Hollywood is full of provocative pause-worthy scenes that have us lusting after another look. Whether you’re halting the action to catch a certain celeb cameo, trying to spot a sneaky homage to another film or attempting to solve a cryptic message that’s hiding in the background, you’ve likely had to stop a movie mid-scene. With this list, you can relive the golden movie moments that had viewers pressing pause more than any other – and learn exactly what you need to look out for when you watch them again.
20. The Whiteboard in the Woods
Forget The Cabin in the Woods, it’s all about the whiteboard in the cabin in the woods. While the movie’s fast-paced action and freakish beings offer viewers plenty of stoppable scenes, it is a mere whiteboard that arguably gets the most attention in this bloodstained blockbuster. But what could a whiteboard possibly offer that’s more bewitching than the action itself?
Well, marker-penned onto the board – which is rather appropriately placed behind pacing scientists who are discussing the fates of the lead characters – is a sprawling list of the movie’s monsters. Lots of viewers find themselves hitting pause to home in on the names and tick off those who they notice along the way. And through this close inspection, fans have spotted the one name we never get to meet: the cryptic Kevin.
19. A cryptic cloud of dust in The Lion King
Yes, even Disney has had viewers pressing pause to make sense of the mysterious background messages. Just after Simba slumps on a rock in the 1994 film The Lion King, for instance, audiences are often sidetracked by the mass of dust that shoots into the sky. It seems to spell out a somewhat unexpected word, you see. That’s right: audiences tend to pause here to get a closer look at the specks that appear to come together in the shape of the word “sex.”
But while the movie’s artists assure us that there is a word deliberately written in the soot, they have denied any sexual undertone. In fact, in 2015 ex-Disney animator Tom Sito told the news website Huffington Post, “It doesn’t say ‘sex…’ It’s SFX.” In other words, it’s a shout-out to the special effects crew behind the flick. You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, though, as the F does look dangerously like an E. Why not stop the scene and see for yourself?
18. A ghost on the set of Three Men and a Baby
For all of its laughs, 1987’s Three Men and a Baby left some audience members spooked when they spotted what looked like a ghost lurking in the background of the flick. To explain the pause-worthy scene, rumors swirled: some believed a young boy had died in the house where the movie was filmed, for example. However, star Tom Selleck set the record straight on a 2017 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Selleck squashed that rumor by explaining that they filmed the movie on a soundstage, so the “house” had only existed for the movie’s sake. He then revealed who the little boy actually was. In the film, Ted Danson’s character is an actor who keeps cardboard cutouts of his child-star self in the shared abode. And the figure that has inspired so many viewers to pause and rewind, thinking they’ve seen an otherworldly being, is apparently just another one of those.
17. Hidden cameos in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
As the screen pans over the streets of Paris, viewers hit pause during the “Out There” scene of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And it’s for much more than just a moment’s sing-a-long. While Quasimodo looks longingly out over the cityscape, many stop the action to steal a closer look at what appears to be Aladdin’s carpet and The Lion King’s Pumbaa knocking about the Parisian parades.
And freezing here also reveals what appears to be Beauty and the Beast’s very own Belle wandering – as she so often does – with her head in a book. Eerily similar to the protagonist’s movements in the opening scene of that princess fairy tale, which is another Disney film set in France, this cameo could have you thinking that the two stories overlap. That’s until you remember that they are set centuries apart, of course.
16. The senate scene in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
There’s plenty to keep us reaching for our TV remotes across the epic Star Wars franchise, but the appearance of one particular species of alien has people pressing stop more times than the rest. Yes, when none other than our beloved E.T. pops up with a few of his pals to represent the intergalactic senate in Episode I – The Phantom Menace, viewers can’t help but pause to take a look.
However surprising E.T.’s presence in Star Wars may seem, his cameo completes a pleasing symmetry. You might recall that in the original E.T., Elliott – then played by Henry Thomas – shows E.T. what it really means to be a 1980s kid by playing with his classic Star Wars toys. Whether you saw it coming or not, this scene in George Lucas’ saga continues to be one of the most-paused moments in movie history.
15. Shirts up in She’s The Man
Amanda Bynes – queen of the early-noughties chick-flick – dresses like a dude in this 2006 teen comedy so that her character, Viola, can get out on the pitch and pursue her love of soccer. And if you’re not too caught up in the entangled love triangles that come with all the cross-dressing here, you’ve likely stopped to pause the movie at a very precise moment.
If not, you can probably guess which one makes this list. At the end of the movie, Viola decides to tell her love interest, Duke, the truth and reveal that she is, in fact, a girl after all. And how does she do that? By hauling up her jersey and baring all. Of course, the PG-13 flick doesn’t show a lot – even when it’s paused. But that doesn’t stop people trying to steal a glance at what’s underneath.
14. Mark Wahlberg’s package in Boogie Nights
Some films leave nothing to the imagination. Mark Wahlberg has viewers reaching for the pause button just before the credits fall on the 1977 period drama Boogie Nights. In this sequence, Wahlberg’s character, Dirk, undoes the zipper on his pants and shows off his package.
But stop the movie early and you’d miss it, for the directors saved the flick’s most shocking moment right for the very last scene. And if you, like many, are halting the action to try and work out whether it’s real or not, you only need to visit Wahlberg’s house for the answer. That’s right: the actor apparently keeps the pause-worthy prosthetic organ locked in a safe in his home. So there’s your answer.
13. Margarita rescue in Jurassic World
What’s the one thing you’d desperately try to save if you were being ambushed by a swarm of flying dinosaurs? Well, as eagle-eyed fans of Jurassic World noticed, for this one extra, it had to be his margaritas. And his passionate rescue of the two beloved cocktails earned this guy the bragging rights of starring in one of the most pause-worthy movie moments ever.
Fans can’t get enough of the fact that even when pterodactyls are diving down towards him, this guy just has to protect his booze. And his hurried dash for his drinks has been paused and re-played over and over. Twitter’s @getwelldreams branded the extra “the real MVP” of the blockbuster, and he’s even inspired some Comic Con-goers to dress up as him, too.
12. Captain America’s shield in Iron Man
Peeking out from behind Tony Stark – played by Robert Downey Jr. – as he unfastens his suit in an Iron Man scene is none other than Captain America’s red, white and blue shield. And naturally, fans pause the sequence to plot exactly what role the shield has in the epic Marvel Universe.
You see, Captain America’s iconic vibranium protector was meant to be preserved in ice along with the superhero right up until he arose from the frost in 2011. So how come it appears in Stark’s Malibu mansion during a film that’s set in 2008? Whatever whacky theory fans have come up with to answer that question, the shield’s brief cameo remains one of the most-paused moments of the movie.
11. Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard in Thor: The Dark World
Fanatics can’t help but halt the action when Dr. Selvig begins to spell out the events of the first Thor film. Helpfully, he uses a chalkboard that’s riddled with diagrams, equations and allusions to unravel. And unless you’re a speed reader par excellence, you’ll need to hit pause to mull them over properly.
After freezing the frame to untangle the chalkboard’s treasure trove of references, then, eagle-eyed viewers will pick up on a shout-out to “616 Universe” – proof, perhaps, that Selvig knows of its existence. They might also discern the homage to Messiah War saga collaborators Craig Kyle and Christopher Yoast in the equation “Kyle+Yost=x.” And now that Avengers: Infinity War has hit the screens, look out for “Nidavellir” among the scribbles, too.
10. A head-banging moment in the midst of Star Wars
Star Wars fans never seem to tire of watching and re-watching the films from this fantastical franchise. After a few viewings of 1977’s Episode VI: A New Hope, though, some fans had to reach for the remote. They noticed something unexpected happening in the background as Stormtroopers poured into a control room; all but one of them made it inside without an incident.
Yes, eagle-eyed viewers spotted that one of the Stormtroopers smacked his head on the top of the door. And on the film’s 40th anniversary, Laurie Goode, the extra who made the gaffe, spoke to the magazine The Hollywood Reporter about his famous fail. He explained that he’d had digestion issues on the day of shooting, and his belly rumbled enough to distract him as he walked through the door. Then, bang – the famous mistake occurred.
9. A creepy end to the already-unsettling Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho changed showers forever after it hit theaters in 1960. The film’s murder took a week to film, and it resulted in one of the most iconic horror scenes in history. From the shadowy silhouette lurking behind the curtain to the blood swirling down the drain, Norman Bates’ slaying of Marion Crane has been seared into the minds of countless movie-watchers through the ages.
And yet, that’s not the Psycho scene that has people pressing pause. For barely a second, the skull of his mummified mother flashes across the maniacally grinning face of Norman Bates. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, so you’ll have to be quick on the remote to catch it.
8. The Queen-worthy cameo in Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen fans who watched Bohemian Rhapsody got more than just the story of Freddie Mercury’s rise to fame. A pivotal scene in the flick sees the band’s lead singer check out a male truck driver at a rest stop. But the moment isn’t just an essential plot point in the singer’s exploration of his sexuality.
A close look at the trucker who catches Freddie’s eye reveals that he, too, has a familiar face. Hiding behind a mustache and a thick mane of hair is singer Adam Lambert, who has more ties to Queen than this seconds-long cameo in Bohemian Rhapsody. Since 2011, you see, he has fronted Queen on their tours.
7. A strange flash of cleavage in Total Recall
Lots of pause-worthy film moments on this list will have you squinting to see a hidden Easter egg. That’s not the case with this eye-catching moment in Total Recall, the 1990 action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And it’s not the hulking hero who will have you doing a double-take, either.
Given that parts of Total Recall’s plot plays out on Mars, it’s hardly surprising that the film is full of weird characters and imagery. But this one takes the cake. When a woman appears on screen with three breasts, stopping the film to take a closer look is arguably the only way to get your head around it.
6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s bikini scene
When thinking of classic movies from the ’80s, people inevitably land upon Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This nostalgic flick might not be the best in terms of quality, but it has tons of memorable moments. And for lots of viewers, there’s one scene in particular that has them watching – and pausing – again and again.
The noteworthy moment happens when Linda, played by Phoebe Cates, climbs up a pool ladder after a swim. People have long-paused the movie to check out the actress’ bikini-clad body, seemingly making it the film’s most iconic scene.
5. The pool scene in Wild Things
You wouldn’t think a crime drama about a money-grabbing scam and murder would get so many tongues wagging. But this one features a pretty steamy sequence between stars Neve Campbell and Denise Richards.
Kelly and Suzie – the characters played by Richards and Campbell, respectively – work together to get a payout from the former’s rich family, but their partnership goes awry in the end. They fight about it, but, as the saying goes, there’s a thin line between love and hate. They end up sharing a passionate kiss in a pool, and it’s this part that people tend to stop and rewind.
4. A bit of a bug in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark kicked off the iconic Indiana Jones franchise with thrilling action sequences. And there’s one wild moment that still has audiences pausing the movie. The ‘did-I-see-that-properly?’ scene revolves around the movie’s chief baddie, Dr. Rene Belloq, who is played by Raul Freeman.
As Dr. Belloq delivers his villainous lines in one iconic scene, he unexpectedly picks up a second partner: a fly. Freeman remains in character in spite of the insect’s presence, so dedicated to his role that he keeps talking even as it climbs into his mouth. It’s a moment worth pausing and re-watching, just for the gross-out factor.
3. A dark spot on The Wizard of Oz
Having to cope without the luxury of modern-day technology and skilled post-production editors, old movies have plenty of errors that we can spot today. The Wizard of Oz is no exception, although one of the 1939 flick’s flubs has led to some rather dark interpretations. The scene in question sees Dorothy, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow making their way down the yellow brick road.
It appears they’re not the only ones in the forest, though. Behind the trio is an inexplicable shadowy figure floating in the trees. Over time, a theory has developed that an actor playing a munchkin hanged himself, and that’s what’s dangling just out of view. But the official story is that it’s a bird that flew on set. Why not watch it and decide for yourself?
2. Margot Robbie’s seductive sequence in The Wolf of Wall Street
Anyone who has seen The Wolf of Wall Street knows precisely the scene in question. Margot Robbie’s character, Naomi Lapaglia, seductively teases her husband, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, on the floor of their daughter’s nursery. The Aussie actress calls her on-screen spouse “Daddy” – and that’s her most PG way to woo him.
Although many a viewer has paused and rewound this iconic moment, Robbie has said she didn’t love filming it. In a 2018 interview with Porter magazine, she described just how awkward it was to shoot in front of an all-male crew. She said, “For 17 hours, I’m pretending to be touching myself. It’s just a very weird thing, and you have to bury the embarrassment and the absurdity, really deep, and fully commit.”
1. The leg-crossing scene in Basic Instinct
In 1992’s Basic Instinct you’ll find one of film’s most provocative sequences ever. And it still has people pressing pause almost two decades later. Screen siren Sharon Stone made headlines for the scene in the movie in which she’s interrogated, giving investigators an eyeful in the process.
When Stone sits down for questioning, she’s apparently fully clothed. As questions go by, though, she readjusts her position, slowly re-crossing her legs. And in that moment, it becomes clear that she has purposefully neglected to wear her undergarments – a choice that’s gone on to make film history.
While Stone’s lack of underwear was, in fact, intentional, there are several costume-related incidences in movies that simply weren’t meant to make it into the final cuts. So, from Lycra in a gladiatorial arena to Bluetooth during WWII, here are 50 of Hollywood’s worst wardrobe errors.
50. Closer – the bra slip
Apparently, Closer director Mike Nichols decided to leave all of Natalie Portman’s nude scenes on the cutting room floor. That said, one flesh-baring shot was – perhaps accidentally – still left in the final edit. The scene shows Portman’s exotic dancer Alice crossing her legs while sitting in a booth with Clive Owen’s Larry, and at one moment the star’s bra can be seen slipping just a little further down than intended.
49. Crank: High Voltage – the underwear flash
Amy Smart gave viewers of high-concept action movie Crank: High Voltage more than they bargained for in 2009. The actress was already somewhat scantily clad, wearing a pair of very short shorts that could easily have been mistaken for underwear. But as her character Eve Lydon adjusts herself after climbing onto a getaway motorcycle, she ends up showing her actual underwear, too.
48. Bad Boys II – the nip slip
You may need to use the pause button to spot this particular wardrobe malfunction, but it’s definitely there. In Michael Bay’s typically bombastic Bad Boys sequel, Gabrielle Union’s special agent braces herself after throwing a pistol into a live minefield. While doing so, however, her dress slides a little too much to the side – and produces an inadvertent nip slip.
47. Pretty Woman – the changing nightgown
That first kiss between Edward and Vivian in Pretty Woman appears to have the strange effect of shrinking Julia Roberts’ character’s outfit. Yes, while Vivian begins the scene wearing a long nightgown, the same item of clothing is visibly much smaller after she locks lips with the handsome businessman.
46. Dirty Dancing – Baby’s jean shorts
Most viewers were probably too engrossed in Dirty Dancing’s central love story to notice this fashion faux pas. But the jean shorts that Baby wears before being put in the corner were way out of step with the film’s early 1960s setting. The lovestruck teen’s denim is actually a bit more ’80s in style – belying the era in which the movie was actually made.
45. Catch Me If You Can – Brenda’s braces
Amy Adams enjoyed a supporting role in Catch Me If You Can long before she became a regular Oscar nominee. Those with a basic knowledge of dental history may have spotted something anachronistic about her character, though, as the wired-metal braces she sports in the 1960s-set caper were only really in vogue during the following decade.
44. Captain America – the non-conforming haircut
Peggy Carter’s haircut in the first Captain America film isn’t exactly untimely. In fact, it actually fits in with WWII-era styles. Nevertheless, in the superhero adventure, Hayley Atwell’s character shouldn’t strictly have been wearing her locks down when serving.
43. Singin’ in the Rain – the historically inaccurate pink dress
The famous pink dress worn by Debbie Reynolds’ Kathy Selden was undoubtedly in fashion when Singin’ in the Rain was made. Unfortunately, though, the classic musical wasn’t actually set in the 1950s but actually three decades earlier. And that being said, the design of the outfit in question simply wouldn’t have existed in the Roaring Twenties.
42. Titanic – Rose’s changing beauty spot
Considering how much was spent on bringing Titanic to life, you’d expect every detail to have been meticulously pored over. However, one glaring makeup error still managed to bypass the editing suite. In Rose’s first scene, her beauty mark appears on her face’s left side; in the rest of the movie, by contrast, it’s magically repositioned itself on the right.
41. Teen Wolf – the malfunctioning zipper
This particular costume mishap is possibly one of the most famous – and indeed mythical – in Hollywood history. Toward the celebratory finale of Teen Wolf, an extra can quite clearly be seen fiddling around with their genitals. Yet while many believe that this is a man exposing himself, it is, in fact, simply a woman attempting to zip up her open fly.
40. Julius Caesar – bullet bras
Bras today are pretty subtle, but things were different in the ’50s. Back then, pointy, conical “bullet bras” were the norm, and there was no mistaking it when a lady was wearing one. They were particularly obvious in Julius Caesar, too. That movie is set in 44 BC, which is around 1,900 years before any bras were invented.
39. Braveheart – William Wallace’s kilt
The kilt is such a stereotypical piece of Scottish attire that it’s hard to accept that it didn’t exist in the 13th and 14th centuries, when William Wallace fought for independence against England. Not that Mel Gibson – who plays Wallace in Braveheart – would let silly facts get in the way of a movie where he gets to bash the English. After all, he proudly dons a kilt throughout the whole thing.
38. The Doors – Jim Morrison’s Ray-Bans
The Doors’ enigmatic frontman Jim Morrison was a music icon of the 1960s who died in 1971. However, in the Oliver Stone biopic The Doors Val Kilmer’s Morrison wears a style of Ray-Bans that weren’t manufactured before the ‘80s.
37. Gladiator – Lycra shorts
Russell Crowe seemed to have got confused about whether he was starring in an ancient Roman epic or the cheesy spandex-filled British TV series Gladiators. Indeed, during the scene where he’s fighting a tiger, we get a flash of Lycra poking out from under his tunic. Ancient Rome dissolved around 1,500 years ago; Lycra was invented in 1958.
36. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – Redcoat uniforms
Redcoat soldiers are a symbol of the British Empire, but the variation of the uniform that you see in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl didn’t come into existence until 1747. However, the movie is set during the reign of King George I, which ran for 13 years from 1714. Basically, then, those soldiers you see are from the future.
35. Troy – Paris’ pink parasol
Even if you ignore how goofy Orlando Bloom looks under a flamingo-pink parasol in Troy, there’s no getting around the fact that it wouldn’t have even existed at the time. In fact, it’s thought that parasols were introduced to ancient Greece at some point in the 5th century BC. Yet the siege of Troy – widely thought to be a myth – happened in the 12th or 13th.
34. Elizabeth I – floating ruffs
Neck ruffs – vogue in Tudor times – were traditionally worn with tops that ran all the way up to the neckline. So with that in mind, Elizabeth I – portrayed here by Helen Mirren – should’ve had her costume designer hanged, drawn and quartered for fitting her with a ruff with no shirt underneath it.
33. The Ten Commandments – blue silk dress
The striking aqua-blue silk dress worn by Anne Baxter in her role as Egyptian queen Nefertiti is one of the enduring images from the 1956 Technicolor biblical epic The Ten Commandments. It’s also historically impossible. At the time – around 1350 BC – you could only dye clothes using natural colorings. So, no natural dyes could have achieved that hue on silk.
32. Gangs of New York – modern fireman
When a fire breaks out in Martin Scorsese’s semi-fantasy Gangs of New York – set in the 19th century – the people must have felt comforted to know that among the firefighters there was one with the yellow pants and expertise of a modern-day firefighter. Or maybe he just would’ve got stabbed by rowdy gang members. Whatever the case, in the movie no one bats an eyelid.
31. Glory – digital watch
Anachronisms don’t get much worse than this. In the 1989 Civil War movie Glory, there’s a shot where we see someone’s wrist with a digital watch clearly wrapped around it. But even self-winding wristwatches weren’t invented until 1923, let alone digital electronic watches, which first appeared in 1970.
30. Pompeii – purple-dyed capes
Purple dye did exist in ancient Rome under the rule of Emperor Nero. The only problem was that he made it punishable by death for anyone other than him to sport the color. In the movie Pompeii, then, Roman general Corvus and his soldiers wouldn’t have worn flash purple garments.
29. Ben-Hur – Star of David
When Sheik Ilderim pins a Star of David onto Ben Hur’s belt before one of cinema’s most famous race sequences, it’s a big demonstration of the former’s defiance of the Romans. But in 26 AD – when the movie is set – such a symbol would’ve meant nothing to the Romans, as the first records of the Star of David only go as far back as the 12th century.
28. Unforgiven – belt loops
It took a keen eye to spot this minor costume error in Oscar-winning Clint Eastwood western Unforgiven. Gene Hackman’s Little Bill Daggett wears a belt throughout much of the movie, but his trousers have belt loops in them. In reality, these features didn’t appear on trousers other than sportswear until the 1920s.
27. King Arthur – all wrong
Okay, King Arthur is based on a myth, so the movie can afford to take some historical liberties. But contemporary shoes on a bunch of knights ostensibly from the 5th century? That’s kind of pushing it. The heavy plate armor they wore in the movie is also way off, as Sarmatian knights like Arthur and his crew actually wore lighter battle attire.
26. Django Unchained – Django’s sunglasses
Around an hour into Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent slavery revenge movie, Django – played by Jamie Foxx – rocks an awesomely eccentric pair of gold-rimmed sunglasses. However, black-shaded sunglasses didn’t arrive till the 20th century. If anyone can get away with ultra-cool style over historical substance, though, it’s Tarantino.
25. The Last Samurai – Samurai armor
Samurai armor is really fun to look at, especially when it’s worn by Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. But the armor in the movie was actually worn over 250 years prior to when the movie was set in the late 19th century. By that time, traditional armor like that was almost non-existent in Japan.
24. Saving Private Ryan – black jump boots
In another eagle-eyed spot by the internet community, it was exposed that the black jump boots worn by paratroopers in Saving Private Ryan wouldn’t have been worn in the Second World War. That’s because the style of footwear didn’t appear until the 1950s. So what did paratroopers wear before this? Brown jump boots – obviously.
23. The King’s Speech – wrong kilt
In a wardrobe blunder that caused outrage among the proud people of Scotland, the kilt worn by Colin Firth as King George VI in The King’s Speech had an Irish tartan design made in 1997. However, the correct kilt would have been the Scottish Balmoral design traditionally worn by the British royal family since 1853.
22. Quadrophenia – Motörhead t-shirt
Quadrophenia is a movie about two warring subcultures – mods and rockers – defining themselves by their taste in music and clothes. So, you’d have expected the costume designers to be extra careful. And while it kind of makes sense that rockers wore Motörhead t-shirts, what doesn’t is that the movie is set in 1964. The band, after all, formed in 1975.
21. American Hustle – Rolex watch
American Hustle does a great job of capturing the styles, music and spirit of the late ‘70s, though it does make one big blunder. Louis CK’s FBI supervisor Stoddard Thorsen wears a gold Rolex GMT-Master II watch that was initially launched in 2005. Also, what’s a presumably not-very-well-paid bureaucrat like Thorsen doing wearing a big bit of bling like that?
20. Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves – the telescope
Kevin Costner’s turn as the eponymous 14th-century folk hero in Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves was a curious casting decision, but the 1990s were a more forgiving time in Hollywood. At least his silly attempts at an English accent were a clever distraction from the fact that he whips out a telescope at one point. After all, the device was invented nearly 300 years after the time when the movie is set.
19. There Will Be Blood – waffle-sole boots
Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as 19th-century oil magnate Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood is the stuff of Hollywood legend. But this piece is dedicated to bursting movie bubbles, and the grippy waffle soles you see on his shoes in one fireside scene weren’t around until the 1970s. In fact, Nike invented them with the help of – you guessed it – a waffle iron.
18. Back to the Future – Marty McFly’s guitar
It’s hard to criticize anachronisms in a movie that’s about time travel. After all, Back to the Future’s Marty McFly could technically have thrown anything into the back of the DeLorean and taken it from the 1980s to three decades prior. So when he plays “Johnny B. Goode” using a 1958 Gibson ES-345 guitar in 1955, it’s perhaps forgivable…
17. The Great Escape – trendy POW clothes
In The Great Escape Steve McQueen was pretty much the same person off screen as on it. In fact, German police arrested him on more than one occasion for speeding at the time when he was shooting the film. He didn’t compromise on clothing for the role, either, wearing khakis and a dandy blue cut-off sweatshirt. There’s no rule against looking your best in a POW camp, right?
16. Seabiscuit – all those chinstraps
Chin straps are one of those things that make so much sense that you just assume they’ve been around since the first ancient Roman whacked on a helmet. But for jockeys, they weren’t invented until the Caliente Safety Helmet in 1956, which means Tobey Maguire shouldn’t be wearing one in the inspirational – but slightly inaccurate – horse-racing drama Seabiscuit.
15. Where Eagles Dare – 1960s style
The 1960s as an era was very into its own vibe, and even “historical” movies from this time couldn’t resist gussying up in the fashions of the time. Take the war movie Where Eagles Dare, for example. Actress Ingrid Pitt – in the role of German waitress Heidi – inexplicably sports a 1960s beehive haircut and light pink lipstick.
14. Amadeus – costume zippers
Are zippers really better than buttons? That’s a question for another day, but one thing that’s certain is that zippers were invented in 1913 and only made their way onto clothes in 1925. So the biopic Amadeus was wrong to show ballet dancers doing up their costumes using zippers instead of buttons. More than 100 years wrong, in fact.
13. Raiders of the Lost Ark – jeans and T-shirt
The rip-roaring Steven Spielberg adventure Raiders of the Lost Ark is set in the 1930s, so what right does a guy have to be strolling around in the background in jeans and a T-shirt? The fact that Indy is surrounded almost exclusively by local Egyptian people in traditional clothing makes the jeans-wearing scene-bomber all the more glaring.
12. The Other Boleyn Girl – hair-out French hood
Both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson wear so-called French Hoods in The Other Boleyn Girl, and we all know what hoods are for, right? For covering your head – and in a French hood the hair would be covered by a veil at the back. However, both leading ladies’ hair can be seen, making what they’re wearing more of a French headband.
11. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Nazi war medals
As surely as Nazis loved their swastikas, they were also pretty keen on their big shiny war medals. But to have worn them you needed to have first fought in a war. This is something that the makers of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade seem to have missed. After all, the movie is set in 1938 – a year before World War II began.
10. The Color Purple – clip-on tie
Heavy-hitting drama The Color Purple is nothing to mock. But how can you take Albert seriously when in 1913 he wears a clip-on tie that was invented 15 years later? Maybe it represents his conflicted personality – or something.
9. My Girl – mood ring
Mood rings were the “in” thing once upon a time. You remember them, of course: the accessory changes color depending on your finger’s temperature. But because 1990s comedy-drama My Girl is set in 1972, the makers of the movie were just off the mark in having Vada wear one. Sadly, mood rings weren’t invented for another three years. Nearly there, guys…
8. The Informant! – Nike golf shoes
When the FBI guys in crimey, coppy comedy The Informant! are playing golf in Hawaii, we can see them wearing Nike golf spikes in a sneaky bit of product placement. But this is anachronistic placement, because the movie is set in 1992, and Nike didn’t produce golf shoes until four years later.
7. Schindler’s List – shaved legs and armpits
The Nazi concentration camps of the 1940s were among the worst places in all of human history. But in Schindler’s List, it seems that the women still had time to shave their armpits and legs. This wasn’t yet the norm in Eastern Europe – let alone in death camps.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – cowboy hat
Admittedly, Cowboys in the Caribbean has a certain ring to it, and with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise apparently running out of ideas, maybe that’s the natural next step to take. Still, cowboy hats, T-shirts and shades have no place in the 18th century, when the first movie is set. Clearly, a wayward crew member… or a Matthew McConaughey cameo?
5. Zulu – shaved faces
It would’ve been unlikely for a British colonial soldier in 1879 not to have a powerful handlebar mustache so prominent that you could use it as a coat hanger. But Michael Caine and most of the other stars of the Zulu are all clean shaven.
4. Captain America: The First Avenger – Jim Morita’s earpiece
It’s amazing that no one told actor Kenneth Choi – playing soldier Jim Morita – to pull his hat down to cover his decidedly 21st-century headset in a movie set in WWII. Sure, it’s a Marvel movie, so no one’s exactly watching it to learn about the conflict’s realities, but a Bluetooth headset is surely a bridge too far.
3. Hello, Dolly! – 1960s make-up
Again the 1960s muscles in its garish style where it doesn’t belong. Barbra Streisand in Hello, Dolly! – set in the 1890s – is the culprit this time. Her thick cat-eye make-up just wasn’t the done thing in 19th-century New York City.
2. Pearl Harbor – no stockings
Showing off the bare flesh on your legs in the fusty 1940s was most unbecoming. After all, when there was a nylon shortage during World War II, women drew lines on the backs of their legs to create the illusion of wearing stockings. The leggy ladies in 2001’s Pearl Harbor who expose bare knees clearly didn’t get the memo.
1. Sense and Sensibility – modern diaper
By the 1800s many babies already had the luxury of diapers in which to do their business. But they were made of cloth and toweling – not, as the Sense and Sensibility movie suggests, the crazy super-absorbent Huggies material that we see today. Maybe the filmmakers decided that old-timey diapers would’ve been too traumatic for a spoiled modern baby – and if so, fair enough.