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A Time to Kill (1996) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Character error (2)  | Continuity (12)  | Errors in geography (1)  | Factual errors (2)  | Miscellaneous (1)  | Plot holes (3)  | Revealing mistakes (4)  | Spoilers (2)

Character error 

When Rufus Buckley examines Deputy Looney in court, he addresses him as "Detective" instead of "Deputy".
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The Klan leader tells Freddie Lee Cobb that if he brings five friends who share similar ideals, they can all be part of the Klan. However, during their introduction to the group, Cobb only brings three guys.
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Continuity 

When Jake (McConaughey) finds the bomb in the briefcase, he pulls the clock timer off and throws it. Then it explodes. But when the shot goes back to the briefcase, the dynamite is still there.
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When the Klansman rolls around, trying to put out the fire, the daytime shot suddenly switches to night.
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As the verdict is announced, the nurse in Roark's room sees a shot of Jake, Lucien and Harry Rex on TV. This event is outside the courthouse and doesn't occur in the movie for another full minute.
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At the diner, Ellen's bra strap is showing in a close-up, but it's under her shirt in the wide shot.
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When a fight breaks out in front of the courthouse, an aerial shot shows Ozzie and the officers running to the street. In the next shot, they are running full speed down the sidewalk.
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Lucien enters the courtroom while Jake is giving his final summation. He stands at the back, disappears, then returns at the end of the summation.
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When Rufus Buckley is shown from afar, just before questioning Cora Mae Cobb, she is not on the stand. In the next shot, she is on the stand.
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Early in the film, Carla is doing something on the floor (painting?) and is shiny with sweat. Her face is absolutely dry when she gets up, but her body and neck are shiny.
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During the picnic at the end of the movie, a black youth with a dark scarf on his head stands in the yard. In the next aerial shot of the picnic, the same youth is coming down the front porch steps.
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While Carl Lee is being exam'd & cross exam'd, the reflection of the sun off of people's sweaty heads changes 180-degrees between (most) close-ups of the jury Vs. the rest of the courtroom.
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When Jake goes to the judge's house to discuss "Change of Venue" before the trial; the shadows on the brick wall behind the judge change 3 times in only two(?) minutes.
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During the sniper shooting on the courthouse steps: Ellen (Bullock's character) switches from one side of the steps to the other between shots after she has first turned around to get back into the building.
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Errors in geography 

At the airport, when Jake sends his family away, a UPS plane can be seen in the background. At that airport, the cargo terminals are south of the passenger terminals, and cannot be seen from the north side of the terminal (where the outside scene was set).
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Factual errors 

The movie shows Carl Lee being found not guilty by reason of insanity and ends with him fully free and able to attend the same event as Jake. That is not how that law actually would be carried out. While Carl Lee wouldn't face jail time, he would certainly face either a term of commitment at a mental facility or supervised probation, and would not be able to resume a normal life as quickly as is shown here.
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Keifer Sutherland attempts to shoot a lawyer as he leaves the court house. He shoots from the left of the entrance and hits a guard on the left side of his neck. It should have been on his right side.
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Miscellaneous 

Sandra Bullock's character state that she hasn't worn underwear for years but when the klan strip her she has underwear on.
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Plot holes 

When Ellen and Jake officially meet for the first time outside of Jake's office building, Jake asks Ellen what brings her to Canton. Ellen replies that it was Carl Lee Hailey that brought her to town. But in fact Ellen came to town for the arraignment of the rapist Billy Ray Cobb and James Louis Willard, before she would have known who Carl Lee Hailey was.
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It is outrageous to think in a case as volatile as this, after people have been beaten, kidnapped, assaulted, shot by a sniper, & even had their home burned to the ground; after all these things had occurred, there would not be one single officer or bodyguard assigned to protect members of the defense team. However, that is exactly what is shown. This is a huge plot hole.
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If Jake is having trouble paying rent in the office with his practice and is having trouble paying his secretary, where is the money coming from to remodel his house?
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Revealing mistakes 

When Jake calls Max after the fire, Max tries to run past him, apparently toward the off-screen dog wrangler.
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When Rufus and his team dramatically enter the courtroom, the inner doors fly open as if they're walking at speed into the room. But the outer doors just behind them are fully closed, indicating they were waiting in that chamber for the "action" cue.
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At the end the little girl says innocent twice not guilty.
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After the Klan hang Roark to the tree, Cobb takes off his white mask and speaks to her. He leaves the scene without picking it back up.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

At the end of the movie, when the doors to the courthouse open, a child runs out and first announces "Guilty", before screaming over and over "He's innocent!"
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Factual errors 

Carl Lee is found not guilty but the child yells "he's innocent, legally, there's a difference between being innocent and being not guilty.
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See also

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

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