Glory (1989) Movie Poster

Goofs from Glory (1989)

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  • As Rawlins hands out the Enfield rifles, he calls out each one's serial number. Authentic Enfield rifles don't have serial numbers, but reproductions do.
  • The men's breath is visible the night before the big attack on Fort Wagner. That's very unlikely for South Carolina in July.
  • The position of the sun as Shaw inspects the beach before Fort Wagner.
  • When the 54th first marches past a mansion in Georgia, a square concrete curb is visible on the left side of the road (to the soldiers' right).
  • At James Island, Thomas's bayonet sticks out of the Confederate soldier's chest, with Thomas right behind him. In the next shot of the soldier's back, there is no wound, bayonet, rifle, or Thomas.
  • In the opening scenes, when Shaw marches beside his soldiers toward the Antietam battle, the rank insignia on his epaulets change from that of a captain (two bars) to that of a second lieutenant (no insignia within the epaulet borders) because it's a flashback.
  • During the final battle scene with the 54th forming up for the attack on Ft. Wagner on the beach, the ocean is to their left. This would mean that they were headed south instead of north. Fort Wagner was attacked from the south, so the Atlantic Ocean should be on the right.
  • In the film, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment trains through Christmas 1862, after the September 1862 Battle of Antietam. In real life, the 54th Massachusetts was organized in March 1863. Its first battle was James Island, South Carolina, on July 16, 1863, then Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863. The 54th went on to fight at Olustee, Florida (February 20, 1864), Honey Hill, South Carolina (November 30, 1864), and Boykin's Mill, South Carolina (April 18, 1865).
  • The movie claims that "over half" of the regiment was lost during the assault on Fort Wagner. According to official records, the 54th sustained 272 casualties, closer to 40%. Of those casualties, 116 were fatalities, just under 20% of the men to storm the fort. In formal military terms, casualties include captured soldiers. If the 156 captured soldiers are included, it brings the total to over 50%.
  • When they are first mustering in, the buckle on Colonel Shaw's kepi moves from the right side of the chin strap to the center, and back again several times.
  • When Pvt. Trip is being brought before Cpt. Shaw for desertion, the beatings of the drum are off.
  • When Major Forbes arrives on the scene when the 54th is starting a fight with the white Union soldiers, the corporal the Major calls out changes from corporal to sergeant and back.
  • When Shaw is wounded at the battle of Antietam, he crawls up against a dead soldier. When Rawlins finds him, he is lying next to a completely different man.
  • The Confederate soldier that Trip wrestles with gains a hat just before being clubbed.
  • At one point Shaw tells Sergeant Major Mulcahy "at ease." During the Civil War, the command would have been "rest" or "in place rest."
  • In the film, Robert Gould Shaw receives the request to be Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts while at a party in Boston, and accepts immediately. In real life, he refused command at least twice, feeling unworthy. He finally accepted after some convincing by his friend Charles Russell Lowell, commander of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry.
  • A children's choir sings "My Country 'Tis of Thee." The lyrics date to 1831, and were popular by 1863.
  • When Shaw and Cabot talk to General Harter about transferring their men to combat command, Cabot has his hands on his lap when the camera faces him. When the camera faces General Harter, Cabot's face is leaning on one hand.
  • Several extracts from Colonel Shaw's letters to his mother, as heard in voice-over narration throughout the film, were actually taken from "Army Life in a Black Regiment," an 1870 book by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who commanded the 1st South Carolina Regiment during the Civil War.
  • During the assault on the fort, the bayonets are obviously rubber.
  • In the film, Shaw asks who will carry the colors if they should fall during the assault on Fort Wagner. In real life, General Strong asked the question, and Robert Gould Shaw volunteered.
  • The shadow on Shaw's face changes when he tells men he will tear up his paycheck.
  • As the 54th Massachusetts is preparing for battle at James Island, Rawlins shouts to the soldiers "All right men, form a firing line! Over here!", without moving his lips.
  • The length of Forbes's facial hair when General Strong is giving his speech and then, later the next day, during the battle.
  • During the battle at James Island, within a second, and without orders to attach them, all of the 54th Regiment have their bayonets mounted for the charge.
  • In the movie, Shaw is surprised when the men refuse pay that was reduced because they are a "colored" regiment, though he eventually joins them in their refusal. In reality, Robert Gould Shaw came up with the idea himself.
  • The sky changes from clear to overcast multiple times on the beach prior to the charge of Fort Wagner.
  • When the 54th Massachusetts march past the Southern plantation, a group of slave children run out to see them. After being greeted by Undertaker, they wave. One child wears a digital watch on his hand.
  • When Col. Shaw is in camp at Readville, his horse tack has yellow leather. Infantry tack was all black, or sometimes blue.
  • During the first battle, somehow bayonets are fixed before they charge. When they first form the line in that scene, bayonets are obviously not fixed. There is never an order given to fix them.
  • In real life, the 54th Massachusetts didn't accept runaway slaves because Gov. Andrew wanted it to be an elite unit. Nearly all of the men could read and write. One private was a doctor.
  • When Shaw finally loses patience with the Quartermaster, he marches in and demands 600 pairs of shoes and 1200 pairs of socks. After the initial interchange, Matthew Broderick says "Do you really think you can keep (pause) 700 Union soldiers..." The slight pause shows that Boderick momentarily forgotten his lines.
  • General Charles Garrison Harker wasn't in South Carolina when the 54th Massachusetts was there. At the time, he was part of the Army of the Cumberland's Tullahoma Campaign in Tennessee. He was also 25, unlike 44-year-old Bob Gunton.
  • "The Bonnie Blue Flag" plays when the 54th returns from the Battle of James Island. The melody is "The Irish Jaunting Car," a British song from the Crimean War. Many songs on both sides of the Civil War used the same melody, including "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "Arms of Abraham," a humorous song lamenting the experiences of a draftee in the Union Army.
  • When Trip scuffles with the white soldier on the road, and Sgt. Major Rawlins walks up to break it up, his coat is unbuttoned, with his undershirt clearly visible. When the scene cuts to his dialogue, his coat is buttoned all the way up.
  • After Col. Shaw is notified of his promotion, he and Maj. Forbes talk outside, and Maj. Forbes drinks champagne from a Dom Pérignon bottle. The champagne was first made in 1921 and released for sale in 1936.
  • When Rawlins is promoted to Sergeant Major on the boats, he is called to front and center. As he does so, he salutes with his palm facing forward. In the next shot, his palm is facing the ground.
  • Just before Christmas, Shaw rides his horse, practicing with his sabre on watermelons, which are harvested in the late spring and early summer.
  • When Rawlins is promoted to Sergeant Major, he is handed the insignia sewn onto blue cloth backing. The stripes of the era were individual stripes, and had to be sewn on one-by-one.
  • After Rawlins hands Trip a rifle, Trip fires it into the air with an audible "click" (as in no round loaded). The hammer is still in cocked position, meaning Trip never actually pulled the trigger, and the "click" was added in post-production.
  • When Colonel Shaw volunteers to lead the charge on Fort Wagner, he tells General Strong, "you should have seen us in action two days ago; we were a sight to see". The skirmish Shaw was referring to occurred on James Island, SC on July 16th, 1863. The charge on Fort Wagner occurred two days later, on July 18th. In the film, Shaw's conversation with General Strong takes place on the 17th, with the regiment resting that night and making the charge the next day. He should have said "you should have seen us in action yesterday."
  • When handing out Enfields, John Rawlins says that they are ".57 caliber Enfields rifles." They're actually .577 caliber. The crate says .577 caliber as well.
  • Most of the battle scenes were clearly filmed at Civil War reenactments, as the soldiers approach far too close (especially to cannon) in large numbers before they fire. The weapons of the era were accurate at distances of up to 400 yards, with cannon used at greater distances.
  • The movie consistently shows Confederate troops carrying the classic "stars and bars" Confederate battle flag. It was a naval flag adopted late in the war and flown by a few ships. Gen. Beauregard proposed it as a battle flag, and the Army of Northern Virginia may have used for a very short time before it was officially rejected. It wouldn't have been at any battle or site in South Carolina or Georgia.
  • In the film, Shaw's body is dumped into the mass grave with his red sash. The red sash was taken by a private, and a Ft. Wagner officer bought it from him later. He returned the sash to Shaw's widow 20 years later.
  • When the 54th Massachusetts marches down the street for the first time in their new uniforms, a modern electrical junction box is briefly visible on a wall in the background.
  • When Jupiter shoots bottles with his newly issued rifle, he shoulders the weapon on his right side, but looks with his left eye. He later tells Shaw that he is a good shot. To be a consistently good shot, Jupiter should have been looking with his right eye. Especially with an unfamiliar weapon, it would've been impossible to get a proper sight with his left eye.
  • In the film, Shaw accepts regimental command after being promoted directly from Captain to Colonel. Historically, Shaw was not promoted immediately upon taking command of the 54th regiment. He was promoted to Major once the regiment had assembled its first company, and became a Colonel a few weeks later, after the regiment was approaching full strength.
  • During the advance of the 2nd Massachusetts with Robert Shaw in front, the white state flag is carried. That flag, given to the regiment by the state government, was never carried in action. The correct flag would have been the state flag with a blue background.
  • When Maj. Forbes approaches Shaw to ask why he is being so hard on the men, he is outside and not wearing his uniform blouse (coat) or a hat. Neither would be acceptable at the time of the Civil War. In fact, modern military regulations require hats (covers) be worn whenever outdoors.
  • Gen. Harker is based upon Maj. Gen. David "Black Dave" Hunter, who enlisted ex-slaves in the Department of South Carolina. He also was not as corrupt as the "Harker" character shown here.
  • Shortly after Rawlins says the men need shoes, a soldier's shoe is slowly removed in front of Shaw. It shows how "worn out" the shoe is supposed to be, and the subsequently the damage to the man's foot. Only the midpoint of the sole appears worn-out.
  • The night before the attack on Ft. Wagner, the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts are gathered around a campfire singing a Negro spiritual in which Noah counts the animals boarding the ark two-by-two. The song mentions kangaroos, which were unknown to most Americans at the time. Southern slaves, denied education, were even less likely to have heard of them. The educated northern blacks who actually made up the regiment likely wouldn't know work songs originating in the fields of southern plantations, never mind adding new lyrics.
  • Morgan Freeman's character was not too old to be recruited or conscripted into the Union Army in 1863. At the time, enlistment was limited to men between 18 and 45 years of age. Freeman was in his fifties when this film was made, but people aged much faster in the 19th century, especially outdoor laborers like his character.
  • In real life, the Sergeant Major of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, was Lewis Henry Douglass, oldest son of Frederick Douglass, age 22 when the unit was mustered in.
  • In their first battle, the 54th faces a Confederate Cavalry charge which is easily repulsed. In the Civil War, Cavalry troops on both sides didn't attack deployed infantry head-on as depicted unless the attack was made in response to a surprise encounter, or out of sheer desperation to escape an enemy encirclement. In the vast majority of such attacks, the result was almost always followed by heavy cavalry casualties.
  • When Shaw goes to the Quartermaters office, he demands "600 pairs of shoes and 1200 pairs of socks." That wouldn't have been enough; the unit had 1100 soldiers at full strength.
  • During the singing of the Negro spiritual on the eve of the assault on Ft. Wagner, the key and tempo noticeably change when the soundtrack switches from playback to production sound (recorded on location).
  • In several of the close ups of Matthew's face, the fabric backing of his fake mustache is visible.
  • When the actors open their mouths wide, only their front few teeth are yellowed, the rest are bright white.
  • The 54th Massachusetts was not the first all-Negro regiment. The first was the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment, followed by the 2nd Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The American Revolution had a few all-black regiments, but they fought for the British, and settled in Atlantic Canada afterward.
  • The pistol Col. Shaw checks in the last scene is a Confederate brass-frame revolver.
  • When the units are lined up on the beach before the assault on the fort, Union artillery fires over the heads of Union infantry just a few yards in front of them. Civil War artillery did not fire over the heads of friendly troops for several reasons, including premature explosion of shells.
  • During 54th's first battle scene, Sergeant Major Rawlins kills a Confederate officer wearing the Union-type shoulder pads of a First Lieutenant. According to historical evidence, Confederate officers used the "old Army" style shoulder pads, including Lieutenant General Wade Hampton.

Spoilers

  • When Shaw is shot during the assault on Fort Wagner, a cable trails from his leg as he falls to the sand. The director points it out in the UK DVD release.
  • In the film, Shaw dies after falling on the parapet of Fort Wagner. In real life, Robert Gould Shaw made it to the top, and his body fell into the fort.
  • The Union Army banned flogging in 1861. Private Trip would not have been whipped, at least not by someone as by-the-book as Colonel Shaw. Other harsh punishments were used, such as being "spread eagled" on the spare wheel of an artillery limber, which often broke the man's back.
  • In the final attack, Thomas stabs a Confederate soldier with a gun that bends right before he is stabbed.
  • Shaw's body is thrown into a mass grave still in uniform, minus boots and socks. According to Confederate General Johnson Hagood, Robert Gould Shaw's body was stripped before being thrown into the grave.
  • The character of Colonel Montgomery is portrayed as a greedy, cynical, and hypocritical racist who relishes his former days of being slaveholder. The real James Montgomery was a actually a fanatical abolitionist in the vein of John Brown (for whom he considered mounting a rescue mission). Montgomery's fanaticism did lead him to plunder and burn Darien, Georgia. Montgomery's motives were sincere (if immoral and brutal), and not cynically excused as portrayed in the movie.
  • In the second assault on Fort Wagner, Shaw is shot three times in the midsection on the wall. According to an account by the unit's Color Sgt., Shaw made it to the top of the wall, was shot once through the heart, died instantly, and fell outside of the wall.
  • The film's epitaph that Fort Wagner was never taken is not quite accurate. Following the failure of the July 18, 1863 attack, Union Major General Quincy Adams Gillmore laid siege to the fort. For two months, Union regiments dug a series of zigzag trenches on Morris Island, bringing long-range artillery guns closer and closer to Fort Wagner. During the siege, the Confederates in the fort discovered that their wells had been poisoned by the decomposing bodies of Union soldiers buried in nearby mass graves. After an intense two-day bombardment by Union artillery, the Confederate Army was forced to abandon Fort Wagner on the night of September 6, 1863. The following morning, Union soldiers entered the deserted fort. Today, a large part of what remains of Fort Wagner is underwater, due to erosion from the sea.
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