Movie Costume Fails That Should Never Have Happened

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Braveheart

In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace walks around much of the film wearing a kilt. We have nothing against a man wearing a skirt, but there is a little problem. The movie takes place in the 1300s and kilts were not worn in Scotland until the 16th century. None of that will matter once you see Mel Gibson’s incredible performance as William Wallace, the Scottish warrior who led the Scottish army in the First War of Scottish Independence. Gibson also directed the film and won the Academy Award for Best Director.

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Django Unchained

Django wears some pretty hip sunglasses in Django Unchained, but there is one big problem. Sunglasses were not widely manufactured in the United States until 1929. The movie takes place in 1858 in the south. Before the widespread use of sunglasses, they were mostly used as medical devices. They were scarcely found for regular use. The film’s director Quentin Tarantino probably had a reason for the use of the sunglasses. In a Vanity Fair article, it was revealed the Django’s sunglasses were inspired by Charles Bronson in The White Buffalo, a western film from 1977.

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My Girl

Remember Vada’s mood ring in the film My Girl. Only one thing messes up the mood ring story line. The film is set in 1972 but mood rings were not even invented until 1975. Woops! Vada’s mood ring is a huge part of the plot and could not be taken out. The whole reason Thomas J. goes into the woods by the tree with the bee-hive is because Vada loses her mood ring from her mother. The mood ring even has a debut in My Girl 2. 

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Captain America: The First Avenger

Believe it or not but Captain America: The First Avenger has another big costume mishap! The movie is set during World War II but Peggy Carter’s hair is completely displaying the wrong time period. During the film, Peggy’s hair is beautifully curled and falling down around her face and shoulders. However, her hair totally gives the wrong vibe for the 1940s. During World War II, the military policy on women’s hair was that it needed to be off of the collar when on duty. Obviously, Peggy’s hair does not adhere to these rules.

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The Informant!

The film The Informant! made some bad shoe choices. The movie is set in the early 1990s. The men in the film wear golf shoes that are Nikes. Most people do not know that Nikes did not make golf shoes until 1996. Luckily, the shoes do not take away from Matt Damon’s killer performance as Mark Whitacre. The film has very little to do with golf and focuses much more on Damon’s character’s relationship with the FBI and his struggles with bipolar disorder.

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The Doors

The Doors is the biographical film about the rock band, The Doors, and chronicles the life of Jim Morrison, its lead singer. The film takes place during the life of Jim Morrison in the 1960s. The film costume designers had the actor wear Ray-Ban sunglasses. However, Ray Bans were not introduced until the 1980s.  Morrison died in 1971 and the shades did not exist at that point. The real band did not particularly love the film and its depiction of Morrison but that was not because of the inauthenticity of his sunglasses.

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Gladiator

In Gladiator Russell Crowe plays the role of the fictional character Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius. The movie did extremely well and grossed in $457.6 million worldwide. It also won many awards including an Academy Award for Best Picture. Russell Crowe won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as well. Only one aspect of the film didn’t match up. Crowe had to wear Lycra shorts under his tunic during the big tiger fight even though Lycra bike shorts did not exist in ancient Rome.

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is another one of our favorite movies that had some minor inconsistencies when it came to the wardrobe. The actors who played the Nazis were made to wear medals that were used specifically during World War II. There was just one dilemma. The movie took place in 1938 before the beginning of World War II. The audience was too enthralled by every action-packed scene to notice the difference. The film garnered mostly positive attention.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

We know that the film Pirates of the Caribbean is supposed to be set between 1714 and 1727. How do we know this? The King of England in the movie is George I. The problem with the time period presented itself when the Royal Navy was made to wear uniforms that were made in 1747. Maybe the costume mishap occurred because the wardrobe team was too busy manufacturing 900 pieces of wardrobe for the film! There were 50 makeup artists, 900 wardrobe pieces, and 30 hairstylists to create the characters.

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Public Enemies

The 2009 film, Public Enemies seemed to forget they were making a movie set in 1933-34.  John Lister plays Judge Murray in the movie and his costume was pretty inauthentic for his role. The costume designers dressed Murray in a judge’s robe that looked like it was from 2017. Back in the 1930s, a judge’s robe would be made of a much heavier fabric like wool or even canvas. Fortunately, other parts of the film were made to be very authentic.

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Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is an incredible war movie about a U.S. Army Ranger Captain who tries to find out what happened to a paratrooper. We won’t give away all the secrets but it is definitely a must see movie! The cast is stacked with all-star actors and it is no surprise the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. There was just one little detail the costume designers missed. Some of the paratroopers have black boots on but the army did not issue that color until 1950.

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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Robin was another critically acclaimed film that had some mishaps with props and fashion. The film starred Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves takes place in 1194 and shows Robin’s friend Azeem giving him a telescope. However, that could not have happened because the telescope wasn’t invented until the early 17th century.  That did not stop the film from gaining success. It was even the second highest grossing film in 1991.

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Troy

In the film Troy, Paris, played by the talented Orlando Bloom, uses an elaborate beach umbrella on his chariot. Umbrellas would not have been found until at least 800 years after the movie was set. Despite some prop blunders, Troy was one of the highest grossing films of all time earning $497 million worldwide. Brad Pitt’s British accent, or lack thereof, is much more of a calamity than the prob mishap. However, the accent problem goes down the drain when Pitt takes his shirt off in the film.

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Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List is the powerful historical period drama film about Oskar Schindler, a man who saved thousands of Polish-Jews during the Holocaust. The film has been listed as “one of the greatest films ever made” and received seven Academy Awards. There was only one small inconsistency in the film. Almost all of the women in the film have shaved legs and armpits. However, in the 1940s almost no European women shaved their legs and armpits and especially not women in a concentration camp.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark is another film that has made it to the list of greatest films of all time despite a little costuming setback. You have to look closely, but once you see it, you can’t miss it! There is one scene where you can see a guy wearing a t-shirt and jeans in the background of a public shot. He looks really out of place considering the film is set in the 1930s and jeans were not popular until the 1950s and 1960s.

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Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean had another minor fashion faux pas. There is a scene in the film where you can see a crew member in the background rocking a cowboy hat. The movie is set in the mid-1700s and people were not wearing cowboy hats during that time period. It is more than a little surprising to see a cowboy standing on a ship full of pirates. Apparently, the crew was too focused on Johnny Depp’s incredible performance as Captain Jack Sparrow to realize there was a crew member totally out of place.

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Pride and Prejudice

The Pride and Prejudice film has to deal with two time periods which caused a bit of confusion in the wardrobe department.  The movie is set in 1790 when the book was written, but the book was not published until 1813. The time differences only matter because Lizzie, played by Keira Knightley in the 2005 version of the movie, wears boots in a couple of scenes. However, the boots were not made popular until 1815 by the Duke of Wellington.

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Almost Famous

Who doesn’t love the movie Almost Famous? Even if you have seen the movie a million times, you still probably missed this hilarious costume mix up that would make you think you were watching Back to the Future. There is a part of the movie where someone backstage is wearing a Black Sabbath shirt from 1997 but the movie is set in the 1970s. Luckily, that did not take away from the shows overall widespread acclaim. The movie received four Oscar nominations!

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Legends of the Fall

In Legends of the Fall, Brad Pitt plays the character Tristan Ludlow who is one one of three brothers. The film is about the three brothers and their father living in Montana during World War I through the Prohibition era. Unfortunately, Brad Pitt’s long luscious hair does not reflect the time period at all. His hair and beard completely give away that the movie was filmed in the 1990s. Still, Legends of the Fall was nominated for three Academy Awards and won Best Cinematography.

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Singin’ In the Rain

The 1952 film Singin’ In the Rain made a huge splash and is regarded as the best movie musical ever made. The film was even selected by the United States Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry. But even this legendary film had a mishap. The role of Cathy is played by Gene Kelly and the pink dress Cathy wears is very 1950s because of the poofy tulle skirt. The problem is that the movie was set in the 1920s.

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Picnic at Hanging Rock

The film Picnic at Hanging Rock starring Anne-Louise Lambert, Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray and Dominic Guard is about the disappearance of a couple of schoolgirls. It garnered some commercial success despite the hair style blooper. The film was supposed to be set in the beginning of the 18th century. However, the movie was filmed in 1975 and the actresses hair style completely reflects the 70s era; long straight, dangling hair, with a middle part.

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Zulu

Beards and mustaches were in style way before “No Shave November.” Back in 1879, the time period Zulu is set in, all soldiers wore facial hair. Everyone would have at least a mustache if not a big full beard. However, because the film was made in 1964, all of the actors displayed are pretty much clean shaven, which is not congruent with the time period at all! Despite the hairless mishap, the film received positive reviews from critics.

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Captain America: The First Avenger

The only thing greater than Marvel Comics, are superhero movies based off of Marvel Comics. Unfortunately, Captain America: The First Avenger also forgot what time period they were supposed to be in. The movie is set in World War II, but Jim Morita wears a headset under his hat that was first manufactured in 2000. The film still received overwhelmingly positive reviews and even grossed in $370 million worldwide. Everyone loves a great superhero film even if there are some inauthentic props.

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The Untouchables

In The Untouchables, Kevin Costner’s suit has lapels that are clearly from 1989. His suit does not reflect the 1930s at all since the movie is set during Prohibition. You can see from the real photo of Elliot Ness that the suit lapels he wore were significantly wider than the more 1980s style lapels Kevin Costner is wearing. Fortunately, his suit style did not stop the movie from being nominated for four Academy Awards. Sean Connery also received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Julius Caesar

Bras have changed a lot over the years. The film Julius Caesar was made in 1953. It is evident in the footage that the women in the film are wearing bullet bras. Bullet bras were extremely popular in the 1950s. After Madonna wore the bullet bra during her tour, the bra became increasingly popular. Obviously, those bras were not used in 44 B.C.E. during the time Julius Caesar lived. The Romans were extremely smart and innovative but not this much!

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Catch Me If You Can

The 2002 biographical film Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, was well received. The film follows the true story about a con artist named Frank Abagnale who develops and creates his own real checks to use. It was set in the 1960s. In the film, Brenda, played by Amy Adams, wears a mouth full of braces. Interestingly, the traditional metal wired braces she wears were not actually used until the 1970s.

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Seabiscuit

The film Seabiscuit follows the story of the famous champion racehorse in the United States. Seabiscuit was an unlikely champion at the start of his career. He ended up becoming a beacon of hope to Americans during the Great Depression. Tobey Maguire played the jockey. In the film, all of the jockeys wear helmets with straps, but chin straps were not introduced until 1956. The film garnered a lot of positive attention and was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

In the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt plays a man who ages backward. The film went on to receive a total of thirteen Academy Award nominations and won three for Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects. Brad Pitt’s character wears Ray-Ban sunglasses in the movie. There was just one little mix-up. The scene he wears them in is set in 1945 and that style of Ray-Bans was not sported until 1952.

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Hello Dolly

The 1969 comedy musical Hello Dolly was based on the Broadway production of the show. Barbra Streisand stole the show as Dolly Levi. The show is meant to take place in 1890 in New York City and one tidbit gives away when the film was actually made. Streisand’s makeup is done up with a major cat eye look which wasn’t in style until 1960. Fortunately, nothing stopped the film from winning three Oscars including Best Art Direction, Best Score of a Musical Picture, and Best Sound Best Sound Mixing.

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The Tudors

On The Tudors, women will occasionally wear ruffs floating on their neck. This look is not entirely accurate for women in Western Europe during the mid-1500s to mid-1600s. It was typically worn with a top that went to the neckline. The ruff was used to keep the doublet or jacket from getting dirty at the neckline. It would have been considered scandalous and would never have been worn alone. Nowadays, ruffs are totally out of style. Only some formal bishops and ministers in the Church of Denmark still wear them for services.

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The Other Boleyn Girl

The historical drama film, The Other Boleyn Girl, received mixed reviews which could have been due to this one major time period mix up. In the film, Natalie Portman sports a French hood with her hair down and visible. However, French hoods were not worn like that at all. Back in the 1500s, she would have had a veil in the back that covered the hair. Her hair would have been put up and not hanging around. The film is known to have other inaccuracies as well. Apparently, the Boleyn girl was not nearly as shy as she was portrayed.

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The Aviator

Remember the hit 2004 film The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett. The story is a biographical drama that follows the life of aviation pioneer, Howard Hughes. The film takes place in the 1920s. Despite that success of the film, there is one fashion faux pas that most people would not notice. Robert Gross wears thin frameless eyeglasses in many scenes. That style of glasses was way too modern for the film. Nothing stopped The Aviator from being nominated for eleven Academy Awards, though!

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Pearl Harbor

The dramatic historical war film, Pearl Harbor, was hugely popular and was the third highest-grossing romantic drama film of all time! The film retells the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. The cast was stacked with talent including, Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, and Cuba Gooding, Jr., who all delivered incredible performances. It was nominated for four Academy Awards. One costume goof is evident in the film, though. Every woman wore nylons in public in the 1940s, but most of the women in the films are not wearing stockings.

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Good Night and Good Luck

Good Night and Good Luck is a historical drama about the conflict between veteran radio and television journalist Edward R. Murrow and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. George Clooney directed the film and it was extremely well received! However, there was one costume fail in the movie. The Air Force officers wear metal name tags in the film but, Air Force personnel didn’t wear name tags until 1967 and the movie is set in the 1950s. Whoops!

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The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments is a classic biblical epic film made in 1956. It was so well received that it is also one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing approximately $122.7 million at the box office. There are many anachronisms in the film but one sticks out as particularly inappropriate for the time period. Costume designers had Nefertiri wear a dress that was dyed a teal color. That dye was not available during the time period and could not have been used to dye the sheer silk dress teal.

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American Hustle

American Hustle is supposed to take place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The film’s wardrobe team tried to keep the clothes within the time period, but they made one huge mistake. Throughout the film, Stoddard Thorsen sports a Rolex that was not made until 2010. For the people that know Rolex well, this was a major faux pas. Fortunately, the Rolex mishap did not take away from how well the film was received by the public. American Hustle garnered ten nominations at the Academy Awards.

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Amadeus

The film Amadeus was made more than two-hundred years after the set time period. The movie chronicles a fictionalized biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who lived during the end of the 18th century. In the film, many of the dancers in the ballet scene are wearing costumes with zippers, but there is one huge mishap. The modern zipper was not invented until 1913 by Gideon Sundback. The modern zipper was not available for 120 years after Mozart’s death. The dancers would have probably used buttons instead.

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The Wedding Singer

The Wedding Singer takes place in the 1980s. Everyone is the film pretty much sticks to the movie set time period with big hair, layered necklaces, and shoulder pads galore. Unfortunately, Drew Barrymore’s hair in the film totally makes her stick out like a sore thumb. The short bob flip is so very 90s! Drew Barrymore’s hair clearly did not match anyone else in the film. Even Adam Sandler grew his curls out to really embody the 80s role.

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Dirty Dancing

Our favorite 80s movie Dirty Dancing also had some incongruent wardrobe choices. Baby loves to wear her jean shorts in the film but she’s got the outfit all wrong! The movie is set in the summer of 1963 and those shorts were not in style at that point. Frayed cut off jean shorts would have been more appropriate for the time period of Dirty Dancing. The shorts that Baby decides to wear are much more like Daisy Duke’s, made popular by The Dukes of Hazzard that was aired in the 1980s.

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The Color Purple

The Color Purple was made into a film in 1985 after the book written by Alice Walker in 1983. The film is a profound story about life for African American women in the south in the 1930s. The film is full of incredible actors and actresses including Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, and even Oprah Winfrey. In The Color Purple, Albert, played by Danny Glover, wears a clip-on tie in a scene set in 1916. However, clip-on ties weren’t invented until 1928.

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