Edit
Alexander (2004) Poster

(2004)

Goofs

Factual errors 

Craterus and Polyperchon, shown grieving at Alexander's death and then fighting with the other generals over his corpse, were not even in Babylon when all this occurred.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
This goof item contains spoilers. Click to view

Anachronisms 

In Gaugamela Battle, we can clearly hear that the Persian army leaders are talking Arabic. But this battle was before Arabs invasion to Persia so there weren't Arabic words in Persian.
10 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Ptolemy I is depicted recounting the story of Alexander in 283 B.C. The Lighthouse at Alexandria, seen in the background, was built during the reign of his son Ptolemy II, around 270 B.C.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The Alexander Mosaic shown when the old Ptolemy was talking did not exist until 100 BC. It was from the Roman Republic era.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Horses are shod with modern nailed horseshoes. The most probable horseshoes at the time of Alexander should have been leather and plants "booties" of Asian origin. In the 1st century, Romans used leather and iron "hipposandals". Nailed iron horseshoes seem to have become adopted much later.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The fruit bowl next to Ptolemy contains Fuji apples, which were not available in 283 B.C.
6 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
At the final scene, when Ptolemy is dictating to Cadmus, he mentions "the tenth of June". The Julian Calendar, the first one to contain that date, was established in 45 BC.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The horse used as Bucephalus is a modern Dutch Friesian, the 1990's Hollywood dream horse (Zorro, Ladyhawk etc etc), and about twice the size of the ponies known in the Hellenistic period.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Knick knacks in Olympia's boudoir include the Sumerian Goat and Tree excavated at Ur, in modern day Iraq, by Leonard Woolley in 1927. Created and buried more than 2000 years before Alexander was born, it's unlikely his Mum had one on her sideboard.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Olympias is telling Alexander that Zeus is his father, she says "I laid with him that night", but her mouth isn't moving.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Continuity 

In the theatrical version of the movie the scar on Old Ptolemy's forehead switches sides halfway through his first scene.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After being wounded in the battle against the Indian king, Alexander is carried on a shield. First, his sword lies on his chest, then under his shoulder.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Alexander tries to ride the wild black horse, the ropes are crossed. In the next shot, they are in place.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Antigonus addresses his troops just before the jungle battle against the Indians. In a flipped shot, his right eye is missing, not his left.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When speaking to his troops at the riverside in India, Alexander's sword switches from the left to his right side in one shot.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Alexander is riding towards the warrior on the elephant, the arrows in his horse's shoulder blades disappear and reappear between cuts to Alexander and the elephant.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the Final Cut, when Alexander is giving his speech to his men at Gaugemela. The officer who hands him his helmet is on his right, but in the next scene he is on his left handing Alexander his helmet.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the final battle, before Alexander would ride towards the elephant, he is seen holding a spear, even waving it and pointing with it to his men to move forward. One second later he is carrying a sword, with the spear nowhere to be seen.
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Errors in geography 

When Aristotle is describing what he thinks might be a route to circle around to the headwaters of the Nile and travel down it to conquer Egypt, he refers to going "up the Nile," rather than down it. This may be due to the modern map convention of showing North at the top of maps and referring to traveling in a northerly direction as going "up". The Nile River flows from South to North and thus traveling down the river is going North.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
They talk about Hindu Kush in the movie. The first reference to this name shows up more than 1300 years later.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Factual errors 

Alexander asks Darius' daughter how she wishes to be treated, she replies, "like a princess," and he grants her wish. In reality, Alexander asked the question to the Indian king Porus. When Porus replied "like a king", he won Alexander's respect and became one of his allies.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Antigonus, portrayed in the film as one of Alexander's childhood friends, was in fact 26 years older than Alexander.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the battle at Gaugeamela, the Persian army is wearing dark clothes. Their uniforms were yellow and light purple.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Philotas is depicted as fighting on foot alongside his father on the Macedonian left flank at Gaugamela. Philotas was always recorded as riding with the Companion Cavalry. However, his arrogant disposition and tendency to draw unwanted attention to himself are accurately portrayed, particularly in the Revisited Cut.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When Alexander and his friends are children, they all look to be the same age. However, Ptolemy and Nearchus were several years older than Alexander.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the movie, Alexander sustains a nearly-fatal chest wound during a forest battle against the Indians. The battle was actually in a walled city in what is now Multan, Pakistan.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
When the men mutiny at the river Beas, Craterus speaks of 'these elephant monsters' implying that the Macedonians have only heard of them. This is ridiculous, because not only had they already fought the battle of Hydaspes (depicted in the film as after the mutiny), but they also would have seen the elephants at Gaugamela (Darius had brought a few elephants to the battle, but they saw little action).
5 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
On the map of the known world, the Black Sea is correctly called "Pontos Euxeinos," but the Mediterranean is called "Mare Mediterraneum." On Roman maps, it was called "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) or "Mare Internum" (Inner Sea). In the fifth century BC, Herodotos called it the "Pontos Boreios" (Northern Sea).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Nearchus was not recorded as being at Gaugamela, yet he is present.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
In the film, the final battle against the Indians is depicted as taking place in a jungle, whereas in reality the battle - known as the Battle of the Hydaspes - took place on the banks of the river Hydaspses (now known as the Jhelum).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
On road marches (as opposed to marching to contact, i.e., when the enemy is in sight or there is imminent contact), the 4 to 7 metre (13 to 21 feet) sarissa would have been broken down into its two components for ease of transport. In the movie, the sarissa is always shown at full length deployment.
3 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
There are some English texts to be seen throughout the movie. When young Alexander is taught about the world as it has been explored in these ancient times, the teacher stands on a mosaic showing the countries' and regions' names in English. Another appearance of the English language happens on a report lying on Alexander's desk, titled "TAX SYSTEM" in fake Greek letters.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
During the battle in India, the infantry are shown fighting in phalanx formation with the long spears (known as sarissas). However, according to such historians as Robin Lane Fox, they had given up fighting with the sarissa by the time they reached India.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Miscellaneous 

Many scenes were re-ordered in the "Final Cut." For example, Alexander's childhood is seen in flashback, not at the beginning, in chronological order. However, the end credits are the same, so the list of actors "in order of appearance" is inaccurate.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When it comes to naming an heir to Alexander's empire on his deathbed, no mention is made of Alexander's half-brother, Philip Arrhidaeus. Despite his noted learning disability, Arrhidaeus was held up as the true Macedonian heir to Alexander's empire by many men in the Macedonian army (Alexander's child by Roxane was still unborn before Alexander died and was also half-Iranian, which fueled Hellenic prejudices). Arrhidaeus was crowned Philip III after Alexander's death as co-ruler alongside Alexander's unborn child (who became Alexander IV). While some have called the film out on this factual error, the omission was clearly done to compress the story of Alexander into a single film.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
[Director's Final Cut] At Philip's wedding, when Attalus is toasting a Macedonian Queen to be proud of, he pauses to glare at Alexander but as he does so, his dialog continues without moving his mouth. This, however, is an intentional artistic flourish that is typical of Oliver Stone's films.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Revealing mistakes 

When Alexander rides towards the elephant of the Indian King, his sword is obviously waggling as though made of rubber.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
The tattoo on Colin Farrell's right arm and shoulder appears in a few shots.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Factual errors 

Cleitus died in Samarkand, not India.
8 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Although Cassander is a main character, and leads the cavalry under Alexander at Gaugamela and Hydaspes, his actual role in history is much smaller. He is first recorded in the year that Alexander died, sent by his father to Babylon. This gave rise to the idea that he came with poison that eventually killed Alexander.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Olympias, Ptolemy, Parmenion, and Attalus are all witnesses to Philip's murder, while Nearchus is among the men who pursue Pausanias, murderer of Philip, and then spear him to death. However, none of them would have been present at Philip's murder. Olympias, Nearchus, and Ptolemy were all in exile from Macedonia and only returned when Alexander was crowned king, while Parmenion and Attalus were abroad in western Asia, to pave the way for Philip's planned invasion.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
After Alexander tells his army that they'll leave India and march home to Babylon, Ptolemy narrates that Alexander marched his army "directly west across the great Gedrosian desert, seeking the shortest route home to Babylon". This is somewhat inaccurate. While Alexander did march part of his army through the Gedrosian desert (the fleet and the veterans were spared the march), it certainly wasn't the shortest route home to Babylon. In fact, going through the Gedrosian desert was by far the most dangerous route possible and certainly not the shortest route. The only reason Alexander decided to march through the desert was for his own glory, because no other army had ever crossed the desert alive, and he wanted to be the first to hold the honour of doing so.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Alexander is depicted as holding out his ring straight into the air before dying, whereupon the ring falls to the ground and collapses. This goes against records which claim that Alexander gave his ring to Perdiccas. While depicted as a fairly minor character, Perdiccas played a large role in the campaigns of Alexander. He assumed command of the Companion Cavalry when Hephaistion died, and by receiving Alexander's ring, he was the assumed regent of Alexander's empire until his son would come of age.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
It is implied during the battle in India that Antigonus has a command over the Shield Bearers, an elite division in the Macedonian army. This was not so. For that matter, Antigonus would not have been in India at all, as he was the satrap of Phrygia at the time. He would only really rise to prominence after Alexander's death, much like Cassander.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
As Alexander comforts a dying Hephaistion, he tells him that they'll set sail from Babylon and conquer various peoples and lands, one of them being "the Roman tribe" as Alexander describes them. Being a well-educated man, Alexander should have known that the Romans were not just a mere "tribe", but were a fully functioning republic by 323 BC (when this scene took place).
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink
Unlike the film's portrayal, Alexander only married Roxane after the deaths of Parmenion, Philotas, and Cleitus.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

Revealing mistakes 

When Hermolaus commits suicide, he falls onto his sword. A shot later, the sword's point is sticking out of his back. However, the angle of the point and the hilt are impossible.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Permalink

See also

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

Contribute to This Page