Best movie factual errors of 1996
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Factual error: During the final battle over Area 51, Russell Casse appears in his F-18 and states he is armed. After he attempts to acquire radar lock on the alien's primary weapon, he states he is locked on and has tone. He then says the tactical brevity code Fox-2, which indicates the launch of an infrared-guided missile. However, the missile he is actually attempting to launch is an AIM-54 Phoenix, which is an active radar guided missile, designated by the launch code Fox-3. The master monitor display also incorrectly shows the missile mounted on the port wingtip launcher of the aircraft where the AIM-9 Sidewinder would normally be mounted, instead of on the port wing's weapon pylon where the missile actually is. Historically, the F-14 Tomcat was the only fighter capable of carrying the AIM-54, as it was such a heavy missile; the AIM-54 was never used on the F/A-18. Instead, they carry the AIM-120 AMRAAMs, not the AIM-54 Phoenix that were shown in the film.Stonewall
Factual error: In the begining when Jo's dad is bringing the family downstairs and say's "TV says it's big, might be an F-5" That scene was set in 1969. In reality he would not have known anything about an F-5 or any tornado with an F rating because the Fujita scale was not developed until 1971. (00:02:45)
Factual error: The United States Air Force does NOT, ever, allow its pilots to box competitively! Ground staff, yes; pilots, no, never. A pilot can be suspended from flying if he/she receives a blow to the head in day-to-day life; boxing is right out. Almost all air forces (the RAF included) impose this rule.
Factual error: The vents that Hunt and his sidekick crawl down at CIA Headquarters are standard galvanized iron box vents; they are very common in the building trade. Try walking or crawling down one - you'll make a noise like the sky is falling down. People will be able to hear you for miles. Every person in that building would know somebody crawling about in the vent system. (This error applies to dozens of films, not only this one).
Factual error: The actual Tsavo lions responsible for the killings had no manes - see for yourself; they are on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. [The filmmakers employed artistic license in using maned lions. They were also certain to include -- at the very end of the movie -- footage of the real Tsavo maneaters, as they appear in the Field Museum.]
Factual error: The crew sent to board the ill fated jumbo jet is in the "Remora", which is clearly a modified F-117A Stealth Fighter, but retaining the same dimensions. It would be physcially impossible to fit that many people and such a spacious cargo hold into a plane that size with the engines. In fact, with the additional weight, the engines would have to be even bigger for it to operate.
Factual error: Atropine is on two occasions in the movie stated to offer some kind of protection against corrosive gasses. First, against the nerve agent/gas Goodspeed encounters in the beginning of the movie, which is corrosive enough to eat through a protective suit. Secondly, near the end of the movie against the cloud of VX gas; here Goodspeed injects Atropine into his heart and survives without a scratch even though it is stated that VX will melt your skin. While Atropine is used to counter the effect of nerve agents, Atropine (or any other drug invented by man) wouldn't do anything against a gas that can eat through a protective suit or dissolve skin. In this case the muscle contractions created by the nerve agent would be the least of your worries.Andreas[DK]
Factual error: We learn that the previous sheriff, Charlie Wade, took revenge on anyone who smuggled illegal immigrants across the border in the late 1950s - we are shown the smuggling, as Eladio Cruz hides a group of Mexican men in a watermelon truck to take them across the border. However, in the 1950s, the border was not fortified the way it is now - the smuggling shown would simply not have been necessary.