Best movie plot holes of all time

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Top Gun: Maverick picture

Plot hole: Any strike on a military facility by incoming aircraft would first take out the SAM sites with missiles to clear the way for said aircraft to operate freely. After all, the Tomahawks fly right past the attacking planes and take out the runway with no issues at all - no reason they couldn't hit the high and exposed SAMs.

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Suggested correction: The idea was to use the tomahawks to take out the airfield and prevent enemy planes from taking off. The SAMs could be evaded by flying through the canyon so the airfield was considered a higher priority target.

lionhead

While that may be so, those planes exit would have a difficult time out running and avoiding that many SAMs. It's not like the ship wouldn't have enough tomahawks to take out the SAMs as well.

Taking out the airfield was deemed necessary to complete the mission, taking out SAMs beyond the canyon was not. The original plan didn't take into account the pilots surviving the mission in the first place, so the Navy didn't bother with extra strikes on SAM sites. Maverick had to struggle to get them to approve this plan in the first place too, so he wouldn't be able to convince them to put even more effort into it.

lionhead

They still have to avoid the SAMs on the way out, no canyon to protect them then.

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Ferdinand picture

Plot hole: How does the little girl Nina know Ferdinand's name if only the animals can communicate with each other? They're all calling him Ferdinand before she "names" him that.

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Con Air picture

Plot hole: The convicts remove the radar transponder from the Conair aircraft and put it aboard a tour plane to distract their pursuers. That won't work. By law the tour plane will have a working radar transponder of its own, and two working transponders that close together will show up on radar as a collision. Air traffic controllers would immediately alert emergency services who would, obviously, wonder how two aircraft that had collided had managed to stay in the air. Nobody disconnects the first transponder - Pinball carelessly tosses the second transponder under the rear seat of the aircraft (the implication being that it continues to operate, perhaps on backup battery power). He doesn't disconnect the original transponder either - Swamp Thing, a skilled pilot, does that. There is no time for him to do any of this before he is stopped by the female security guard anyway.

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Bolt picture

Plot hole: At the start of the movie, a great deal is made of the boom mic that enters the shot. This is ridiculous, because Bolt's view would not be restricted to what was onscreen, he'd have a perfect view of the person holding the boom mic (as evidenced by it not being stable). There's no possibility of him not seeing the person holding the mic either. As Bolt completely and utterly believes the world he lives in, and thinks the situations he finds himself in (saving Penny) are real, someone holding a boom mic would break the illusion for him. In all instances in the movie where an outside force (i.e. a dog handler) interacts with him, Bolt never gets to see the person handling him (handler approaches from behind), the boom mic operator however is literally right in front of him.

GalahadFairlight

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Suggested correction: He wasn't paying attention and considering that his focus was only on the "action", how the hell would he notice a boom mic when he's trying to protect Penny? His "reality" is never broken even AFTER he's in his trailer.

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Minority Report picture

Plot hole: Anderton's wife gains entry into the jailhouse using her husband's eyeball - but he's already locked up inside, so his eye would not still have access to enter as it pleased. Any place anywhere that would have any sort of security system requiring anything from a simple passcode to a card key to a retinal scan, would immediately delete the user in such instances from all rights. And would also certainly report on any attempted use of such (retinal scan, pass code, whatever). (02:00:45)

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Suggested correction: I thought that this was a mistake as soon as I saw it on screen, but reconsidered. It's perfectly possible that there was some, probably human caused, delay in updating the security system. After all, there wasn't a rush to do it since they already had the chief on ice. Maybe the sleep jail was still on a legacy system without automatic updating. Just assuming that in the near future that all systems are all perfectly integrated and instantaneous does not validate this as a mistake.

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Die Hard 2 picture

Plot hole: The only reason the terrorists' plot can work is that the airports around Dulles are all closed to landings because of the violent snowstorm. If there were no storm, the pilots of the airliners in the holding pattern would simply divert to nearby airports when they started running low on fuel. If they were able to do that, the whole plot would simply fall apart. How were the terrorists able to count on the storm happening on the very day General Esperanza's flight was due to land? They didn't have any influence over the date of his flight. How did they know the storm would be so bad that all airports would be closed - except Dulles? I don't think they had any way of predicting the weather quite that accurately, and If the storm hadn't hit or had been even slightly less severe the pilots of the stranded airliners could easily have diverted to any one of half a dozen alternate landing sites, including a nearby Air Force base. They could do this without consulting or even contacting air traffic control. The whole plot falls apart from there - no hostages, no leverage, and who cares what happens to the people on Esperanza's plane? They'd have it shot down as soon as they knew Esperanza had killed the pilot and taken over the flight.

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Suggested correction: The terrorists in the film planned extensively for this operation, but the storm occurring may have just been a coincidence for them. They may also have had the plan waiting for a perfect opportunity, like a snowstorm. In the beginning of the movie, there's a news story on while the Colonel is exercising nude. The story says Esperanza's extradition has been long and drawn out, until a phone call from..." and he cuts the TV off. Given his connections, Colonel Stewart may well have been able to arrange a State Department call the week of a predicted snow storm. Esperanza's adherents may also have been able. Another scenario they may have had is to take the Air Traffic Controllers hostage (as they did) and have the other aircraft diverted for a supposed emergency, but the snowstorm worked out. Whatever the case, that element of the plot is an interesting discussion, not a mistake.

If the storm hadn't hit the pilots of the stranded airliners could easily have diverted to any one of half a dozen alternates, including a nearby Air Force base. They could do this without consulting or even contacting air traffic control. The whole plot falls apart from there - no hostages, no leverage, and who cares what happens to the people on the Esperanza's plane? They'd have it shot down.

That bothered me too when I first saw this in theatres. The chances of it snowing in D.C. on any particular day are pretty low, and the plan falls apart without it. The only way to 'fix' this is to assume that when the film was originally written, it was set in New York City. This makes more sense thematically...with the original set in Los Angeles. But at some point, probably late in the production, they changed it to D.C. for some reason, and made it fit as best they could.

The snowstorm was not part of the plan. Early on when the group of terrorists is sitting around the table about to exchange the package, Cochran is listening to a weather report and states that a huge storm is approaching, which makes the other men smile and one of them responds "God loves the infantry." The terrorists could still crash planes without the snow storm because they could impersonate the tower. The planes that are circling overhead are the planes that didn't have enough fuel to be diverted to another airport and that has nothing to do with a snow storm. The blizzard was simply fortuitous for the terrorists.

BaconIsMyBFF

The airliners we see could easily glide to any one of seven nearby airports from the airspace over Dulles, let alone fly there when fuel began running low.

That is a separate issue (and is indeed a mistake in the film) that doesn't really have anything to do with the blizzard. This film acts as if Baltimore Washington International or Richmond International Airport don't exist.

BaconIsMyBFF

And since they do, it is both a plot hole and a factual error. If they had called their fictional airport Springfield International, fine, but they didn't. They identified it as Dulles International which is within easy flying - or gliding - time to half a dozen other airports.

This is possible that other airports were closed due to bad weather.

Which necessitates the terrorists knowing that! They had to know the storm was coming for their plan to work. The stranded airlines could easily have diverted to an alternative even if that meant gliding, and they could do so without consulting air traffic control.

The terrorist obviously knew that. They are very arrogant and planned everything very accurately. They knew that other airports are closed because of the bad weather.

The airports were closed AFTER Esperanza's flight took off. The storm is an essential part of the terrorist's plans. Storms like the one we see can can diminish very rapidly or veer away from their original course (I have seen both happen) and cannot, ever, be counted on to the meticulous extent the terrorists do.

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Limitless picture

Plot hole: If Bradley Cooper was able to "quintuple" his money every day in the market as he claims to have done, he would have been able to earn the $100k he borrowed from a loan shark within a few days, starting from $800. Alternatively, he is shown in one scene winning a pot in poker where he could presumably also make a large amount of "seed" money from gambling. There was no need to borrow such a small sum of money from a loan shark, making the entire sub-plot unnecessary.

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Suggested correction: The main character says he did quintuple his money four days in a row, not that he could continue to do so. "Presumably" he could do anything, like robbing a bank. Gambling is not a secure source of income, even with knowledge of the odds and every tell, he could also lose a lot of money.

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Olympus Has Fallen picture

Plot hole: The fact that a five minute timer starts after the three Cerberus codes are entered defeats the purpose of the program. If they program was made to destroy their own nuke warheads in case of a misfire you would expect them to be destroyed as soon as all three codes are in. (01:38:20)

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Unstoppable picture

Plot hole: Had one or more locomotives coupled onto the real runaway's front engine, or even just been pushed by it, anyone aboard the "rescue" engine could have just walked to the unoccupied ones and shut them down - no copters or fireballs required.

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Suggested correction: Not necessarily. Some engines may not have a rear cab access (like Frank/Will's engine had). And even if the rescue engine did have a rear cab access 777's engine only had a side access stair which at the speed it was going is more difficult to climb over from the engine in front of it.

Actually 777's catwalk goes across the front, from side stair to side stair, but someone would have to leap over a rail or a chain to get onto it from the other engine. Why would there be stairs on the right side unless there was a catwalk to get to the door on the left side?

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The Day of the Jackal picture

Plot hole: An important plot point (in the book and the film) is that Charles Calthrop - thought to be the Jackal, at that stage - played some mysterious part in the 1961 assassination of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of The Dominican Republic, and rumours of his involvement came to the attention of MI6 and Special Branch, leading to the accidental exposure of the Jackal's false passport. In fact there is no mystery at all about the assassination of Trujillo and there were no shadowy foreigners involved. It was organised by Trujillo's own senior aides, amongst them General Juan Tomás Díaz, Antonio de la Maza, Amado Garcia Guerroro and General Antonio Imbert Barrera. The gunman was later identified as Luis Aniama Tio. All the conspirators except Tio were arrested, tortured, and shot. There was no panicked evacuation of foreigners who were involved with Trujillo's regime, and no reason for them to be concerned - the government did not fall and Trujillo's brother Hector took over as President, ruling in a brutal and totalitarian manner for a further eight years. Any rumours of a mysterious Englishman would have been dismissed out of hand and would not have made it onto even the lowest level filing system anywhere in Whitehall.

PEDAUNT

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Kong: Skull Island picture

Plot hole: The idea that Marlow would simply take a taxi to his wife's address after being missing in action for thirty odd years is stupid beyond belief. He was on a ship sailing from the central Pacific for days and those ships have radios! The US military would have known he was coming. Someone, somewhere would have notified the authorities that a US serviceman long thought dead was actually alive and on his way home and his wife and son would have been there on the docks to greet him, not standing slack-jawed in the kitchen dropping trays of drinks on the floor when he turned up! What would have happened if she had remarried? Or moved house? Or she was dead? Don't tell me the US military didn't know he was coming - he is wearing a brand new uniform, clean and pressed.

PEDAUNT

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Suggested correction: The implication is that Marlow went through an extensive debrief and nobody had contacted his family until the debrief had concluded, based on the top secret nature of the mission. As you say, the fact he has a brand new uniform suggests that he has contacted the US Military prior to ever contacting his family. The fact that his wife would have moved and re-married is irrelevant, he still would have made an attempt to contact her so he could see his son.

BaconIsMyBFF

And they wouldn't have contacted her after the debrief had been completed? What utter nonsense. Allowing him to just turn up on the doorstep without notifying his wife first is an utterly irresponsible and even dangerous act. She could have fainted with shock or even had a heart attack. She would absolutely, definitely, 100% carved in stone, been advised of her husband's survival and return.

Since we know very little about the completely fictional organization Monarch, we obviously cannot say they would "carved in stone" do anything. In order to be a mistake in the movie, it would have to be something that is impossible. A secret government organization that doesn't even exist in real life not behaving the way the real military would is not impossible. At least not by the rules set forth in the film. It's perhaps improbable but it is most certainly not impossible.

BaconIsMyBFF

It is an inviolable, carved in stone, fur lined, ocean going, top of the list rule that the next of kin are immediately advised of the change of status of military personnel. MIA, now confirmed dead? They'd be the first to know. MIA, now confirmed to be alive, same outcome. His wife would know he was on that ship coming home.

This is true in real life but in the fictional world of the movie Monarch is a secret, government agency that has some degree of control over the military. You can't apply the same rules as in real life in this situation.

BaconIsMyBFF

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Ocean's Eight picture

Plot hole: When Sarah Paulsen pulls the necklace out of the water, the necklace clasp is obviously closed. Since the circumference of the necklace is too small to fit over the top of Anne Hathaway's head, why would anyone believe that it fell off her when she was running to the bathroom? The only way that could have happened is if the clasp (which we were earlier told can only be opened by a magnet) had opened. The trained security guards wouldn't have suspected something wasn't right about a closed necklace falling off over of her? They were following her. They saw that at no point did she lower her head on her way to the bathroom for the necklace to fall off over her head to begin with. It also could not have fallen off her when she was vomiting into the toilet in the bathroom since the clasp was closed. (01:18:25)

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The Living Daylights picture

Plot hole: Necros had absolutely no way of knowing that Bond and Saunders had arranged to meet at the café when they did and wouldn't have had anywhere near enough time to track them down and set up his elaborate booby trap. Saunders only suggested the meeting place and time a few hours earlier, and it was kept strictly between him and Bond. The scene in Tangier, where Whittaker tells Necros to kill another British agent, takes place on the same day Bond arrived in Vienna; meaning that Necros got from Tangier to Vienna (a 5-hour plus flight), tracked down Saunders, acquired the materials to booby trap the café doors (or had planned this ahead of time - unlikely), and set the trap up well in advance of him and Bond getting to the fairground. There was nowhere near enough time for all of that to happen without Necros having psychic knowledge of Saunders' movements.

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Westworld picture

Plot hole: There is a barely credible explanation for the fact that a guest cannot be injured or killed by being shot in Westworld, but what about the vicious fistfight we see in the bar? People are injured or killed in bar brawls all the time, and this one was incredibly violent. How do they prevent guests from being injured or killed by the cutting and stabbing weapons we see in Medieval and Roman World? Guests are supposed to fight each other, not just robots - they cannot be 'programmed' to lose! Delos is going be sued into bankruptcy within a week of the first guest arriving. Quite apart from the legal position, think about the bad publicity! Who is going to pay the huge fees demanded by the parks owners when the media is constantly reporting on the guests who wound up dead or with life changing injuries?

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Suggested correction: The explanation given in the TV show would seem to easily apply to the original film as well: guests can be injured, but not to the point that it would leave a lasting mark. The park has access to futuristic medical techniques, so they can heal most non-life-threatening injuries easily. Also the guests almost certainly sign waivers, so in the event of serious injury the park isn't liable.

Suggested correction: It's easy to nitpick the factual details of "Westworld," the screenplay of which was written on-the-fly on a fairly limited budget, even by early 1970s' standards. Author Michael Crichton (who also wrote "The Andromeda Strain," "The Terminal Man," "Congo," "Sphere," "Jurassic Park" and several other technological thrillers) himself acknowledged that Westworld was more a visual story (like a comic book) than a cerebral piece of science fiction, and he learned on this movie that suspension of disbelief outweighed technical or even factual details, if he wanted to expedite the story in an hour-and-a-half. Crichton said he was having more fun and devoting more time to shooting the film than actually writing it, comparing the experience to playing cowboys and indians as a child. So, yes, Westworld is not much more than an adult fantasy with a number of plot holes that we are supposed to gleefully overlook, rather than analyze.

Charles Austin Miller

Except for blatant continuity mistakes you just invalidated every single entry on this site.

Suggested correction: Westworld ensure that any interactions with the robots are entirely safe for the patrons of the park. They cannot prevent humans fighting amongst themselves, just as Disneyland can't prevent people fighting there. People are also injured or die all the time in horse-riding accidents, but that won't lead to people suing Westworld. Due to the nature of the park, all the guests likely sign a waiver stating that any injuries are not the fault of the park.

Utter rubbish. Guests who were completely innocent bystanders could be killed or injured by the actions of other guests, notably in the bar brawl or by the explosion used in the jailbreak. We see one guest smash a barstool against the back of another guest - not a robot - which could easily have broken his spine. There is no question whatever that the owners and managers of the park would be held liable in this and many other cases, just as amusement park owners and managers nowadays are held liable when roller coasters or other rides go awry, injuring or killing guests.

The most plausible explanation would be a waiver that visitors to the park have to sign. The waiver would explain that while the robots cannot harm humans, other humans can, and the park is not held responsible. In the event of death or serious injury, the guest who caused it would face criminal charges and possibly a civil lawsuit. But a waiver would protect the park. Also, the rules of the park may be similar to those in the HBO Westworld series, where the robots cannot cause a "permanent mark", meaning they can injure guests as long as the injury is repairable.

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Hollow Man picture

Plot hole: Why on earth would the military be interested in a soldier (sailor, aviator, whatever) who has to go into combat naked and unarmed, and who is detectable by an enemy equipped with a pair of cheap, mass-produced goggles? How would you treat them if they were injured? They would be utterly useless in any form of military operation, even espionage.

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Suggested correction: Presumably the military are interested because Sebastian's research could lead to advanced forms of invisibility technology, such as the ability to turn materials and weapons invisible for use in combat.

You cannot second guess the film like that. Sebastian is making no effort to make non-living items invisible and throughout the film we see that is not possible (why else would Sebastian have to walk about naked?). His research is on animals (and later humans) not "materials and weapons" and is based on their physiology, anatomy and metabolism. How would you inject a rifle or a tank with a serum? They don't have a bloodstream. The military wouldn't see any value at all in this research - maybe they would be interested in invisibility, but not if it was restricted to living creatures as we see here.

You know how easy it would be for an invisible person to infiltrate an enemy's compound undetected and take out powerful leaders or dictators? Especially if no-one knew the technology existed.

Easy? Impossible. First, they would be naked and unarmed. Too bad if you are trying to knock off Vladimir Putin - a taekwondo black belt - with your bare hands during a Moscow winter! Being invisible doesn't mean you can avoid making a sound or triggering a pressure plate or an infrared detector and so on and so on. Final answer - a naked, unarmed combatant would be about as useful as a chocolate teapot in any form of operation, covert or otherwise.

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Guns of Navarone picture

Plot hole: The huge guns are set high up on a cliff face facing out to sea and it is obvious that they cannot be depressed to fire at a downward angle - the massive gun carriages set on rails would prevent that happening. They cannot be elevated to fire at an upward angle, too, because they fit pretty snugly in the hole cut into the cliff face to accommodate them. This means that their maximum and minimum ranges would be quite close together, covering a strip of maybe a few hundred metres either side. Given that the sea is completely open on the side of the island they are protecting, why don't the ships targeted by the guns while passing the island simply sail inside or outside of the narrow stretch of sea the guns can hit?

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Suggested correction: The guns are firing across a strait. A strait is a "narrow passage." Since the targets must appear at a limited range, the guns only need a limited elevation angle.

Noman

Watch the film again. The guns are facing the open sea. There is no land visible anywhere behind the ships. If that's a strait, it's a very, very wide one.

The mission given says the guns are guarding a strait. The last shot of the six destroyers shows land behind them on the opposite side of the strait.

Noman

Other summaries explain that the strait is only deep enough for the ships at the place which matches the guns' range. So ships could not take advantage of further away or closer in.

Then what are the dark shapes rising out of the sea on the far side of the ships. If they are not islands, what are they?

Noman

Suggested correction: That the gun carriages are supposedly set on rails is not correct. In the novel template, as well as in the film, it is shown that the guns were installed on turntables. And as for their variable angles of fire - it could be due to (fictional) modifications.

Daniel4646

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UHF (1989)

UHF picture

Plot hole: R.J. Fletcher is shown as a ruthless businessman who knows everything there is to know about Channel 62 - who owns it, how much it's worth, who is running it, the financial troubles it is having and so on and so on. He is also fully aware of the telethon and the fact that George is selling the station as a going concern for a total of $75,000.00. It is simply asking too much of audience credulity or 'suspension of belief' to think that such a hard-headed businessman would not work out that he could, using stooges, buy a controlling interest in the station for $37,501.00, saving himself a small fortune and closing the station down over the objections of his minority shareholders. Something this blatant could not possibly be a character mistake - he is already planning on buying the station for the full price (from Big Louis) so don't tell me he wouldn't just switch plans and buy it from George instead!

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Flight of the Phoenix picture

Plot hole: This film is set in 2004. The thought that no search and rescue operations would be put in place after an aircraft disappeared from radar during a routine flight is absurd. The Chinese are paranoid about intrusion on their territory and the downed aircraft would have been located by a simple satellite search within hours of it crashing. Chinese military satellites crisscross the Gobi and they are equipped with optical cameras, microwave and infrared detectors and radar, so spotting a metal aircraft on the ground would be simple even if it was hundreds of kilometres off course. The crew would have been visited by Chinese military helicopters (and probably arrested!) as soon as the storm had died down.

PEDAUNT

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Suggested correction: The Chinese government, for whatever reason, may have denied there was any crash at all if it suited their purposes, and the oil company that owned the plane would have little recourse. The Chinese have done this before. For the purpose of the plot, the survivors decided that they had to save themselves rather than wait for rescue and that was completely plausible.

Suggested correction: It's now 2021, and we still can't find Malaysian Airlines MH370. So this suggestion of planes always being found is laughable.

stiiggy

MH370 crashed into the ocean, and in fact some wreckage has been found. The Chinese military does not have the south Indian Ocean under satellite surveillance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unlike the Gobi desert where a crashed plane would be spotted within hours of it going missing.

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Salt picture

Plot hole: In the end, all they have to do is ask the President, when he's conscious (Liev didn't kill him; he just knocked him unconscious), who killed everyone in the control room and nearly killed him. He would know who the traitor is and it's not Salt - when they look back at the facts, they'll see how Salt only killed when she absolutely had to, and how she saved lives and stopped a 3rd world war.

kh1616

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Capricorn One picture

Plot hole: Further to the comments about the Lunar Lander being useless as a Mars Lander - who is going to believe that three men spent eighteen months crammed into a tiny Lunar Command Module? Not only would they go out of their minds, where would they store the tonnes of water and food they would need in that tiny capsule? How could the Service Module carry enough oxygen or have enough battery power to make the trip?

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Suggested correction: You're assuming they travelled from Earth to Mars in the lander alone. The astronauts didn't do this when they went to the moon. The Lunar Lander was attached to the command module during the 3-day journey. When the astronauts reached the moon, they detached the lander from the command module and landed on the surface. It is reasonable to believe the astronauts for Capricorn One did the same thing, except on a much bigger ship for a journey that lasted over a year. We just never saw it.

Mike Lynch

The posting did not refer to the Lunar Lander, it referred to the tiny Lunar Command Module, the only part of the Saturn V that returned to Earth. From 44:00 to 48:08 of the film we see a live broadcast, supposedly from Martian orbit, showing all three astronauts crammed into a Lunar Command Module. The posting is absolutely correct.

This is another Deus ex Machina explanation for a blatant film mistake. The astronauts launched into orbit in a standard Saturn V rocket which could not possibly carry anything like a spacecraft large enough to make the trip to Mars. There is nothing in the film to suggest that there was a "much bigger ship" involved.

They are also shown seated in the tiny Apollo command module, supposedly transmitting messages from orbit around Mars. The posting is absolutely correct.

You're assuming the astronauts were launched in a standard Saturn V rocket, but with all the resources needed for a journey to Mars that took 18 months round trip, NASA would have to send them on a larger rocket to accommodate the required oxygen, water, food, spare parts, supplies, etc. needed to bring them back safely.

Mike Lynch

Did you watch the film? From 1:54 to 2:25 we see an establishing shot of a perfectly ordinary Saturn V rocket on the launch pad. From 6:05 to 6:43 we see all three astronauts strapped into the tiny, Lunar Command Module. As has already been pointed out from 44:00 to 48:08 we see a live broadcast, supposedly from Martian orbit, showing all three astronauts crammed into a Lunar Command Module. There is absolutely no mention of a larger spacecraft and none is ever shown.

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