When you watch a film, you're expected to suspend your sense of disbelief. However, the worst continuity errors in famous movies demand that you completely disregard your critical eye, or risk ruining the entire film. As sitcom continuity issues reveal, continuity errors in movies and TV happen all the time, and are usually the result of a hastily cut scene or a dab of awkward CGI.
In the case of terrible films like The Room or Troll 2, viewers expect continuity problems to be a part of the experience. However, as soon as you notice a continuity problem in a major film, it's hard not to feel disheartened. Unlike historical inaccuracies — which studios can cover up with eye candy like Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett — continuity errors in a film put their issues front and center. Viewers are forced to overlook improbable circumstances and irrational characters, as major films with continuity issues pull people out of the fantasy and back to their futon and leftover takeout.
Film continuity issues appear in movies of all genres; major motion pictures, Hollywood classics, and cult hits all run the risk of continuity problems. Once you notice these continuity mistakes in major films, you start to wonder what all the studio money goes towards.
The Wizard of Oz is one of the earliest examples of Technicolor in film, and also showcases one of the first continuity errors. When she first meets the Scarecrow, Dorothy has long pigtails that cover her chest, yet throughout their initial encounter, her pigtail length fluctuates, and her hair only comes to her shoulders at some points. Thank God the Scarecrow lacks a brain at this point, or else he'd see right through this misstep.
During a particularly tense moment in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the corrupted T-X shuts itself down, allowing Sarah and John Connor to escape in a plane. While grounded in the hanger, the code on the plane reads as N3035C; by the time they get airborne, it changes to N3973F. How can the machines expect to rise if they can't get their codes in order?
Though it's not known as a paragon of filmmaking, the original American Pie makes a pretty noticeable party foul in terms of continuity. At one point, Stifler takes a girl to the bedroom and offers her a beer in a clear plastic cup. As they flirt with each other, the girl lifts her cup just enough to reveal that it has inexplicably turned blue. By the next shot, it's back to the clear cup, but the mood is already ruined for more people than just Stifler.
It's A Wonderful Life never lets you forget you're watching a holiday movie, to the point that characters can produce Christmas regalia at the drop of a hat. Protagonist George Bailey enters an office with a wreath on his arm, and tosses it onto a desk to take a phone call. A few cuts later, and the wreath sits back on Bailey's arm. This is one of the film's less grandiose Christmas miracles.