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El Dorado (1967) Poster

(1967)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The film is set a few years after the American Civil War. Several characters, including Thornton and Harrah, use Winchester rifle models that were not introduced until 1892.
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When Cole and Mississippi are in the Swede's shop and he bends down to pick up the ammunition for Mississippi's gun, there is a pack of Prince Albert and Bugler tobacco on the shelf behind him. Prince Albert tobacco was not introduced in the United States by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company until 1907 and Bugler not until 1932.
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When the Bull character first makes his appearance, there's a small band playing in the background. One of the guitar players is using an archtop style guitar that wasn't made until the 1920s.
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The girl in the window who informs Mississippi that the three men they are looking for are in the old church is smoking a cigarette. Women did not begin smoking cigarettes until the 1920s when cigarette companies began marketing to women in order to increase sales.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

After Mississippi dives under the horses, you can clearly see Cole's lips moving, but he isn't saying anything.
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Character error 

At the end when Wayne and Mitchum are walking together, Wayne is using the crutch in step with his injured leg while Mitchum is not. Regardless of all the crutch issues with this film, this final scene shows that Mitchum simply doesn't care which leg is injured and Howard Hawks let him get away with it.
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Continuity 

After Cole shoots Luke MacDonald he rides across the stream, which gets the front of his trousers wet. When he climbs off his horse only seconds later, his trousers are dry.
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When JP is sitting at his desk after being shot, he grabs his injured leg, lifts it up, and turns to face Cole. When the camera angle changes, he is facing away from Cole looking back over his shoulder, and then once again he lifts his leg up, and turns to face Cole.
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When Joey shoots Cole at the creek, when she gets beside him, he knocks her feet out from under her and she lands on the muddy creek bank getting mud on her butt. Moments later Cole tells her to leave she gets on her horse and wades into the creek to retrieve her rifle, as she leans over to pick it up, her pants are clean again.
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When Mississippi throws a chair against the saloon window, the chair breaks the glass and bounces back to the porch when seen from the outside, but goes all the way through the glass and pulls the drapes down with it when seen from the inside. Also, the outside shots show there are shades covering the upper parts of the windows, but there are no shades visible when seen from the inside.
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At the end, when Cole goes looking for Maudie, the position of JP's crutch, leaning on the end of the desk, changes back and forth between camera angles.
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When Mississippi confronts Charlie Higgins in the cantina, Pedro the gunman is sitting at the table smoking a thin long brown cigar. After Mississippi kills Higgins with his knife, the scene goes back to him standing between Milt and Pedro, and Pedro dramatically throws his smoke to the floor, but now it is a short white cigarette.
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After Cole shoots the gun out of Milt's hand in the saloon, he tells Pedro to "Drop it!". When he does, the gun hits the floor and bounces under McCloud's table. When Pedro leans down to pick it back up, it is on the floor back in front of him.
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When J.P. Hara returns from Jason's bar and enters the jail, the brim of his hat is up/down/up between shots.
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When Cole is heading back to El Dorado after meeting Mississippi, and falls off his horse, he braces his fall with his paralyzed right arm.
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As Cole and Mississippi shoot at the men on horseback, we see J.P. getting ready to come out of the jail on the right side of the screen with a cowboy hat on his head. In the next shot, no cowboy hat is seen.
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Bull's position changes between shots as Cole loads J.P.'s gun and the group gets ready to confront Jason in the saloon.
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The sheriff got shot in the right leg and used a crutch, limping with his right leg. Later in the movie, he moved the crutch to the left leg and limped on that leg (see also trivia).
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When Mississippi tackles Joey McDonald in the barn, his hat falls off of his head, and can be clearly seen lying next to him and Joey as they have their conversation. When they both stand up, the hat is still on the floor of the barn. Then, as Mississippi and Joey brush the straw off of themselves, Mississippi simply leans forward slightly and is able to pick his hat up from where it lies at his feet.
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When they are getting ready to confront Jason in his Saloon, not only does Bull's position change between shots, but the position of the guns he is holding changes as well.
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At the start of the film when Mitchum is walking down the street, his badge is near the edge of the front panel of his shirt. When he comes indoors it is higher and further away from the edge. Also, at the start of the movie, the badge is fully metallic but during the confrontation in the saloon it has a large enameled circle in the center.
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When Maudie, dressed in her lingerie, invited Cole into her room, they leave Mississippi right outside the door with the two horses. When Cole later opens the door to leave, the horses and Mississippi are not anywhere in sight from the doorway. When they cut outside of the room, Mississipi is right in front of the door with the two horses again.
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When Cole Thornton arrives at Kevin MacDonald's farm, pulling the horse with Luke MacDonald's body, the shadow is on his right side. So, for a while, the shadow appears on his left side. Afterwards, it's on the right side again.
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After the men ride through town shooting, and JP gets shot in the leg, he collapses to his knee. In the next shot as Cole gets to him, he is still standing.
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As Maudie, leaning on an open door, speaks with Cole just before his departure to Sonora, her position and that of the door's window shade change between front and rear shots.
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Near the beginning of the movie, when Cole is having a conversation with Maudi and J.P., Cole ties his hand-kerchief on. In the next shot, the hand-kerchief is in a different position.
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After Cole shoots the gun out of Milt's hand and tells him to "Pick it up and try again", the gun is about a foot from the front of the cabinet. When Milt and Pedro reach down to pick up their guns a moment later, Milt's gun is now several feet from the front of the cabinet.
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When Mississippi test fires his sawed-off shotgun he is enveloped in a plume of gunpowder smoke. When the shot cuts to another camera there is no smoke at all.
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The opening shot - J.P. Harrah walking down the street - is done as three separate shots; each shot is obviously at a different time of day (as denoted by the shadows).
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When Cole suffers a spasm and is incapacitated and Mississippi is forced to kill Pedro, you can see the shotgun blast hit the doorway behind Pedro a second or two before he flies backwards into the door.
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After Mississippi retrieves Joey from the livery stable, her hair is perfectly coiffed and styled as she is talking to J.P. and Cole. Toward the latter portion of that scene, as she asks if she can see Jason, talk to him, her hair is tousled again, as if she's just been struggling with Mississippi.
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After Sheriff J.P. Harra hits Jason with his rifle, he works the cocking lever to chamber a round. But no empty cartridge is ejected, even though he fired the rifle at the bartender moments before.
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At the end, when Cole goes looking for Maudie, JP has his leg propped up on the desk. A spot appears and then disappears on the bottom of his boot.
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During the shootout inside the church, J.P. draws his revolver and shoots at the Limping Man as he flees. He is using a Double Action Revolver (it appears to be a S&W 38), but then they all gather out on the street, near where the sign hit the Limping Man and he is trying to load his revolver, it is now a Single Action Revolver (Colt Peacemaker).
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When Cole shoots the gun out of Milt's hand in the cantina, the gun flies over the little cabinet by the door, and even makes the trumpet player jump out of the way to avoid the flying gun. When Milt picks it back up, it is now on the ground, a few feet in front of the cabinet.
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(at around 21 mins) When Cole and Mississippi leave Sheriff JP in the jail, he has 3-4 days' worth of stubble. When he catches up with them in the street moments later, he is clean-shaven.
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In the scene after giving J.P. Hurrah the alcohol cure (about one hour, fifteen minutes into the movie), Cole and Mississippi approach the jail from the street. Cole stops and yells to Bull that they're coming in. At this point in the movie, there's no reason to do so; Bart Jason hasn't been arrested yet.
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When Cole rides near the river and get shot by Josephine MacDonald, the shadow is projected to the opposite side of the river. Soon after, when Josephine rides ahead to Cole, the shadow is in the river side.
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The morning after Cole and Mississippi arrive in El Dorado, they are walking back to the Sheriff's office. When they approach the jail, Cole stops at the bottom of the steps and yells out to Bull that they are "coming in". When the camera changes to the inside you can see the shadow of someone walking up to the door. When the camera changes back to the outside, Cole and Missisippi are still standing at the bottom of the steps to the jail.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Mississippi dives under the horses, the rectangular outline of the burlap covering the padded pit is impossible to miss, as is the cut from the actor to the dummy.
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Errors in geography 

Saguaro Cacti do not grow in Texas. In the U.S. they only grow in Arizona.
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Factual errors 

When Cole takes Luke McDonald home, he tells Kevin McDonald that Luke told him he fell asleep. When Cole spoke to Luke he did not tell him this.
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When Cole meets with Mississippi, outside of the cantina, and complains he had not has his supper, several times, the lantern behind Cole clearly contains an Incandescent Light Bulb.
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Miscellaneous 

On the VHS case, Cole Thorton (John Wayne) is shown having brown eyes, as J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) is shown having blue eyes. In reality, this is reversed.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The notes played by Bull would only be possible in a valved instrument such as a trumpet or cornet, and one would think they could not be played on a bugle. This is not true. An extremely adept musician with an enormous amount of practice can do this.
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Cole was shot in the lower left side of his back where the bullet lodged near the lower left side of his spine. The nerves controlling Coles gun hand and arm exit the upper right side of the neck, just above the shoulder, so the injury from the bullet wound should not affect Cole's gun hand or anything on his right side. The fact is that an injury to the lower spine can cause muscles to pull the spine in one direction with muscles higher up trying to pull the spine back into balance, essentially creating a zig-zag or S-curve. This can impact other nerves higher up in the spine, right up to the neck.
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At the end when Cole finds out that Maudie is upset with him, Bull states that "if You were running for president, i reckon you wouldn't get her vote." This implies that she had the right to vote, which she didn't at the time. This is meaningless, however. Cole was not making a comment about women's suffrage.
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Plot holes 

After killing two of the three men involved in the shooting of Jared MacDonald, before Harrah enters the saloon to get the other who ran in there, he says he has to get the man that shot the MacDonald boy. Harrah did not witness Jared getting shot, and did not hear Matt MacDonald telling the others what happened, and Matt did not mention which man shot Jared. So how does Harrah know the man who ran into the saloon is the one that shot Jared? It is unknown which man did the shooting.
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The first night that Cole and Mississippi arrive in El Dorado, Cole tells Maudie and Bull not to let folks know he is back in town. Yet between these two incidents, Cole and Mississippi go to the jail to see JP. As they approach the jail, Bull stops them and Cole yells out he's "Cole Thornton". Not the best way to keep your arrival quiet.
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Revealing mistakes 

The bugle that Bull plays is a 4 note horn, which in reality cannot play some of the songs that Bull plays on it throughout the movie.
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Obvious mannequin inserted into scene to replace Mississippi just before the horses jump over him.
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When Mississippi test fires the shotgun it changes from an outdoor (on location) shot to a movie studio background plate on James Caan's close up of shooting the gun and back to location for the wide angle. Also, in the close up of the shot of Mississippi shooting the gun, it appears as though an animated gun flash has been added.
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Joe the piano player is clearly just patting the keyboard, his hand motions in no way matching the music on the soundtrack.
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On the scene when they use the dummy for Mississippi with the horses jumping over him you can see clearly a horse actually did step on the dummy.
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After Cole is shot and just before Joey gets on her horse to retrieve her rifle from the river, you can see the outline of a wallet in Cole's back pocket.
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The shootout at the church is clearly at night, but after it's over the camera looks up at the bells and daylight is showing.
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Harrah returns from the saloon to the jail with a new bottle of whiskey under his arm. Just before entering, his hat is turned downward as if to hide the actor or a stand-in's face.
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At the cantina, Mississippi kills a man by pulling and throwing a large knife that he has concealed behind his back, perhaps below the back of his neck under the shirt. But just a moment before this, we clearly saw the back of Mississippi as he entered the cantina, and there was no visible sign of such a large knife being carried behind his back - either on or underneath his rather snug-fitting shirt.
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Just after Mississippi throws himself in front of the horses, but before the horses reach him, he and a rectangular area around him are briefly more brightly lighted showing that his image may have simply been composited in over the original street.
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In the last minutes at the end of the movie in the sheriff's office after John Wayne is treated for his buckshot wound, during the exchange between him and Robert Mitchum, you see a lamp, which is on, sitting on the desk behind where Mitchum is seated and can see a power cord atop of the table and running from the lamp. It is very likely that it would be many decades before these western towns would see any form of electricity or the light bulb.
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Bull carries a .56 caliber Colt 1855 Revolving Carbine throughout the film. This rifle is 5-shot cap-and-ball and very slow to reload. Before, and during the shootout at the church Bull fires more than 10 shots very quickly, without the minutes it takes to reload.
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When the 4 men on horses rush Cole and Mississippi with their guns firing, Mississippi dives in front of the horses and one of the horses steps on his back and he does not even move or flinch because it is obviously just a dummy.
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When the last man at the church is shot, he grabs the center of his chest in the area of his sternum. However, when he falls from the belfry to the floor (towards the camera), there is clearly no bullet hole in his shirt.
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When Mississippi test fires his new double-barreled shotgun, the horses do not react to either the supposedly loud bang or the bright muzzle flash, despite being only a few feet away, showing these effects were added to the scene later.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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