- Sometimes period TV shows and movies leave modern-day objects in scenes or feature props that aren’t appropriate for a certain era.
- Recent examples are from “Game of Thrones” – eagle-eyed fans spotted plastic water bottles and modern to-go coffee cups in this fantasy drama.
- In period movies like “Newsies” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” you can see glowing exit signs that wouldn’t have existed yet.
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Tiny errors show up across all genres of TV shows and film, but period pieces certainly receive a bit more scrutiny – it’s not always easy to convert a modern-day set into a piece of the past.
The films and television shows we know and love pass by dozens of pairs of eyes before they reach our devices and screens, but anachronistic mistakes can still happen and sometimes objects that don’t belong make the final cut.
From rogue coffee cups making an appearance on “Game of Thrones” to video games that wouldn’t yet exist being featured in “The Hurt Locker,” here are a few times modern-day items were left in period films and TV shows.
Who can forget the infamous coffee cup left on one of the final episodes of “Game of Thrones”?
On an episode of the final season of the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” someone forgot to remove a modern-day, to-go coffee cup from the set before the director called action on a post-war dinner scene. The cup was next to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
The error somehow made it past the editors and into the initial airing. It was later digitally removed, but not before it caused quite a stir online.
Although it’s a bit unclear when this fantasy series was set, they didn’t have electricity or modern-day conveniences … so it’s quite unlikely they’d have disposable cups.
In a later press release, HBO made a joke about the moment, writing, “The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.”
And, in an email to Variety, “GOT” art director Hauke Richter said this sort of incident isn’t that uncommon. “Things can get forgotten on set,” he wrote. “[The coffee cup error has been] so blown out of proportion [because] it has not happened with ‘Thrones’ so far.”
“Game of Thrones” had another gaffe in its series finale, when two plastic water bottles were spotted.
On the long-awaited season finale of “GOT,” eagle-eyed fans spotted two small anachronistic instances in the form of plastic water bottles.
During the council scene, you can see water bottles at the feet of both Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) and Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham). These types of bottles wouldn’t be popularized until the late 1900s – the show is set centuries before this.
“Newsies” (1992) has brightly lit exit signs even though the film is supposedly set in 1899.
Considering the movie is inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City and is set during that same time, this technology and design (which was developed decades later) would not exist yet.
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) is set in the 1930s but there’s a modern-day sign in it.
- Touchstone Pictures
This movie is set in the 1930s, but at one point in the film a group of men enter a movie theater and a red electric exit sign is illuminated above the door.
Although it wouldn’t be unlikely that this theater would have an exit sign, it wouldn’t look anything like this modern-day one.
In “Gladiator” (2000), there’s a gas cylinder under one of the chariots.
If you pay close attention to one of the horse-drawn chariots during the battle in the Colosseum, you’ll spot a big, metal gas cylinder. It was most likely used to achieve a special effect, but it wouldn’t actually exist in ancient Rome during this time.
There’s a white car in the back of a famous battle scene in “Braveheart” (1995).
- Icon Entertainment International
During the “Hold” battle scene, eagle-eyed viewers can spot a white car in the background. “Braveheart” may have been shot in the mid-’90s, but it takes place in 13th-century Scotland where (and when) there were absolutely no cars.
One of the people in “Glory” (1989) had a digital watch on.
- TriStar Pictures
The 1990 Civil-War film that won Denzel Washington an Oscar for best supporting actor features a person wearing a digital watch. The Civil War began in 1861 and digital watches were invented about a century later.
There’s a man who doesn’t quite belong during a scene in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003).
- Walt Disney Productions
In one scene on a ship in the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, a person who appears to be a crew member can be seen standing among the pirates in a historically inaccurate white T-shirt and an out-of-place cowboy hat.
“M*A*S*H” (1976) is set in the ’50s but somehow a character has a comic that wouldn’t come out until the late ’60s.
- 20th Century Fox Television
On the episode “Der Tag,” Radar O’Reilly (Gary Burghoff) fell asleep holding his stuffed bear and a comic book from the “Avengers” series.
The first “Avengers” comic book wasn’t published until 1963 and “M*A*S*H” was set during the Korean War, which was between 1950 and 1953.
This Marvel comic-book series wouldn’t even exist yet. Moreover, people have pointed out he’s reading “Avengers #60” which wasn’t released until 1969.
In “The Doors” (1991), a billboard for a movie that came out in 1990 is present during what’s supposed to be the ’70s.
- Bill Graham Films/Paramount Pictures
The movie, which follows Jim Morrison and the famous rock band The Doors throughout the ’60s and early ’70s has a small anachronistic moment.
During a scene in the film that’s set in 1971, band frontman Jim Morrison (Val Kilmer) is sitting on a window ledge. Behind him, there is a billboard for the 1990 Eddie Murphy film “Another 48 Hours.”
“Bernie” (2011) is based on real events that happened in the ’90s, but there’s a modern-day cell phone in it.
- Mandalay Vision
“Bernie” is based on the real-life 1996 murder of Marjorie Nugent, a wealthy widow, who was shot by her companion, Bernie Tiede.
This film stars Jack Black and it takes place in the mid-1990s. But, at one point, we get a clear look at an incoming call on an iPhone, the first iteration of which Apple released years later in 2007.
In “The Hurt Locker,” one character is playing a console and game that wouldn’t yet exist.
- Voltage Pictures
This war drama is set in 2004 but in one scene a character is shown playing “Gears of War” on an Xbox 360. This was a year before the console was released in 2005 and two years before the video game was released in 2006.