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!
Visible crew/equipment: A stock car carrying Mel Tillis and Terry Bradshaw drove into a hotel swimming pool. If you watch the car as it drives into the pool, you'll see the jump ramp built at the end of the pool.
Other mistake: When the two Americans are walking on the moors, their shadows are always in front of them, despite them having changed direction numerous times. Additionally, with the moon always being behind them, how are their faces being lit?
Visible crew/equipment: When the boy takes the boat out for a ride by himself and is riding it around in circles, you can clearly see the helicopter's shadow in the center of the circle.
Revealing mistake: At the beginning when the ruler is making his speech, you can see his modern day fillings in his upper molars.
Continuity mistake: When Jenny arrives at Oliver's parents' home, her hair is stringy and separated, but when she walks through the front door, it is brushed.
Continuity mistake: When John Reed is eating dinner with his wife in their cottage, in one shot he is reaching for a piece of bread. The next shot he's missing the bread and the following shot has him reaching for it again.
Continuity mistake: In the final scene of the movie, on the highway, Cora (Jessica Lange) is ejected from the car Frank (Jack Nicholson) is driving, hits the ground, dies instantly after the impact, and rolls over to the shoulder of the road. Weeping, Frank kneels by her side and holds her motionless right hand with his right hand, which, of course, has no wedding ring (They had just been married.) The next and last close-up shot shows he's holding her right hand with his LEFT HAND, the wide gold wedding ring appearing now in full sight. (01:59:33)
Other mistake: When Arthur is in the bath tub, Hobson brings him a martini on a tray. Arthur grabs the glass. It shoots over to Hobson then back to Arthur and he picks up the glass again without even putting it down.
Audio problem: When Bunny (Ramon) is, as Zorro, spelling out "Zorro" on the wall with his whip, the number of whiplash sounds does not match the number of marks in the wall.
Continuity mistake: About half way through the movie, the three main characters are in a loft. When the Asian girl grabs the postal worker's jacket, a cassette tape falls out of his pocket. As the girl bends down to pick up the tape, the camera shows here reaching with one hand, and then the camera switches to a close-up of her picking up the tape with the opposite hand.
Continuity mistake: Set in the 1930s, Steve Martin is teaching a class of grade-schoolers in one scene. This would only be picked up by Canadians, but one of the many flags on the wall is the new (as of 1965) Canadian Flag - Red Maple Leaf with two red panels on either edge.
Revealing mistake: In the letter to Mike Gallagher attached to the newspaper, subscription is misspelled. Sally Field is a reporter, so she should have caught that. (01:19:43)
Visible crew/equipment: In the cookery class Susan returns to her worktop after talking to Steve - there is a shadow of the camera on the oven to her right.
Visible crew/equipment: When Anne and Tyler break into the morgue, the shadow of the camera can be seen on the wall outside.
Continuity mistake: When Jeremy Irons goes out on the breakwater to talk to Meryl Streep his umbrella is in his right hand. When the scene shifts his umbrella is in his left hand. (00:01:00 - 00:04:00)
Continuity mistake: When the protagonists get in the office to talk to his client at the beginning of the movie, he's holding the bag one way outside the door, the other way around when he walks in.
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).
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.
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.