, making his disregard for uniform especially egregious.
Just-liberated Paris would still have been under blackout, as would Bruges, about to be evacuated by German forces.
Prior to the scene where Generals Patton, Bradley and Eisenhower are seen in a "photo-op" involving recovered treasure, a row of parked jeeps is shown with stars on red bumper plates belonging to the generals. One jeep (presumably Eisenhower's) has five stars in a horizontal row, whereas the actual rank insignia and bumper plate would have the five stars arranged in a ring with an empty pentagon-shape in the center. Also, that jeep and the one beside it with four stars (presumably Patton's) both have bumper numbers that begin with "3A" indicating both vehicles are assigned to Patton's Third Army (as are most of the vehicles used by the Monuments Men themselves); as Supreme Commander of the European Theater of Operations, it's highly unlikely that Eisenhower would have had to borrow one of Patton's jeeps.
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The first mention of the Madonna is in connection with the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk ("Church of Our Lady"). The church shown in the film, though, is a completely different one. Also, the Madonna is displayed in an altar piece, not standing on its own.
As with so many WW II films, The Monuments Men depicts Germany in April as having foliage more typical of summer. Large trees are not in full leaf in northern Europe in April.
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When the German asks the French assistant for a champagne glass, the woman gets what would be a champagne glass if they were in America; champagne glasses in France are tall and thin, not squat and wide-brimmed.
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When Sgt. Garfield and Lt. Clermont are shot at by a Nazi Youth, Sgt. Garfield lays down covering fire from his M1 Carbine, but fires over 20 rounds without reloading from a 15 round magazine.
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The goof items below may give away important plot points.


When old Stokes comes back to Bruges to see the Madonna in 1977, he can come close to the statue to view it. The statue has been behind bulletproof glass since 1972 and the public can not come closer than 15 feet.

Errors in geography 

At the salt mine in Altaussee, they say "this territory goes to the Russians". But Altausse belonged to the American occupation zone. The Russian zone was way further to the North and to the East.

Factual errors 

During Stokes' proposal, he shows a colour slide of the Ghent Altarpiece, in which it appears complete. In 1934, the bottom left panel ('The Just Judges') was stolen and has never been recovered. It was replaced with a copy in 1945. It is highly unlikely that Stokes would have a colour slide more than 10 years old of the Altarpiece. At the end of the movie, the black and white slide he shows of the returned Altarpiece is a contemporary photo correctly showing the missing panel.
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