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Stripes (1981) Poster

(1981)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The manual for the EM-50 that Harold Ramis' character is reading in the hangar states the manual is from the War Department instead of saying Department of Defense. The Department of War existed from 1789 - 1947.
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Soviet officer is wearing a uniform from the late-1940s.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Winger's platoon arrives at the graduation, the music has stopped, yet the band conductor's baton continues to move for several seconds.
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In the end scene at the airfield, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis' characters (and others) are welcomed as heroes. Ramis's character is speaking to reporters but what he's saying doesn't match up to his lips talking.
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Boom mic visible 

In the barracks, the first time Sgt. Hulka meets with his troops.
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Character error 

When Sgt. Hulka first meets Capt. Stillman, at first Hulka fails to salute the officer. Then after the glare given by Stillman, Hulka raises and lowers his salute without waiting for Stillman's salute. The correct custom and courtesy on saluting is that the enlisted or lower officer rank raises their salute and holds it until the higher rank acknowledges it, usually by returning it but can be done by a simple nod of the head. Then the junior rank may lower theirs.
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Prior to the first run, Sergeant Hulka tells the men that the run will be 10 miles rain or shine. The next morning Hulka tells the men the run will be 5 miles.
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When Sgt Hulka calls on the radio from Czechoslovakia, he sends the co-ordinates as "416 397". Without specifying a grid zone designator and a 100 km square identifier, nobody would have any idea which area his location would be in. A simple six figured grid reference could be in any 100 km square area. Russell would not have been able to recognize it as in Czechoslovakia.
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New recruits are told at the military processing center that they will submit to a urine drug screen upon arrival at boot camp, therefore Judge Rheinhold's character trying to hide his drugs is pointless.
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When Russell and Louise are in the General's living room about to play their charade, they move table with a chess set on it that is incorrectly set up. The rule in chess is "Queen on her color, white to the right," yet we can clearly see one of the rooks on a black square at what should be position H1, or the lower right square, which should be white (King's rook for white player), just like position A8 should always be white (Queen's rook for black player). The board was incorrectly rotated one quarter of a turn.
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Continuity 

when Ziskey attacks Winger, before they are picked up by the MPs Winger's duffel bag moves from left of his head, to being right under his head.
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When Winger is going AWOL, his backpack keeps appearing and disappearing during the scene when he is laying on the ground.
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When Ox gets his hair cut at the beginning of basic training, he is shaved nearly bald. When he talks about why he joined the Army, presumably at the end of the same day, his hair looks as if it has grown out for at least two weeks.
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When Winger's girlfriend leaves him, she puts her left boot on twice.
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In the bus station scene Sean Young's character is an E5 with a stripe on her rank insignia, when she is at the graduation scene she is an E4, no stripe.
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When the platoon is performing their impromptu drill in front of the General, some camera shots reveal an overcast day with no shadows while others show sunny, bright weather.
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The money on John's chest after the pushups.
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In the strip club, one of the female mud wrestlers that Ox is fighting has her hair down and in the next scene her hair is up.
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On the second day of boot camp at reveille and the bugler is playing, the sun is coming up with a few sparse clouds. In the next shot inside the barracks, when Sgt. Hulka wakes up the recruits with the garbage can routine, it is daylight and raining outside (the rain can be seen against the barrack windows).
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P.J. Soles (Stella) begins the movie as a brunette (helping soldiers make it to the bus, driving Murray and Ramis back to barracks after they fight in the tank yard) but becomes a blonde after the mud wrestling arrest (at the general's house getting pancake treatment).
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(Extended version). When part of Winger's company is in Lt. Stillman's office, Stillman says they have three days before graduation and that "they won't make it." Yet, later that night on liberty, they go to the mud wrestling event, and after the MPs arrive and take them back to base and Stillman is lecturing them, Stillman says that graduation is "tomorrow."
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In their room in Germany (extended cut scene), Stella takes off one leg-warmer. Then she and John are horsing around and the leg-warmer switches legs in subsequent shots.
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Stella and John pop out of the wood foot locker supposedly in Gen Barnicke's house. An extended cut scene reveals that this scene was actually at their hotel room in Germany as evidenced by the fireplace in the room and John's green Hawaiian shirt.
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In the lifted cut scene where John and Stella are having sex in the General's bedroom, which was originally intended as a scene in their hotel room in Germany, you can see a room service food tray in the background with glasses and dishes obviously having been used. An unlikely item in the General's bedroom.
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John loses his stocking cap reaching into his car while it is getting repossessed. He has it again as he is walking into the apartment with the pizza and his girlfriend's dress.
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John's taxi suddenly gains and loses a dent.
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Position of John's pack and cap when he's stopped from going AWOL by Russell.
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When the EM-50 is driving up to the resort to pick up their MP girlfriends, the drivers arm is visible wearing a checked shirt. When Russell and Winger get out both are wearing jackets with no checkered shirts.
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When they first arrive in Italy, in the background you can see Ox telling Cruiser to get down off the top bunk, because the "Guy on the top bunk, has to make the bottom guy's bunk for him". Then it's repeated when the camera changes to a close up of Ox and Cruiser.
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When the mortar shell is fired and ends up knocking down the tower that Sgt. Hulka is standing in after climbing the rope, it sounds like a large artillery shell. The other mortars that had just been fired did not sound like that.
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The white van behind John's taxi disappears when an aerial view of the taxi is shown.
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In the scene where the recruits are being measured for their uniforms and Winger apologizes to Sgt Hulka for his earlier wisecrack, the unit crests on the epaulets of Sgt Hulka's field jacket disappear and reappear depending on the camera angle.
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When John, Russell and the MPs hear the distress call in West Germany, the grass is green and trees have leaves. When they cross into Czech territory, the foliage is gone as if it suddenly became winter.
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During Sargent Hulka's return speech in the troops' room in Germany the position of a background soldiers tie changes from untidy to perfect presentation between shots.
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While John and Russell are talking after the basketball goes through the window, when John picks up the pipe wrench, the glass changes from about ½ missing to mostly gone.
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Louise's rank changes from Specialist 5 (Specialist insignia with one stripe above; pay grade E5) at the bus station to that of Specialist 4 (Specialist insignia with no stripe; pay grade E4) during the rest of the movie.
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Right after the EM-50 is driven into the Czech camp, the enemy officer is seen walking around the back of the vehicle twice.
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Army training, as depicted in the movie, takes nine weeks or so. In one of the first training days the group goes through, the viewing audience can see it is late fall or sometime in winter because light snow is falling and leaves are turning color and many are already on the ground. In just a few short scenes later (which would be no more than a few weeks later in the movie time-frame), Bill Murray's character is attempting to go AWOL alone and the audience can hear crickets chirping in the background, indicating it is summer.
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When the recruits are telling their personal stories, Sgt. Hulka has his clipboard in his left hand. When he stands up, the clipboard is in his right hand.
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When Sgt Hulka asks the platoon to introduce themselves, a cigarette appears and then is missing behind the black guys right ear.
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Crew or equipment visible 

During the rescue toward the end of the movie, when a rocket is fired from the Urban Assault Vehicle toward a guard tower, a crew member is clearly visible crouching at the left of the scene attempting to conceal himself behind part of a building.
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When Winger and Russell are on guard duty for the EM-50, the camera crew are reflected in the EM-50's paint between their heads.
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The crew's moving feet are reflected in the side of the Urban Assault Vehicle while John and Russell discuss stealing it.
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In the training shots, where all the soldiers are covered in mud and running through the field with the music playing, in the wide-screen version, the camera crew is visible on the right for a few seconds.
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After the platoon arrives in Italy, stage lights can be seen in the barrack window's reflection.
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When Winger is driving the EM-50 through the checkpoint into the Czech base for the rescue mission a camera/lighting crane can be seen reflected in the front windshield.
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Errors in geography 

Traveling north from Italy to Germany, as Winger and Ziskey went with the RV to see their girlfriends, and their squad traveled in pursuit, one would have to take a RIGHT into the Czech Republic, and a LEFT into Germany, not a left into the Czech Republic and a right into Germany as the roadsigns falsely indicated.
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(at around 18 mins) The 1975 BMW 530i is a US version. You can tell by the big 5 mph crash bumpers and fake plate just resting on the real plate to hide it. It would not be in Germany, a German model would.
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Colonel Glass says he will transfer Capt. Stillman to a weather station above the arctic circle if he screws up again. In the end scene, We see it did indeed happen to him. The newspaper says "Nome News." Nome, Alaska is well below the arctic circle and has much milder winters than the interior of the state. Also, There is no Army or military presence in the city. All the Army installations are in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
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In the "rude cab fare" scene, a significant portion shows the river located on the drivers side. but then he turns right to cross the bridge, making them travelling in the opposite direction.
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Factual errors 

While Ox and several other characters got true boot camp haircuts, taken down to the barest of stubble, Winger, Zisky, Elmo and Psycho among others have haircuts that are too long to be the norm at the start of boot camp.
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During basic training civilian clothes are locked up in a storage room therefore none of the troops would have access to them.
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Some of the Soviet soldiers are armed with Israeli-made Uzi's with wooden stocks.
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Neither John nor Russell have their hair cut short enough for Army recruits.
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Even at the time this movie was made, there were weight restrictions on joining the army. The maximum body fat percentage allowed was 28% before joining boot camp, and anything over 33% the military considers "obese". Thus, there is no way that Ox would have been allowed to enlist, mostly for his own safety and health, as overweight/obese recruits would end up being processed out early for not being able to take the rigors of basic training.
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Basic training platoons are assigned either two or three drill instructors. An injury to one would not cause the platoon to finish training on their own.
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Every soldier present at the graduation ceremony in a dress uniform is wearing the National Defense Service Medal, awarded to all military personnel who serve during a period where the U.S. is in conflict with another nation; except Captain Stillman. He should have the ribbon for this medal among his awards and he doesn't.
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During the graduation review, one of the soldiers is carrying an American flag with gold fringe. American flags with such decorative fringe are meant to be used only indoors; such a flag would never be used in any type of outdoor ceremony.
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In Capt Stillman's office, he pulls the pin out of a grenade and hands it to the corporal. The grenade was blue, indicating that it was dummy ammo, which would not have exploded. Live high explosive grenades are dark green with yellow lettering.
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During the airfield scene at the end of the picture, the men are performing manual of arms with magazines in their M16A1 rifles.
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Although almost every scene in this movie is meant to be tongue-in-cheek humor about the army, however, there is no way that any army platoon, if the leader or drill sergeant is taken out sick or otherwise injured as with Sgt. Hulka, would be allowed to "finish basic training on their own," as remarked by General Barnicke at the pass in review (drill show). In such a case a replacement drill sergeant would have been assigned to the platoon immediately.
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Capt. Stillman is seen visiting the Mortar Range. While visiting the Range he orders two soldiers to fire their weapon even though it has not been set up properly. These two soldiers should have immediately disobeyed that order for safety reasons. But the two soldiers obeyed the order allowing the Mortar Round to fly blindly and injuring Sgt Hulka. In actuality Capt. Stillman would not be allowed on the Mortar Range if his Company is not scheduled to be there. He would either be accompanying his men or he would be in his office.
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The first scene at Fort Arnold shows soldiers marching in the area of the barracks, while tanks drive up and down the streets between the buildings. Tanks do not drive on main post at Army installations. They are either in the motor pool or on dirt roads that lead out to tank firing ranges or areas used for maneuver practice.
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Soldiers are seen at times wearing their utility caps, pile caps, garrison caps, and service hats indoors and not wearing them outdoors. In the Army headgear is worn whenever outdoors, but not indoors unless the soldier is "under arms". That is, carrying a firearm.
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The M561 Gamma Goat vehicle that Bill Murray drives disguised as a Czech soldier only operated by US forces.
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The newspaper "local" Czechoslovak newspaper they show at the end of the movie is using the Russian alphabet (Cyrillic). The languages of Czech and Slovak that make up the former Czechslovakia use Roman character like all of the rest of western Europe. There are accents on vowels and consonants but the alphabet is Roman.
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When Russell points to his medal and says "meritorious service" the medal appears to be a cross. The American medal for "meritorious service" is round with an eagle on it, the medal they are wearing looks British or Canadian. The medal is actually the US Army Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor for acts of extreme valor.
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Sgt. Hulka and others wear the unit patch they served with on the right arm but have no overseas bars (hash marks) on their dress uniforms.
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When Capt Stilwell pulls the pin on the grenade, he could easily have reinserted the original pin, or a paper clip, or use cellophane tape to secure the spoon to the grenade body. Also, the grenade was obviously a blue (with white markings) G918 practice grenade body M69 which would have a hole in the bottom (unlike a fragmentation grenade which would be olive drab with yellow markings). The grenade spoon, if seen more clearly, would have been blue with a white tip G870 (indicating low explosive practice, vs. an olive drab spoon with yellow tip indicating a high explosive fuse).
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Col. Glass has two ribbons reversed. The Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation should be ahead of the Republic of Vietnam Nam Presidential Unit Citation.
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MGen. Barnicke does not have the required 60- device on his Republic of Vietnam Campaign ribbon.
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Miscellaneous 

The water tower seen in the Fort Knox settings can also be seen when the setting changes to the Czech fort.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When John is taking the woman to the airport, he ends up heading north across the 2nd Street bridge into Indiana from Louisville. The airport is actually south of downtown Louisville. However, although many of the vehicles in the city scenes have markings or signs indicating the filming was done in the Louisville area, nothing in the dialogue specifies that the setting is Louisville or any other specific city.
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Revealing mistakes 

There is a scene where Cpt. Stillman (John Larroquette) pulls the pin out of a live grenade out of frustration that there was "no action". However, if you look closely at the grenade, it is painted blue. In the military, blue is the code color for "Inert" or disabled. This is to make sure that live explosives or weapons are not used in training sessions for obvious reasons.
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When the door is exploded, the explosion and smoke happens, but the unexploded "plastic explosive" is still visible afterwards.
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When the men assemble on the parade ground for their impromptu performance at graduation, a yellow hash mark is visible on the ground that tells them where to turn right as they double-time into position.
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During the escape, Ox knocks over a rusty barrel, and reveals a shiny, spotless interior.
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The Sergeant states that basic training will start at 0500 (5am). In the next shot we see the dawn breaking. Since the movie takes place in fall/winter, there would be no sunrise until after 7am.
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The weight of the duffel bag Bill Murray was carrying on his back while marching presumably to their assigned barracks. Initial issues of military uniforms and accessories will weigh a lot heavier than what they were carrying.
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During the battle scene, the RV is shot by a cannon on a roof top, you can see the gunner moving the trigger after the shot, and there was no recoil.
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See also

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

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