Factual error: Tom Hanks is driving his car over a bridge in downtown Chicago in 1931. In the background is the elevated train structure. An aluminum bodied train passes on the trestel in the background. This aluminum bodied train is of 1980's contruction. In the 1930's the train cars were of wood construction and painted brown. I remember riding them for they were still in service in the 1950's.
Revealing mistake: At the end when Sullivan is shot in the back while looking out the window, you can see blood come through the front of his shirt, meaning the bullets must have exited his body, yet the window he is standing in front of isn't shattered by the bullets that had passed through him. Also, immediately after this when Jude Law sets up his camera to take photos of Tom Hanks dying, the blood all over the glass is completely gone. The window is clean.
Continuity mistake: In the end of the diner scene Jude Law fires after the car with Sullivan and his son. A bullet goes through the rear window but not through the windshield. We see the bullet path go by Tom Hanks' head. Regardless, there's no bullet hole anywhere in the car afterwards.
Continuity mistake: When the young Sullivan boy goes to get Rooney's over coat, he walks into the room where the coat is and there is a man laying on the couch, if you notice when the man starts talking to the boy, his cigarette is almost gone, and in the next few seconds it flashes to the man again and he has a cigarette that is almost full.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Tom Hanks is battling Jude Law in the hotel room, just before you see Hanks shoot the glass vase that shatters in Law's face, there is a shot of Tom Hanks jumping out behind the chest to get the final round off. Unfortunately, Tom Hanks's 1911 is empty in that shot - you can see the slide locked back.
Revealing mistake: Towards the end of the scene where Connor shoots the wife and younger brother, he looks at his reflection in the glass at the front door. In the shot of Connor walking through that door onto the porch outside, you can see the icicles hanging from the gutter over the porch actually swinging.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Paul Newman's character hands Michael, Jr. a silver dollar, the first camera angle (from Michael's perspective) shows the "heads" side presented toward the kid. The next angle (from the opposite point of view) also shows the dollar with the "heads" side toward the camera, which means the "tails" side (an eagle) is what the kid should have seen.
Audio problem: In the scene where Michael Sullivan robs his first bank before the montage and is in the manager's office, Michael offers him a little present. Sullivan says, "Call it a handling charge," and the camera is focused on the manager, but the words aren't matching what Michael Sullivan is mouthing.
Continuity mistake: Look carefully at the Lone Ranger book that Michael Jr. is reading at two points in the movie (once when he's reading in his bed as he and his brother are talking about their dad, and again in the car after his mother and brother are killed.) The picture and caption under it are identical, but the text on the facing page is different each time.
Factual error: When Tom Hanks first drives into Chicago among all the 1931 era cars, a giant, modern, swing-arm, stationary crane is reflected in his car window. Also, The reflection of the Sears (Willis) Tower is seen in the car window as they drive along during this same moment, which wasn't started until 1970.
Revealing mistake: Half the time the Colt 1911s in this movie are fake. In the scene where Tom Hanks is killing all the mobsters in the rain and it's in slow motion, if you watch all the guys with 1911s firing, there are muzzle flashes, but no slide movement and all the hammers are decocked. You can also see this in the scene where Hanks kills Paul Newman's son. It's interesting though, because the muzzle flashes aren't added in later - if you watch the making of it on the DVD, you can see Tom Hanks firing one of the guns - they're basically shooting smoke and a reddish, somewhat fire-crackery looking red flame.
Revealing mistake: When Peter and his mother are being shot, note that Mike Jr., standing outside the house, hears the sound of the shots just before seeing the flashes. The slight delay between the flash and sound is probably pretty close, but he should have seen the flash before hearing the sound of the shots.
Factual error: In the scene where Michael is going to get John Rooney's jacket, we are introduced to the character Conner Rooney. Notice that Conner is smoking a filtered cigarette. The movie takes place during 1931, but filtered cigarettes were not introduced into the market until 1936.
Factual error: Some of the movie was filmed in the Conrad Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago. Only in 1931 this hotel was named "the Stevens". Conrad Hilton purchased this hotel in the 1950's. Look closely and you can read the name "Conrad Hilton" written in script lettering. The lettering is out of focus on the wall in the background so you have to know what to look for.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Michael Jr. is riding home on his bicycle (before his mother and brother get shot) he drops his bike and runs to the house. A few minutes later when Tom Hanks is driving off with Michael Jr., it shows his bike. The bike has snow covered on it, but it is not snowing, the snow has stopped.
Factual error: Tom Hanks with his son pulls into the small town, parks diagonally at the curb, tells his son to stay in the car and honk if he sees trouble. He walks to a building, the curb of which at the corner is shallowed to street level for handicap access. Handicap curbs are a modern development, certainly not around in the 1930s.
Continuity mistake: When Michael Jr. is doing his math homework, he holds his pen between his forefinger and middle-finger. In the next camera view, the pen is between his middle-finger and ring-finger. The books are also in different positions. When camera switches back to the first view, everything is as at the beginning again.
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