The Most Unforgettable On-Screen Mistakes Caught On Camera

By: Shelly Grinfeld | Published: Oct 04, 2023

Experienced directors are often super professional and thorough especially when creating major blockbuster films and award-winning television shows, but all in all, we are only human and directors are not exempt from error. Even they sometimes miss their mark and although these scenes often appear flawless on screen sometimes they have various disparities that you may need to pay close attention to catch.

These on-screen mistakes can even be both funny and astonishing as well as add some playful easter eggs to the mix when watching your favorite on-screen works, but only if you’re sharp enough to notice them. From the child covering his ears in ‘North by Northwest,’ to Braveheart’s background car, here are some fumbles from famous on-screen moments.

1. Screeching Tires on a Gravel Road, the 1962's 'Dr. No.'

An old one but a good one. Those who remember this classic film may be carried away with the excitement about this movie. Being one of the best James Bond works, viewers can spot an error in one of the chase scenes if you look closely enough or rather listen closely enough.

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Source: 1962's film Dr. No / James Bond / United Artists

While Bond was chased while going to Miss Taro’s residence you can catch even the slightest error. Bond’s tires were screeching on gravel, which is inconsistent. This is only possible on smooth surfaces like asphalt, not to mention that his wild steering wheel movements are quite different than the trajectory of his car in the background.

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2. 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, had a scene where several stormtroopers, stomp into a control room. One of these stormtroopers, played by Laurie Goode, bangs his head on the door. Ouch!

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Source: Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 1977 / 20th Century Studios, 20th Century Home Entertainment

Goode, later told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought it wouldn’t make the final cut let alone even be in the frame but his jaw was on the floor to his surprise he noticed this moment right away when watching the film. He has been telling this story ever since. Can you spot this moment next time you watch?

3. Leonardo DiCaprio's "over the bed" in Titanic

Whether or not this was a titanic mistake is left to be determined. We’ll let you decide.  While many were anticipating if these lovebirds’ story would end or not, others were keen on catching every word and historical accuracy. Those who paid attention and went one step further to the little details found something even more improper.

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Source: 1998 film Titanic / 20th Century Studios, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jack Dawson says “over the bed” in one of the scenes, while then immediately correcting himself by saying “the couch” as Rose undressed for his painting. It was amusing to the filmmakers so they left it in!

4. 2014's American Sniper 'Ohh Baby'

Bradley Cooper in his role in the movie American Sniper brought to life the stories of many veterans to the big screen. He was praised for his performance by many. The movie was recognized by audiences for its realistic portrayal of war veterans getting used to living like civilians again.

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Source: American Sniper, 2014 / Warner Bros.

Every scene looks realistic except for one scene. Bradley admitted that this particular scene was quite laughable as he was carrying a fake baby in it. He was quoted saying that he thought it was unbelievable that they worked with a fake baby, but the decision was out of his hands.

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1985 'Commando' Porsche

Commando is a movie that anyone can remember easily. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s physique, make-up, and artilleries are some of the things that caught our attention. But not many people paid attention to the racing Porsche in the movie. 

Source: Commando, 1985 / 20th Century Studios

In an intense chase in one of the 1985 movie scenes, the Porsche appeared beat up. Incredibly, it became intact and dent-free in the next scene. Quite unrealistic if you ask us not to mention makes no sense in the film sequence. 

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6. 1959's “North by Northwest” Cover Your Ears Kid

Featuring a kid in a movie is no joke, regardless of the era. Children require extra attention and direction on set especially when having to get a scene just right. In the film, North by Northwest, a kid experiences a tense scene between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

Source: “North by Northwest” (1959) / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

As the filming of the scene continued, a gun was fired as planned in the scene. While watching the film, you may notice a kid covering his ears even before the gun was shot. He probably knew what was about to happen after a few takes and just couldn’t help himself.

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7. 2011's Game of Thrones and "The Computer Charger"

Game of Thrones gave all of us some exciting thrills, camera mishaps included, in addition to the now-famous Starbucks cup scene, there was also the battle of the computer chargers. In what seems to be a scene filled only with snow without any electricity in sight, one could be anticipating what Stannis does next during which viewers may suddenly notice what seems like a computer charger under his leg. Fans were quick to point this out in season 5.

Source: Game Of Thrones / HBO

However, Redditors noted that it was a behind-the-scenes shot and was not as apparent in the final cut of the scene. Although we still notice such cables in the final version, who knows if Stannis wanted to channel the power of the computer in addition to everything else? You can never be too prepared for this show.

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8. 'Pulp Fiction' Bullet Holes

In a scene where bullets were fired into walls, this movie error already revealed what is to be expected in this scene since the holes were already visible pre-fire. In Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta had to retrieve a briefcase.

Source: Pulp Fiction (1994) / Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta / Miramax, FilmFlex, Miramax Home Entertainment

In a now rather iconic apartment scene, Jules and Vincent are about to be approached and shot by a kid coming out of an adjoining room. It seems strange that there are already bullet holes visible behind them. It looks like they didn’t re-plaster the walls in between takes creating this infamous mistake.

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9. 'The Fast and the Furious' Jesse and Tran's Race

In what seems to be all about showing one’s driving and racing skills, fans have spotted a fashion error regarding Tran’s shirt. It isn’t hard to spot this mishap if you’re paying attention and even if you aren’t it seems pretty apparent. It’s hard to believe that the editors missed it.

Source: The Fast and the Furious, 2001 / Universal Pictures

In a scene where the actor was wearing a shirt with sleeves, the immediate shot after the same actor in the sequence can be seen wearing a tank top. It looks quite funny and out of place considering no one can make that costume change appear realistic.

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10. 2012's The Dark Knight Rises - Newspaper, Read All About it

It’s all in the details especially when it comes to the big screen, we think director Christopher Nolan would agree. We can’t put our finger on how this mistake slipped past him. Proofreading often seems to be the solution to typos, but the one in the newspaper in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is not something anyone would observe without paying keen attention to the details.

Source: The Dark Knight Rises, 2012 / Warner Bros., Filmcompagniet, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Here comes a newspaper headline with the caption ‘Police Suspect ‘Cat’ Burglar in Jewelry Heist.’ While the correct headline should be ‘Jewel Heist,’ this editor was probably more concerned about the ‘cat burglar.’

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11. 2002's “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” the Disappearing Handcuffs

While movie lovers may not forget ‘The Lord of the Rings’ so soon, we found something they may have missed while filming the movie. In one of the scenes, Merry and Pippin are captured as prisoners by the Orcs. As prisoners, handcuffs come with the territory, it comes as no surprise that their hands were restrained.

Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 2002, New Line Cinema

Interestingly enough, Pippin’s hands were mysteriously unbound at the time of the fight scene. Suddenly, after this scene, the bound appeared in his hands once again, not making sense for such a sequence. It’s still something we are trying to wrap our head around or rather our hands are tied when it comes to trying to justify it.

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12. Bald Scalp “Taxi Driver” (1976)

It comes as a surprise when what looks like a giant skin wrinkle on Robert De Niro appears on screen. It may leave audiences confused, but rather it wasn’t really a wrinkle at all. Most images you see on the screen are costumes, so it makes more sense that he wore a bald cap for his role in the movie.

Source: Taxi Driver, 1976 / Columbia Pictures

One of the scenes more clearly shows where the actor mistakenly grabbed his “latex skin,” revealing this bizarre wrinkle even more apparently. Looks like the makeup and costume department needs to go back to the drawing board for the next one.

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13. 1967's 'The Graduate' En Route

Audiences may be concerned that Dustin Hoffman gets to his destination almost too quickly in the movie ‘The Graduate.’ While the actor was driving across the San Francisco Bay Bridge heading to Berkeley, California, it was not what you think. There was more movie magic than meets the eye.

Source: The Graduate, 1967 / Embassy Pictures, United Artists

In the movie, Hoffman was not really driving but rather on top of a deck. However, what is weird about this is that the traffic was moving in the opposite direction and that’s not even the weirdest part. Many viewers may not notice that the moving traffic was from Berkeley to San Francisco and not the other way around as it was intended. 

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14. 1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” but make it Human

We know characters in shows like Barney and others alike have humans putting on costumes to depict such a character. Actors can even mimic their voices to sound like the character they are depicting.

Source: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990 / New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., 20th Century Studios

Talk about costume malfunction in this one ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ from the 90s. We would have recommended a retake, wouldn’t you? Why, you may ask, because viewers can easily spot the actor playing Donatello’s teeth and eyes from inside his costume. We think it’ll be tough for Michelangelo to paint over this mistake.

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15. 2016's “This Is Us” Are You Exam Ready?

Those who watch this show regularly may have caught the error in this scene as a young Kate Pearson “mistook” an ovulation test for a pregnancy test.

Source: This Is Us, 2016 / NBC / creater: Dan Fogelman

Many saw this error as the camera approached the box in her hands. It could be a character mistake but we doubt it was intentional. Viewers first thought there was more to the scene than what they saw. Surprisingly, we found out it was an inaccurate accessory for a scene that ended up being overlooked.

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16. 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' the Eyes of Lily Potter

In both the Harry Potter books as well as the films, countless characters are heard telling Harry that he “has his mother’s eyes.” But when we finally see a young Lily Potter as a child in The Deathly Hallows, she can be seen having brown eyes in contrast to the blue eyes of both Harry and the actor who plays him, Daniel Radcliffe.

Source: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 / Warner Bros.

In the novels, both Harry and his mother are described as having green eyes, but young Daniel Radcliffe reportedly had an adverse reaction to contact lenses that they originally attempted to have him wear.

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17. 1999's “The Matrix” Throwing Shade

We aren’t about to throw shade, we think these sunglasses have done enough. We all know that shiny objects tend to reflect images, so it is not surprising that sunglasses led to an error in the 1999 movie, ‘The Matrix.’ As the movie nears the ending, one can notice a reflection in Neo’s Sunglasses showing the crew behind the scenes.

Source: The Matrix, 1999 / Warner Bros., Roadshow Entertainment

While movie makers have yet to clarify what really happened, viewers are left arguing if it was intentional or not. Regardless of the reason behind it, we already caught the crew members on camera via the sunglasses’ reflection.

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18. 1984's 'The Karate Kid' Call the Referee

As a karate competitor, you have both rules and regulations that you need to follow in order to compete safely as well as fairly. This includes styles and moves when fighting. However, the 1984 movie Karate Kid seems to have overlooked and broken the rule of Karate: an illegal head kick.

Source: The Karate Kid, 1984 / Columbia Pictures, FilmFlex

If you are wondering how serious this illegal kick is, it is very simple. Such a kick is a move that could get you kicked out of some real-world tournaments. Hence, you don’t want to mess with it, we guess Hollywood has other concerns. 

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19. 2016's 'Doctor Strange' Get Me a Facemask, Stat!

It wouldn’t be surprising if the association of doctors fined Dr. Strange and Dr. Palmer for their medical error in the 2016 movie ‘Doctor Strange.’ How could anyone think to not wear a surgical mask during a brain surgery? 

Source: Doctor Strange 2016 / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This practice falls under best doctor practices in the real world so violating it while operating on any patient is a BIG NO. The duo doesn’t look good without a mask, but who knows anymore what carries over into the movie world and what doesn’t? We’d like to believe they have no idea about the ins and outs of the real operation room rules, but that is no excuse. 

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20. 2016's 'Stranger Things' Walk the Talk

In the 2016 show, ‘Stranger Things,’ viewers saw what seems to be a period error. When making period pieces doing extensive research comes with the territory especially if you’re trying to bring a past era to life after the fact. It seems that the creators had a small mishap, an invention that seemed to be unavailable during that time period appears in the show.

Source: Stranger Things Drama Series, 2016, Netflix

Audiences pointed out that the TRC-214 walkie-talkies used by some of the characters in several of the show’s seasons weren’t around back then. Although the first season was in 1983 when the show takes place, if they had waited two years, this walkie-talkie model would have then come on the scene and flooded the market.

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21. 1990's 'Pretty Woman' the Breakfast Switch Up

Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’ is iconic, some would even say that it is what made her a star, but even this movie isn’t exempt from error. During one scene in the film Julia Roberts as her character Vivian is eating a croissant.

Source: Pretty Woman, 1990 / Touchstone Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Touchstone Home Entertainment

The camera then pans to her costar Richard Gere, everything would have been fine except when the film cuts back to Julia the croissant that she was eating previously is magically transformed into a pancake. We’ve all heard of movie magic but even this is a stretch.

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22. 2008's Quantum Of Solace, Sweep Up on the Aisle 

James Bond is a story loved by many and those cast to play him are nothing short of expert actors. Although even with the most seasoned actors sometimes attention can be divided. Instead of focusing on Mr. Bond, the man sweeping the air is who got the viewers’ attention.

Source: Quantum of Solace, 2008 / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing

Maybe the man caught sweeping in the shot is a friendly reminder that you don’t have to be the star of the show to be in the limelight. Although we don’t know how this didn’t get scrubbed in the editing room. What he was sweeping with a broom a few feet off the ground we may never know. 

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23. 1994's 'Friends' Rachel, is that You?

When you film shows live it can be a challenge and die-hard fans have spotted countless mishaps that make for a good laugh over the seasons. One of the more apparent mistakes is during season 9 when the body double for Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel can be seen at the edge of the frame.

Source: Friends TV Series, 1994, Warner Bros. Television

Often time this is because of the new dimensions of television today and the fact that the frame has been widened and expanded to reveal more than what was visible for audiences in the past.

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24. 2007's 'The Simpsons' Picture Picture on the Wall

How psychic do you need to be to be able to hang a picture of your unborn child on your home’s wall? Well, Homer and Marge must be if they managed to hang one of Maggie before they even saw her face. We caught on to this animation error in that one episode of The Simpsons: ‘And Maggie Makes Three.’ Maggie was the presumed baby Marge was carrying in her womb.

Source: The Simpsons: 'And Maggie Makes Three.' / Fox network

But interestingly enough Maggie already made it into the episode via a picture in the living room even before her birth. Talk about eerie. As Marge tells Homer about her pregnancy, Maggie’s photo can be seen clearly in the frame. Since this is an animated show we can’t help but wonder if this “mistake” was on purpose, being otherwise easily fixable.

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25. 2003's 'The Last Samurai' Horsing Around

Tom Cruise has been known to do his own stunts. It is no wonder he is considered a movie star. He without a doubt knows the ins and outs when it comes to blockbuster movies. But even he may not have noticed this error in his movie. In the film, Captain Nathan comes down from a horse with his armies surrounding him.

Source: The Last Samurai, 2003 / Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Pictures

But if you stop to look the camera caught one of the men being kicked in a place that you don’t want to get kicked in by a horse. We are sure this wasn’t part of the script; maybe the horse just felt like ‘horsing around.’

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26.1983's Bad Boys, Say Cheese Camera Operator

Sean Penn stars alongside Esai Morales in 198s’s crime drama Bad Boys taking place in a juvenile detention center. The film received mixed reviews, although most people can agree on the brilliant performance of the actors. Even then audiences and critics could see Sean Penn’s promising career.

Souce: Bad Boys 1983 / Universal Pictures

However, how could production miss this camera operator blatantly parading around during a fight scene? Luckily the chaos, the brawl, and the crowd of boys take away from the massive camera and the operator.

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