Factual error: In the opening scene that shows San Francisco scenery there is a shot of a large TV tower called Sutro Tower. The film takes place in 1960 and Sutro Tower wasn't built until 1973.
Continuity mistake: In the scene where Frank Morris arrives at Alcatraz, he has to take all his clothes off for a routine check. When the guards escort him to his cell you can see him wearing a pair of white boxers, but in the next scene (still walking) he is naked again and when placed into his cell you can see him wearing a pair of pants.
Factual error: The movie is supposed to take place in 1960, but the oscilloscope on the metal detector outside the wood shop is a new 1979 model, the year the movie was made.
Revealing mistake: At the start of the movie it's night and raining, but you do not see any drops of water hitting a surface anywhere although/but things appear to be wet.
Revealing mistake: Frank is put in Block-D. Then one guard comes and slides open the door, and light pours onto Frank (who is curled up in the corner). It goes to a shot of the guard standing behind the bars, which he has not yet slid open. But in the previous shot when the light was on Frank, there were no shadows cast from the bars - there should have been. (00:31:55)
Factual error: Guards are shown dressed with dark ties. In actuality, they all wore red ties.
Character mistake: In the scene where the warden gives Frank the rules of Alcatraz. The warden states that prisoners do not get to see newspapers or magazines. Later when Frank distributes reading material from the Library to D block, he offers the prisoners books or magazines. One prisoner is seen taking a magazine to read.
Deliberate mistake: When the inmates first leave their cells we see at least 2 that have white or light colored shirts on instead of prison blue.
Continuity mistake: When Clint and some other prisoners are showering, one of the prisoners approaches Clint, who quickly gives him three punches in the stomach and shoves a bar of soap into his mouth. The soap falls out of his mouth before he falls to the ground, but once on the ground, he has the soap in his mouth again.
Other mistake: In the scene where Frank Morris first starts to dig using the nail clipper, he stands up in his cell, turns off the light then bends down to start digging, however the only light coming into the cell would be on his right, but the shadows from his head and bars appear to be from a light directly behind him.