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The Green Berets (1968) Poster

Goofs

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When John Wayne's Helicopter was hit and crashes straps attached to the main rotor that they dropped it from are visible.
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Character error 

At about 109min. Kirby orders the following pre-jump sequence: Port side stand up, starboard side stand up. Hook up. Stand in the door. Go. He omits the order to check equipment; no jumpmaster would ever omit this.
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After the Americans arrive at the base camp, John Wayne/Col Kirby introduces David Janssen to the camp commander by pointing his weapon at him and waving it. As a soldier, his character should know better: you treat your weapon as though it is loaded and never point the muzzle at something unless it is a target.
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When Petersen is killed by the booby trap at the end of the movie, Kirby picks up his pack, but leaves the body without collecting one of Petersen's two dog tags. When combat conditions do not allow for a soldier's body to be immediately recovered, one of the soldier's two dog tags is always collected, and one remains with the body for identification. Any commanding officer would have collected the tag in that situation.
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The colonel asks Captain Coleman about villages in the vicinity. Coleman replies, "Seven, there were five and we have two in with us." It plainly should be, "Five, there were seven and we have two in with us."
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In the opening scene of the film, Sgt. Muldoon states that the founding fathers of the United States began writing the constitution after the revolutionary war was over "from 1776 to 1783". The Revolutionary War in fact ended with the treaty of Paris in November of 1783.
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Continuity 

For the dedication of Provo Privy, the colonel and Sgt. Muldoon are back at Ft. Bragg. John Wayne is in the same uniform and the bleachers are visible in the background.
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After they parachute into the mission to snatch the NVA General, and Sgt. Kowalski fights and kills the three VC before being killed himself, Kowalski gets off a call to Kirby, just before dying with the radio set next to the right side of his head. Less than one minute later Kirby's party catches up and sees Kowalski dead next to three dead VC, but there is no radio set next to the right side of Kowalski's head.
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At the start of the movie, the orientation team is a part of the 3rd Special Forces Group. Muldoon and McGee are wearing 3rd Group flashes on their berets. The next time we see them, they are with Col. Kirby watching Peterson. They are then wearing 5th Group flashes.
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The original poster states that "At the start of the movie, the orientation team is a part of the 3rd Special Forces Group. Muldoon and McGee are wearing 3rd Group flashes on their berets." This is incorrect. The solid red flashes on the berets of the orientation team, Muldoon and McGee at the beginning of the film are the flashes of the 7th Special Forces Group, not the 3rd SFG.
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In one of the scenes showing the helicopters leaving the camp, as Tran and Beckworth discuss them it shows a helicopter leaving with the number 4 on it's nose. The scene cuts to Tran and Beckworth discussing two helicopters going on patrol and then cuts back to the helicopter with '4' on its nose taking off again albeit shot from a different angle
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Before they all leave for Vietnam, Sgt. Muldoon wakes everybody up and turns to Petersen's place and the top of an open guitar case can be seen with a guitar in it. Then we get a look at the place from Muldoon's point of view. The next shot shows Muldoon again, but the guitar is now out of the case and leaning against the wall.
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In the scene where John Wayne tells Provo to set up a .30 caliber weapon to support the .50 caliber weapon, "Provo" reacts to being shot before the VC actually shoots him.
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When Col Kirby initially arrives at Da Nang, the two C-130 aircraft carrying his troops are seen taxiing with their tail ramps partially lowered; a common practice still carried out by UK and US C-130 crews. In the next scene, when Kirby is about to disembark, the tail ramp opens from a fully closed position. There is no need to close a partially open ramp prior to fully lowering it.
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At around 1 hr 50 mins) Two montagnards show up out of nowhere. They were not on the jump and there was no radio contact nor previous mention of an indigenous ground force on site.
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At (01:31) A small group of soldiers is gathered with Colonel Kirby (John Wayne) as the "Mike force" is landing in helicopters. Sgt. Provo (Luke Askew) loses his boonie hat as the second chopper in the stick touches down. The cover is seen to fly straight up and is presumably pushed a distance away from the rotor wash. Provo remains without a hat until a closeup scene a few seconds later when he is miraculously wearing it again though he hasn't left the group.
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Errors in geography 

The movie supposedly takes place in Vietnam. Besides the southern yellow pines that make up 95% of the forests, there is an obvious lack of palm trees and other tropical plants. In addition, in the beginning of the movie they walk past a water tower with a red and white checkered paint scheme. This is how water towers are painted on U.S. military bases in the United States. Forward operation posts do not build water towers like this.
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Factual errors 

When Col Kirby meets Vietnamese Colonel Cai in Danang, Col Cai is wearing the collar insignia of South Vietnamese captain which is 3 floral pips. A South Vietnamese colonel wears 3 pips with a bar beneath them.
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One scene shows several helicopters touching down in a landing zone (LZ) near the base camp. Simultaneously (and well before all the helicopters have completed their landing) at least 1 jeep is shown driving out into the LZ, approaching a helicopter from its rear and crowding alongside it's spinning tail rotor. This is extremely dangerous and people have literally lost their heads because of this. Safety mandates that everyone stays clear of all helicopter spinning tail rotors at all times and an LZ should be kept clear of all non-emergency vehicles.
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Kirby arrives in Vietnam on an airfield where the airfield operations do not make any sense. For some reason there are troops marching around in circles on the tarmac and one version of every single type of aircraft the army owns sitting right next to each other. In addition, there are jeeps driving all around the tarmac with troops with loaded guns. This is a very dangerous and improbable use of an airfield.
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When the AC-47 was firing on the camp, it is impossible for the rounds to strike in a straight line. This is because the aircraft fires while in a bank.
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When Peterson was "promoted" to sergeant, he actually would have little to be happy about, as he was already a SP5 (Specialist 5), basically the same rank as sergeant. "Specialists" were supposed to be the technical, non-combat trained soldiers, but usually they were just as combat-ready as any soldier. Compared to a specialist, a sergeant was considered a leader.
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When Col. Kirby lands in Da Nang he is met by Col. Morgan who arrives in a jeep driven by a Private First Class (E-3) wearing the Special Forces green beret. This is highly improbable. Until recently soldiers seeking to join the Special Forces had to hold an E-4 rank or higher just to apply. Even if a lower-ranking soldier were accepted for SF training, he would hold a higher rank after earning the green beret (at least specialist or sergeant E-5, as demonstrated in the A-teams in the film.) Simply put, the Green Berets have never had PFCs as members.
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At around 37 mins, the captain is told "Skipper, Savoy 3 is on on the horn sir". When the captain answers the radio call, he says "Savoy 3 to Savoy 6, over". It should be the other way around or "Savoy 3, this is Savoy 6".
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The mortar tube that the crew is using in the pit is a 4.2 inch (diameter) mortar. Yet they are dropping 81mm rounds down the tube. Also, when a round is fired out of a mortar, it sounds like an explosion, not like a small "poof".
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The helicopter Kirby is in does not react correctly in terms of aerodynamics after it is hit and catches fire. The helicopter would have swung violently around, speeded up as it fell, and would have crashed extremely hard, easily killing everyone on board.
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Just before the night attack starts, while they are setting up the 81MM mortar. It's said: "get some HE (high explosive rounds) we're going to be bringing it in pretty close, so get some charge 7". That is backward. Charge 7 is the max charge and would be used to reach out to the maximum range of the weapon.
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Miscellaneous 

While wearing fatigues stateside (presumably at Ft Bragg) all enlisted personnel are wearing subdued rank insignia etc. Yet when they deploy to DaNang, Vietnam (presumably a combat zone) all enlisted personnel are wearing full-color rank insignia (gold stripes, etc).

The need for subdued insignia is so as to not allow the enemy see it from very far away and/or easily determine who outranks who. Would seem like this combat precaution would not be in play at Ft Bragg, but sure would once deployed "in country."
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It is clearly implied that Col. Kirby and Capt. McDaniel both have previous tours to Vietnam. But, early on, when they are shown wearing their ribbons, neither one has any ribbon earned while serving in 'Nam. Nor do they have the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal which was awarded for Vietnamese service prior to 1965. From 1965 on, U.S. forces earned the Vietnamese Service medal. Most also earned the Vietnam Campaign medal issued by the Vietnamese government and authorized for wear by U.S. service people.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

This film is famous (or infamous) for its "sun setting in the east" final scene, due to the fact that "Vietnam has no west coast" and therefore if the sun is sinking into the ocean, it "must" be setting in the east. However, there are plenty of places in Vietnam (the eastern peninsula of Cam Ranh Bay, the southeastern shore of Ga Cà Ná, Hái Long, Vung Tau, and dozens of places just south of Saigon) where one can stand on the shore and watch the sun sink into the sea, because bays and peninsulas have both eastern and western shores. Without further evidence of an error, nothing in the film itself states clearly that the characters are standing facing eastward toward the ocean.
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When Colonel Kirby acts as jump master about 109 minutes into the film, he orders his troops to hook up their static lines, but he never actually hooks up himself. After the troops jump, he is seen exiting the aircraft, still not hooked up. This means his main chute won't open, and he will have to activate his reserve manually. A big mistake for a jump master to make.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Kirby's helicopter crashes in a ball of fire the rigging cables used to suspend it are visible.
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During the night attack on the base, a medium shot of the attacking "Vietcong" clearly shows that, although dressed in the traditional VC black pajamas and conical straw hats, most, if not all, of them are Caucasians (the film was shot at Fort Benning, Georgia, and many soldiers were hired as extras).
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The M-16 that Col. Kirby smashes against a tree is a toy gun made by Mattel in the 1960s. You can see tell by the speaker holes in the magazine (which is also much larger than a real M-16 magazine).
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After they parachute in on the mission to snatch the NVA General and the point man fights and kills the three VC, the rest of the unit arrives and in his frustration John Wayne's character slams an M-16 against a tree, it is a toy. This was a common toy of the era and you can see that the size of the magazine doesn't match one used in an AR-15/M-16 rifle and you can plainly see the openings for the speaker that was used in the toy so it would sound like it was "firing".
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Col. Kirby uses a "fatal hookup" when rappelling from the mansion's balcony. He is clearly shown wrapping the rope the wrong way through the karabiner. As soon as weight is put on it, the karabiner opens and the rappeller falls free. U.S. Army karabiners in 1968 were non-locking, and were called "snap links" because of it.
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Although hard to spot in the film, still photographs taken on location reveal Colonel Kirby and Captain MacDaniel to be wearing highly polished, standard combat boots - not paratrooper's jump boots - with their tan Class A uniforms in their scenes at Ft. Bragg. Special Forces soldiers, all qualified paratroopers, wore jump boots with both their dress and fatigue uniforms.
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The jeep that picks up John Wayne/ Col Kirby in Da Nang is the same jeep that he was riding around in at Ft, Bragg. The markings and numbers are the same.
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During the rainstorm, it is obvious that characters in the background of the scene are not subject to the rain. The ground in the background is a lighter colour than the ground in the foreground. Also it is apparent that the sun is shining in that area
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During the big VC attack, and the bulldog helicopter crash lands, the rotor is stationary. After being hit, the helicopter is seen to autorotate, meaning the rotor would still be spinning.
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The shot of Lin seated after the Citroen escape vehicle is disposed of, is reused about a minute later, after a significant geographical distance, when Colonel Kirby guides Colonel Cai to reconcile with Lin.
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Many scenes show the soldiers with their battle knives taped upside down to the chest of their web gear! No experienced military/combat personnel in their right minds would ever dream of committing this fatal mistake.
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When the tower that John Wayne is standing on gets hit by enemy fire and begins to fall, the people in the tower shown falling are clearly dummies, not human.
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Among it's numerous production gaffs, many of the musical backgrounds used were actually Japanese, or Indian motifs. There is not a palm tree, banana tree, or rice paddy to be seen anywhere in the film. There are however maple, beach, and ash trees; as swell as an Arizona yucca at the French mansion.
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Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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