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Sunset Boulevard (1950) Poster

Goofs

Character error 

When Norma is holding the screenplay being written by Joe and Betty, their names are joined by the word 'and'. This would mean that Joe (who is listed first) had written the entire screenplay, sold it to a studio, only to have Betty revise/rewrite the script. Since the two characters were working together, their names should have been joined with an ampersand ('&').

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Max is telling Joe about directing Madam's first pictures, there is a bad dub of the word "sixteen". After the Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle trial and the subsequent establishment of the Hays Office to enforce the new Production Code, the producers were concerned that the original age of 14 would be considered child porn and had the line changed in post.
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At the New Year's Eve party (at Norma's house), we hear someone plucking a violin, but when we look at the orchestra, they are all playing with their bows.
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Character error 

Wallace Reid died in 1923, three years before Paramount's Marathon Street studio opened, thus he could not have had a bungalow on wheels on the lot as Max had pointed out (unless of course, he was pointing towards Sunset and Vine where Paramount had its lot at the time of Reid's death).
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Norma tells Joe how Mabel Normand was a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty with her in the old days, but Mabel was never in that group, having left Keystone for Goldwyn by the time they became a film staple.
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Norma tells Joe that she's bought a "revolver," but the gun is not a revolver.
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When Joe is sneaking out to work at the studio with Betty, he pulled the Isotta Fraschini out of the garage forward. When he came back, he also pulled it in the garage forward leaving proof that he was taking the car.
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When beauty experts give Norma facials and other beauty treatments, she is still wearing wearing makeup and false eyelashes, which would always be removed prior to normal skin care treatments.
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During the bridge game, the opening lead has been made out of turn. Norma declared the 3 No Trump contract, so the opening lead should have been made by the player to her left. However, as her partner (the dummy) is laying his cards on the table, the card led is clearly in front of the player to Norma's right.
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Continuity 

When Joe is initially examining the scripts, Norma is shown with a very short cigarette butt. The camera pans to Joe and then back to Norma, whose cigarette is now (seconds later) significantly longer.
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After Joe takes a dip in the pool while Norma sits sunning herself, he gets out of the pool and dries his face and chest completely. In the next shot, he is dripping water from the face and chest.
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When Norma and Joe are being driven to Paramount, Norma raises her left hand to the left side of her face as Max adjusts the rear view mirror. After the cut, Norma's reflection in the mirror shows her hand immediately relocated to the right side of her face.
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When Joe Gillis is first reading Norma's script at her house, she tosses him a bundle of pages to read. The sheets in this bundle are all askew, but the bundle he catches is neat and aligned.
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While Betty stares at Joe and Joe asks "What's matter?" we can't see a pen in his hand (at least the pen is not in a perpendicular position) and we can't see a cigarette box in his shirt pocket. But next transition scene there is a pen in his hand (in a perpendicular position) and there is a cigarette box in his pocket.
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The morning Joe Gillis wakes up after his first night in Norma Desmond's house, he sees all his belongings in his room over the garage. Angry, he puts on his jacket over his shirt and leaves the room. In the next shot, when he is walking down the stairs, his shirt is inside his trousers.
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When the gate guards begin to open the gate, it divides into three sections, but when the angle changes the gate is opening in only two sections.
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Crew or equipment visible 

The shadow of a camera as it moves in on Norma's bed is visible on Joe's back.
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When Joe Gillis gets out of the pool and Norma offers to dry him off, several crewmembers as well as lighting, microphones, and other equipment, are reflected in Norma's large, dark sunglasses.
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When Joe enters his bedroom and turns on the light, a crewmember's arm (with wristwatch) is visible in the mirror next to the door.
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Revealing mistakes 

As the policemen run towards the pool, you can see the dead man's head lift up out of the water.
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When Norma's car is pulling up to Studio 18, you can see that the driver is clearly not Max as Erich von Stroheim did not drive. Furthermore, the uniforms are quite different.
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When Joe returns to the mansion after having been in the rain in a vicuna coat twice, the coat shows no signs of being wet.
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When Norma Desmond drives through the Paramount gate, Jonesy, the guard who let her in, dials his phone and speaks into the phone, asking for "stage 18" before the phone's dial has even returned to zero.
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In the scene when Joe Gillis awakes in bed, two of Norma Desmond's supposedly hand-penned script pages are exact mechanically-reproduced duplicates.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

At the end of the movie, when the body is pulled from the pool, a policeman turns his back to the camera and you can clearly see that he has no gun in his holster.
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Continuity 

Joe's eyes are open when he is in the pool. When he is dragged out, his eyes are closed.
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When Joe breaks with Betty just before he is shot, he facetiously invites her and Artie for a swim in the pool and turns on the pool lights. When the police arrive, the pool lights are not on.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Joe's body is dragged out of the pool and then turned over, he is clearly breathing.
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Though Joe is shot by Norma three times, there is no indication of blood spill either in the pool or by the side of the pool, where he was shot.
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When Joe's body is dragged out of the pool and then turned over there are no bullet holes in his clothing, even though he was shot in the chest once and back twice.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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