Details In War Movies That Were Scarily Accurate

Scene from the film 'Dunkirk'
IMDB | Warner Bros. Pictures

Filmmakers love to strategically place little details into their films that most audience members won't even notice. When the movie has a real-world historical basis, those little details are often rooted in the real world.

War movies in particular can benefit from historical accuracy. Thanks to the hard work of Redditors over at the r/MovieDetails subreddit, we now know of some of the painstaking work that goes into these cinematic marvels. Not all of the movies on this list are strictly war movies, per se, but all have some sort of real-world combat basis.

'Saving Private Ryan': the Czech soldiers actually speak Czech.

"In this scene in Saving Private Ryan (1998) the two German soldiers who try to surrender are actually Czechoslovakian conscripts. What they are saying translates to something along the lines of 'do no shoot I am Czech I did not shoot anyone, I am Czech!'"


'Saving Private Ryan': the scopes make all the difference.

Collage from Saving Private Ryan showing soldier using two scopes
reddit | Kagenlim

"In Saving Private Ryan [1998], Jackson uses two scopes (Ureti 8x scope on the left, M73B 2.5x scope on the right) and swaps between them regularly. This results in his Ureti 8x being 'unzeroed,' which causes It to be inaccurate, resulting in Jackson missing a lot of his shots later on."


'1917': No spoilers, but...

Still from the film '1917'
IMDB | Universal Pictures

"In 1917, the death of a soldier for hemorrhage is really accurate. When you die for this reason you became pale. This fact, in movies, is always ignored. You know the death that I'm talking about."


'1917': not only does Schofield only fire ten shots in the entire movie, there's a good reason for doing so.

Scene from 1917 showing Lance Corporal Schofield
reddit | Pedro-Kantor

"In 1917 (2019), Lance Corporal Schofield fires only 10 shots the entire film: the exact amount of bullets that fit inside his Lee-Enfield Rifle."


'1917': some more details about the Lee-Enfield rifle.

Scene from 1917 showing soldiers in a trench
reddit | SB116

"In 1917 (2019), the main character is seen loading 5 rounds into his rifle. Later on, he shoots 9 times without reloading. This is because the Lee-Enfield magazine holds 10 rounds, but were usually only loaded with 1 clip of 5 to save the magazine spring. They are preparing 10 rounds for battle."


'1917': a Sikh soldier uses an accurate variant of the standard rifle.

Scene from 1917 showing a Sikh soldier with an Indian variant of a British rifle
reddit | Specialey

"In 1917 (2019), the Sikh soldier is seen using an Indian licensed production of the Lee-Enfield rifle, with a darker wooden stock and a golden pin/insignia near the buttstock, instead of the British Army issued Lee-Enfield."


'Platoon': Charlie Sheen is more than ready to kill Tom Berenger.

"At the end of Platoon (1986), Pvt. Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, first checks the chamber of an enemy AK he picks up to make sure there is a round ready to kill Sgt. Barnes, played by Tom Berenger (1:23)."

'The Hunt for Red October': no continuity errors here.

Scene from The Hunt for Red OCtober showing commander with a prosthetic leg
reddit | SuperBoghead

"In The Hunt for Red October (1990), the former Navy submarine commander (Skip Tyler) who identifies the caterpillar drive in the photos heavily puts his leg up on a drawer. A scene earlier, Admiral Greer (James Earl Jones) mentioned that Skip lost his leg in a car accident."


'Tombstone': the gunfight actually went down just like that.

"In Tombstone (1993), the gunfight at the O.K. Corral closely follows eyewitness accounts of the actual gunfight -- such as it actually took place outside a photography studio, Wyatt Earp said 'Go to fighting or get away!' and Doc Holliday hid his shotgun under an overcoat."


'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End': they didn't mess around with pirates back then.

Scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End showing a boy looking up at a noose
reddit | Tokyono

"In POTC: At World’s End (2007), a young boy is hanged for piracy. This is historically accurate; 18th century Britain had a capital code that punished children and adults equally. In fact, one of the crimes that had a death sentence was 'strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age.'"


'Django Unchained': that's why six shooters were sometimes only fired five times.

Still from the film 'Django Unchained'
IMDB | The Weinstein Company

"In Django Unchained (2012) when Django kills Lil Raj Brittle he fires the gun 5 times before it’s empty, despite it being a 6-shot revolver. It was common practice in the era of single-action revolvers to leave one of the six chambers empty as a safety precaution."


'Inglourious Basterds': all the dubs line up.

Scene from Inglorious Basterds where Hans Landa speaks other languages
reddit | DarthSyphilis

"In this scene in Inglorious Basterds (2009) Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) asks in French, if he can change to speaking English. If you watch the movie in German, he asks in French, if he can change to German. Christoph Waltz not only overdubbed himself in German, he redubbed the French part to fit."


'Taxi Driver': this is how you know Travis Bickle is ex-military.

Still from Taxi Driver showing Travis Bickle in 'parade rest' position
reddit | logoleu

"In Taxi Driver (1976) when Travis does interviews he goes to the position of 'Parade Rest.' This is because he is ex-military and you take the position of 'Parade Rest' is when you talk to higher ranking members."


'Gladiator': sometimes historical accuracy comes off a bit mundane.

Still from the film 'Gladiator'
IMDB | DreamWorks Distribution

"In the film Gladiator the iconic name Maximus Decimus Meridus simply means: Maximus, the tenth child of his family, from the outpost of Meridia.

I know it sounds way cooler in the movie."


'Apocalypse Now': they knew where the Agent Orange was coming from.

Scene from Apocalypse Now showing Agent Orange barrels made by Dow Chemical Company
reddit | YesterdayIwas3

"In Apocalypse Now, (1979) Martin Sheen's character passes a barrel labeled The Dow Chemical Company, which was one of the main suppliers of Agent Orange for the US in the Vietnam War."


'Dunkirk': the Spitfires are historically accurate in how they shoot.

Scene from Dunkirk showing Spitfire dogfight
reddit | WhoAmI117

"Tom Hardy’s dogfight scenes in Dunkirk (2017) show around 15 seconds of gunfire, fired in 2 second bursts. Real Spitfires had a total of 15-18 seconds firing time which pilots fired in 2 second bursts."


'Dunkirk': your ears would hurt even more if you were underwater.

Scene from Dunkirk where underwater soldier is in pain after hearing explosions
reddit | qxie

"In Dunkirk, Alex is in noticeable pain underwater during explosions and battle overhead. This makes sense because the sound waves travel 4 times faster underwater, and the intensity of sound would be unbearable."


'Dunkirk': sounds like those Enfield rifles weren't great.

Still from the film 'Dunkirk'
IMDB | Warner Bros. Pictures

"In Dunkirk (2017) you can see the main character struggling to cycle the action on his Enfield rifle. This is a common problem of the Enfield pattern of rifles due to it’s use of rimmed ammunition, causing what is know as 'rimlock.'"


'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World': I guess they didn't say "port" back then.

Scene from Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
IMDB | 20th Century Fox

"In Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Russell Crowe’s character shouts the command 'Hard a-larboard' to turn to left side mid-battle. The modern usage of 'Port' wasn’t adopted by the Royal Navy until 1844, well after the end of the Napoleonic wars in which the film is set."


'Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World': is that why they call it the poop deck?

Scene from Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World showing a sailor defecating off the bow of the ship
reddit | Elantros

"There's a sailor defecating on the bow of the ship in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) whom I've never noticed before. From a little research, the bow is where the 'toilets' were on those types of ships."