Factual error: In the scene when Will is opening the drawer of films from the Leeds home, there is clearly a copy of Mrs. Doubtfire in the left column of tapes. How can that be? Red Dragon is clearly set "several years" after 1980, as the caption says, but before the 1991 Silence of the Lambs, but "Mrs. Doubtfire" came out in 1993.
Continuity mistake: When Emily Watson first strokes the tiger on the table her watch says 11:15, on the next stroke her watch says 11:20. Then the doctor hands her the stethoscope and her watch says 12:00.
Continuity mistake: When we first see Will Graham (Ed Norton) investigating the Jacobi household it is night time, yet once he is inside and heading up the stairs, the window behind him clearly shows dayight.
Continuity mistake: Before they reveal the face of the Red Dragon, they show him flipping through his book of newsclippings. He focuses on the face of the Tattler reporter and puts red markings through his face. When they show him closing the book, you can clearly see the face and the markings are noticeably different in the wide shot from the close up.
Other mistake: When Ralph Fiennes wakes up after sleeping with Emily Watson we see the elaborate tattoo work on his back. We also see the blue overspray from the outside of the stencils used to create the tattoo.
Continuity mistake: In the scene near the end where Graham and his son are trapped in the bedroom, the Red Dragon attempts to break down the door. After many forceful attempts, we see parts of the door jamb and moulding break-away and stick out from the wall. However, when Mrs. Graham enters the room after the shootout, the door jamb and moulding are in perfect condition.
Other mistake: When Dolarhyde is taking Reba to the zoo in his van, there is a shot of the road he is traveling on behind him. For the entire trip, he is driving on the wrong side of the road.
Continuity mistake: When Will Graham (Norton) and the other investigator are at that restaurant, there's a car (it looks like a police car) outside behind Will's head that appears and disappears once or twice during that scene.
Factual error: In the scene where Will Graham is flying from DC to Baltimore to return the note to Lecter's cell, we see a panoramic view of DC and the Potomac River. We see him fly over the FDR Monument (located on the Cherry Tree Walk on the Tidal Basin near the national mall). Although that area was authorized a Park on September 5, 1959, the monument itself wasn't constructed until 1990 and was dedicated on May 2, 1997. It wouldn't have been there for him to fly over.
Continuity mistake: When the janitor goes back to mopping after returning the letter written to Hannibal to his cell, he stuffs the rubber glove into his back pocket. When it is first shown, there is one finger sticking out, but when Hannibal notices it, there are two.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where Norton's wife is target shooting with the revolver, there aren't any bullet heads showing in the cylinder. There's also no recoil as she fires.
Continuity mistake: In the scene when Emily Watson is petting the tiger, her hair alternates with the two shots: first it's tucked behind her ears, then it's not. It goes back and forth about 5 times.
Factual error: When the FBI scrambles the helicopter to return the letter to Lecter's cell in Balimore, the camera pans across a scenic view of Washington. You see the famous sites - the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in the bottom right of the screen. Trouble is the Museum opened in 1993 and the movie is set before 1991.
Visible crew/equipment: When we first see the "Tooth Fairy" he is lifting weights in a room full of mirrors. If you look close, you can see one or more crew members reflected in some of the mirrors. The most obvious is a man standing, whom I am guessing to be the director or a grip.
Audio problem: When Ralph Fiennes is in the Brooklyn museum, and hits the woman showing him the painting, over the head, you hear the sound before he actually hits her.
Other mistake: Looking at a close-up of Ralph Fiennes make-up for his cleft lip/palate, there is a scar from his left lip to his left nostril, but there is a gap in the middle, which should definitely not be there. Once an incision is made, that's it, there is no reason to stop in the middle. In other shots of his face there are no gaps.
Factual error: When Will sees the bedroom covered in blood, the blood appears bright and fresh, despite the fact it had been sitting for several days and should have looked dark and coagulated.
Continuity mistake: At the end, Chilton tells Hannibal there's a young FBI agent here to speak to him. He asks what her name is and the film ends. Assuming it's Clarice from "Silence of the Lambs," Lecter doesn't have the same drawings on the wall as he does in "Lambs" when she first visits him.
Character mistake: During the opening credits, one of the newspaper headlines reads "FBI Agent in Extremely Critical Condition". The story under the headline says that "local police found Dr. Hannibal Lecter fatally wounded in his Chandler Square residence", and that "the call was made by Special Agent Will Graham of the FBI". Neither was true since Lecter lived and Graham went unconscious after the stabbing.
Continuity mistake: When Graham and Hannibal are talking for the first time, Hannibal walks right up to the glass wall and there is a close up of his face from Grahams side of the glass. You can see that there is no reflection of Graham on it, thus meaning that there is no glass wall there in between Hannibal and Graham. This happens frequently through out the movie.
Other mistake: When Graham is about to pull out the top video case shelf at the Leeds' home, you can see the movie "Jaws" on the second shelf. "Jaws" didn't come out on home video until 1991.
Visible crew/equipment: When Dolarhyde wakes up after the night spent with Emily Watson he notices she is gone. He runs naked all over the house looking for her. At the moment the camera turns from right to left to follow him when he runs towards the stairs to go up there is something (a piece of equipment or a hand) visible on the left side of the screen.
Factual error: The dates of the two murders do not match any year of the 1980s. 25th of February occured on Saturday in 1984 and 1989, but the moon was not full on that particular day in 84 or 89.
Continuity mistake: Anthony Hopkins starts the film with a conservative mid-Atlantic accent that requires no heavy acting. When he is talking to Will Graham in the cell phone, he changes to a ridiculously broad Georgia drawl, even when he isn't doing "funny voices." How he manages to fit either of these in as a Lithuanian of Italian descent is anyone's guess.