Movies may seem magical, but Hollywood’s favorite actors, directors, producers, stuntmen, props masters, costume designers, script coordinators, and cinematographers are still only human. Ever since that extra guy prematurely covered his ears for Eva Marie Saint shooting Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest,” audiences have enjoyed finding the little moments that make their favorite movies flawed.
Like freckles on a human face, mistakes can make movies infinitely more special to the audiences who love them. He considers the awkward stormtrooper from “A New Hope,” whose hilariously audible collision with the jamb of an Imperial starship turned the extra’s true identity into an ongoing mystery for the Star Wars era. Or, for the Lord of the Rings fans among us, there’s the anachronistic automobile that appears in The Fellowship of the Ring alongside Sam and Frodo. As for the wizarding world, how about that bike seat on Harry’s broom?
The best cinematic mistakes become integral folds in the fabric of the films in which they appear. While pointing out the filmmakers’ missteps might seem petty at first, fans often use these discussion-worthy blunders to strike up rich conversations about the story universes in which they occurred. Whether it’s a Marvel head explaining the multiple Paul Rudds in the “Avengers: Endgame” finale (Ant-Man is in the van and in the background at the same time, but OK, Dr. Strange) or an animation geek who defends Elsa’s every ethereal move in “Frozen,” an artist’s worst moment can end up meaning something much more to the countless viewers who appreciate their work.
To round out a selection of our favorite movie blunders, IndieWire has implemented a few rules: (1) Actor blunders, including trips, falls, and prop destruction, may be accounted for. (2) Anachronistic errors have been limited to only the most egregious, meaning that minor fashion and product errors do not qualify. (3) Continuity errors – when the logic of one shot doesn’t align with the logic of another shot – count, but plot holes do not.
Without further ado, here are 57 of the most memorable movie blunders in cinematic history, including ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’, ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘Dr Nope”, “Jackie Brown”, “The Matrix”, “The Hunger Games”, “Grease” and more. Fair warning: spoilers ahead.
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in August 2022 and has been updated several times since.)