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The Shape of Water Movie Poster

Goofs from The Shape of Water

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  • The general's ribbon bar is upside down. The Silver Star and Distinguished Service Medal were his highest honors, and should be on the top row, not the bottom. His WW2 Victory Medal is much lower in precedence and should be on a lower row, not the top.
  • When Elisa floods the bathroom with water, the floor would not have been able to hold the weight and would have collapsed long before it filled as much as it did.
  • T-8 fluorescent lamps were not available until 1981.
  • Giles (Jenkins) is fumbling to undo his seat belt in a delivery van which did not have seat belts in that time period.
  • When Zelda is on the loading dock and dials the phone, she only dials five digits. This was possible and functional in the early 1960s; seven digits were not required in some areas.
  • An elevated highway is shown which did not likely exist in the early 60's.
  • A WWII era sign is shown, "Loose lips sink ships". It would make sense for a government institution to still be using surplus posters from the war, as they are still trying to discourage the sharing of secret information.
  • When Giles is asked to leave the diner he does so without taking the artwork, which he left on the counter.
  • Early in the movie, Strickland states he brought the creature back from the Amazon, where the natives worshiped it like a god. Later, as Elisa and Giles are attempting to take the creature from the lab, Hoffstetler, while helping them, says they need to add salt to his water along with the water conditioning chemicals he gives them in a box. The Amazon is a freshwater river, and if the creature was from from there, it would not be used to nor need a saltwater environment. However, that doesn't mean the water has 0 salinity. Amazon river salinity fluctuates over time and space and depending on where the creature is from, 3% (or 30psu) could be the appropriate salinity. Having said that, 30psu is nearly as high as regular marine water.
  • When the Israeli device detonates, it destroys the electrical box it was attached to. There is no way that the power could be back on five minutes later.
  • When Elisa and Zelda are cleaning the men's room and Strickland comes in, you see cleaning products on a shelf. The bottle of Clorox has the present day logo rather than the one from 1962.
  • As the Strickland family watches "Dobie Gillis" on TV, the son asks if they can watch "Bonanza". The two TV series were never on opposite each other: "Bonanza" was on Saturday or Sunday (depending on the year) and "Dobie Gillis" was on Tuesday nights.
  • The wall calendar Eliza uses is from the fall of 1962, yet the newsreels shown on television and the narrator's reference to "the last days of a fair Prince's reign" make it clear it is early May 1963.
  • A 5 star general would not exist in 1962. The last 5 star general was Omar Bradley in 1950 and would have been long since retired. The U.S. military historically has only used this rank during times of war in order to outrank any allied commanders in combat.
  • A 5 star general would not exist in 1962. The last 5 star general was Omar Bradley in 1950 and would have been long since retired. The U.S. military historically has only used this rank during times of war in order to achieve parity with or even outrank allied commanders from other nations under their control in combat.
  • When Strickland (Shannon) drives home from the dealer's with a new Cadillac, the car has a regulation Maryland license plate. A temporary cardboard plate would have been issued for the first couple of weeks of ownership.
  • At around 17:50, security is leaving the men's room and you can hear a door latch. when the door opens and closes. The door has a handle, not a knob. Therefore you would only hear a thump as the door hit the door jamb closing.
  • The exterior of the lab was filmed at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, built 1963-1965 with Brutalist architecture style, which was new to the US and Canada, but the interior looks old and worn.
  • Despite being set in 1962, when Strickland proudly drives his new '62 Cadillac Sedan deVille on the street, the occupants in the car next to him are driving a '63 Pontiac Convertible. There is a further car goof later when the Soviet plant, Dr Hoffstetler, leaves his apartment for the last time - there is a white '63 Ford parked in front of the building.
  • In one scene they walk past a store selling TV sets. There are about 12 TV's in the window, each one showing a different show, but there were only 3 networks in 1962 and no VCR's.
  • When Strickland makes advances on Eliza, the scars on her neck are on the right side. In the end, when the amphibian being takes her, the scars appear on the left side of her neck.
  • A close up of Strickland struggling with his pain medications reveals childproof ridges on the pill bottle. Childproofing did not begin to appear until 1967 and was not required in the United States by law until 1970.
  • When Strickland sets his cattle prod on the bathroom sink the prod is at an angle to the sinks for a few shots. Then when Elisa approaches the sink the cattle prod has moved, it is now parallel to the front of the countertop.
  • When Strickland is shooting at the van with his revolver, bullet shell casings are heard hitting and ringing on the cement floor like an automatic pistol.
  • In the bathroom scene with Strickland, Eliza and Zelda, there is a brief long-shot of Strickland picking up his cattle-prod and some blood remaining near the sink. In the close-up when Eliza notices the blood, the amount of blood has apparently increased.
  • Surveillance cameras in the early 60s, such as those used on the loading dock were MUCH larger than those used in the film. This was either a much newer camera, or someone's guess of what a surveillance camera looked like in those days.
  • Michael Shannon's office includes racks of CCTV monitors, as well as Tektronix 520 Vectorscopes. Vectorscopes are used exclusively with color TV cameras, recorders, etc., and would have been of no use with the black-and-white cameras and monitors used in this facility.
  • At the end when Elisa seems to be dead in the water, one of her shoes slips off and sinks away, but when she comes back to life, her shoes are both on.
  • Elisa's neck scars are initially on her right side when she is being questioned by Strickland. At the end of the movie when she is drowning her scars are on her left side.
  • The model of television predates unwired TV remotes.
  • Early in the film, we see television sets on sale in a shop. The images on the screens are of a helicopter and a B-52 bomber. If they represent footage from the Vietnam War, this would be anachronistic because B-52's were not used in Vietnam until 1965.
  • The water "reflection" on the wall of the lab during the Chica Chica Boom Chic scene suddenly jump cuts revealing it to be a looped projection onto the wall, and not natural light.
  • Besides the 5-star error mentioned already, the general's ribbons were upside down. And he was wearing air force wings on a green (army) uniform.
  • In 1962, streetlights would have been mercury vapor lamps, with their characteristic greenish-blue-tinged light. Sodium vapor streetlights were not developed until the beginning of the 1970s and not widely used until the later part of that decade.
  • When Elisa lowers herself into the bath the first time, the water spills over the edge. In the next shot she is still lowering herself, yet the water level is now below the edge of the tub.
  • On one of the first scenes of the movie, the compact range seen in the kitchen boiling water is a 1966 Frigidaire RG-22K, a Canadian model made in Scarborough Ontario that was never sold in the United States or before 1965.
  • The dial tone and ringing tone heard in the phone at Zelda's house were not accurate. Dial tones and ringing tones of that era were more like buzzing sounds rather than the multi-frequency tones heard in the movie. Those are the tones used in modern landline phones.
  • When Strickland interviews Delilah and Elisa, he reads Elisa's name off a file "Eliza Esposito, that's Italian for orphan?" It actually means "husband."
  • When Hoffstetler is done filling the syringe with the lethal fluid there is just a little bit of fluid in the syringe. Later, when he takes the syringe out of his pocket to inject the MP in his neck, there is much more fluid in the syringe.
  • Following up to the 5-star general error, General Hoyt is an Air Force general. The only 5-star Air Force general was Henry "Hap" Arnold. He died in 1950.
  • Based on references to missiles in Cuba, the action takes place in last half of 1962. However General Hoyt says he has known Strickland since Pusan "thirteen years ago". The battle of Pusan was in fall of 1950, not 1949.
  • Elisa's Bulova watch is at least ten years ahead of its time.
  • When Giles asks Elisa to turn off the TV because he doesn't like what's being shown, some of the footage appearing on the screen is of civil rights protesters being attacked by police dogs and sprayed with fire hoses. The most famous incident of such police attacks on civilians-and the likely source of the footage-was in Birmingham, Alabama, but it happened in May 1963, the year after the movie took place.
  • The TV set in Giles's apartment- with it's large rounded-end picture shape - is a Color TV appropriate to the year. However, back in 1962 that was a relatively rare and expensive item likely to be found found only in a high-end home. The set in Strickland's home, with its squared-off B&W tube would have been more appropriate for Giles and vice-versa.
  • There are references in the film to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. General Hoyt talks about the Soviet Union putting missiles in Cuba. Also, when Giles drives his truck up to the underground security gate, the security guard on duty has his radio tuned to John F. Kennedy's speech to the nation, announcing that the Soviet Union is building offensive missile sites in Cuba. However, according to Elisa's calendar, the events of the film take place between September 18 and October 9, 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis did not begin until October 16, 1962, when Kennedy was shown photos taken by a U-2 spy plane showing the missile sites in Cuba. Kennedy did not make his address to the nation until October 22, 1962.
  • Strickland gets into his car while it is pouring rain outside, yet he never seems to get wet as he walks outside into the rain and proceeds to enter his car.
  • When the pie-diner guy explains his franchise arrangement, he says the company provides the "signage." In the 1960s he would have just said "signs."
  • After Strickland drives his new Cadillac, he passes a Pontiac convertible. The white Pontiac is a 1963 and the year is 1962.
  • The events of the film take place between September 18 and October 9, 1962, however, Richard Strickland visits a Cadillac showroom where 1962 Cadillac models were displayed. The United States automobile model year begins in August, so by the fall of 1962, the new 1963 Cadillacs would have already been in the showroom for a few months. It is plausible that Strickland could have bought a leftover "year old but still new" 1962 model, but there is no chance that 1962 models would have been in the showroom that late in the year.
  • When Elisa (Sally Hawkins) floods up her bathroom has the following problems: 1. Unless she also stopped up her toilet, the level of water in her bathroom would never have risen past that point. 2. Even if her bathroom is only 15X15X15 (conservative estimate), the amount of water would weigh approximately 200,000 lbs (1ft3 water = 7.5 gallons, 8.3 lbs per gallon). 3. Her apartment is shown as being above a theater, with a 1 foot crawlspace with wooden beams. The combined lack of obvious steel supports would have ensured that her entire bathroom would have been dropped into the theater.
  • When Elisa brings her portable record player to the creature, she has two albums of big-band swing, a Benny Goodman LP on Columbia and a Glenn Miller album. The Goodman LP has the correct Columbia label for the film's 1962 setting but the Miller album, which is shown on her turntable, has a green label. Miller's record company, RCA Victor, used black labels for its popular releases.
  • At 1:24:08 the French song is "La Javanaise", written by Serge Gainsbourg for Juliette Gr?co. First played March 1963, so about one year after the film.
  • After Strikeland's children leave to get on the school bus, Strikeland's wife states she wants to have sex upstairs, but the establishing shot of their house a few seconds earlier does not have a second story.


  • After Dr. Hoffstetler is shot in the mouth, a gaping hole is left in his cheek. We then see him down on the ground, with his mouth open and a bright floodlight shining on his face, and yet no light shows through the hole at all.
  • Strickland's taser lands on Dr. Robert Hoffstetler's abdomen when he is stunned, but in the next shot, the taser is on his chest.
  • For most the film, the scar's on Elisa's neck are on her right. But when Amphibian Man changes them into gills, they are on her left.
  • When Strickland is driving his car to Elisa's house by the theater, his car is normal without bumps in spite of being crashed during the earlier escape. However, Strickland is not driving his car in that scene. In an earlier scene, Strickland and Fleming are staking out Dr. Hoffstetler's apartment. When Hoffstetler comes out, Strickland orders Fleming out of the car, to which Fleming answers "But this is my car". Therefore from that point on, Strickland drives Fleming's car which is undamaged.
  • In the beginning of the film Eliza's scars are on the right side of her neck. In the final scene they are on the left side of her neck. Actually, Eliza has scars on both sides of her neck (because they're actually not scars but gills). You just only ever see them on one side at a time, depending on where the camera is placed.
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