Anachronism commonly occurs in films due to oversight by the director or by the writer. It manifests itself showing Scottish warriors wearing kilts before they were invented, cold-war era spies using GPS, and planes during the times of the American Civil War.

Generally, bouts of anachronism are overlooked, however they can prove to be quite confusing or comical if watched for. The Society for Creative Anachronism produces anachronism for fun and in a real environment rather than film.

Keep a watch for these anachronistic occurences:

  • Alexander (2004) - During the first battle, the chief orders his men to assume a quinquonce formation. This formation was invented by the Roman army.
  • Apollo 13 (1995) - The film takes place during the year 1970. As a storm is moving towards the landing site we see a satillite image that is much too advanced for the time.
  • Army of Darkness (1993) - The definition of Anachronism.
  • Catch Me if You Can (2002) - Phones used match those that were invented around 1990 or 1985 rather than ones correct for the time.
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987) - The model of helicopter used in the film was actually created in 1975 by an English corporation, using data based on the UH34 from Vietnam in 1968.
  • Gladiator (2000) - In one of the battles, you can see gladiators firing crossbows. The crossbow was yet to be invented.
  • Gladiator (2000) - When Maximus is wounded before one of the combats, you can see the watch on a soldier's arm.
  • Gladiator (2000) - There is a point in which Maximus is walking near a field. Tractor marks can be seen on the road.
  • Gladiator (2000) - Maximus' nickname "The Spaniard" is an anachronism. Spain didn't exist until the 2nd century.
  • Gladiator (2000) - Stirrups are used as the horses are ridden. Stirrups were invented during the 5th century.
  • Goodfellas (1990) - When the airport heist is taking place in 1963, a Boeing 747 can be seen. This plan was not operational until 1966.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - Jones Sr. and Jr. take a ride in a dirigible model Hindenburg. All commercial flights had been stopped after the Hindenburg accident in 1937. The movie takes place in '38
  • The Last Samurai (2003) - The Emperor thanks the United States. They have guns, railroads, and planes." The film takes place roughly in 1876, and the first flight was in 1903.
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) - In King Louis XVI's room, a picture can be seen of him old, but in the film he is young.
  • Passion of the Christ (2004) - The matching tables and chairs that Mary had not seen before were of a style inconsistant with the time.
  • Pearl Harbor (2001) - Evelyn has a Bikini, but the bikini was created in 1946. Pearl Harbor took place in '41.
  • Schindler's List (1993) - As Schindler welcomes the workers, overhead power lines can be seen. They did not exist in 1940.
  • Titanic (1997) - Rose talks about her life being "like the cinema" but she's referring to the American cinema of the 40's etc.
  • Troy (2004) - The underwear that the acrobats wore was made of lycra. That definitely did not exist during the times of the Trojan War.

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An*ach"ro*nism (#), n. [Gr. , fr. to refer to a wrong time, to confound times; + time: cf. F. anachronisme.]

A misplacing or error in the order of time; an error in chronology by which events are misplaced in regard to each other, esp. one by which an event is placed too early; falsification of chronological relation.

 

© Webster 1913.

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