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Gangs of New York (2002) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Pink latex balloons decorate the scaffolding at the hanging. After Charles Goodyear's patent for vulcanization in 1843, some toy balloons were made from India Rubber spread thin in a solution of benzol or coal-naphtha, like the preparation used to waterproof raincoats and galoshes, and then vulcanized; they were thick, more like today's balls or the tough inflated pig bladders used in games before. The latex toy balloon was invented in 1931 by Neil E. Tillotson of Colebrook, New Hampshire. The originals were white or black; colored balloons came along even later, when dyes that would not dissolve the latex were developed.
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Anachronisms 

The troops that are sent to quell the riot level their rifles on the command 'Present Arms.' In this time period, 'Present Arms' was a salute and 'Aim' was the proper command for aiming rifles in battle. Also, as the troops approach the mob, they halt before the word 'halt' is spoken. Troops in the era would march until the word is spoken; they do not stop in anticipation of the command.
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When the rich people are playing snooker, the remaining balls on the table are blue, pink, and black. The blue ball didn't exist in snooker until the early part of the 20th century.
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When the competing fire companies arrive at the house fire, one fireman wears modern-day fireman's pants. He may be a real-life firefighter, in the scene as a safety precaution.
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In the opening scene, as Priest and Amsterdam ascend through the catacombs, a priest saying mass elevates the chalice while facing the people. Before the 1960s, priests said mass with their backs to the people.
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Bananas were available in the United States after the Civil War, not during it.
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Johnny tells Amsterdam that Bendrick the Cockroach "carries a germ" and "if you try to leave the gang, they say, he hacks up blood on you." The link between germs and disease wasn't known until after Robert Koch developed Koch's Postulates in 1876. Louis Pasteur's work, also published in the 1870s, completed the proof to the medical community, though it was called "the germ theory of disease" as late as 1914. In the 1860s, no ragamuffin street kid would have made the connection. The first recorded use of "germ" outside medical literature is John Tyndall's Fragments of Science for Unscientific People, published in 1879. Until then, "germ" was the part of a seed from which the plant sprouts.
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Prior to the street battle in 1846, Priest Vallon recites a portion of the Prayer to St. Michael, "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil." The prayer was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
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Barnum's museum didn't burn during the draft riots, it burned in an unrelated fire of unknown origin 2 years later. Both fires happened on July 13th.
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In the film, Bill the Butcher was alive 1862. In real life, Bill the Butcher died on March 8, 1855.
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Paper clips were invented in 1899.
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Amsterdam is offended when McGloin compares his behavior to that of a "chiseler." While the verb "to chisel" meaning "to swindle" existed at the time, it wasn't used as a noun until the 1880s.
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When the draft riots break out, John F. Schermerhorn has a conversation about the riots around a billiards table, with Horace Greely. Schermerhorn died in 1851.
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The gambling scene includes a brief shot of some period coins on top of a table. The dollar coin has a motto above the eagle, which was first used for the 1866 issue.
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Just before the fight between Amsterdam and McGloin, an old man plays a modern hammer dulcimer. Period instruments would have been homemade, or built by carpenters used to working with furniture, and much more cumbersome.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Bill the Butcher talks to Boss Tweed on the docks as the Irish come off the ships, his words don't match his lip movements.
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When Tweed and Bill 'The Butcher' first talk in Tammany Hall, Tweed is feeding his birds as he confronts Bill's abuse of the Irish. The line beginning, "You may or may not know, Bill...", clearly does not match his lip movements.
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Character error 

When Amsterdam and Jenny are kissing after the dance, Jenny says she shouldn't take off her corset because it would take to long to re-lace. In an earlier scene, her corset had a metal closure called a busk in the front, meaning it didn't have to be re-laced every time.
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When Bill The Butcher tells Boss Tweed about the streets that make up the Five Points, he names five. There were three; two continuing through and one ending. Little Water and Mulberry Streets were nearby, but not at the intersection itself.
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Continuity 

The scar on Amsterdam's face from Bill the Butcher's sword disappears and reappears throughout the film.
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When Amsterdam is placed on the table, at the pagoda, Bill the Butcher straddles his chest and pounds a cleaver in the tabletop to the left of Amsterdam's head. With the cleaver still stuck in the table, Bill takes another cleaver from his belt and tosses it in the air. As the cleaver descends toward the table, the first cleaver has disappeared and the new cleaver lands in the original cleaver's place.
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When Amsterdam meets Johnny for the first time after coming back, they walk along the street and stop. As they talk, Amsterdam's satchel repeatedly moves from over his shoulder to under his arm and back between shots.
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When Amsterdam follows Jenny uptown when she's posing as the maid and he confronts her outside, the blood on his neck from her knife changes drastically between shots.
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When the young Amsterdam throws the knife in the hole, it isn't wrapped. When he returns 16 years later, it's wrapped in old clothes.
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When Bill the Butcher confronts the newly-elected Monk, Monk's cudgel switches from being securely tethered to his right hand to loosely held in his left.
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At the hanging, when the condemned man at left of screen is calling to his son and delivering his last words, all four men already have nooses around their necks. After he ends his speech and the hood is pulled down over his face, the nooses are dangling free in front of the other three men, and the hangman places the nooses back on their necks.
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During the opening fight scene, Bill the Butcher kills several people with his meat cleaver and knife, yet the blades stay clean.
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Just before the draft rioters break into the Schermerhorn house, as the family is sits down to eat, large celadon vases are visible in the dining room windows that overlook the street. Moments later, when the rioters smash through the windows, the vases have disappeared.
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During the fight at the beginning of the movie, bright red blood is all over the snow. By the end of the sequence, the snow is gone.
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After Jenny fights off her two attackers in the harbor, she pulls herself up on a crate. In the next shot, she crawls toward the crate on hands and knees.
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After Amsterdam fights the bald guy at the bar, he alternates between standing up straight and hunching over.
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When the Butcher is back on his feet after being shot in the theater, his blood-stained right lapel is clean.
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During the opening battle scene, just before Bill walks out, trees can be seen in the background. These trees subsequently disappear a few minutes later when the shot cranes up after the battle.
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When Amsterdam first returns to the Five Points, he is walks alone. Monk stands in front of his shop and looks down at the town. To the right, Amsterdam and Johnny are taking before Amsterdam even meets him.
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When Amsterdam is placed on the table at the pagoda, Bill the Butcher lowers his arm after tossing the cleaver in to the air. In the next shot, he lowers his arm again.
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When Amsterdam and Jenny walk down the street after she holds a knife to his neck, he wipes blood from the wrong side of his neck.
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About 30 minutes into the film, when Amsterdam conspires with the Chinese men to murder Bill the Butcher, he shows them a sheet of paper. The second time, Amsterdam hands the Chinese man an unfolded sheet of paper. In the next shot, the sheet is folded, and the Chinese man must unfold it.
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When Amsterdam is fighting the bald guy in the bar, men begin to pull him off, then Bill calls for them to break up the fight. The men approach Amsterdam and pull him off again.
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After Amsterdam stops Bill the Butcher's would-be assassin, they struggle on the floor. In the wide shot, the assassin's right hand is empty and lying across his stomach. In the next shot, his hand is lying across Amsterdam, and holds a pistol.
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In the beginning of the film, Priest cuts his face with a razor. The cut moves from the right side to the left.
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After Amsterdam wrestles the assassin, the assassin drops his knife in the wide shot, and it tumbles away. In the next shot, when Amsterdam crawls away with the pistol, the knife is back in the assassin's hand, and he drops it again.
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Johnny is forced to meet with Bill, who is seated with 'Boss' to his right. During the scene, the frequent p.o.v. shots change from Bill to Johnny and back and shows 'Boss's' gaze not where it should be on several occasions.
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When Amsterdam follows Jenny onto the tram after she steals his medal, her hand reaches into a man's jacket. In the next scene, she takes her hand from her lap, as if for the first time, and reaches into his coat.
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Crew or equipment visible 

In the final fight scene, when the camera circles around Vallon in the white smoke, the circular camera tracks are clearly visible at the bottom of the shot.
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Factual errors 

When the Union soldiers take aim at the rioters, each man steps forward with his left foot. During the Civil War, on the command "aim" a soldier would step BACK with his RIGHT foot, bringing it behind his left. Stepping forward would desecrate "the line" (all-important in nineteenth-century warfare).
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US Navy vessels never fired on New York City during the draft riots.
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The pistols and revolvers in the movie are of the standard 'cap and ball' variety, but they are not armed with primer caps, without which they cannot be fired.
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The cannons on the ship are too small in proportion to both the range and the explosive force of the shells that they fire.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

In movie, the Five Points are Anthony, Orange, and Cross Streets. By the time the events in the movie take place, they had been renamed Worth, Baxter, and Park streets, in an effort to change the area's reputation. Most Five Points residents would have still known and referred to the streets by their original names.
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During the Draft Riots, a voice sounds like it's coming through a PA system. Microphones were first developed in the 1870s as part of the telephone, and mics capable of being a loud PA system were not in regular use until the early 1900s. However, the voice begins when a telegraph is on-screen. The words are being sent over the telegraph, not shouted to the crowds during the riots.
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When Jenny says to Amsterdam and Johnny "I'll leave you in the grace and favor of the Lord," Amsterdam is on the left and Johnny is on the right. When the camera pans back to them, Johnny is on the left and Amsterdam is on the right. The shot is a pan, not a jump cut. When Jenny says "grace and favor etc." Johnny has moved from Amsterdam's left side to his right side.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Amsterdam is on the table at the Pagoda and Bill The Butcher throws the cleaver in the air, the cleaver is spinning the wrong way to land and stick in the table, yet it does exactly that.
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Crystal eye balls are fixed and always look to the front without moving. However, the Butcher's eye moves accordingly to his good eye, revealing that it is in fact a contact lens.
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When Amsterdam and Jenny fight before they have sex, Amsterdam slams her against a wooden beam in her room. The black finish comes off the beam several times, revealing the white foam underneath.
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Before the opening battle, Priest and his followers stand in Paradise Square awaiting their adversaries. Bill's men appear from behind some buildings, with a number of large treetops behind them, as if a forested area is behind the square. After the battle, the camera pulls back to show the Five Corners district in the heart of mid-1840s Manhattan. As the shot zooms out and increases in altitude to reveal the computer-generated scenery, no CGI trees correspond with the trees built to represent the Paradise Square area.
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When the mob throws rocks at the police, a heavy-looking rock bounces off an officer's head, then bounces around as it hits the ground, as if it weighs nothing at all.
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An elderly woman at Satan's Circus is clearly pretending to sew. The needle never enters the cloth, she just waves it up and down with the thread fluttering after it.
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When Amsterdam is outside of the draft office the first time, the red-haired man behind the draft officer smokes his cigar 4 or 5 times, but never exhales any smoke. Amsterdam is smoking right next to him, and his smoke is clearly visible.
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Members of The Dead Rabbits dye red stripes on their shirts to show their alliance. The dye clearly ends at the seam that joins the sleeve to the shirt front, meaning This the fabric was dyed red before the shirt was sewn together.
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When Amsterdam shows Jenny his scars on the pier, several makeup effects lift up off of his skin.
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In the very beginning, before the great battle of 1846, Priest talks to his young son about St. Michael. When Priest says "and what did he do," young Amsterdam mouths the words.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

During Monk McGinn's funeral procession, the priest is wearing a vestment called a maniple over his right wrist. The maniple is worn over the left arm only.
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Continuity 

The amount of blood and dirt on Amsterdam's face and clothes changes drastically between shots at the end of the movie.
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When Amsterdam is prepares for the final fight at the end of the film, his Saint Michael medal is wrapped around his hand, positioned on the front of his knuckles. Afterward, as he continues to gear up, he takes the medal and wraps it around his hand.
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When Amsterdam and Bill face off for the last time, Bill pulls a chunk of shrapnel out from his lower chest. A few moments earlier, Bill lay on the ground next to Amsterdam, with no shrapnel.
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Early in the film, a man in a striped shirt cleaves Priest Vallon in the left elbow from behind with a large curved blade. A cut-away shot shows Bill making a cutting motion at the exact same time. Vallon is holding his cross, and in freeze frame it's obviously him. Bill says "Priest" and takes several steps before he encounters Vallon for the first time during the fight. Vallon, who should be in agony from the blow to his arm, stands and turns towards Bill. Vallon's arm is nearly severed by the opening blow, yet there is no evidence of such a severe injury during the hand-to-hand fight with Bill. As Vallon dies, his coat has some blood in the area of his left elbow, but not enough for the injury as initially shown.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When McGloin is killed, the blue safety mat is visible at his feet.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Bill throws his cleaver into Monk McGinn's back, the prop cleaver bounces off the door frame (lower left of the frame) before Monk falls. Later, as Bill walks up to the collapsing Monk, the prop cleaver is on the ground.
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In the cemetery, with the gravestones in the foreground, a gravestone in the lower right side of the shot moves in the wind.
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See also

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

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