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Hollywood producers and directors have never once been praised for rigorously sticking to the facts and whether it's a medieval epic or a modern war film they generally fail when it comes to relaying what actually happened, historically. Their premise is that facts should never ever get in the way of a good story and while in some cases reality has only been tweaked, often the facts are twisted beyond all recognition and the portrayal of history is simply too ridiculous to ignore.
Alexander the Great in the Temple of Jerusalem by Sebastiano Conca (1736) Museo del Prado
This epic war film depicting the story of Alexander the Great is a great example of both really bad directing and editing. Already at the opening of the movie, when the narrator Ptolemy opens his story of Alexander, the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria is shown fully operational, even though the building was completed during the reign of Ptolemy's son, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, after the first Ptolemy's death.
A drawing of the Pharos of Alexandria by German archaeologist Prof. H. Thiersch (1909).
Alexander draping a cloak over the dead king Darius, who is clearly breathing, is a rookie mistake in directing, as was the scene when a young Alexander tamed a horse and rides off bareback, while the actor's feet are in stirrups. Then when Alexander gave his pre-battle speech at Gaugamela some of the shots are flipped making all of the phalanx pikemen left-handed.
However, the most controversial error almost landed director Oliver Stone with a lawsuit for suggesting Alexander was bisexual, under Greek libel law. A group of 25 lawyers led by Yannis Varnakos threatened to sue the director and said: “We are not saying that we are against gays, but we are saying that the production company should make it clear to the audience that this film is pure fiction and not a true depiction of the life of Alexander.”
The Trial of William Wallace at Westminster by Daniel Maclise (1870) ( Public Domain)
Mel Gibson’s hair raising and emotion charging Braveheart is a mixed bag of historical blunders but perhaps the biggest mistake is when William Wallace seduced King Edward II’s Wife, Isabella of France. If this happened in real life then the Scottish hero was a pedophile, as Isabella was only a little girl at the time.
10 Most Inaccurate Military Movies Ever Made
It’s well known that Hollywood take artistic license when it comes to retelling history. As for war movies, the day-to-day lives of soldiers, the humdrum truths and the hard facts don’t always translate well onto the silver screen. Modern audiences are hungry for fast-paced action and entertainment, and this is reflected in what they’re served up. Moreover, in some cases, incorrect reporting and political agendas can twist reality even further.
Nevertheless, watching so called “realistic” military films that are “based on a true story” can leave us with a distorted view on history. When you look at a real historical event from which a film is derived, you sometimes discover that the moviemakers have mixed up the facts, dramatizing certain aspects for effect, or breezing over parts of the story that don’t suit the particular narrative. Of course, this is even more apparent if you’ve actually served in the field.
Read on for 10 of the most inaccurate military movies ever made.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - "I know"
It's the moment that cemented Han Solo in our hearts forever as the ultimate romantic rogue. Faced with what seems like his imminent death, Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia finally admits her love for him. His response? "I know." Classic Han. But that wasn't in the script, which actually called for him to say "just remember that, 'cause I'll be back." Terrible, right? Well, Harrison Ford thought so too, and just before filming the scene, he came up with the new line instead even Fisher didn't know he was going to say it. Classic Harrison.
Top 10 Worst Military Decisions In History
The effective prosecution of any war requires a load of decisions at all junctures. Many times, commanders will blunder through misinformation, faulty intelligence, or a misreading of the tactical or strategic situation. We, safely ensconced here in the future can play Monday morning quarterback with the decision of the past often without acknowledging the fact that the commanders in question lack our brilliant hindsight however, some decisions are simple unconscionable. One has to think that someone, somewhere had to look at this choice and say &ldquoGod, this is stupid!&rdquo This list represents, in chronological order, ten of what I consider to be the dumbest decisions anyone ever made. Each of these decisions either resulted in tremendously unnecessary loss of men and materiel or it resulted in the ultimate loss or needless prolonging of the war in which it took place.
The only motivation I can fathom behind this idiotic blunder by a military genius is sheer boredom. To this point in his military career, Napoleon has known nothing but victory after victory. He&rsquos conquered pretty much all of Europe that refused to ally with him and suddenly he was sitting around with the largest army ever gathered in Europe up until then with nothing to do. So Napoleon looks west, to Mother Russia.
We all know how it turned out but you have to think someone in that huge army knew it was a bad idea. In any event, he didn&rsquot say anything and the rest is history. Napoleon invaded Russia with three quarters of a million men and didn&rsquot fight much of a battle. The Russian retreated into the vastness of their country and burned everything in their wake. Result? Napoleon gets to Moscow only to find smoking ruins. Dejected at not getting to move his toy soldiers around on his big map, he turns the Grand Armee around and begins for home.
But then the real trouble began. Constant harassment by tiny, mobile Russian units. Constant hunger because the supply lines are cut in more places than Danish lace and, worst of all, winter sets in and the soldiers start freezing to death in droves. Three quarters of a million went in, but less than one in three would made it out.
Someone has remarked that the Alamo seems to show up on nearly every military list. Well, it&rsquos a great story. Not the least great part about it was it was so totally unnecessary. All the Alamo consisted of was a tiny adobe walled mission in the middle of a prairie. Basically, Santa Anna, aka Napoleon of the West, decided the tiny garrison in the tiny fort had to be taught a lesson about Mexican politics by his great big army.
One just has to think that someone, some hard campaigning Sergeant in the Mexican force had to look around at the wide open prairie on both sides of the Alamo and think to himself, &ldquoWhy don&rsquot we just go around? We can even shoot at them as we go by, but let&rsquos get to the rebel capital and put down the rebellion.&rdquo
Instead, mainly as a result of Santa Anna&rsquos pride, the main Mexican army spends days and days held up attacking this insignificant little outpost. This needless delay gives the Texas government time to get organized, gives people time to flee, and gives the main Texan army time to get reinforced and into better position. The end result was the Battle of San Jacinto where old Santa Anna got caught napping &ndash literally &ndash and the Republic of Texas was born.
This one will be a little obscure to some, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a world-changing event. The cartridge in question was for the new Pattern 3 Enfield rifle that was to be issued to all the Empire&rsquos troops and replace the older, less efficient models. On the surface this doesn&rsquot seem like a big deal and to us, it probably wouldn&rsquot be. However, in 1857, cartridges weren&rsquot brass, they were paper, and to load them, one had to first BITE the end off the cartridge and pour the contained powder down the barrel of the muzzle loaded weapon. Again, no big deal, until one realizes one singularly important fact. The lubricating lard smeared on the cartridges was made from animal fat. This fat could be obtained from either pigs or cows. In and of itself, that doesn&rsquot present a problem until one realizes that the vast majority of foreign troops in the British Empire were either Muslim or Hindu, especially in India. Now, pigs are unclean to Muslims and cows are sacred to the Hindus so the thought of putting a cartridge with lard into their mouths was anathema to both parties. It didn&rsquot help matters much that the political climate in India was becoming a powder keg, but the lard cartridges proved the final straw &ndash the match that blew the keg, so to speak.
What resulted is known to history as the Sepoy Rebellion or the Sepoy Mutiny. Basically, without going into the very involved, tense and delicate political situation, the Sepoys or Indian soldiers, refused to touch the cartridges which constitutes mutiny. When the first few were seen being punished by the British colonial overlords, the rest rose up and began a bloody rebellion that lasted 13 months and saw tremendous bloodshed and cruelty on both sides. The British severity in putting down the revolt &ndash many leaders were tied to the mouths of cannon and blasted to bloody vapor &mdash remained in the minds of the Indian people through the rest of the 19th century and through two world wars in the 20th. In many ways, the Indian Independence Movement lead by Gandhi can trace its roots to this one monumentally boneheaded decision.
During the American Civil War, one of the qualities that made General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy so effective was the mysteriousness with which he moved and operated. His troops seemed to appear, fight, and melt away with uncanny speed. Now in reality, this was nothing more supernatural than very detailed and well-executed battle plans. Imagine what the Union generals could have done if they had only possessed a copy of one of Lee&rsquos battle plans. In a wildly providential moment, that is exactly what happened on the eve of the Battle of Sharpsburg in September of 1862.
Union General George McClellan&rsquos 90,000-man Army of the Potomac was moving to intercept Lee, and occupied a campsite the Confederates had vacated just a few days before. While setting up their tent, two Union soldiers discovered a copy of Lee&rsquos detailed battle plans wrapped around three cigars. The order indicated that Lee had divided his army and dispersed portions, intending to bring battle near Antietam Creek. Everything was there in writing. It was a colossal blunder by some Confederate officer.
The outcome would have been even more disastrous for the Confederates had not McClellan waited about 18 hours before deciding to take advantage of this intelligence and reposition his forces. As it was, the Battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam) would be the single bloodiest day of combat in American history with 23,000 killed and countless wounded before the sun set.
All that saved Lee was McClellan&rsquos indecision. Still, the battle sapped numbers of soldiers that the Confederacy could ill afford to lose. More importantly, though, was the fact that England had been teetering on the fence of coming into the war to aid their cotton supplying Confederates, but with the outcome of Antietam, they decided to sit back for a little while longer, thus robbing the Confederacy of help it desperately needed. A different choice of wrapping paper could have made all the difference in the world to the history of North America.
It sometimes looks like Lee did have some sort of guardian angel either that or the Northern generals before Grant were all monumentally stupid. The former is more romantic, but the latter is easier to prove. In any event, Meade&rsquos decision to let Lee slip back to Virginia is another example of Lee&rsquos luck and an opposing general&rsquos horrendous decision making ability.
The Army of Northern Virginia was done. Three days at Gettysburg had reduced the proud rebels to a shell of their former strength. Devil&rsquos Den, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, and, at the last, Pickett&rsquos Charge up Cemetery Ridge had produced the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. With all his reserves spent, Lee was gathering his badly mauled forces and trying mightily to make it back to the relative safety of Ol&rsquo Virginy.
In his way was the rain swollen Potomac River. On his flanks were the persistent if largely ineffectual Union cavalry pickets. The roads were a quagmire of mud. In all, the stage was set for the final crushing blow to be delivered by the Army of the Potomac, which had several reserves that had seen little if any fighting. They would sweep down on the defeated boys in grey like an avenging blue tide. The Army of Northern Virginia would be crushed and the Civil War would be all but over. All that remained was for General Meade to give the order to attack.
Well, the order never came. For reasons that, to this day, are unclear Meade was reluctant to follow Lee. Instead, he gathered his forces in strength and waited. No one is quite sure what he was waiting for, but when President Lincoln found out that Meade had literally allowed the end of the war to slip through his hands, Honest Abe was incensed. It was largely Meade&rsquos indecision that resulted in General Grant being called east from Vicksburg and placed in command of the Army of the Potomac. Had Meade attacked the defeated rebels at that opportune moment, the Civil War probably would not have drug on in a morass of attrition for nearly two more years. Countless lives, Union and Confederate alike, could have been spared and the Reconstruction Period would likely have looked much different.
It is generally held to be a good idea among most military men that, when the latest and greatest weapons are available, they should be used. The newly patented Gatling Gun was the earliest machine gun and had completed its trials. Custer had two to four of the guns and abundant ammunition available when he set out to uproot a &ldquosmall Indian village&rdquo on the bank of the Little Bighorn River. Custer&rsquos reasoning behind not using them was that the Gatling guns would impede his march and hamper his mobility. More importantly, he also is said to have believed that the use of so devastating a weapon would &ldquocause him to lose face with the Indians.&rdquo Considering reports of Custer&rsquos vanity, this is not hard to believe.
These problems do not change the fact that the Gatling guns would have been a decided equalizer in the face of what turned out to be overwhelming Indian superiority, and that elsewhere in the Indian wars, the Indians often reacted to new army weapons by breaking off the fight. Instead, Custer led more than 250 doomed men of the famous 7th Cavalry into the Montana hill country. If he had taken the then greatly improved machine guns with him the outcome of the much-discussed Last Stand would surely have been very different.
What could have been going through Custer&rsquos mind as he stood, the breeze whipping his famous golden hair behind him, his loyal men dead all about him, and several hundred Sioux warriors galloping towards him intent on making him a human pincushion? Could it possibly have been, &ldquoI really could use those Gatling guns right about now.&rdquo
By the start of 1915, the Great War had ground to a halt. The trench lines stretched from Belgium through Italy and neither side was making progress. The war had devolved into mad suicide rushes across no man&rsquos land into the teeth of the new Maxim guns. Predictably, casualties were mounting daily and the war that &ldquowill be over by Christmas&rdquo seemed to have no end in sight. To make matters worse, Russia was getting their mess kits handed to them all up and down the Eastern Front and the tsardom was beginning to look shaky. The German navy had cut all the usual supply lines to accessible ports and any port safe from the German fleet was either icebound or entirely too far away to be of any practical use. Something had to be done and quickly.
Enter Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. Now Churchill is well know for his personal bravery as well as his usually keen mind. He is also known for being a fan of a good stiff drink and apparently, he&rsquod had several when he thought of this plan. Churchill proposed that a third front be opened up in the western Mediterranean. Specifically, he planned an attack on the Ottoman Empire held Dardanelles. The attack on what he termed the &ldquosoft underbelly of the Central Powers&rdquo would open up a warm water resupply depot for Russia and effectively turn the flank of the vast trench network. It was a great idea in theory and on paper.
The Gallipoli Campaign took place at Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916. The intent was for a joint amphibian attack by British Empire and French forces up the peninsula to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. To put it mildly, the attempt failed miserably with heavy casualties on both sides. The whole operation was botched from the beginning. The planned invasion was tipped off to the Turks who reinforced the peninsula with heavy guns and additional troops. Once the invasion began, it quickly stalled on the beachhead, thwarted by the Turkish occupation of the high ground.
To make a very detailed and long story short, the allied forces, the bulk of which were Australians and New Zealanders (who ultimately had the highest number of dead per capita of all nations in the war), were essentially trapped on the beaches in the open for months. No real progress was ever made inland despite several dogged attempts all around the peninsula. Promised naval artillery support was cut short as soon as the Admiralty found out &ndash by the sinking of two battleships &ndash that German U-boats were in the waters. The whole event was an unmitigated disaster. Conditions were unreal. In the summer, the heat was atrocious, which in conjunction with bad sanitation, led to so many flies that eating became extremely difficult. Corpses, left in the open, became bloated and stank. The precarious Allied bases were poorly situated and caused supply and shelter problems. A dysentery epidemic spread through the Allied trenches. Autumn and winter brought relief from the heat, but also led to gales, flooding and frostbite.
In the end, Churchill was sacked as Lord of the Admiralty, several generals saw their careers ended but most of all tens of thousands of men on both sides were killed for absolutely no gain whatsoever. To this day, Gallipoli is remembered as ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand in honor of all the brave ANZACs who gave their lives for a stupid decision.
Honestly? See item 10. Replace &ldquoNapoleon&rdquo with &ldquoHitler&rdquo, &ldquoRussia&rdquo with &ldquoSoviet Union&rdquo, and &ldquoLe Grand Armee&rdquo with &ldquoWermacht&rdquo and you have the gist of the story. Operation Barbarossa was, without a doubt, the worst case of someone who failed to learn from history being doomed to repeat it. Adolf Hitler proved that it&rsquos not only teenagers who think, &ldquoIt can&rsquot happen to me.&rdquo
Wars are best run by the professionals. Lyndon B. Johnson was President, but he was not a professional soldier by any means during the Vietnam War. That did not stop him from blowing what was a small insurgency with American &ldquoadvisors&rdquo into an all out &ldquopolice action&rdquo that would claim the lives of nearly 60,000 American soldiers, sailors, and airmen before it ended two Presidents later.
Johnson expanded American involvement on the ground in Vietnam as soon as he took office after JFK&rsquos assassination. Unfortunately for the troops, LBJ watched opinion polls and it is hard to fight a war if you watch opinion polls. Basically, field commanders couldn&rsquot attack certain high value targets without Johnson&rsquos say-so and, given the distances and the time it would take to brief the President on each given situation, the men were fighting one step behind at all times. He also took fire from the press who said he was too cozy with the defense businessmen and the war was justification for increased defense spending to make these businesses rich. That speculation, like Johnson&rsquos supposed involvement in JFK&rsquos assassination, is better left to the conspiracy theorists.
What is a fact, however, is LBJ&rsquos insistence on being a hands-on Commander-in-Chief seriously handicapped American efforts in the jungles of Vietnam. Ultimately, his decision to try running a war based on opinion polls proved his undoing and he dropped out of the 1968 Presidential elections.
For centuries, countries outside of Afghanistan &ndash from the Indian Mughals, to the British Empire, to the Islamic fundamentalists &ndash have tried to impose their will upon the Afghan people. As a result, the Afghans are a hardy bunch and they can fight like devils. The are experts at guerilla warfare and it is always a safe bet to assume that whoever is invading them has enemies all to willing to supply the natives with effective weaponry. That is over 1200 years of history totally lost on the Soviets in 1979 when they sent in a massive number of troops to prop up the unpopular communist government in Kabul.
What followed was a ten year blood bath of death among the rocks. For years, Soviet Hind helicopters would hunt in the valleys for any of the Afghan fighters. Upon finding them, the guerillas would be mown down by cannon fire from the craft they called &ldquoThe Crocodile&rdquo. Then the CIA saw a chance to return the favor the Soviets had played on the United States during its involvement in Vietnam and began supplying the Afghan fighters with Stinger surface to air missiles. So much for Soviet air superiority. Stingers shot down 333 Soviet helicopters in the course of the ten year war.
The saddest part is the Soviets had just witnessed the USA&rsquos horrific ten year quagmire in Vietnam, but, like other groups in history, they figured it couldn&rsquot happen to them. They were wrong. The Soviets lost 15,000 men and billions of rubles worth of equipment to Afghanistan and they got nothing in return. For the Afghans, the country was left devastated and ripe for a group called the Taliban to take over.
Most Famous Mistakes Made in History
The RMS Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner of the time. It was deemed ‘unsinkable’, and so, even though it had the capacity to carry a total of 64 lifeboats, which together could have saved more than 3,547 people, it actually carried only 20. When the Titanic crashed into an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912, it sank along with 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers to the ocean floor.
Russia Sells Alaska to the US
In the 1860s, Alaska was a part of Russia. However, when the Crimean War broke out, Russia found it was unable to defend this region against the combined powers of Britain, France, and Turkey.
Back then, the importance of oil hadn’t been established, and the prospect of gold mining in Alaska too looked slim. With the possibility of Britain taking hold of Alaska and blocking Russia altogether seeming all too real, Russia decided to sell it off to America in the hopes that this would upset Britain’s plans. Russia sold off Alaska to the US at a mere 2 cents an acre. However, this turned out to be one of the greatest mistakes in Soviet history. In just 50 years, the USA was able to earn from Alaska more than 100 times what they had invested in its purchase.
NASA Loses the Mars Climate Orbiter
NASA lost its Mars Climate Orbiter worth $125 million, in one of its biggest design and development blunders. In 1999, engineers from Lockheed-Martin used the Imperial system of measurement in designing one part of the orbiter module, while the rest of the team from NASA used the standard metric system.
Because two different measurement systems were used, the spacecraft’s navigation system could not receive the correct coordinates, and as a result, it plunged into orbital insertion, and was lost forever.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The foundation for the Leaning Tower of Pisa was laid down in the year 1173, but due to wars and other political reasons, the construction took 199 years to be completed. Its iconic lean however, wasn’t what its builders had originally desired. The tower began leaning early on during its construction because it was erected on soft soil, and so, the foundation began giving way under its weight. Since then, many efforts have been made to stabilize the tower and prevent a collapse, and at the same time maintain the lean which has made it popular.
Atahualpa Agreed to Meet Fransisco Pizarro
Atahualpa ascended the throne of the powerful Inca Empire after executing his older brother in a civil war following their father’s death.
In 1532, Conquistador Fransisco Pizarro of Spain landed on the South American coast, and established a settlement in Peru. He set out to meet Atahualpa, with only a handful of men. Atahualpa, with his army of 80,000 didn’t consider Pizarro a threat, which turned out to be a fatal folly.
Pizarro set traps and was able to capture Atahualpa. He then ransomed Atahualpa’s life for gold, and later used him to bring down the entire Inca Empire. Pizarro subsequently even executed Atahualpa.
The Dutch Discover Australia, But Ignore It
Almost 100 years before British explorer Captain James Cook landed on its eastern coast, the Dutch had already discovered Australia, but ignored it thinking it was nothing more than a useless desert land.
It is believed that back in 1606, the Dutch vessel Duyfken captained by Willem Jansz explored nearly 200 miles of the western side of Cape York. Upon their first landing, they had to face attacks from the native aboriginals, which dissuaded them from exploring the land any further.
Noted as being the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind, the meltdown of the reactor at Chernobyl is believed to have resulted from gross negligence on the part of the authorities responsible.
On April 26, 1986, nuclear experts ran a test on one of the four reactors at Chernobyl in Ukrainian (then in Soviet Union). They turned off the backup cooling system, and made use of only eight boron-carbide rods to control the rate of atomic fission, instead of the 15 that were mandated by the standard testing procedure.
This led to an uncontrollable chain reaction, which destroyed the steel and concrete lid of the reactor, and emanated close to 100 times more radiation than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined. In the Chernobyl disaster, 4,300 people perished, and more than 70,000 became permanently disabled.
J.K. Rowling Rejected by 12 Publishers
J.K. Rowling, who was a client of the Christopher Little Literary Agency, was rejected 12 times in row for her first novel. Finally, when the eight-year old daughter of an editor at Bloomsbury expressed her desire to read the rest of the book, Bloomsbury decided to publish Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. However, the editor believed that this novel would be a major flop, and even went to the extent of advising Rowling to look for a back-up day-time job.
What happened subsequently is history. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was released in 1997 (UK), and the following four novels in the series, became the fastest-selling books ever, with a total of 450 million copies sold worldwide. It is the bestselling book series in literary history.
Alexander Not Naming an Heir
Alexander the Great was the king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He sat on the throne at the age of 20, and by the time he was 30, he had established one of the largest empires of ancient times, which extended from Greece to Egypt, and far into northwest India.
However, Alexander died in 324 BC, at the young age of 32, due to the consumption of wine made from a poisonous plant. His death was sudden and unexpected, and he didn’t even have a legitimate heir at the time.
There were claims that Alexander had named his bodyguard Perdiccas as his heir, by passing his signet ring to him. But Perdiccas didn’t assume power, suggesting that Alexander’s unborn baby, if born a boy, should be the king. This arrangement was however not agreed to upon by the supporters of Alexander’s half brother Philip Arrhidaeus.
When Alexander IV was born, he and Philip III were named joint kings, but the dissension between the supporters of each persisted. Later, when Perdiccas was assassinated, the Macedonian unity collapsed, ultimately disintegrating the great empire.
China Adopts Isolationism
In the 14th century, thanks to their unrivaled nautical technology and numerous other inventions, the Chinese navy was one of the greatest in the world. They had already established trading links up to the Persian Gulf almost 50 years prior to the first European vessels rounding the continent of Africa.
The Chinese navy was all set to expand their influence beyond India and Africa, but the Chinese Emperors decided to adopt a policy of isolationism, and made all overseas trading illegal. They stopped investing in treasure fleets, and even declared sailing from the Chinese coast in a multi-masted ship a capital offense.
Had this mistake not been committed, it would arguably have been China, instead of the Portuguese, Spanish, British, or Dutch, who would have colonized most of the world.
Back in 1936, the dirigibles or zeppelins, which were large hydrogen-filled rigid airships, seemed to have a very promising future. The Hindenburg, which was one such German airship, successfully ferried a total of 1,002 people, completing 10 round trips between Germany and the US.
However, the US imposed export restrictions against Nazi Germany, which forced the operators of the Hindenburg to fill it up with highly explosive hydrogen gas, even though it was designed to be operated on helium gas.
On May 6, 1937, while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the Hindenburg caught fire, which completely consumed it. In this disaster, 36 of the 97 passengers were killed. This incident received a mammoth amount of negative media coverage, which finally marked the end of the era of rigid airships for commercial transportation.
Trojan Horse Destroys Troy
The walls of Troy could not be breached not even by the massive Greek army that had amassed at its gates back in the 12th century BC. So, the Greeks decided to use a very different tactic. They pretended to have deserted the war and sailed to the nearby island of Tenedos. They left behind a huge wooden horse as a peace offering to the Gods. They also ‘abandoned’ Sinon, a Greek soldier, who was captured by the Trojan army.
Sinon managed to convince the Trojans that the Horse was an offering to the Goddess Athena, and that letting it in through the gates would ensure that Troy remains impregnable. Cassandra, the daughter of Priam (the king of Troy), as well as the seer priest Laocoön, tried to warn that this was a deceptive Greek tactic, but they weren’t listened to.
The horse was taken in through the gates, and on that very night, when Troy slept, Greek warriors emerged from this hollow horse, and opened up the gates of Troy, which allowed the Greek army to enter. This ultimately led to the fall of the once impenetrable city of Troy.
BP Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by British Petroleum exploded on the 20th of April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. After the oil rig sank, a sea-floor oil gusher continued to flow for nearly 87 days, after which it was sealed off on the 15th of July 2010.
The initial explosion took place when high-pressure methane gas from the under-sea oil well expanded into the drilling riser, and rose up to the rig where it ignited and exploded. Of the 126 crew members, 11 are believed to have lost their lives in this explosion, while many others were rescued and treated for injuries. The oil leak that occurred subsequently took place at a rate of around 62,000 barrels per day.
It has been estimated that a total oil discharge equivalent to 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal) resulted from this accident, which affected an area of around 2,500 – 68,000 sq miles, destroying the natural habitat and ecosystem, and causing the deaths of numerous plants and animals.
Prior to the Gulf of Mexico Spill, in 2006, BP was also responsible for another oil spill in the Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. This spill was attributed to BP’s failure to properly inspect its oil pipelines for corrosion. In this spill, which continued for five days, 212,252 US gallons of oil was spilled over an area covering 1.9 acres, making it the largest Alaskan oil spill till date.
The Fatal Wrong Turn
On the morning of 20th June 1914, nineteen-year old assassin Gavrilo Princip planned to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. However, after his initial plan failed, he went to the Morizt Schiller’s café to have a sandwich.
Then, in an unexpected turn of events, Leopold Loyka, the driver of the Archduke’s car, made a wrong turn and drove right in front of an astonished Princip, who immediately seized the opportunity and shot dead the Archduke, his wife, and Loyka.
This event triggered the first World War, where 16 million people lost their lives, and the world was plunged into the Great Economic Depression. The economical crises coupled with the humiliating treaty of Versailles which Germany had to sign to end the war went on to give rise to the nationalist dictator Adolf Hitler, who again started a chain of events that led to the Second World War, where another 60 million people died, an unfathomable amount of money was lost, and the age of nuclear weapons began.
Uncontrolled Fire in the Cerro Grande
In 2000, what started out as a prescribed fire in Cerro Grande, New Mexico, owing to the winds and drought conditions, escalated into a conflagration, which incinerated nearly 48,000 acres of land, and left close to 400 families homeless.
B-2 Stealth Bomber Crash
In 2008, a B-2 Stealth Bomber was destroyed on takeoff when some faulty sensors in it messed up its air pressure readings, making it stall and crash. The B-2 was the most advanced American jet of the time. Its crash was one of the most expensive (1.4 billion) in USAF’s history.
Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island
The Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in 1979 was one of the biggest nuclear disasters in American history. This accident occurred when a malfunctioning piece of equipment caused water meant for cooling the reactor to spill from its container, which due to their inadequate training, the plant operators were unable to comprehend and rectify. Though no life was lost in this catastrophe, nearly $1 billion had to be spent for repairs and cleanup.
Piper Bravo Oil Rig Explosion
In May 1994, during a routine check, inspectors at the Piper Bravo Oil Rig in the North Sea removed all the safety valves for inspection. However, while replacing them, they forgot to put back one safety valve. Unaware that a safety valve was missing, a worker pushed the start button, which caused gas to leak into the rig. This gas ignited and led to an explosion, in which 167 of the 226 men working on the rig lost their lives.
Exxon-Valdez Crash into Prince William Sound
In 1989, Captain Joe Hazelwood got drunk and crashed the Exxon Oil Tanker into the Prince William Sound, spilling around 760,000 barrels of crude oil into the water off the Alaskan coastline. The captain was found guilty, and later convicted of negligent discharge of oil.
Decca Records Reject the Beatles
On New Year’s Eve 1961, the Beatles auditioned at Decca Studios, where they dished out 15 tracks in a few hours. These songs were a mixture of both, mainstream as well as original numbers. However, their performance failed to impress Dick Rowe (A&R), who famously told Brian Epstein (manager) that ‘guitar groups were on their way out’. Decca didn’t sign the Beatles, but five months later, they signed up with George Martin at Parlophone―a part of EMI records―which as history has it, became one of the most successful artist-producer collaboration ever.
Austrian Army Attacks Itself
In the Battle of Karánsebes (1797 – 1791), about 100,000 Austrian troops camped at the village of Karansebes. They sent some scouts ahead to observe the advance of the enemy (Turks). However, instead of finding the enemy, the scouts bumped into a few gypsies, from whom they bought alcohol.
The scouts brought the alcohol back to the base camp, and started drinking. As they got more and more drunk, their small party started becoming louder. This attracted the attention of some of the other soldiers in the camp, who wanted to join in.
However, the scouts didn’t want to share their alcohol, and soon a fight broke out over it. In the midst of the drunken mayhem, someone shouted that the Turks had arrived. Some of the soldiers fled, while others assembled and started fighting, killing every man in sight.
When the dust finally settled on this madness, it was found that the Turks hadn’t actually attacked, and the drunk Austrian soldiers had slain around 10,000 of their own brothers in arms.
10 Ridiculous Movie Mistakes
Virtually any movie, even a great one, can fall victim to continuity errors and factual inaccuracies. In most cases, these mistakes go unnoticed by the public. But some are so glaringly obvious and downright ridiculous it’s a miracle they survived the editing process. Here are ten such examples.
10. Independence Day (1996)
During David’s tirade in Area 51, where he bemoans the fate of the planet and rails against deforestation and pollution, he drunkenly knocks over a bin that’s labeled with the words “Art Dept.” Either the top secret installation has its own stable of designers, or a set dresser accidentally left his garbage can behind.
9. The Goonies (1985)
At the end of the film, Data tells a reporter the scariest part of his adventure was battling a giant octopus. Problem is, that scene was deleted from the theatrical release and didn’t see the light of day until the Disney Channel began airing the movie in the 1990s. Is this picture better off without the scene? Probably. Should the reference have been removed from the final cut? Definitely.
8. Commando (1985)
Commando was a commercial success that further established Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action hero, but this flick has so many mistakes we lost count. Here, John Matrix’s Porsche, which was badly damaged while chasing down Sully, magically fixes itself from one scene to another. It’s the mother of all continuity errors &ndash and a neat trick to boot. If only the banged-up Chevy in our driveway could do that.
7. Gladiator (2000)
During the re-enactment of the Battle of Carthage, a chariot hits a wall and flips over, revealing a gas canister hidden in the back. The Romans were responsible for many technological advances, from roads to aqueducts. But as far as we know, gas propulsion wasn’t among them.
6. Braveheart (1995)
Eagle-eyed fans of Mel Gibson’s historical drama know there are flubs here ranging from crew members caught on camera to floppy, rubber weapons. But the appearance of a white van during a battle scene is one of the most egregious . Look for the vehicle in the lower left as a group of pikemen make their charge. Just goes to show &ndash they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our Ford Transit!
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino may be a perfectionist, but there’s an error in the apartment scene when Jules and Vincent escape a hail of bullets fired at point-blank range. Look closely behind the hitmen and you’ll notice bullet holes on the wall before any shots are actually fired. This miraculous event leads Jules to an epiphany about his life as a contract killer, but a mistake of this magnitude robs the scene of its power.
4. North By Northwest (1959)
This spy thriller is considered one of Hitchcock’s best, but it’s also known for this classic gaffe, where a boy covers his ears moments before a gunshot rings out in the Mount Rushmore cafeteria (look for him on the right as Eve threatens Roger). Critics speculate the boy must have known exactly when to protect his ears after enduring previous takes.
3. Jurassic Park (1993)
In this scene, programmer turned thief Dennis Nedry appears to be chatting with an accomplice on his computer via a live feed. But the workstation clearly shows he’s speaking to a pre-recorded video instead. We expected more from the man responsible for designing Jurassic Park‘s computer systems.
2. Django Unchained (2012)
The titular hero of Tarantino’s revenge fantasy, which is set in antebellum 1858, wears a nifty pair of sunglasses throughout a significant portion of the film. Shades have been around since the 12th century, when they were invented in China. But they weren’t introduced in the U.S. until 1929, after Sam Foster first sold them from a Woolworth on the Atlantic City boardwalk. Anyone feel brave enough to apprise Django of that fact? Didn’t think so.
1. T3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
The third entry in the Terminator franchise, which was directed by Jonathan Mostow and released in , is teeming with errors. One of the most noticeable is when the identifying number on John Connor’s getaway Cessna 172 Skyhawk mysteriously changes. The leader of the human resistance should have known better than to trust a machine like that.
The 30 Biggest Set Blunders in Movie and TV History
No matter how much time, money, and effort a studio puts into making a movie or TV show, there's bound to be a mistake or two that makes it through to the final cut&mdashand some are worse than others. While it could be as little as a prop jumping locations between shots, it could also be as bad as cameraperson making his or her screen debut in the background. Ahead, the many slip-ups from your favorite films and shows that, now, you'll never be able to unsee.
There's been a lot of confusion about the time period that Riverdale takes places in&mdashmostly because the old time-y set design clashes with the characters' modern day technology. This hospital scene in particular had people scratching their heads because the nurses are wearing candy striper uniforms.
When it comes to newborn babies in movies, dolls are often used. But it takes a lot of strategic angling and pre-recorded crying noises to make a fake baby look real&mdashsomething that didn't happen in American Sniper. It's obvious from the minute Bradley Cooper picks the doll up, despite his attempt to sneakily move the baby's hand with his finger to make it seem alive.
From one cut to another, it seems that many random props&mdashand even people&mdashcan appear out of nowhere. Around minute 2:18, there's a wide shot of Mark Wahlberg's character running to hide behind a wall. It then cuts to a close up of him at the wall and there is suddenly another person beside him.
In a fight scene where Catwoman has joined forces with Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, one extra can be seen throwing himself to the ground. No one is around him at the time he falls. Guess the extra went a little. extra here.
Plot holes in storylines are sometimes inevitable after so many seasons, as is the case for GOT. In the season six premiere of Game of Thrones, it was revealed that Melisandre's necklace has youthful powers&mdashwhen she took the necklace off, she became an old hag. But back in season four, Melisandre wasn't wearing the necklace and she looked young. So how exactly does this necklace work?
Yes, blunders can happen in animated films too. In the scene when Rapunzel is comforting Eugene after he's been stabbed, there is one noticeable error. Eugene's hands are shackled, but as he goes to brush the hair out of Rapunzel's face, the restrains suddenly disappear. It would make sense that they slide down his arms as he lifted them, except the next shot shows his arms in a similar position&mdashbut with the shackles around his wrists.
Angles are everything&mdashespecially when it comes to the biggest scene in this movie. As a plane is about to crash on the highway, the policeman talking to Nicholas Cage's character steps backward in fear. But, when Cage turns around, the plane comes from his right side. So what did the police officer see behind Cage?
The infamous pizza-on-the-roof scene from Breaking Bad brought a few inconsistencies: The pizza was left on the roof for the entire episode&mdashbut its placement was different in almost every shot. At one point, it even gained some extra pepperonis on top.
When Barney must decide to give up suits or women, he dramatically decides via song. All the extras are dressed from head to toe in nice suits&mdashexcept one extra who forgot to bring a pair of dress shoes. You'll find her on the right side, third person back, at minute 1:50. She's only there for a few seconds before she runs off screen.
If you pay attention carefully, you'll notice that the numbers on John Connor's getaway plane are different when he's in the air from when he first boards. Before take-off, the identifying number is N3035C, and when he's in the air, it's N3413F.
In the final scene of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Captain Jack Sparrow gives a speech after taking control of the Black Pearl. As the ship's crew starts moving, there is suddenly a man in a cowboy hat, and we really don't think they had those in the 1700s. Pause the video at 1:36 and you'll see him to the left of Sparrow's head.
There's always the possibility of an extra getting hurt on set, and unfortunately that's what happened in The Last Samurai. Tom Cruise's character rides in on a horse, and as he's stepping off, the horse kicks an extra right in the stomach.
While Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy are duking it out with their wands in the second film, Harry knocks Draco to the ground. On the lefthand side a cameraman can be spotted at 12 seconds.
Pippin and Merry's hands are tied&mdashliterally and figuratively&mdashwhen they are about the become dinner. Luckily, they are saved, and begin to crawl away. Just as Pippin is about to be trampled by a horse, he flips on his back and his hands have magically become free of the rope.
Crew members aren't always the best at ducking out of shots&mdashbut this one had a very specific job that made it almost impossible to do so. The story goes that the red dress Lois is holding had to be kept in a bucket of water and quickly passed off to her for the scene. If you watch carefully, you can see the bucket the dress is pulled out of and the cameraman.
One of Mel Gibson's biggest movies had quite a few noticeable flaws&mdashmany involving modern day items. In one instance, a crew member in a black baseball cap is seen walking through the shot. Later on in a war scene, the two sides charge at each other and a white car is visible in the background.
Quinten Tarantino made one very noticeable mistake in this scene from Pulp Fiction&mdashjust look at the wall behind John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. Before shots are even fired in their direction, there are somehow already bullet holes in the walls.
Sometimes directors realize logistical errors after a show has already aired. In the first few episodes of Friends, Joey and Chandler live in apartment 4 and Monica and Rachel in apartment 5. But since the girls have a balcony that looks down into Ugly Naked Guy's apartment, it wouldn't make sense for them to live on the ground floor. Their apartment numbers were switched to 19 and 20, respectively, to make it more practical.
As Hulk Hogan's character rides his motorcycle along the ocean, there is a moment (at 16 seconds) when we see a person throw a dog into the water. It doesn't seem like it was intended to be in the shot, but it still made it into the final version of the movie.
In the 1993 original Jurassic Park, a velociraptor enters the kitchen searching for the kids. When it first opens the door, a human hand touches the tail for a second, as if it were supporting the velociraptor. It's lik ely that a crew member was steadying the prop dinosaur. Even if it was just for a second (at minute 1:09), it's very hard to unsee now.
Verne Brown, the youngest boy standing next to the dog, can be see subtly motioning to Marty and Jennifer and pointing to his crotch. It's unknown as to whether or not this was something that was overlooked in editing, or if it was some sort of hidden sign.
Poor set design can be the reason for a TV show blunder. In the first episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will staples a poster to a very wobbly wall. Watch as the set shakes even though he barely touches it.
During an intense car chase, John Matrix&rsquos yellow Porsche gets extremely beat up. But as he drives away after the incident, the car looks like it's been completely untouched.
At the end of the movie, one of the extras had a wardrobe malfunction. As Scott's dad gets up to congratulate his son, an extra can be seen in the background with his pants noticeably unzipped.
At the end of the movie, Data tells a reporter that the scariest thing about his trip was fighting off the giant octopus&mdashbut that scene was deleted from the version released in theaters. The octopus scene was later added into the Disney channel version of the movie because several other not-safe-for-kids scenes were taken out.
Every now and then a crew member will make an accidental appearance in a film&mdashand it's blatantly obvious in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A man in a modern T-shirt walks through the crowd behind Indiana Jones as he's drinking at the bar after Marion supposedly died. This was just one of the many editing errors in the film.
One of the most famous scenes from the movie takes place in a hedge maze that is supposedly located right behind the hotel. However, in the establishing shot of the hotel at the beginning of the film, there is no hedge maze&mdashjust a parking lot and mountains.
While chasing down Luke, Leia, and Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie, a group of Stormtroopers bust a door open by shooting it. The only problem is, the door doesn't open all the way, and one of the Stormtroopers bumps his head while walking through. The accident didn't go unnoticed by director George Lucas who added a "boink" noise to make the mistake seem like it was intentional.
Even influential film director Alfred Hitchcock missed small background blunders. The most noticeable in this spy thriller is when a little boy plugs his ear just moments before Eve shoots George. The extra obviously knew she would pull the trigger, and prepared himself in advance.
As Dorothy and the Scarecrow travel on the yellow brick road, they stop to pick apples&mdashexcept the apple trees are alive. The animated trees throw their fruit at the Scarecrow, knocking him down. A wide shot reveals that Dorothy is not wearing her ruby slippers, but instead, a pair of black shoes. Pause the video at 1:04 to see the error.
Money lost in 1986: $5.5 billion was the cost of building the Challenger
Inflation adjusted value: $11.1 billion
In January of 1986, the Challenger, a NASA space shuttle, exploded just 72 seconds into its flight. All seven crew members on board died in the explosion.
The explosion was blamed in part to NASA's faulty design. A combination booster joint with weak sealant, combined with freezing temperatures, caused the explosion.
6 The Man Who Tried to Save Lincoln Went All The Shining on His Family
You've probably seen this illustration a hundred times, but can you name everyone in it?
That's obviously John Wilkes Booth on the right, followed by Abraham Lincoln going, "But I wanna know what happens next! D'aww . " and first lady Mary T, but unless you're a history buff you probably don't know that the other two are Union Army Major Henry Rathbone and his wife, Clara Harris, daughter of a prominent U.S. senator. Rathbone is best known for trying to stop Booth and getting a piece of that dagger you see up there for his trouble, and not so much for the Kubrick-esque horror that his life later spiraled into.
Rathbone was seriously injured while attending the most disastrous double date in history, and though he physically survived the attack, his mind never recovered. The officer blamed himself for failing to stop Booth, and even though he eventually married Clara two years later, wedded life only added to his insanity.
Eventually, Rathbone's mind deteriorated to the point that on Dec. 23, 1883, he decided to deck the halls with his family's blood. While serving as a U.S. consul in Hanover, Germany, Rathbone tried to kill his three kids, and when his wife stopped him, he fatally shot and stabbed her, then stabbed himself -- mentally replaying Booth's actions from 18 years earlier.
The police found Rathbone covered with blood and completely out of his mind. According to a widely repeated but unconfirmed report, he claimed that there were people hiding behind the pictures on his wall.
Rathbone spent the rest of his life in a lunatic asylum, where he complained of secret machines in the walls blowing gas into his room and giving him headaches. He died in 1911, becoming the last casualty of the Lincoln assassination nearly half a century after the fact. Incidentally, the house in Hanover where he lived is looking for a caretaker! This could be a new start for us, Wendy.
Related: The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Coincidences of All Time
1 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - 9.3
It's no surprise that the highest ranked film of all time is also one of the most crowd-pleasing films of all time. You would think that a story set inside a maximum security prison would not have many pleasing moments, but The Shawshank Redemption manages to be a surprisingly uplifting tale.
Based on a Stephen King story, the film is told over several years at the titular prison and centers on a friendship between two inmates. The relationship between the two men is one of the most heart-warming friendships ever shown on screen and it helps give the film those beautiful moments which lead up to one of the greatest endings in film history.