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12 Big Mistakes in Classic Movies That No One Noticed

Even some of the most beloved films ever made had bloopers slip past their editors.

A great movie will transport you to a new world and into the lives of its characters, engaging your willing suspension of disbelief. But sometimes when your attention wanders from the story, you notice mistakes that take you out of the narrative—small errors that the filmmakers hoped you'd never noticed or never even noticed themselves. Now, they're film history, preserved in the final cuts of their movies. Read on for seven classic movie mistakes that may have slipped right past you, even if you've unknowingly watched them dozens of times.

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Gone with the Wind (1939)

Street lamp in Gone With the Wind
Loew's Inc.

The biggest movie of all time includes a big historical blunder. As the camera pans over the dead and wounded on a Civil War battlefield, it also pans over a street lamp. While only gas lamps would have been used at the time, some fans see what appears to be the outline of a more modern light bulb inside.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Trap door opening in The Wizard of Oz
Loew's Inc.

The Wizard of Oz is a classic that has stood the test of time, but, despite what its biggest fans would say, it's not perfect. And one blooper that made it into the final version literally diffuses some of the movie's magic: After terrorizing the Munchkins in an early scene in Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) prepares to make a grand exit in a ball of red smoke. But if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll notice that the trap door in the floor through which Hamilton "disappears" starts to open before the smoke effects can fully obscure it.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity
Paramount Pictures

The iconic noir film Double Indemnity follows an insurance salesman named Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), who is roped into a scheme concocted by one of his beautiful clients, Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck), to kill her husband. Neff is unmarried, which makes him an easy mark for the femme fatale—but MacMurray's real-life wedding ring is visible in many scenes. He was married to theater and silent film performer Lillian Lamont at the time.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach in The Good the Bad and the Ugly
Produzioni Europee Associate

Far in the background of the upper right corner of a scene in which Clint Eastwood's Blondie and Eli Wallach's Tuco attach dynamite to the a in the classic Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a car can be spotted driving by. The film is set in 1862, and the automobile would not be invented until 1886. (Also, in the next scene, the pair are completely dry, despite having just been in the river.)

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Stormtrooper hitting his head in Star Wars
20th Century-Fox

The first Stars Wars film contains one of the most famous movie bloopers ever—perhaps because not many movies have been watched quite so many times by their fans. If you watch closely during the scene in which a group of stormtroopers menace C-3P0 and R2-D2 on the Death Star, you'll notice that one of them bonks their helmeted head on the top of the door frame as they enter the room.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Paramount Pictures

Indiana Jones is famously no fan of snakes, but he needn't be too worried about getting bitten—when the confrontation between the adventuring archeologist and a hissing, hooded serpent in Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed, the snakes were kept safely in a glass tank. However, in the original release of the first movie in the franchise (as well as early VHS releases), you could actually see the snake reflected in the glass as Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) appeared to gape at it from only inches away. Unfortunately the blooper has been digitally scrubbed from the DVD and Blu-ray release, but the legend lives on.

Pretty Woman (1990)

Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Hopefully you were swooning too hard over the romantic chemistry between Edward (Richard Gere) and Vivian (Julia Roberts) in Pretty Woman to notice a silly goof during their cozy breakfast the morning after their first night together. Vivian nibbles at a croissant as Edward reads the newspaper, but when the camera cuts back to her, she's suddenly holding a pancake with a single perfect bite out of it.

North by Northwest (1959)

Still from North by Northwest

One extra in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest was notably prepared for what the scene entailed—perhaps too prepared. In the background of the scene in which Eva Saint Marie's Eve Kendall shoots Cary Grant's Roger Thornhill with blanks in front of a crowd at the Mount Rushmore Visitor Center, a little boy can be spotted sticking his fingers in his ears to muffle the sound of the prop gun.

Titanic (1997)

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Paramount Pictures

Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) is clearly nervous when Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) asks him to draw her wearing only the priceless "Heart of the Ocean" necklace given to her by her brutish fiancé Cal (Billy Zane) in Titanic. One major clue? When he instructs her to "lie on that bed, uh, I mean couch." This wasn't scripted but was rather a flubbed line by DiCaprio. Director James Cameron liked what it brought to the scene, however, so the slip-up stayed.

The Goonies (1985)

Ke Huy Quan and Jeff Cohen in "The Goonies"
Warner Bros. Pictures

At the end of Goonies, Data (Ke Huy Quan) makes reference when he's recapping the gang's adventures for a reporter to a threat they never encountered. But his line "The octopus was really scary!" isn't Data exaggerating events. In a scene that was deleted from the final cut, the Goonies are actually attacked by an octopus. The line stayed even though the sequence went, making Data's comment a non sequitur to anyone not well-versed in Goonies lore.

The Shining (1980)

Still from The Shining
Warner Bros.

In Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, there's a nice wide establishing shot of the Overlook Hotel. Don't study it too closely though, or you'll notice that there's no sign on the grounds of the hedge row maze where the climax of the film takes place.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Still from Pulp Fiction
Miramax Films

Despite Pulp Fiction being a nonlinear narrative, the bullet holes in the wall behind Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) when they come to retrieve Marcellus' (Ving Rhames) briefcase are not a clue—they're just a continuity error. They show up before the two characters are shot at, so take them as an omen, if you like.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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