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American Gangster (2007) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Frank Lucas watches Leroy 'Nicky' Barnes pass out copies of the NY Times magazine with Barnes on the cover. That issue was published in 1977, when Lucas was in prison.
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In 1968, when Frank prepares to call his cousin in Bangkok for the first time, an Internet URL is clearly visible on a billboard across the street.
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Many of the movie's Harlem street scenes feature modern spray-painted graffiti tags, and some much larger "pieces," that would not have existed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It appears to be a common problem for movie producers filming period pieces.
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Moses Jones has a prominent Wu Tang Clan tattoo on his left upper arm. It's especially visible in the first briefing scene of the newly-formed narcotics unit. Upon close examination, "RZA" is set inside the Wu Tang Clan logo.
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In 1972, Frank Lucas confronts his nephew, the baseball player, who missed a meeting Lucas set up with Billy Martin and the New York Yankees. Martin managed the Detroit Tigers from 1971 to 1973; he didn't manage the Yankees until 1975.
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When Frank Lucas arrives in Bangkok, a late 70s/early 80s blue Vespa PK (or PX) appears in the road crowd.
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In one scene, a bill counter has a numeric green LED display. Computerized bill counters first appeared in 1981.
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In a scene set during winter of 1970-71, as the task force is tracking a sale of "Blue Magic" at night, the suspect steps out of a 1974 BMW 2002.
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In the movie, the street signs are green with white lettering. In 1970s Manhattan, street signs were yellow with black lettering.
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A number of cars in the 1968 scenes at the very beginning are actually 1970's models, including a 1973 boat-tail Buick Riviera.
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When Frank's house is raided by federal agents in the 1970s, a mid-1990s Encyclopedia Brittanica is on his bookshelves.
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In an early scene, Frank is in his apartment, recording some figures in a notebook. He reaches over to the table and punches some numbers on a slim electronic calculator, a type that wasn't available until a decade later.
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The Checker cab Richie Roberts hijacks has post-1974 aluminum bumpers.
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When the bad guys are running the screws out of the false-bottom coffins, the sound effect used matches a modern, battery powered (sounds like an 18 volt or 14.4) cordless drill with an electric brake. Cordless power tools were introduced by the Apollo Moon Program and no battery-powered drill available to industry was developed until decades later.
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In the 1968 opening, Bumpy Johnson complains that McDonald's is on every street corner. The first McDonald's in New York City opened in the early 1970s, in Harlem.
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When Frank drives to Washington, D.C., he passes a sign reading I-395. The name first appeared in the late 1970s.
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Sometime around 1970, Richie Roberts receives a letter saying that he has been admitted to the New Jersey bar. It mentions passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. California was first state to introduce a Professional Responsibility Examination, in 1975. The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, based on California's exam, was introduced in 1980.
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In the Smalls scene, the camera looks up at the funk band singer who appears on stage after Joe Louis. A Martin Atomic 3000 strobe is on the ceiling, with a DMX cable connected. DMX was created in 1986; Martin introduced the Atomic in 2001.
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In 1968 Saigon, Frank's cousin Nate uses turn-of-the-century terms like "a'ight" for "all right" and "fiddy" for "fifty". Several other characters use "a'ight" throughout the film.
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The C-130 in the movie is actually a C-130A, with different pylon tanks and 3-bladed props. During Vietnam, C-130's were painted in a camouflage pattern. The uniform gray paint scheme was introduced in the late 1980's.
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A 1990s Ford van with "AVIS" on the side appears when Frank and his new wife step out of the church and face the crowd.
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Just after Lucas hears the news of the imminent fall of Saigon on TV, and goes to ring his contact, a modern car drives past the window.
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The subway train going into the Manhattan Valley tunnel was built in 1986.
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The Citicorp Center, which didn't exist in early 1970s, appears in some scenes.
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The label "A NYNEX company" appears on a payphone. NYNEX was created in 1984, after the AT&T breakup.
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When Javier jumps from the ambulance, a postal service truck with a 1990s logo is visible.
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Early in the film, about 1970, the Staten Island Ferry passes the Statue of Liberty, which is holding a gilded torch. The statue's internally-lit torch was replaced with a gilded torch in 1986.
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In one scene at Fort Bragg/Pope AFB, a modern-day C-17 Globemaster III is in the background. The Air Force added them in 1993.
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Night time shots clearly show streets lit with high pressure sodium lamps that give a warm red/orange glow. These were not introduced until the mid 1980's.
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During the period of the film's setting, subway subway cars would've been BMT standard, R1/9, R10-R33 cars. Cars similar to the 1986 model shown would've been very new and very rare.
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The C-130 pictured carrying the first drug shipment, in the late 1960s, is a C-130H3, first produced in 1992.
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When the dirty cops steal money from the drug dealer, a 1990s white service van is visible in the background.
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In 1968, when Richie is walking with his wife and son, a 747 flies over the park. Boeing 747s started commercial service in 1970.
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Modern fire alarms, with strobe lights, appear throughout the movie.
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When Detective Roberts is driving a commandeered taxi and following a drug dealer with $20,000 bait money, Roberts drives the wrong way through some oncoming traffic before catching up to the car he's following. As he turns a corner, three modern cars are parked on the left hand side, including a silver SUV, a blue sedan, and a gold station wagon.
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The tops of the fire hydrants seen in the movie were introduced in the 1990s.
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When Frank and Bumpy toss turkeys out of the back of the truck, a DirectTV satellite dish is on the roof of a building.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Frank and Dominic are shooting clays and Dominic opens his breech to eject the spent shells, the sound of a pump action is heard, although the gun is an over-under with a break-open action.
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In the climactic church scene, when the congregation sings "How Great Thou Art," the third and fourth lines are out of sync with how the parishioners' lips are moving.
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Character error 

Frank is introduced Mr. Svbota at a cocktail party. Frank asks what he can get him, and Mr. Svbota responds "How about a left-hander Charlie says is your nephew." Later in the movie, Stevie Lucas is playing baseball in Frank's backyard, and throwing right-handed.
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Continuity 

When Detective Richie Roberts chases a man in an apartment complex, he pumps his shotgun and points it at a woman's face. After realizing his mistake, he resumes his pursuit and pumps the shotgun again, in a man's face, without firing a round.
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When Frank Lucas is released from prison, several extras walk by repeatedly in the same direction.
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When Det. Roberts moves Lucas' picture to the top of the board, Dominic Cattano's picture next to it goes from facing forward to facing sideways and back to facing forward in different shots.
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When Detective Roberts commandeers the cab and knocks the cab driver out, the knocked-out driver disappears and reappears during the Ford Bronco chase, on the passenger side of the cab.
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When Det. Roberts is lifting weights, discs attached to the olympic bar vary from shot to shot.
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When the federal agents leave Roberts' office, after warning him about the contract out on him, one agent puts his hat on. After a cutaway shot, the same agent puts his hat on again.
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Near the end of the movie, after Frank's initial court appearance, he and Richie are alone in a room talking. If you watch closely, the positions of the coffee stirrers in the cups change several times. From pointing in the same direction to different, then back again.
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In the first courtroom scene, when speaking with his attorney, Roberts' arm is straight across the bench behind his attorney in wide shots, and his arm hangs behind the bench in narrow shots.
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When Richie meets his friend, when the kids are playing pool, they do a bad break and only move two balls, but, later in the same scene, Richie goes over and starts collecting up the pool balls, which are suddenly scattered.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Detective Trupo is searching Frank's home, Ridley Scott's reflection is visible on a television set.
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Ridley Scott's reflection is visible in the television while it shows the caskets of deceased American GIs, just before it cuts to Det. Roberts examining caskets in the cargo hold of a C-130.
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Errors in geography 

When Roberts and his partner find money in the trunk of a car, a caption at the beginning says "New Jersey." The view at the beginning is the Williamsburg Bridge, which connects Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Manhattan's Lower East Side.
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A distant mountain range is visible in a location identified as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which is in a flat region.
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When Richie chases the car over the George Washington Bridge, the film states that Richie is going from New Jersey to Manhattan, where he doesn't have jurisdiction. He begins to tail the suspect on the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge going into New Jersey, then winds back up in New York.
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In the extended version, Richie Roberts' team listen to a wiretap they have placed on a phone in a business that is supposed to be in New Jersey. The scene was actually filmed on West 125th Street, between Broadway and Riverside Drive in Harlem. Prominent is "The Cotton Club," which opened at that location in 1978, named after the legendary Harlem club of the 1920s and 30s, which was located at 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue.
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Factual errors 

While Frank's cousin is wearing a wire, he stands at a distance while Frank is on the phone. In the next scene, when the tape is played for the police, both sides of the phone conversation can be heard, which would be impossible from an external microphone at a distance.
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When Frank first calls his cousin in Bangkok, he tells the operator that Thailand's country code is 376. Later, as the war is ending, he gives the operator the country code 367. Thailand's actual country code is 66.
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Revealing mistakes 

During the Bronco chase after the $20,000 drug purchase, interior shots of show a Torino name plate on the dashboard. Exterior shots show a Cadilac.
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Richie drives a rear-engined Volkswagen 1600 Variant. He opens the front trunk without pulling the trunk opener, located in glove compartment.
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In some scenes when snow is falling, the broad-leaf trees in the background have green (summer) leaves.
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Just after Bumpy gives away turkeys, a Don't Walk sign appears on the left side of the screen. "DON'T WALK" is clearly written on a black sheet that has been attached to the sign.
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When the police are searching the plane, they are removing the screws from the deck plate with hand crank screwdrivers. In one shot the screws are being driven counter-clockwise. In the next, clockwise.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Anachronisms 

When people remove the drugs from the caskets, they use battery-operated screw guns that weren't available until the 1990s.
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Anachronisms 

A red 1970 JVC Video-sphere TV set is seen in the discount electronics store at the beginning of the film behind Bumpy Johnson on his right side when he sits down just before he dies. This part of the film is set in 1968, two years before this model TV hit the market.
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Frank shoots Tango at the fruit stand, a camera man is visible just behind three pineapples and the silver water cooler.
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Errors in geography 

The street sign outside the store where Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson dies says "8 Ave". That corner is 135th Street and Broadway.
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Factual errors 

In the film, Richie Roberts is both the lead detective and the prosecutor in the case against Frank Lucas. That would not be allowed in any American courtroom; Roberts could never act as an attorney in the same case where he is a potential witness.
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Factual errors 

The closing captions say Frank Lucas was incarcerated from 1976 to 1991. He was paroled in 1981, and remained free for three years. In 1984, he was convicted of parole violations and drug offenses, and went back to prison until he was released in 1991.

Factual errors 

In the movie, flurries are falling when Bumpy Johnson dies. Johnson died in New York City on July 7, 1968, during the summer.
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Factual errors 

In the very first scene, when Frank Lucas shoots a man who he just set on fire, his .45 pistol jams with a "stove pipe" type jam, but he continues shooting. The audio track includes reports, and flame is coming out of the pistol.
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See also

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

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