Best movie factual errors of 1981

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Stripes picture

Factual error: Then, as now, every recruit reporting to boot camp would be tested for illegal drugs, first by a urine test and then by a broad spectrum blood test in the case of a positive result. There is no reason for Elmo to try to hide his stash when the recruits are told they are to be tested - he is going to come up positive anyway. He may as well just say he has changed his mind and walk away. He is entitled to do that any time up to ten days after he signed on, and it happened a lot in real life!

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Suggested correction: Those drug tests didn't exist in 81.

Did you watch the film? The recruits are told they are about to take a broad spectrum drug test - not they are going to be searched for drugs, they are going to tested for the presence of illegal drugs in their systems. As has been pointed out such drug tests were mandatory at the time the film is set but that is not important - in the context of the film Elmo's action make no sense as he is going to be tested for drugs. Hiding his stash makes no sense at all as it will not solve his immediate problem. The posting is correct and the correction is nonsensical.

What specific drug tests didn't exist? Nixon directed a military drug urinalysis program in 1971 and the DoD started random drug testing in 1974 (not that testing deterred drug use).

Bishop73

I enlisted in 1982. I got a single drug test at the meps and didn't get tested again during an entire 3 year enlistment. In fact, I didn't receive a drug test until 2 years into my second enlistment. The military just wasn't as strict on drug testing.

ssgemt

Drug testing of recruits commenced in the United States on a trial basis in 1975 and became compulsory in 1977. In 1981 every single volunteer would have to take a broad spectrum drug test before being allowed to start boot camp.

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Body Heat picture

Factual error: Regardless of how bad an attorney he is, Ned Racine must surely know that his acquittal for murder is a shoe-in. It's very doubtful that the prosecution would have even held out for remand in his case, and in fact they probably would not have even charged him in the first place. The fact that his fingerprints are on Edmund Walker's glasses is irrelevant. He and Racine were seen in public together, notably in the restaurant, and he freely admits to being in Walker's house. He could have handled Walker's glasses on any one of these occasions. The conversation Racine has with Ted about building the firebomb cannot be used in court, as Ted fires Racine as his lawyer at his second meeting; everything from the first is covered by attorney-client privilege. Maddy obviously isn't around to give evidence, and the yearbook entry Racine finds throws suspicion on her (and away from Racine) immediately. There are no witnesses and no forensic evidence, in fact there is nothing to support the prosecution case except a vague suspicion based upon his having had an affair with the widow-to-be. No court in the US would entertain the case for a minute.

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Gallipoli picture

Factual error: Frank, Archie and Snowy are all rural boys from New South Wales, but they all play Australian Rules football expertly. In 1915 Australian Rules was almost unknown outside of Melbourne. In a time before television or film they wouldn't even know what the ball looked like. In fact the game was only established in Sydney in the 1980s, and is still not terribly popular there. There is no way that three people from New South Wales would know how to play the game in 1915, let alone with such skill.

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Time Bandits picture

Factual error: When the Titanic sinks all six dwarves and Kevin end up in the sea clutching a lifebelt. The water in which the Titanic sank was freezing - that is how most of the casualties died, by freezing, not drowning. In water like that you'd be lucky to stay conscious for more than a few minutes. Despite this none of them show the slightest effect of the cold. Maybe the dwarves have some 'magical' ability to withstand lethal cold, but Kevin doesn't even react to being plunged into freezing cold water. He'd be screaming in pain, but he doesn't even show the slightest sign of discomfort.

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Mommie Dearest picture

Factual error: When Christina mixes a drink for one of Mommie's "guests" she bends down behind the bar to put a bottle back. Sitting on top of the bar is a Trigger Sprayer bottle of "Fantastick" - a spray that did not come out until the late 60's.

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Chariots of Fire picture

Factual error: Another flag gaffe: The Canadian flag in the 1920s was either the red ensign or the Union Jack. The Maple Leaf only became the national flag in 1965.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark picture

Factual error: When Indiana Jones is fighting the big German by the airplane, the German punches Indiana Jones on his right cheek. Indy's face and body are both knocked down to the right, in the direction of the punch. When you watch this, you can see it's impossible to be knocked down in such a way. (01:17:55)

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Halloween II picture

Factual error: At the end of the film where the blinded Michael is swinging his scalpel aimlessly, it makes loud "swooshing" sounds. This is pure fantasy. I have personally mimicked what Michael did using similar small scalpels and even larger knives without almost no sound when swinging them.

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For Your Eyes Only picture

Factual error: In the pre-credit sequence with Bond and Blofeld, the helicopter makes a steep dive, however, the sound it makes is for a fixed-wing airplane, similar to dive bombers in WW2. Helicopters make no such sound.

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Escape to Victory picture

Factual error: In the final football game scenes ( from about three-quarters of the way through the film or so) all the spectators are wearing 1970's clothes and have 1970's hairstyles.

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The Cannonball Run picture

Factual error: Looking at the dimensions of the low-loader and the dimensions of the ambulance, Victor is laying at 90 degrees to the ambulance as we see a shot from the front of the vehicle (over the lower wishbone). There's no way that he could mend the transmission without his legs sticking out the tarpaulin and not being seen.

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Escape From New York picture

Factual error: The wrestler is killed by Snake stabbing the back of his head with a spiked bat, having rather long and thick spikes on it. As the Wrestler falls against the net, the back of his head is shown as he is slumped over the net. There is no wound on his head, nor any trace of blood, despite having one or more large spikes just jammed into it. (01:16:55)

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An American Werewolf in London picture

Factual error: Though it's set in England, hospital personnel use American terms like "charts" and "orderly". In any British hospital these should be "case notes" and "porter", respectively .

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Pennies from Heaven picture

Factual error: The boxcars in the opening scene have bar codes, but the film is set in the 1930s.

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Threshold picture

Factual error: After the autopsy of "Sheila," the medical examiner tells the entomology expert that "she has no internal organs whatsoever." Yet, we're looking at "Sheila," and she has not been cut open at all, certainly not in the standard Y-shaped incision used in autopsies. Wouldn't even the worst medical examiner at least look inside before stating that internal parts were missing?

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Southern Comfort picture

Factual error: In the boat-stealing scene, when the machine gunner fires a burst of blanks out of the M60 at the Cajuns, the weapon functions perfectly. However, the muzzle is bare. When firing with blanks, weapons have to have metal pieces called blank adaptors screwed into the muzzle to keep enough gas inside the weapon to cycle the bolt. Without one, the M60 would fire one round and stop.

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The Last Chase picture

Factual error: Franklyn Hart keeps his car running by pumping out the gas from the bottom of abandoned gas pumps which the pumps themselves couldn't reach. In reality, as this gas is on the bottom, it would be full of sludge and garbage, and since it has been sitting there for 20 years, it would barely be usable and would probably damage the engine. He certainly wouldn't be able to do high speeds with it.

Gavin Jackson

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Race for the Yankee Zephyr picture

Factual error: There could never be an aircraft of World War 2 vintage with the call sign "Yankee Zephyr". If it was a US aircraft (it appears to be) it would have the call sign "Yankee Zulu". If it was an RAF aircraft it would be "Yoke Zephyr". This all changed when the phonetic alphabets were standardised by NATO in the Fifties, but the DC3 in this film is supposed to have crashed before the end of World War 2 in 1945.

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Mad Max 2 picture

Factual error: There's no way the gyro helicopter could carry 2 men and four jerrycans of petrol across a desert. It is only built for one person and would never lift off. And where would they put the second person and petrol anyway?

Gavin Jackson

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