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Pocahontas (1995) Poster

(I) (1995)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Grandmother Willow is a weeping willow, a species and cultivar of willow that would not be introduced to the New World for centuries to come.
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In some scenes the Union Flag of Great Britain and Ireland is displayed, although this flag was not created until 1801 (nearly 200 years after the movie is set). In other scenes, St. Patrick's cross is omitted.
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John shows Pocahontas how to shake hands, explaining that it's "how we say hello." Handshaking didn't become a standard greeting until the mid 19th century.
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The Union Jack depicted in the begin of the movie during the storm scene is not the flag designed at the period of King James I in 1606, the era the story is to happen; depicting the unified white cross of St. George and the red saltire of St. Andrew, but showing the flag that was first introduced in 1801; the formerly mentioned combination but now plus the red saltire of St. Patrick for Ireland and what is still the official national flag of Great Britain.
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Character error 

John tells Thomas to aim his musket with "both eyes open" which is actually a bad way to aim a gun as it's hard to line up your sights. However, firearms did not have rifling along the barrel back then, and even if you did aim perfectly with a smoothbore gun the bullet could still spin off path and easily miss a target less than 20 feet away. The fact that Thomas hit anything he was aiming at can be attributed only to luck.
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Continuity 

John Smith's helmet disappears and reappears throughout the movie.
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At the beginning of the storm the Union Flag is torn by the storm. Later in the scene, the flag is restored.
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When John was climbing up a tree to get a better look, his matchlock suddenly disappeared when he reached to the top.
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When Ratcliffe shoots one of Powhatan's warriors, he appears to be shot in the knee. In the next shot, he's grabbing his hamstring where the bullet shot the back of the leg.
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Errors in geography 

There are many cliffs visible near Jamestown. The land in Virginia near Jamestown is flat.
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Ratcliffe's maps show the island of Hispaniola (today divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic) underneath Florida, where Cuba should be. Although 17th century maps are known to be inaccurate, a mistake this obvious is unlikely given that the Caribbean area was well charted by then.
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Ratcliffe and his men managed to get to Virginia within hours/days. In reality, it took the 3 ships 8-9 months to get from England to Virginia.
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Moose cannot be found in Virginia. Their indigenous North American natural habitats are in northern American states (including Alaska) and all regions of Canada.
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Factual errors 

Indians didn't plant corn in rows.
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When John Smith first meets Pocahontas he is hiding behind a waterfall. He jumps through the water and levels his musket at her. His musket is a "matchlock" gun that is fired by having the "match", a chemically treated cord that smolders slowly, drop into the pan which contains gunpowder. If he came through the waterfall the water would wash the powder out of the pan and extinguish the smoldering match.
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Pocahontas follows a compass to the north, while the sun is rising. Her shadow is to her right, when it should be to her left.
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A stable river will only divide into two streams if they're on the same level, such as in an estuary delta or passing both sides of an island. Pocahontas rejects the smoother course to take the right-hand stream which is a steep cascade - and that's what the whole river would've done long ago, draining the higher left-hand channel.
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Thomas falls overboard and is rescued by Captain John Smith. As the other sailors haul on the rope, both men sink deep down beneath the stern, but the ship is still moving forwards so the drag of the water would keep them on the surface.
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John Smith and Thomas did not travel to Virginia together. Smith arrived in April 1607 whilst Thomas arrived on January 8, 1608.
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In reality, the expedition to Virginia set sail in 3 small ships and it started on December 20 1606.
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Percy, Ratcliffe's dog, is seen eating cherries after the declaration of the settlement's name. Cherries are poisonous to dogs, yet the dog has no ill effects through the remainder of the movie.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

There are many historical inaccuracies in this story of Pocahontas, however this is (obviously) a highly fictionalized account of her life.
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Revealing mistakes 

When John Smith sees the reflection of Pocahontas in water cupped in his hands ( when they first meet at the waterfall), the water would actually reflect the sky not the cliff where Pocahontas was hiding several feet behind and above him.
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When the Native Americans are preparing for the battle, they are surrounding a big fire. Before they move to start the battle, they are all walking towards the center of the circle. As they do this everyone's shadow is right in front of them, as if the sun was behind all of them. This isn't possible since at least half of their shadows would be behind them and not in front of them.
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When Nakoma and Pocahontas approach the tent to visit John Smith their shadows are not holding hands but as they walk towards the guards they are holding hands.
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Towards the end of Colors of the Wind, neither Pocahontas' nor John's arms are severely gashed by the eagles' talons.
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John Smith speaks in an Australian-American accent when he should be English.
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John seems to get minor injuries while falling down from a huge, tall tree.
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See also

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

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