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Escape from Alcatraz (1979) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (6) | Boom mic visible (1) | Character error (2) | Continuity (7) | Revealing mistakes (1) | Spoilers (5)

Anachronisms 

When Frank Morris smuggles the metal wedge through the detector, there is an oscilloscope connected to the detector loop that was not made until the 1970s.
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Coast Guard cutter searching for escapees has a red diagonal stripe painted on the hull near the bow. This stripe was not adopted by the Coast Guard until 1967.
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The Mount Sutro Tower (breaking ground in 1971 and completed in 1972) is pictured in the movie's opening sequence while at the same time on-screen text indicates the plot year to be 1960.
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On the boat ride over to the prison from San Francisco a radar unit can be seen spinning on top of the boat. That type of radar transponder wasn't developed until the mid 1970s. According to the information on screen, this took place in 1960.
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Prisoners are shown seated at long, picnic-table style dining room setting. However, some time prior to the escape, the arrangement was changed to 4 person tables.
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In his opening monologue, Warden Madigan mentions his Predecessor's Johnston and Blackwell, when in fact he should have said, "Johnston and Swope". This film was set in 1960 and Olin G. Blackwell did not take over as warden until 1961.
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Boom mic visible 

In the wardens office, when Morris is being briefed by the warden, the camera pulls back to (accidentally) reveal the large hole in the office ceiling. At this point the boom is quite visible.
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Character error 

When Morris meets the warden on his arrival, the warden states that no newspapers, or magazines carrying news, are issued to the prisoners. However, Morris' library duties later include delivering issues of The Saturday Evening Post and Ebony, publications containing news items in each issue.
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In his opening monologue, the warden mentions his predecessors, including a previous warden named Johnson. He's presumably referring to James A. Johnston (note the T in his last name, which the warden does not pronounce), who was the first warden of Alcatraz, presiding over its opening in 1934 and retiring in 1948.
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Continuity 

Frank Morris' bed is on the right side of the cell in some scenes, and on the left in others.
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In the cafeteria scene following Doc's "accident", Frank's food tray contains a whole potato. After the conversation with the warden it is in pieces.
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When at the warden's briefing with Morris, the warden drops his nail clipper into the dish with another nail clipper present. At this point they both are closed. At the next shot of the dish after Morris removed one nail clipper, the remaining clipper is now all of a sudden open.
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In the beginning, where Frank Morris is being escorted through Alcatraz, we see him from behind, naked. We also see him being escorted by the guards from within a cell, and very brief, you can see that he is wearing a white towel around his hips. In the next shot, he is seen naked from behind again. Finally when being put in his cell, he is once again wearing a towel.
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When Wolf goes at Frank Morris with a knife in the yard the fight scene shows Wolfs hat mysteriously disappearing and then reappearing.
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The cell occupied by Frank's blockmate Charlie Butts.
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When Doc is painting in the prison yard, the spots of wet paint on the left-hand side of the canvas change. Doc and Frank are having a conversation - the shots showing Frank speaking do not show the canvas for the most part, while the ones that show Doc speaking do. The wet spots increase and decrease in size and number every time the canvas is shown.
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Revealing mistakes 

Frank Morris sticks a mirror out of his cell to spot the guard, but the angle he's holding it at is for the benefit of the camera. He can only see the back of the mirror.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

In the final scene when the warden is looking around Angel Island (after the escape) on a shot of San Francisco from Angel Island, you can see the Pyramid Building or Trans-America Pyramid, not built until the 1970s.
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Continuity 

When the warden spots the flower at the end of the movie, it is very close to the waterline. However, when the warden picks the flower up, he has plenty of room to sit on dry sand.
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The position of the Warden's hand while he is holding the flower in the last scene.
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Position of Butts' arms change as he squeezes through the vent hole of his cell during the escape sequence.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Doc chops his fingers off, a brief close-up on the severed hand and fingers reveal that they are clearly made of prosthetics, and there are no fingernails on the rubber parts.
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See also

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

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