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In the 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, there is a scene where Caesar escapes from the house, attacks the neighbor, and during that attack he bites the man's finger.

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During that sequence, we can clearly see that he does not lose his finger, but it is bloody.

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Was this a mistake in the film?

Every time I watch this film, and that scene comes up, it seems to me that Caesar bites off the mans finger. But in the next shot, he has his finger back.

Later in the film people are discussing if it's safe to continue to have Caesar in the house, and one person mentions the attack. If I remember correctly, it's stated that the neighbor lost his finger.

It seems like an important plot point, because the neighbor mentions that he's a pilot. So loosing a finger would be kind of a big deal for him.

What is the correct result of Caesar's attack? Or was there some kind of last minute change in the editing room to keep the finger.

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The neighbor was shouting and pointing his finger towards the old man and that's what infuriated Caesar. He hated that gesture. Sometimes it happens with humans too and it makes us want to catch that finger and twist it hard. (But we don't do that :)) It's a natural emotion that comes to our mind, sometimes.

My opinion is that Caesar did not want to bite it off, he just wanted to bite hard on that finger. Hard enough to cause bleeding.

One more possibility is that in his anger, he closed his jaws on the finger but when the man started crying in pain he may have controlled himself and let him go.

About losing the finger - losing the finger doesn't necessarily mean getting it bitten off. Maybe Caesar chewed it in a manner that it was badly damaged and may be the doctors advice to cut it off later.

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    +1 thanks, for noticing that the neighbor was pointing towards the old guy. Next time I watch I'll keep an eye out for that.
    – Reactgular
    Feb 2 '13 at 18:32
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Yes, he was supposed to lose it. From the script:

Then he grabs one of Hunsiker's hands and BITES OFF THE "JABBING" POINTER FINGER.

It then goes into detail about how much blood is left on Caesar chin and the guys hand.

Later, a character explicitly says it was bitten off:

JACOBS: Aside from biting off a man's finger.
WILL: He was protecting my father. The same way his mother was protecting him.

The final copy doesn't stick to the script. There is no mention of the finger in the subtitles or transcript. And the visuals are more subtle. This would mean one of two things. 1. They decided to not show as much gore before filming. 2. It was changed in post or re-shoots. Both likely for ratings purposes. Showing a violent attack like that with too much blood or bone would cause it to be bumped to an R rating.

The picture you post, with an already CG Caesar also seems to have the finger in question as highly fake looking. It's not just makeup, I think they added the finger back in with CG after originally using practical effects to hide it (green screen paint).

Aside from that, in universe, look at the finger. It's clearly bitten on the middle of the third phalanges. Not at the joint. I don't think even Caesar is capable of biting through bone.

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In the short scene after the credits we see the same neighbor wearing a pilot suit and taking the taxi to the airport where we are shown his nose is bleeding. He is most probably the patient zero who spread the virus to the world. You can see clearly when he's giving his suitcase to the taxi driver that he has his finger wrapped in bandage. It's obvious that his finger was just bitten.

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