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Where Eagles Dare (1968) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The bus the team drives away in near the end is a 1952 Steyr built bus, a design that did not exist at the time.
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Scopolamine hadn't been used as a truth drug before the 1950s.
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A German military helicopter with a rotor and tail blade lands at the castle, but the Nazis did not have any helicopters like this during WWII.
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Schaffer's hair is not only too long for a military officer, it's also a 1960's hairstyle.
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When Cpl. Cartwright Jones (formerly posing as "Gen. Carnaby") is being interrogated he states his name, rank and serial number. He prefixes his serial number with RA, which stands for Regular Army. The Army did not start using this designation until after WWII. Also, RA was a serial number prefix solely for enlisted men - not commissioned officers.
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During the briefing sequence, when Schaffer is in Army dress uniform, he is wearing a Senior Parachutist Badge, designating him as a jumpmaster. The Senior badge was not created until 1949.
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If you look really carefully you can make out that the timer used on the bombs (in particular the one on the cable car) is a Heuer Sebring, a model that wasn't made until around 1958.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Smith leaves the cabin in the raging blizzard, the sound of the wind howling contrasts with the view of large fluffy snowflakes calmly floating gently to the ground.
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When Smith shoots the radio operator twice in the back, the second blood bag fails to go off in sync with the gunshot
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Character error 

Over schnapps in the nightclub, Major von Hapen and Mary/Maria have a dispute over the location of the cathedral in Düsseldorf. While the city does have a large church (the collegiate church of Saint Lambert), it is not a cathedral, as Düsseldorf has never been a bishop's seat.
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During their escape Shaffer kills another radio operator who sets off the alarm, (to make the film more exciting) before he dies, the operator turns off his radio turns to face Shaffer who is in German uniform and sets the alarm off, however the German would not have suspected Shaffer of being an agent so would have killed him in a more care full way without the alarm being sounded.
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Throughout most of the film, Smith refers to Schaffer as "Lieutenant," using the British pronunciation "lef-tenant." But in the final scene in the airplane, he uses the American pronunciation "loo-tenant."
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When Major Smith makes his initial call to HQ after the group parachutes to their location, he uses the famous call; "Broadsword calling Danny Boy". However the reply is given as "Danny Boy calling Swordbroad."
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General Carnaby enters a room pointing his gun at the double agents. When secure, he intends to pocket his gun, but misses his pocket the first time and has to do it again.
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Continuity 

After the swim in the river all four heroes are soaking wet. Yet when they are in the plane, Major Smith produces an immaculately dry notebook with the incriminating evidence. No wet pages or blurred ink.
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When Major Smith goes into the Bier Keller, he is wearing an officer's peaked cap. He takes it off and places it on the table and we never see it again. (Apparently, it was stolen from the set during the lunch break.)
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At the airport near the end, the weather changes from cloudy and misty to clear blue sky and sunshine between shots.
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When Smith and Shaeffer backup the Nazi car up to push it over the side, they are somehow backing over a "construction dirt" ramp that just sent the car airborne. Also, the car that goes into the ravine is a good bit older than the one Smith and Shaeffer push.
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For the shootout scene at the bridge, during the final escape, Mary (shooting from inside the bus) suddenly has very red lipstick, which disappears thereafter.
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When Lt. Schaffer is sliding off the roof of the cable car hut, he holds on with his ice axe, buried broad end in the snow. But when Maj. Smith reaches to help, the axe is now buried with the pointed end down.
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Shaeffer kills the soldier in the radio room. Schaeffer puts him in the chair (so all would seem normal, when they kill the helicopter pilot). We see the radioman with his head tilted/slumped to the side. In the next shot (taken from the opposite side), the dead radioman has his head straight up.
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The scenes showing the escape out the window shows the stunt people rappelling normally with full rigging in the long shots, yet in the close up shots the actors are just holding onto the rope and they were not shown rigging the ropes for rappelling and did not show the use of any "D" rings or other rappelling gear.
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The bullet holes in the back of the bus appear then disappear during the final chase.
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When Smith and Schaffer escape after exploding the German warehouse by pillion motorcycle Smith is the 'driver' and Schaffer the passenger in the pillion. The camera then shows a shot from the motorcycle moving through the fire and when it comes back to the previous view of the motorcycle, Smith is now in the pillion and Schaffer is driving.
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When Major Smith drives the captured German Alpine Post Bus toward the line of planes at Oberhausen Airfield, you can see that the horizontal stabilizer (small wing at the tail) of the first plane has already been destroyed, probably from a previous take.
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After Smith and Schaffer initially climb into the Schloss Adler, Schaffer puts on a cap and Smith doesn't have one as they walk out the door of a room and into a hall. Less than a minute later, both of them are walking down another hall, and Smith now has a hat similar to Schaffer's.
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The group waits for a train to pass the railway station before entering the village. The sound effects suggest that the locomotive passed only seconds earlier, but there is no smoke or steam lingering in the air.
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When they jump from the cable car into the river, Smith jumps before Schaffer - but Schaffer enters the water before Smith.
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When Shaffer starts the cable car and runs to it to jump on himself, it doesn't actually start moving until he is nearly aboard.
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When Smith kicks Christiansen in the face on the roof of the cable car, there is already blood on Christiansen's face.
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When Mary is escaping the castle on a rope, through the window, she moves backwards down the window sill to the edge of the wall. Both her hands are in front of her, holding the rope. The next shot shows her (stunt double) abseiling down the rope with one hand behind her back (the correct way to do it, the back hand is used as a brake).
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When the team is descending from the nazi enclave in the cable car, Major Smith tells Lt. Schaffer to set the bombs in the cable car for three and a half minutes, yet the bombs go off only one minute and twenty seconds after Schaffer has set them.
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After Smith and Schaffer leave Mary's room, they pause to observe the courtyard where a helicopter sits. Smith says that they need to disable the helicopter since the Germans may use it to fly Carnaby out of the compound. But after the pilot and radio operator are eliminated, Smith says, "Let's rescue Cartwright Jones." Smith may have told Schaffer the real story in the beer cellar, but the dialog was interrupted when the Germans enter the room. Schaffer says that he is confused when Smith reveals himself to be a double agent, implying that he did not know that General Carnaby was really Cartwright Jones.
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The common weapon in the movie was the MP40, a German submachine gun. Thee MP40 could fire 500 rounds a minute, and had a magazine capacity of 32 rounds. In several places in the film, characters fire for extended periods, and yet no one ever has to reload.
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Smith radios HQ and tells them he is..."effecting entry within the hour." At HQ, Smith's transmission of "Broadsword calling Danny boy" is heard at a significantly faster rate than Smith spoke it into his radio.
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When Maj. John Smith is shot in the left hand closing a door behind him towards the final sequences of the film, he bandages the hand. This bandage and the blood on the bandage and his hand, disappears and reappears throughout the cable car scenes.
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As Major Smith and the group walk past the wood shed at Werfen their shadows disappear between shots.
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When escaping the castle, Smith helps Mary down from the roof of the cable car and then follows her into it. Between shots the chain blocking the entrance to the cable car disappears.
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As they are beginning to cross the bridge into the town a car comes down the road into town and the men all move to the right, except Christiansen who moves the left, to let it pass. In the next shot all of them are on the right as the car moves forward.
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As Smith and Schaffer walk down a steep bank to observe the castle, their MP40 submachine guns have the folding stocks extended, then retracted, then extended again.
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When Schaeffer jumps onto the cable shack overhang, he slides down before resetting his axe. During the closeup as he wrestles himself up for a second attempt, the snow in front of him is undisturbed. It should have been wiped clean as he just slid down it.
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When Mary Elison climbs out of the river, her hair is wet/dry/wet between shots.
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When they prepare to leap into the river, the cable car appears to be over the middle of the river, perhaps even a close to the far bank. But when they do leap, the first jumper lands close the near bank and the cable car moves over the river once again.
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The post bus used in the final escape has a black painted radiator with a silver circular badge on it when seen in the garage. However, when it is seen outside, the radiator and badge are painted red.
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When the double agent named Thomas is shot while dangling from a rope outside the castle, the close-up shows him wearing a standard German field gray uniform. In the next shot, as he plummets to his death, he is wearing a camouflaged winter overcoat.
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With the Germans approaching the wood shed, Major Smith sets trip wire explosives and tells Lt. Schaffer to go out the window. Lt. Schaffer opens the window and begins his exit by straddling the window sill. In the next shot he is seen with both knees on the sill and he is backing out the window.
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When Major Smith and Schaffer are putting the body of the German officer back into the car before pushing it over the cliff the cement mixer at the roadside changes its position from upright to being on an angle.
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During Major Smith's cable car fight scene, Smith is grappling with the two German double agents at the same time - Smith finally manages to free his ice ax from the grasp of the German and then forcefully drive his ice ax into the arm of his opponent, The severely injured and bleeding German is then shown managing to slowly climb back down into the cable car.

As Major Smith resumes his fight with the second remaining German who is attempting to climb up Smith's legs, we can still see the gloved hand of the first German clinging onto a cable car roof handrail behind and to the right of Smith.
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When Maj Smith (Richard Burton) and Lt Shaffer (Clint Eastwood) first "hitch a ride" up to the castle, they climb down from the cable gripping device to the roof of the gondola without making enough noise to alert the occupants inside. Later, when Maj Smith alone rides the gondola down to the village he again descends from the cable gripping device, but this time the occupants hear his footsteps and begin shooting up through the roof.
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When Major Smith leaves the high Alpine hut to meet Mary in the barn, he strikes a match upon entering. But, the shadow of his hand holding the match is projected against the hood of his jacket, indicating a secondary light source as a match cannot project a shadow of itself.
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When Smith and Schaffer roll the car from which they have just escaped from it (the car) bursts into flames,, Why the car had just crashed without bursting into flames as most car accidents around the world shows if a big crash would not cause it to ignite why would simply allowing it to free wheel down a not too steep hill do it.
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In the escape with the snow plower bus - Smith hits the wired poles to trigger the detonators attached to the tree and the telephone poles. As the Germans pass by you can clearly see that one of the poles hasn't been knocked over by Smith, it does however explode.
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In the Bier Keller, the position of the cigar in the officer's hand changes as Major Smith berates him.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When the captured German Alpine Post Bus races throughout the airfield, Schaffer and Mary shoot several small jeeps which flip over. As they do, the rope that flipped them can be seen being pulled off screen.
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When Smith leads the group across the railroad tracks in Werfen, members of the film crew are reflected in the windows.
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After setting explosives in the hut, Smith and Shaffer climb through the back window to take shelter under the bridge. The shadows of the camera crew are visible on the snow.
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Smith and Schaffer have been arrested and are being transported by a staff car and subsequently cause the car to crash. The vehicle careens up and through a wood barricade and then slams into a pile of gravel. The hinged windshield flies open and one of the Germans inside the car is ejected over the hood. Visible briefly is a small cable attached to the top of the windshield that was used to pull the windshield open so the prop dummy of the German could fly through the opening.
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Factual errors 

The helicopter seen landing in the castle courtyard is a Bell model 47G, not built until well after the war. While the Germans had a small number of working helicopters during the war (none of which would have been readily available to the filmmakers), the Bell does not make a convincing stand-in for any of them.
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Everyone, Allied and Axis alike, refer to the German mountain troops as the "Alpenkorps" throughout the film. The Alpenkorps was a real unit, but it was disbanded at the end of WWI. The WWII incarnation was known as the Gebirgsjäger, the designation it carries to this day.
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Apart from wearing a black Waffen-SS parade uniform, von Hapen's outfit has several other discrepancies, most notably a standard Nazi party armband (the one worn with the Waffen-SS parade uniform sported black stripes along the upper and lower edges), and a close combat clasp in gold above the left breast pocket, an award worn by soldiers with extensive front line experience, not the Gestapo.
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At the beginning of the film, during the initial briefing for the mission, Clint Eastwood is wearing the same colored green necktie that the British are wearing. Members of the U.S. Army wore khaki ties during that period.
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Early in the film, Christiansen makes reference to a "Pathfinder squadron... with ten-ton bombs". The film is set some time before late 1944 which is when bombs of this size were developed, and the first wasn't dropped until March 1945. Also, the role of Pathfinder squadrons was marking targets, and they wouldn't have carried the bombs themselves.
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When Eastwood and Burton are setting up the booby traps along the road, Eastwood is shown arming the explosive, then stringing the trip wire to the post. An experienced soldier (which the Lieutenant would be) would never arm an explosive before attaching the trip wire. If the wire had slipped from his fingers for some reason, it would have exploded and killed him. He should have attached the trip wire to the post first, then armed the explosive.
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The code letters on the Ju 52 begin with CN, a combination not used by the Luftwaffe. More likely, the Ju 52 from the Swiss Air Force received a temporary civilian registration beginning with "CH" in order to have it flown in Austria for commercial purposes (i.e. filming "Where Eagles Dare").
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When Colonel Kramer introduces Major Von Hapen to General Rosemeyer, he states that the Major is Gestapo. The Gestapo were secret police and came under the control of Himmler's SS. The black SS uniform was not worn by Gestapo agents and so Major Von Hapen would not be wearing an SS uniform - he'd be wearing civilian clothes (if he was even at the Schloss Adler, which is unlikely). Further, when General Rosemeyer states that he would prefer to keep the interrogation of General Carnaby a "strictly Army matter", he's already talking out of school - Colonel Kramer is in the Waffen-SS, not the Wermacht.
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While the uniforms for the mission are quite accurate by Hollywood standards of the time, with the correct Edelweiss patches for mountain troops and rank insignia, the shoulder boards show the wrong color for Gebirgsjäger (incorrectly called the Alpenkorps throughout the film), being the light meadow green of the Panzergrenadiers (mechanized infantry) rather than the noticeably darker and bluer green of the mountain and ski troops.
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Lt. Morris Schaffer is wearing his jump wings on the wrong side of his uniform during the mission briefing.
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During the briefing, early in the movie, the team is told that General Carnaby had been on his way to meet with his Russian counterpart regarding D-Day plans and that the meeting place was to have been Crete. That would be impossible as Crete had been seized in a German airborne assault in the spring of 1941 and remained in German hands until the war ended. Moreover, the Western Allies would not share top secret operational plans with their Soviet Allies.
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After the pin was pulled on the German "potato masher" grenades there was, depending on the model, a 4 to 8 second delay before the grenade exploded. The grenades thrown in the castle delay as much as 12 seconds before exploding.
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In the flashback scenes in British H.Q., Lieutenant Schaffer is incorrectly wearing his paratrooper's wings over the right breast pocket flap of his dress uniform coat. U.S. Army qualification badges are always worn over (or on) the LEFT breast pocket flap.
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The staff car in which Smith and Shaffer are being transported following their arrest has "WH" license plates, indicating a Wehrmacht (regular army) vehicle. However, since the troops who arrested them are Waffen-SS, the license plate should have the distinctive runic "SS" (the "twin lightning flashes").
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The German helicopter was actually an American made Bell 47, which was introduced in 1946. The German helicopters at the time used airplane-styled fuselages with the rotor on a tall frame, One version had twin rotors mounted on frames protruding from the right and left. There were only a two models of German helicopters and very few in use, as Allied bombing strikes on factories, along with the focus on attack aircraft sidelining production.
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At the beginning of the movie Colonel Turner introduces Schaffer, saying something like, "Lt. Schaffer needs no introduction, you will all recognize his shoulder patches of the Rangers Division." There were no Ranger divisions, only battalions.
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In the final scene Major Smith claims, "We took the precaution of removing the firing pin before the mission started." The submachine gun to which he refers is a British Sten Gun, which has a fixed firing pin machined into the recessed face of the bolt, and so this would have been impossible. Even if they had a file, the recessed face of the bolt would have made the firing pin impossible to file off. Then when the person holding the gun tries to fire it, one can clearly hear the bolt slamming home on an empty chamber, meaning the magazine didn't even contain prop dummy rounds.
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The "blood" used looks like red finger paint. Real fresh blood would appear somewhat darker.
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When climbing down from the cable car inside the cable car station, Jones/Carnaby is seen wearing brown shoes. Military issued shoes are black, not brown.
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SS Sturmbannfuhrer is wearing the Close Combat Clasp... In gold. Awarded to just 613 individuals in the entire Wehrmacht... Representing 50+ battles. Not bad for a civilian.
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When Smith tells a German officer that his name is Bernard Himmler the officer looks worried because as Smith later says Bernard was Himmlers brother in fact that was,t the name of Himmlers brother so why would the German look so worried, he would only be worried if he knew what Himmlers brother name was and that it was not Bernard if he had his answer to Smith would have been "WHO".
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Miscellaneous 

After the team parachute lands in the valley, presumably in the middle of German occupied territory, they soon realize that one member is unaccounted for. In the next scene, One soldier locates the missing team member. He yells loudly, "Major", loud enough for his voice to echo in the hills and mountains. Any experienced soldier, part of a stealthy secret invasion force, would know better than to yell that loud possibly notifying the enemy of their presence.
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The sirens used at the castle and at the airfield are Allied sirens, German sirens of the time being lower pitched.
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When Smith and Schaeffer first sight the Schloss Adler, through binoculars, they also look at a German military training camp nearby. During this shot the matted image moves noticeably within the still frame image; a poorly-executed special effect..
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In the final scene, Smith pronounces Admiral Rolland's name two different ways within a few seconds - as "Admiral ROWland" and as "Admiral RAWland".
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

It is assumed that in the cable car, Maj. Jonathan Smith screws the light bulbs in, not out, to extinguish them. However light bulbs in public transport stations and vehicles (such as an aerial tramway) have reversed threads to prevent passengers from stealing them for their home.
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Booby traps using wires are placed by the road used for the escape yet there is a substantial period between this point and the eventual escape using the bus. However, the trip wires are fastened to posts at the roadside, not all the way across the road, so any passing traffic would not rip through them before the escape. The bus then knocked over the posts during the escape, triggering the timer mechanisms.
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While the presence of signs reading "Militärkommando Hohenwerfen" in the castle would, at first glance, appear to be an error caused by using the actual name of the shooting location Schloß Hohenwerfen (called "Schloß Adler" in the film), similar signs can be seen on other buildings. This indicates that "Hohenwerfen" does not refer to the castle, but to the administrative region (e.g. a municipality) that contains both the village of Werfen and the Schloß Adler.
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Plot holes 

Although several stylish call signs are used in the radio transmissions ("Broadsword", "Danny Boy", "Father McCree"), most of the other operatives and Colonel Turner, as well as the team's location, are referred to by name in open transmission.
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With the action in the latter half of the movie taking place more or less in real time, it is never explained from where the Junkers Ju 52 operates, and how Colonel Turner could get on board on such short notice. The only country from which he could have flown is Switzerland, and somehow it seems unlikely that the Swiss authorities would've allowed British uniformed personnel operating in Switzerland, much less allowed operations from her territory.
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When the men first land by parachute, Sgt Harrod is discovered with a broken neck, which appears to Smith to evidence of foul play. However, in the deep snow where Harrod is lying, foot prints would be obvious, proving that someone else had approached him, murdered him and then left. Nobody appears to notice any footprints, not even Smith, who is convinced the Sgt was killed deliberately by someone in his group.
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The bus stops after the bridge so that it can be booby-trapped. Yet the entire road up to that point had been elaborately booby-trapped. They could have even just briefly stopped and dropped a couple bundles of dynamite in the middle of the bridge with a 15-second timer so that it blew the bridge as they drove away. It made no sense to stop and booby-trap the bridge during the getaway, as it cost them valuable getaway time. But it did add valuable tension to the getaway.
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When Col. Kramer confronts Von Hapen, he tell Von Hapen that he sent out an order that there were 5 enemy agents in the area. However there were originally 7 men in the group. Col. Kramer could not have known that 2 had been killed. The traitor Col. Turner could not have told Col. Kramer of the two dead commandos by radio as he was with Adm. Rolland and the radio operator for the entire operation and could not have made a radio call to Col. Kramer with either of them knowing.
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In Europe most bus bodies are made from aluminum. During the chase sequence the Germans repeatedly spray the back of the bus with bullets, somehow the thin aluminum skin of the bus and the soft bus seat manage to protect the occupants.
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The German soldiers continuously use sledgehammers to get through the doors to pursue Smith and the others instead of just blowing the doors off with grenades, despite the fact that half of the castle has being destroyed anyway.
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In the final scene where Colonel Turner is shown the note book with 'his' name in it. It simply Reads 'Colonel Turner'. Turner is a common name, and there were a lot of colonels in the Wartime British Army. Simply having Colonel Turner without a first name or unit was hardly conclusive proof.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the Nazi car (after Smith and Shaeffer's arrest) is pushed into the ravine, it explodes without apparent reason before touching the ground. The same happens to the planes of the airfield being lightly hit on the tail by the German Alpine Post Bus.
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The tree stump of a tree supposedly blown off by dynamite shows clear signs of being cut down with a chainsaw.
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When von Hapen walks across the square whilst it is snowing, the falling snowflakes move with the camera as it pans across, showing them to have been added afterwards.
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After Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton have escaped their interrogators in the vehicle as they're leaving Schloss Adler on the snowy mountain pass, they push the vehicle over a cliff. Shortly after the vehicle starts rolling down the cliff, there's a fiery explosion inside the passenger compartment as if an incendiary device had been set to go off there. Yet there was no explosive device of any kind placed in the vehicle.
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The German fighter planes on the airfield near the end of the film are actually just painted American trainers.
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In the cable-car fight scene, Christiansen fires the silenced pistol five times and then throws the gun on the cable-car floor after the bullets run out. The gun immediately bounces several times, even up to shoulder height, suggesting it is in fact a prop-gun made of rubber or some other material besides metal.
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When the metal canisters which landed by parachute at the beginning of the film are first seen, there is an obvious trail through the snow leading into the far trees, indicating the canisters were placed rather than parachuted into position.
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Near the end of the corridor firefight, Schaffer retreats into the room and a German soldier throws a grenade through the door. In the widescreen version you can see the grenade strike the door frame and bounce back at the actor's feet, yet there is an explosion inside the room where the grenade would have landed. And grenades do not explode in a fireball as shown in this, (and other) movies.
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Up on the German mountain base, a helicopter flies in and discharges German officers. Although Germany developed helicopters in World War 2, they were still experimental and were not yet introduced to the armed forces. The Korea War was the first conflict where helicopters were used.
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During the classic corridor shootout between Schaeffer and the Nazis, the soldier who gets hit lying at the other end flies backwards before the ricochet charges in front of him go off.
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When Major Smith shoots the car that is approaching the bus and airplane near the end of the film, it catches fire and the entire inside of the vehicle goes up in flames. It is clear that the two German soldiers inside the car are merely dummies.
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During the final airfield sequence, visible wire pulling one of the fighter planes after the bus has hit it.
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When they land after the parachute drop, we get to see close ups of several members of the team, each in their location. In several places the snow is not fresh and untouched, indicating that the actors or crew members (cameramen for the shot) were there to get into the proper position to film the shot. The snow should have been pristine and undisturbed everywhere.
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When Schaeffer mows down the Nazis climbing the stairs towards the climax of their escape from the Schloss Adler, one of the soldiers that falls over the balustrade has somewhat suspect gray hair for a crack SS trooper.
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When the officer looks out the window and shoots the conspirator escaping down the rope, it's obviously a soft dummy falling.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

Inside the escape plane, just to the right of the side door (towards the front of the plane) through which they enter and Colonel Turner jumps to his death, there is a red plastic "Anderson Jack" (Anderson SB175) visible mounted inside the fuselage. This is a post-war addition, part of a range introduced in the late 50s, which is an electrical connector to allow additional batteries to be instantly plugged in to supplement the plane's own batteries.
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Factual errors 

Both Turner and Smith discuss the scandal to MI6 should the scandal of his treason get out. However, in 1939 the Nazis exposed MI6's networks in Europe, and the Special Operations Executive took over its functions in wartime.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the final German vehicle explodes at the airport, the occupants are obviously dummies and don't move at all, despite being engulfed in flames.
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When Maj. Smith discovers the body of Sgt. MacPherson and rolls him over on his back, you can see the actor's eyelids moving slightly.
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See also

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

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