New this month Factual error: In the first scene with the computer (when Ally Sheedy visits) Matthew Broderick puts the handset on to the modem coupler with the cord toward him, then pushes the button on the modem which is facing him. A shortly while later he is at the computer and he puts the handset backwards with the cord away from him and pushes the button which is still facing towards him. The modem would not have worked properly, since it needs to send and receive through the respective ear and mouth pieces.
New this month Continuity mistake: In the very beginning, when the Air Force brass land at SAC in the helicopter, they get into a 2 door Jeep Cherokee. After they enter the tunnel and stop to get out, they exit a 2 door Jeep Cherokee Chief - the wide wheel well model, not the standard one they first got into.
New this month Continuity mistake: Matthew Broderick is playing Galaga with double ships, plus three extra ships. Ally Sheedy comes in and starts talking to him. He dies once (you can hear the boom) but then in the end of the scene they show the "end" screen for the game. Also, his score is around 33,000 at the start of the scene. He has 5 ships. This is impossible under normal conditions. When you start the game you given 3 ships. You wouldn't get the 5th ship until around 70,000 points.
New this month Continuity mistake: When Matthew Broderick is first at his computer the screen is large and has an external modem on top. Later there is a close up shot of the keyboard and the monitor. At this point the monitor is completely different and much smaller. Then shortly afterwards you can see the larger monitor again with the modem on top (behind Ally Sheedy) while it war dials numbers. Shortly after that, the monitor changes again. You can also see the changes with the color and the "side handles" used for carrying. I counted three different monitors being used.
Factual error: When they launch the F-16's to intercept the Soviet "Backfire" Bomber, the picture shown is of two F-15's. In addition, no F-16's were stationed in Alaska to handle air defense duties, this was handled exclusively by F-15A/C's.
Continuity mistake: During David Lightman's escape from the infirmary, notice the hands of the guard officer - he's wearing his gloves, and the next instant they have disappeared, and reappear in the next scene.
Revealing mistake: In the scene where David starts the game with Joshua, it asks him what side he wants to be (1 for the U.S. and 2 for USSR). Look carefully at the closeup of the computer screen - his choice, 2, appears long before David actually presses the key.
Audio problem: When Jennifer gives David a ride home near the beginning of the movie, you hear David's dog barking. In the next shot, we see the dog is running down the front path and it barks a couple more times. Look closely at its mouth, it's not barking.
Continuity mistake: Towards the end when the NORAD door is closing, they keep showing it opened further from shot to shot in order to delay how quickly the door actually is closing vs. how slow it really would have had to move in order to allow David and Dr. Falken to actually have still made it in.
Continuity mistake: When David and Jennifer leave Falken's house, it is fully dark out. When the helicopter is shown flying around to pick them up, the sky changes from fully dark to some twilight in the sky, depending on the angle shown.
Continuity mistake: The tour group comes in and they trick the black lady into pressing the red "launch" button that displays the welcome on the screen. Just before she presses it she has a 35 mm camera hanging around her neck, but in the next shot of the group standing in front of the panel her camera is gone. (More than likely because someone thought "Hey! They would never allow cameras in NORAD!")
Factual error: During the part where they're in NORAD and watching all of the Soviet "nukes" hit various bases in the US, a base in northern Maine is listed as, "Loring AFB 43 Bomb Wing." This was a real air force base, but it was the 42nd Bomb Wing that flew B-52s out of Loring. The 43rd Bomb Wing did exist, too, but it was based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in the North Pacific.
Factual error: In two different scenes, Matthew Broderick lifts the phone receiver off his modem-once during the scene where it's dialing numbers in Sunnyvale, CA, and again when WOPR keeps calling his phone trying to reconnect. In both cases, the activity on the screen should have disappeared, since lifting the phone off the modem cradle disconnects the signal. Yet the computer somehow manages to keep dialing numbers, or display the running game clock on the simulation, without any interruption.
Other mistake: When David first logs into the system after finding the right password, it shows a phone # beginning with the prefix 936. The only problem was that earlier when his computer was dialing numbers, he had not gotten to 936 yet. That was the 4th prefix and he only got through the first 3. There is no way he could have dialed that number with his computer program.
Factual error: In the scene in which Prof. Falken shows David and Jennifer a dinosaur movie projected on a screen, Falken is between the projector and the screen, with portions of the image on his face, slightly blurry, just like it would be. But David and Jennifer aren't in the light path, so the only light on them would be reflected from the entire screen, but when they're shown, images from the dinosaur movie are perfectly focused on them, which would be impossible.
Factual error: While it makes for a great story for the movie, the reality is that all computer systems used by government agencies - especially in the DoD - are required to provide their source code for thorough inspection to ensure there are no back doors, hidden subroutines or other types of software code that are not relevant to the task designed for. Given the critical nature of this system being in control of launching nuclear missiles, the reality is that none of the games that Falken wrote - much less the whole routine to allow it to simulate a game like this - would still be in, for obvious reasons. Of course it could be argued Falken hid this, however given the lack of complexity for a computer of this era, it's highly unlikely.
Audio problem: When Jennifer gives David a ride home near the beginning of the film, as David gets on her bike, she looks round and tells him to "Hop on" without moving her lips.