The Most Egregious Costume Mistakes in Hollywood
It’s hilarious that a lot of movies that were given huge budgets have still managed to make such egregious costume mistakes. Among the most common mistakes is when a cast member wears clothes that aren’t period-appropriate. But sometimes it’s simply a mishap that flew by the costume designer unnoticed. For some, it is simply hard to believe the degree to which not a single person working for the movie managed to notice anything amiss. Happily for us, and unhappily for movie creators, the audience can always be relied upon to be keen enough to point out a show’s flaws. And we hope you’d read on since we’ve compiled in this listicle the most egregious costume mistakes in Hollywood films.
DIRTY DANCING—BABY’S SHORTS WEREN’T IN FASHION
Dirty Dancing, the hit 1987 romantic drama that melted many teenage hearts was set in 1963, almost 20 years before the jean shorts of the sort that Baby can be seen prancing about became fashionable. Anyone who expends the minimum amount of effort to research the fashion trends of the early sixties will reasonably find Baby’s denim shorts egregiously period inappropriate. But that being said, most who have watched the show neither noticed nor cared about the blunder, and the show, to its credit, became widely regarded as one of the most successful films of the eighties.
LEGENDS OF THE FALL—BRAD PITT’S BLONDE MANE
In Legends of the Fall, the epic period drama that starred such luminaries as Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Julia Ormond, has had its share of costume mishaps, despite the relatively gargantuan investment money that was earmarked by the studio to fund the film. Have you ever heard of a mistake being due to the fact that someone was so attractive? Well, you will now, because Brad Pitt’s oh-so-beautifully flowing locks would simply be unheard of during the 1910s when the film was set. In other words, the man’s hair was too long, beautiful and well-kept to have been donned by someone of that time.
TROY—UMBRELLAS HADN’T BEEN INVENTED
That scene in Troy where we see Orlando Bloom ride atop an intricately designed chariot around town while being shielded by a similarly intricate pink umbrella—have you seen it? Well, it isn’t supposed to be possible. Umbrellas, after all, hadn’t been invented until 800 years after, assuming the events of the Trojan War took place around 12 BC, which most historians believe it did. There was also one scene where a film crew member can be seen in the background carrying a walkie-talkie. We’re pretty sure radio waves and electricity hadn’t been discovered in 12 BC, so this was clearly a mistake.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE—KEIRA KNIGHTLY’S RUBBER BOOTS
This 2005 romantic drama that was based on Jane Austen’s novel of the same name had its fair share of wardrobe mistakes, too. Sure, the film took some creative liberties in its presentation of the events in the novel, but who would have thought that these liberties would include a fashion accessory that hadn’t been invented until 40 years after the novel was set? Keira Knightly’s boots for one scene seemed like they were from the future—40 years from the future, to be exact. The plush pair of Wellington rain boots on Keira’s slender hill-climbers hadn’t been invented at the time. Heck, the novel was set in the late 1700s, so even electricity hadn’t been invented at the time.
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK—AN EXTRA IN DENIM JEANS
Despite the fact that viewers don’t really give credit to the work of extras these days, they do play a very pertinent part in films. So when they screw up the very minor roles to which they’ve been assigned—depending on how consequential said roles are—well, it can often be bad for the whole film. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, one incorrigible individual deigned to wear denim jeans at the background of a scene that was supposed to be set in Egypt in the 1930s, where such a thing would have been unheard of.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER—PEGGY’S HAIR WAS TOO LONG
Peggy, the love interest of Captain America in the film—and to a huge degree, throughout the life of El Kapitan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, really—had her long, somewhat seductive brown locks resting themselves on the collar of her military outfit. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, except that it wouldn’t have been acceptable for the army at the time. Women in the army would have been required to have their hair tied up in such a manner that it didn’t hit their collar. True, it is a uniform requirement that might seem draconian today, but it was the norm during World War 2 when the scene was set.
THE AVENGERS—CAPTAIN AMERICA’S MAGICAL HEALING SUIT
We’ve all watched this film—does anyone seriously know anyone who hasn’t? So we all know just how expensive this film was to make. The CGI alone must have cost the studio somewhere close to the GDP of a small country. So it’s quite jarring that mistakes like these were not caught in the editing room. What mistake, you ask? Well, for one scene, we see Captain America injured—bloodied even—on his left torso. A moment later, he’s fine! The blood, seemingly like magic, disappeared from his suit! To the film’s credit, all Cap’s battle scenes after the magical incident had his suit bloodied as it should be.
GLADIATOR—MAXIMUS’S LYCRA SHORTS
One would have expected more from Ridley Scott of Blade Runner and Alien fame. I mean, don’t get us wrong, the film was spectacular. But for all ancient Rome’s technological prowess at the time, they certainly had no ability to produce lycra fabric, the fabric of which Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius’s shorts were made of. Today, a credit card swipe will suffice to have lycra shorts delivered, but during ancient Rome, a textile of this kind would have been rarer than a blood diamond. Hell, even Alexander the Great himself wouldn’t have been rich enough to own a pair of lycra shorts.
HARRY POTTER—THE CHANGING SUITCASE
We all know the Harry Potter films were about wizards and the magic-infested wizarding world in which they lived. But somehow, we think this continuity error wasn’t mean to be a case of magic. The scene we’re referring to was where Harry and Ron were pushing a huge piece of luggage, heading for platform 9 3/4. Ron tips the cart and causes his luggage to fall over. But the next scene shows a completely different suitcase lying on the flooring of the station. Clearly, they mistakenly used a different prop!
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE—MEDAL-WEARING NAZIS
Here is another one from Spielberg’s money-making Indiana Jones franchise. And we say “money-making” for good reason; because this film was shot on a $50-million budget, which was a huge amount of investment money at the time, and went on to make more than $470 million in the box office. One glaring mistake in the costume department, however, were the medals those Nazis were wearing—they were World War 2 medals, despite that the film was set more than a few years before World War 2.
THE KING’S SPEECH—WRONG SKIRT, SIR
It was, to the Scots, a huge blunder, and the simple reason for that is because the supposed King wore the wrong skirt—I mean, kilt—onscreen. The kilt the king was wearing had a recent design, and the one that he was supposed to be wearing had a particular design that’s been used by the Royal Family since 1853. It’s funny that the costume designer, whose credit score must’ve gone through the roof after being paid handsomely for the film, missed something as consequential as that. It was an easily avoidable mistake from an otherwise fantastic movie, which is what must have made it so difficult to excuse.
GLORY—A TIME-TRAVELING DIGITAL WATCH APPEARS
Glory, the 1989 war film that was based on the efforts of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the American civil war, starred the Hollywood luminaries Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. To the dismay of war perfectionists everywhere, one scene had an extra wearing, not just a period-inappropriate watch, but a digital one at that, effectively compounding the inappropriateness of the watch several-fold. It was, to put it mildly, quite egregious. The American Civil war occurred during the late 1800s, and Edison helped put electricity in people’s homes near the same period, but battery-powered watches wouldn’t be available until a hundred years later, so one is ineluctably led to wonder what the hell the costume designer was thinking.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER—HEADSETS WERE NOT A THING YET
That’s right: headsets were invented long after World War 2. They were not a thing at the time. They just weren’t! Yet, here they are, being used by men who are supposedly fighting in World War 2. It is, to some degree, kind of jarring, if you don’t mind us saying. In any case, why do we even feel this way? We are, after all, talking about a movie that introduced us to Super Soldier Serum, cryogenically frozen soldiers, and talking red skeletons. So period-inappropriate headsets are really not that bad.
PUBLIC ENEMY—FUTURISTIC OVERCOAT
Public Enemy, starring the inimitable Johnny Depp, was a film that featured many accurately recreated garments from the thirties. It was fantastic, really, and one really needs to credit the costume designers for doing such an awesome job. Except that there was a mistake—a particularly egregious one at that. You see, Johnny’s wool overcoat was unheard of during the time of John Dillinger, the man he was playing. The typical overcoat of Dillinger’s time would have been much too heavy to be prancing about with a gun in.
ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES—IS THAT A TELESCOPE?
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, was a film about, well, Robin Hood, a prince of thieves. We all know who the guy is—he’s the legendary bow-wielding charmer of English Folklore. Given that Robin Hood steals from the rich to give to the poor shenanigans were set in the 1100s, a full 500 years before telescopes were invented, this particular scene where—you guessed it—Mr. Hood himself can be seen handling a telescope was quite, how shall we say, infuriating. They could have just as reasonably included a scene where Mr. Hood took out his credit card and ordered the damn thing from Amazon.
ALMOST FAMOUS—BLACK SABBATH SHIRT
Almost Famous, the teenage rom-com that starred Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit, was almost perfect, but not quite. Viewers noticed that for one scene, a very recidivous extra deigned to walk behind our two main characters in what seemed to be a Black Sabbath shirt. To some degree, this would have been fine were it not for the fact that this particular design was created in 1997, two decades after the film was set. Given that this show isn’t about time-traveling youngsters, we’d have to say that someone was sleeping on the job when this scene was filmed.
PEARL HARBOR—LEGS THAT WERE BARE WERE RARE
This epic war film about the events of Pearl Harbor that starred Josh Hartnett, Ben Affleck, and Kate Beckinsale was directed by the inimitable Michael Bay, who’s known to pepper his work with a ton of CGI. The film didn’t do well by critics, but it did rake in a massive amount of money at the box office and was an excellent investment for both Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer, both of whom produced and financed the film. In any case, there were many scenes where women around the military base wore skirts, showing their bare legs. That would have been fine and dandy today, but for a Hawaiian military base during World War 2, it would have been an absolute no-no.
BRAVEHEART—WILLIAM WALLACE’S KILT
Braveheart, the film about the heroic Scot, William Wallace, that won a slew of awards at the time, including an Academy Award for Best Picture, gave our culture the image of Mel Gibson in a skirt shouting “Freeeedom!” It was, to its credit, an excellent movie, and this is despite its many historical inaccuracies. Indeed, it’s said to be one of the most historically inaccurate films ever made. One such inaccuracy was the kilts worn by our hero, the designs of which were 300 years ahead of the time the film was set.
DJANGO UNCHAINED—SUNGLASSES FROM THE FUTURE
This Western revisionist film by Quentin Tarantino incorporated the same elements of revenge that Tarantino’s other film, Inglorious Basterds, became known for. It starred Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the very entertaining Christopher Waltz, whose character, an amusing bounty hunter with a degree in dentistry, had absolutely stolen the show. The film was set in the mid-1800s when pushback against slavery was getting steam. This is also why more than a few nitpicking history buffs were indignant over the fact that Jamie Foxx wore sunglasses all throughout the film, almost a hundred years before such eye contraptions had been invented.
THE UNTOUCHABLES—FUTURISTIC LAPELS
The Untouchables, which was set in the 1930s, had Kevin Costner and his rag-tag band of anti-mob coppers dressed in accordance with the prevailing fashion trends of the time. They managed to pull it off for the most part, except for one element in their suits—the lapels. These 1930s-style suits had lapels that were proportionally much larger than the ones Eliot Ness (played by Costner) and his crew had donned. This little costume mishap flew by most viewers unnoticed, but the more scrupulous suit aficionados among them—who knew what suits looked like in the ‘30s, from what mobsters would wear down to the textile choices of their attorneys—were decidedly aghast by the oversight.
THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL—WRONG HAIRSTYLE
The beauty of both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson was overflowing onscreen, but this supposedly period piece made a few costume blunders that, to a huge degree, grated the sensibilities of costume design perfectionists the world over. Among those blunders was one scene showing the hair of Portman, which wasn’t tied back as it should have been for the French hood her character was sporting. People were quick to point out that, during the 1500s when the film was set, women in such French hoods would have worn their hair back.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN—THE BLACK BOOTS
If anything, this film mistake tells us that Steven Spielberg, who is often credited as the greatest director that ever lived, is actually human. I mean, of course, we know that he is, but he’s just so great at his work that we can’t be blamed for sometimes forgetting. The particular mistake in the movie that I’m referring to the boots used by the American soldiers for the film. They were all black, despite that the standard-issue during World War 2 should be brown boots. It’s a small mistake, to be sure, but it’s one that a costume designer with a huge budget to work with should have expressly avoided.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN—AMY ADAM’S’ BRACES
Catch Me If You Can, the film that chronicled the life of Frank Abagnale, Jr. (who was able to con those around him into believing he was a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor), showed a young Amy Adams in braces for one scene. That would have been fine if it were not for the fact that the design of her braces didn’t come out until the ‘70s, a decade after the scene was set. Interestingly enough, despite that many have accused Steven Spielberg, the film’s director, of taking more than a few liberties in his portrayal of Mr. Abagnale, Jr.’s life, it was the latter himself that said only Spielberg could “do the film justice.”
THE WIZARD OF OZ—TRHE RUBY RED SLIPPERS
This 1939 American musical film is, to a huge degree, often ranked among the greatest films ever made in history. Indeed, nobody can deny the film—and the story’s—cultural significance. Everyone knows about the adventures of Dorothy Gale in the land of Oz. But despite that, this film is also known to have an inordinate amount of continuity errors, from Dorothy’s changing hair length, to her dress abruptly going from dirty to clean—it’s a lot to discuss! But we’ll focus on the most well-known, which involved her ruby red slippers. Because for one scene, Dorothy was caught not wearing them! Those who know the story of the Wizard of Oz know that those red slippers are what Ruby should be wearing all throughout!
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK—NAME TAGS, NOPE
Good Night and Good Luck, the historical drama directed by the always-dapper George Clooney, was an absolutely excellent film, for critics and audiences alike. Indeed, the film garnered a 93% positive rating in review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. One amusing thing about the film was the degree to which people criticized the actor who played McCarthy for being too unrealistic in his acting, wholly ignorant of the fact that it was the real, actual McCarthy from archival footage they were looking at. In any case, the mistake in the film that made it to this list was its use of name tags—those name tags were introduced in the ‘60s, a full decade after the film was set.
AMERICAN HUSTLE—THE ROLEX WATCH THAT DIDN’T EXIST
American Hustle, the star-studded black comedy directed by David O. Russell, rustled some watch aficionado feathers when it featured C.K. Louis wearing a Rolex GMT Master II with a ceramic bezel. The problem, they say, is that the film was set in the ‘80s, and that particular Rolex watch hadn’t been introduced until 25 years later. That and the fact that the watch costs around $30,000, which would have made it totally out of reach for an FBI supervisor, is what called into question the millions of dollars of investment money spent on the film’s costume design team.
AMADEUS—THE IMPOSSIBLE ZIPPER SITUATION
Amadeus, the biographical drama that chronicled—or, at least, tried to chronicle—the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was a huge hit, winning 40 out of the 50 awards it was nominated for. But since it’s on this list, you know they got something wrong. To be honest, the costumes were amazing, and the designer deserves every bit of credit for this. But they did get more than one thing wrong, and for expedience, we’ll focus on Mozart’s zipper situation. Namely, his clothes had them. Considering that zippers hadn’t been invented for another hundred years after the film was set, this was a pretty egregious costume blunder.
THE COLOR PURPLE—ALBERT’S CLIP-ON TIE
The Color Purple is another of Steven Spielberg’s films— it looks like there are a lot of them on this list—that had a costume mishap. Yes, apparently, the people of 1913 weren’t lazy enough to be wearing clip-on ties, which is one of the blunders of this movie, since it featured Danny Glover’s character Albert Johnson using one, despite that it would be a decade after the film was set when people would start becoming lazy enough to need them. But I suppose it’s fitting that the one character in the film that most reeked of moral bankruptcy was chosen to wear a clip-on.
GANGS OF NEW YORK—FIREMEN’S COSTUMES WERE TOO MODERN
Gangs of New York, the epic drama film that starred such Hollywood heavyweights as Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis, was such a powerhouse of a film. It was even created with the legendary directorial powers of Martin Scorsese of Goodfellas and Casino Fame. Which is why it was so jarring to see this particular costume blunder in an otherwise excellent film. And if you ask us, the costume designer should have taken more online classes on the subject of late 19th-century attire. What was the mistake, you ask? Well, the firefighters in one scene had outfits no different from that of their modern New York counterparts.
BACK TO THE FUTURE—MARTY’S ELECTRIC GUITAR
Back to the Future, the lovable time-traveling classic that won everyone’s hearts in the ‘80s had more than one scene that was, how shall we say, unbelievable. It’s a film about time-traveling, after all. But one particular blunder that’s left guitar connoisseurs the world over scratching their heads in disbelief was Marty’s electric guitar. In the scene where Marty was splaying everyone’s bodies with electricity with his rendition of Johnny B. Goode, he was using a Gibson ES-345 guitar, which wasn’t introduced until 3 years after the film was set.
SCHINDLER’S LIST—THE INVISIBLE SHAVER THAT WAS PASSED AROUND
Well, what do you know, we have another of Steven Spielberg’s films here. Schindler’s List was indeed, to some degree, one of Spielberg’s greatest films. And we muscled through watching it uncolored just to see what all the fuss was about, only to come out indubitably changed by the experience. One somewhat inexcusable Spielbergian blunder, however, were the women in the concentration camps. How on earth, one reasonably asks, were they able to find the time to shave their legs and armpits while wasting away in a place that can only be described as hell on earth.
JULIUS CAESAR—BULLET BRAS
We don’t care how rich the women who hob-knobbed with Julius Caesar were—we’re certain that they weren’t rich enough to have been able to acquire bullet bras. And the simple reason for that is that the technology to create one hadn’t been invented yet. We’re talking about ancient Rome, after all, which was 2,000 years before bras became a thing. But I suppose this film having been released in the ‘50s means we need to cut it some slack—I mean, it did, to its credit, win a slew of awards.
MY GIRL—THE MOOD RING
My Girl, the wonderful coming-of-age comedy and drama that starred Anna Chlumsky and Macauley Culkin was funny, sweet, and a box office success. However, we know—oh, boy do we know—how nitpicky some viewers can get. Specifically, there was one scene where Chlumsky’s character was showing off her mood ring. The thing is, the scene was set in 1972, a full three years (stop the presses!) before the galactically inconsequential object had been invented. Yeah, it’s not such a big deal, really; we don’t have enough moral bankruptcy to raise a howl about it, that’s for sure.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY—BABY’S DIAPER
Another of Jane Austen’s novels that have been adapted to the big screen, Sense and Sensibility is nothing short of a classic. It also starred such luminaries as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet. But one scene that was particularly egregious was where a baby can be seen wearing diapers as insurance against poo-poo spillage. Diapers, after all, didn’t exist in the 1800s when the film was set. Some form of the diaper was being used in the 1800s, to be sure, but what was used for the baby in the scene was undoubtedly modern.
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN—THE IMPOSSIBLE PINK DRESS
This 1952 musical has an aggregate score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. There are only a few films with that high of a score on the review site, and, to the film’s credit, that score is testament to how beautiful the film is. That and the fact that it’s garnered so many awards leaves little room to doubt just how much of a classic this film is, and how influential it had been to filmmakers long after it was released. Of course, it’s not perfect, not least because Debbie Reynolds (played by Kathy Selden) had a pink, 50s-style dress on for one scene, despite that the film was set in the ‘20s.
THE DOORS—RAY BANS DIDN’T EXIST
This biographical film about the life of The Doors frontman Jim Morrison featured Val Kilmer playing the inimitable rock star. The film, unfortunately, bombed at the box office. To make matters worse, Morrison’s descendants hated the film and accused it of taking all manner of liberty in its presentation of Jim’s rock and roll lifestyle. But despite all that, it’s grown a cult following after its release, for which Kilmer’s performance deserves all the credit. Nevertheless, those Ray Bans we see Kilmer wearing weren’t introduced until the ‘80s, 10 years after the film was set.
THE WEDDING SINGER—BARRYMORE’S 90S HAIRCUT
There is absolutely no doubt about what era the producers of The Wedding Singer wanted the movie to be set in. In the first ten minutes of the film alone, we get 80’s cultural references galore. But one might be excused for thinking the characters abruptly jumped back to the late ‘90s because of Drew Barrymore’s hair since its style was created more than a decade after the time the film was set. In any case, this film was one of the biggest investments Sandler made in his career—it made $123 million at the box office on an $18-million budget.
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK—PERIOD-INAPPROPRIATE HAIR SITUATION
The events of the film were set in the 1900s, but most of the women’s hairstyles put them squarely in the ‘70s. Not only that: we can see, for some scenes, that the girls’ undergarments are modern, totally unlike anything that would have been typical for women in the 1900s. Also, one scene on the background shows a television antenna atop the roof of a house—we’re pretty sure the denizens of the 1900s had absolutely zero access to televisions at the time. There are actually a dozen other mistakes in the film that we needn’t mention, but they tell us that the investment money redirected to the costume designer of this film would have been better spent elsewhere.
THE INFORMANT—THOSE NIKE GOLF SHOES
This is not a biggie, but it still counts as a costume blunder, so we’re mentioning it here. Anyway, in The Informant—the American biographical comedy and crime film starring Matt Damon—one sees a bunch of actors playing golf sporting Nike Golf shoes that hadn’t been introduced until three years after the time the film was set. Three years isn’t so bad, actually, but movie viewers can be particularly scrupulous when it comes to details like this. Damon deserves credit for his dedication to the role, though; apparently, he gained 30 pounds just to look more like Mark Whitacre, who was the man that he played in the film.
THE LAST SAMURAI—CRUISE’S ARMOR WAS ANCIENT
Edward Zwick’s period piece, The Last Samurai, starred Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. It was basically about an American soldier who, to some degree, develops a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome after being kidnapped by a band of Samurai Warriors. The film did well in the US and did even better in Japan, where it was mostly shot. But Japanese film critic Tomomi Katsuta pointed out that Cruise’s armor wasn’t exactly period-appropriate, because, as it happens, the design was 250 years prior to when the film was set, and the samurais fighting alongside Cruise would have found his armor a little too outdated.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON—BRAD’S SUNGLASSES
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a fantasy drama about an individual, played by Brad Pitt, who aged in reverse—that is to say, he was born an old man and was getting younger and younger with time. It was kind of interesting to see the plight of a man who was in this weird, convoluted predicament, and Pitt, to his credit, did an excellent job. But just because his aging was reversed, doesn’t mean that time, too, was reversed. Because for one scene, we see Pitt’s character wearing a pair of Ray-Bans that hadn’t been introduced until another 8 years after the film was set.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN—REDSHIRTS FROM THE FUTURE
In the film Pirates of the Caribbean, the English army was all dressed in red, which would have been impossible if we were to take the timeline seriously, since the events of the film supposedly happened in the 1720s, a full two decades before red-shirted English infantrymen became a thing. In any case, the franchise did include preternatural characters and walking dead pirates, so this particular costume blunder would have been excusable were it not for the $100-million worth of investment money that was set aside for the film’s production.
SEABISCUIT—NO HELMET OF THAT SORT EXISTED YET
One might mistakenly assume from the title of the film that it’s about flour-based food products taken from the sea, but it’s actually about a racehorse named Seabiscuit, and it’s actually a great movie if the critical consensus is anything to go by. But like a lot of movies, mistakes were made, people were fired, lawyers were hired, and the whole shebang. We don’t actually know if any of that happened, but what we do know is that those helmets the horse racers wore onscreen were only made available long after the Great Depression, which was when the film was set.
STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK—JACKET PUTS ITSELF ON
This film, which is also known as Episode V, was part of the space opera that George Lucas concocted. We, of course, don’t need to remind anyone of just how massively successful it was—and how massively expensive it was to produce. Indeed, the studio reportedly intended to spend only $18 million for the film’s production but had to divert another $15-million worth of investment money just to finish the film. So, it’s a wonder that Han Solo’s disappearing jacket wasn’t caught in the editing room. I mean, he had his jacket off for one scene, only for it to be back on a moment later, and to be back off a moment after that.
THE NOTEBOOK—CHANGING HAIR COLOR
This 2004 romantic drama film that had us tearing our hair out inside the theater after the film’s final scene was, to a huge degree, one of the saddest things we’ve seen in our lives. Ryan Gossling and Rachel McAdams played two people who fell in love but were forced to separate due to their different social circumstances. But the film wasn’t without its faults, however; for one scene, Lon, who played McAdam’s fiancé, had his hair change from black to brown from one scene to the next, seemingly like magic. It was an egregious continuity error that wasn’t caught in the editing room.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD—BOOTS OF THE FUTURE
If you haven’t seen this movie, well, you have to see it. It stars the consummate method actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who’s an absolute beast in this film, in terms of his preternatural ability to channel a ruthless miner-turned oil magnate, who’s teetering on the brink of absolute moral bankruptcy. To be sure, it won’t be easy to find any fault in this film, given how good it is, but there was one particular scene that had nitpicky viewers left ajar. It was when Day-Lewis wore boots with waffle soles, an advancement in boot technology that hadn’t been introduced until 70 years after the film was set.
POMPEII—THE UNPUNISHED PURPLE WEARERS
Purple dye existed during the time of emperor Nero, so, to some degree, that’s one thing the movie got right. But it would have been impossible for Roman General Corvus, played by Kiefer Sutherland, to have been able to wear purple. The same for any of his subordinates or the other affluent characters in the film that wore purple. And the simple reason for this is that emperor Nero was crazy, and made the act of wearing purple punishable by death. Of course, rather conveniently, Nero made himself the exception in this ridiculous anti-purple law.
BEN-HUR—THE STAR OF DAVID
Ben-Hur was reportedly the biggest-budgeted film of its time. Indeed, the scale of the production seemed crazy, and one immediately gets the feeling that the producers spent a ton of money for the film, especially by the standards of the ‘60s, when this film was made. So, with all the investment money that’s been exhausted for the film’s creation, one reasonably assumes that mistakes were avoided. But, no! Prior to the epic chariot race, someone pins the Star of David to Ben-Hur’s belt, and this would have been fine were it not for the fact that the Star of David didn’t become a Jewish symbol until the middle ages, 400 years after the film was set.
UNFORGIVEN—THOSE BELT LOOPS
This epic revisionist Western flick starring Clint Eastwood was also one of the many films that he directed. It was about a legendary outlaw who was hired to make quick work of a bunch of prostitute-disfiguring lawmen. Of course, we’re talking about Clint here, who’s, to a huge degree, an icon of cinema, so of course, he manages to kill the lawmen and everyone else who got in his way. But one scene showed Gene Hackman’s pants having belt loops in them, which would have been impossible in 1880 since belt loops hadn’t been invented yet. Indeed, belt loops didn’t exist until the 1920s.
QUADROPHENIA—THE BAND THAT WASN’T
Franc Roddam’s Quadrophenia was about a man named Jimmy who found solace in his friends, drugs, and music, up to the point when these all turned on him. It was the film that marked Roddam’s directorial debut, so maybe we should cut him some slack and instead, give him credit for creating a film that critics praised as authentic. Or, actually, maybe not. Maybe we should, like the nitpicking dunderheads that we are, call the film out on its mistake. Yeah, we’re going for the latter: there was a scene where a rocker wore a Motorhead shirt (Motorhead is a rock band, by the way) a decade before the band was formed.
THE GREAT ESCAPE—TOO TRENDY FOR THE TIME
The Great Escape is a film about allied prisoners escaping their dastardly, uncomfortable, Nazi-infested German prison camp that was in dire need of roof repair. So, of course, it was set in World War 2. You wouldn’t know that from seeing how the characters were dressed, however, since the main character in particular (played by Steve McQueen) looks like he’d feel right at home in the ‘60s, simply based on his choice of textile. Making this costume error doubly annoying is the fact that this film was supposed to be based on a true story.
PRETTY WOMAN—MAGICAL TIE
If you needed more evidence that Pretty Woman was actually about a magical witch, then look no further. In one scene, Vivian undoes Edward’s tie, only for it to be back on, neatly tied to Edward’s neck a moment later, and then undone again a moment after that. It’s weird, we know. You’ll also see in the background was the show I Love Lucy. Why do they always have tv shows from the ‘50s playing in every television set in the background in movies? In any case, this film had so many costume blunders that we can be certain that the investment money paid to the costume designer would have been better spent elsewhere.
WHERE EAGLES DARE—WRONG HAIR
This 1968 British World War 2 film that starred Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood was a big commercial success. But, like other films on this list, the makeup artists didn’t follow the hairstyle trends of the time. Heidi Schmidt (played by Ingrid Pitt) can, in fact, be seen all throughout the film in a hairstyle that would make her perfect for a film set in the ‘60s, except that this particular film was set in the ‘40s. In any case, this blunder was more than offset by the fact that the film is now considered a classic, for which Burton and Eastwood deserve all the credit.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN—A COWBOY IN THE BACKGROUND
In one scene of the film, a lone cowboy can be seen in the background. It was quite befuddling, and we suspect this was an extra, or someone in the production crew, that mistakenly entered the scene, and in the most inopportune of moments. It was just a single frame, and very few would have even noticed the cowboy hat-wearing man in the background. But, yeah, he’s there, as though part of some moving company or something.
THE AVIATOR—THOSE WIRED GLASSES
This 2004 biographical drama that starred Leonardo DiCaprio as the weird and wily Howard Hughes was set in the ‘20s. So, it was rather comical that Robert Gross (played by Brent Spiner) can be seen wearing wire-framed glasses, which would have looked alien to people of the time. During the ‘20s, eyeglasses were typically horned-rimmed and had rounded focals. That is to say, they are very different to what Gross was wearing. Credit goes to Spiner, however, for accepting the role of Robert Gross. Spiner, as some of you might know, plays Spock in Star Trek; so, although he’s a huge star, his appearance in this film was very brief!
ALIEN—THE DISAPPEARING HOOD
This sci-fi classic directed by Ridley Scott was a huge success at the box office. Indeed, a slew of sequels followed precisely because the original was such a success. But despite the good credits, there were a few mistakes. For example, the disappearing hood of one of the alien’s victims. In one scene, a pre-pubescent alien successfully bypasses the ship’s security system, jumps up to Kane and wraps around his head. It all happened moments after he removed his headgear. When the alien was finally removed, however, Kane’s hood, which he was wearing prior to removing his headgear, magically disappeared. Not too many viewers noticed the continuity error, not least because they were too focused on the grossness of the scene.
PRETTY WOMAN—THE MAGICAL MUTATING GOWN OF VIVIAN
Who would have thought that in the film Pretty Woman, Vivian, played by Julia Roberts, was actually a magical witch. We kid! But, seriously, there was one scene that her gown seems to have changed length all by itself. It happened so quickly, and most would not have noticed, but in the epic scene were Vivian kisses Edward—the corporate raider whose business involved leaving other companies in bankruptcy—for the first time, she was wearing a long white nightgown. A few minutes later, and she’s in a short white nightgown. Yes, that is weird.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS—ANNA BAXTER’S FUTURISTIC DRESS
Futuristic, at least, for people who lived in 1,500 B.C.—the time when Anna Baxter’s character, Nefertiti, was a thing. Indeed, Anna Baxter’s lacy bra was invented some 3,000 years after the film was set, so the people of the time would have rightly seen someone in a lacy bra as some alien from another planet. And it gets worse: that bluish hue that Baxter’s dress was in, well, it would have been impossible to create using 1,500 B.C. technology. And yes—surprise!—it gets worse still: all the characters had haircuts that were popular in the 1950s. We’re not sure how much investment money was spent on the costumes, but we’re certain that a huge amount of creative liberty was taken by the costume designer in their creation.
BAYWATCH—GENA’S SEE-THROUGH SWIMSUIT
Baywatch, the hugely popular television series of the nineties that nobody could keep their eyes away from, had its fair share of behind the scenes drama. Indeed, it would take a whole other listicle to fairly encapsulate the interesting tidbits and shenanigans that went on while the cameras weren’t rolling, but since this is an article about costume mistakes, we’ll focus on one. It’s Gena Lee Nolin’s swimsuit for one scene that happened to be—gasp!—see-through! There was one time when she apparently went out of the water, only to give the film crew more than an eye-full. Thankfully, no pictures were leaked so her attorney didn’t sue.
THE MUMMY RETURNS—SKIRTS WERE MASS-PRODUCED IN ANCIENT EGYPT
You heard that right. It seems skirts were being mass-produced in ancient Egypt—why has no historian ever mentioned this? Those skirts had tags in them, after all, so whoever sold these ancient Egyptians those skirts were practicing a form of commerce that was thousands of years ahead of its time. Of course, we know it’s just a movie, and the remaining tags, as well as the ill-conceived costume design, was an egregious oversight. It’s a bit like the costume designer took a few online classes on costume design and went, ‘yeah, I think I’m good enough to work in Hollywood now!’
THE TUDORS—SCANDALOUS RUFFS
The costumes used in the television series The Tudors were said to be so historically inaccurate, and so egregious in their inaccuracy, that some couldn’t help but suspect that being historically inaccurate was the whole point of the show. Indeed, the costume designer of the show even admitted during one interview that much of their designs were, to a huge degree, reinterpretations of the original. One such blunder—or intentional blunder, whatever the case may be—was the ruffs seen on some of the gowns. Ruffs worn unaccompanied with an undergarment would have been scandalous at the time, but there it is.