- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2008

You know it’s still wintertime when a movie like “10,000 BC” becomes a hit. As critic Christian Toto noted in his review of the film for this paper, it’s rife with silly historical anachronisms, such as people speaking English and shiny white teeth that could not have existed in the years, er, before Crest. Let’s not come down too hard on “BC,” though. There are at least 10,000 other examples of historical goofs on the silver screen.

Pearl Harbor — Much else besides inaccuracy befell this soapy 2001 historical romance, but the least forgivable blooper was the scene in which one can glimpse the USS Arizona Memorial.

Ben-Hur— Someone affixes a Star of David symbol to Ben-Hur’s belt before the big chariot race. Whoops: The star didn’t become a common Jewish insignia for many hundreds of years.

Gladiator— A man orders a firing squad equipped with bows and arrows to “Fire” at the target. No one ever yelled “fire” before the invention of, you know, firearms.

Far and Away— Most of the derision that greeted this 1992 movie starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman stemmed from the actors’ bad Irish accents. However, astute anachronism detectors also noticed the appearance of American flags with all 50 stars, which, for a movie set in the late-19th century, jumps the gun by several states (six, for those counting).

Back to the Future II— Remember that anachronisms work forward as well as in reverse. Case in point: the idea that in 2015 we’ll still care about the fax machine.

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