American Gangster

Factual error: If you pay attention to the backgrounds of the scene where Frank is in the airport and when Frank is being arrested as he walks from the church, you can see two cars pass by which weren't produced until at least 2000.

Factual error: At the end of the film, the subtitles say that Frank was convicted and incarcerated from 1976 to 1991, which implies a continuous sentence. Lucas was actually paroled in 1981, and served a separate sentence for other drug-related offenses from 1984-91.

Cubs Fan

American Gangster mistake picture

Factual error: In a shot in Harlem, a Ford Econoline AVIS rental truck drives on the adjacent street. The specific Econoline van was at least a mid-90's to 2000+ model van and the movie takes place in the 70s.

Factual error: In the movie one of the members of the new drug squad has a Wu-Tang Clan Tattoo on his left shoulder. (He is played by RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan). The Wu-Tang Clan was not up and running until 1993.

Factual error: The money counter used by the gangsters has a green seven-segment LED display. Although green LEDs had just been invented in the 1970's, they where way too dim and expensive to be used in commercial applications and especially seven-segment displays back then.

Andreas Winnberg

American Gangster mistake picture

Factual error: The ambulance that the junkie cop leaps out of is a mid-1980s GMC (note the 4 square headlamps), though the film takes place in 1971. (00:35:55)


Continuity mistake: At the end, when the church doors open, the door on the right opens all the way in the first shot then begins to slowly close back. It is then wide open in the following shot from the other side.


Factual error: In one scene, Frank talks to his nephew about missing a meeting with Billy Martin and the New York Yankees. Martin didn't become the Yankees' manager until 1975, after this scene takes place.

Cubs Fan

Factual error: When Russell Crowe's character is standing by his car at the end, waiting to arrest Denzel, Denzel notices there are cop cars on either side of the block. When it goes to the shot of the cop cars on his right, a modern day sedan that is tan in color passes right by the cop cars. The problem is, this film is set in the 1970s. (02:32:15)


Continuity mistake: When Russell Crowe and the other cop are chasing a crook through a hotel room, Crowe gets pinched in a doorway by the crook with the door. The crook starts to bite Crowe's hand, so Crowe signals the other cop to smash the crook's head through the door with a mallet. When the cop does, he uses the handle end, and in the next shot, when he's pulling the mallet out back through the door, it's coming out with the hammer-head end first.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: This is incorrect. The mallet goes through the door handle first, then the door opens and we see the mallet end.

Factual error: When Frank goes in the Chinese place to get the car keys from his driver, he looks up the street and sees a car turning onto another street. The car looks to be a late 80s to early 90s SUV, probably a Dodge Durango, judging by the headlights and foglights.

Factual error: When a character is on a pay phone, in the background there is a sedan and two full-size vans that are from the 90s decade, not when the movie is set.

Continuity mistake: During the big drug bust, Russell Crowe pursues a suspect down a hallway and then down a fire escape. Along the way, he cocks the shotgun multiple times.

Continuity mistake: In the car-follow scene in which Russell Crowe yells at the cop driving their car to follow a car into NYC, in outside shots, the car they're in is a Cadillac. But in shots from the interior, the nameplate on the dashboard says it's a Ford Torino.

Factual error: The camera pans from the opening of the subway tunnel to Lucas' street corner, which is shown to be on the intersection of 116th Street and 8th Avenue (in green with white lettering). This is impossible, as the Manhattan Valley Viaduct, which carries the IRT Broadway-7th Avenue Line, spans from 122nd to 135th streets, and does not do so on 8th Avenue. While there is a subway line under 8th Avenue by 116th Street (IND 8th Avenue Line), it is all underground and no such opening exists. Also, the viaduct closes several blocks north of 116th street, therefore you should not see any tracks. The corner that you see is actually W 135th Street and Broadway, as the viaduct exists only on Broadway in Manhattan. Also, the signs are green with white lettering. This was not so in the 60s-70s, as in the entire borough of Manhattan during this period, street signs were yellow with black lettering.

American Gangster mistake picture

Factual error: At one point, Frank Lucas is speaking on a public telephone. Visible in the background is a poster with a web address on it (ends in .biz).

Factual error: The C-130 Herc transporting the dope makes a turn towards the camera. Clearly visible on the left of the screen is a C-17 Globemaster, which was not introduced until 14th July 1993 twenty years after the scene is set. (01:56:55)

Revealing mistake: When the C130 is taxing on the runway (just ahead of the police search of the plane) you can see a C-17 in the background. The C-17 only made its maiden flight in 1991.

American Gangster mistake picture

Factual error: As the camera is following behind the red Bronco, at the right side of the screen a modern, white NYPD Chevy Malibu is briefly seen. (01:01:40)


Continuity mistake: In the opening scene, just after the man is set afire he falls to the ground. Frank shoots him and while firing his weapon jams. A casing is stuck in the ejection port (called a stovepipe when it happens). After the round sticks he continues to pull the trigger and the weapon continues to fire.

Richie Roberts: This man murdered thousands, and he did it from a penthouse and driving a Lincoln.


More quotes from American Gangster

Trivia: Ruby Dee was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as Mama Lucas, even though she's only on screen for less than 10 minutes.

More trivia for American Gangster

Question: When Denzil and his new wife are traveling home from their wedding, they are stopped by the crooked SIU cops. When they get home, Denzil goes straight upstairs, gets the fur coat his wife bought him and throws it on the fire. Why did he do this? The look on his face suggests he is angry at his wife, but I can't figure out why.

Answer: The expensive and flashy fur coat (150,000 dollars) makes him extremely noticeable to police. Before the fight, he has been under the radar, but believes the gaudy clothes have given him away as a person with too much money, which gets the police to investigate him.

Answer: The other person who answered is correct but I want to add a little bit more detail. Earlier in the film, Frank chides his cousin at the club for wearing a flashy suit because he said it brings him too much attention. Frank's lapse in judgment in wearing the very expensive mink fur coat out in public as well as shaking hands with Muhammad Ali in front of everybody is ironic because his behavior contradicts what he told his cousin earlier. He is upset because he is now being forced to pay even more bribes, and he's probably upset with himself for not heeding his own advice on staying low key.

More questions & answers from American Gangster

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