Common movie and TV mistakes - page 8

This is a list of mistakes, things done wrong, etc. that happen so frequently onscreen we barely notice any more. 'Movie logic', stupid behaviours, and everything related.

Factual error: People running away from explosions and just barely escaping the fireball. Never mind the fact that would be pushing a wave of superheated air in front of it which would kill them just as easily as the bit you can see.

Other mistake: Whenever you see TV characters riding in a car, the radio is almost never on unless it's plot-relevant. This is for two reasons: 1) Having it on would distract the audience from the characters' dialogue, and 2) The producers would have to pay to license any music that would be played.

Factual error: Rainfall in movies and television is almost always depicted as a sudden and heavy downpour (sometimes cued by a crack of thunder and/or lightning strike) as opposed to gradually building up to it. This is pretty rare in real life.

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Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: Cloudbursts and showers are that way, and they are pretty common in some areas, specially near mountains. I don't know about New York but in several Latin American countries they are not eyebrow rising worth.

I'd add that along with the rain suddenly pouring, it falls in straight lines - with the exact same distance between streams - that are perpendicular to the ground. (All rainfall is vertical, never at an angle).


Factual error: Films set in or around the middle ages depict horses being the size of modern horses. In actuality, horses during that time period were smaller, closer to modern ponies.

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Factual error: It's a common thing in shows dealing in law enforcement to see a cop kicking open a suspect's door in one try. Doors aren't that easy to break open in real life. This is why cops in the real world use battering rams or a sledgehammer for this purpose. Even a door that is hollow could lead to the cop kicking his foot straight through instead of forcing the door open, and a door with a solid frame is more likely to lead to the cop sustaining an injury.

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Factual error: Chloroform doesn't render people unconscious almost immediately, it takes a few minutes.

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Character mistake: A lawyer in an American court will object to part of a witness' testimony and when the judge sustains it, the lawyer does not move for the objectionable testimony to be stricken from the record. In real life, if a judge sustains a lawyer's objection to a testimony, the lawyer will request the testimony be stricken from the record, otherwise it will be fair game for the opposing counsel to refer back to that testimony later in the trial.

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Other mistake: The "latest hit video game" in film and TV productions will often seem very old fashioned, with outdated features like numbered levels, high scores, extra lives, etc.; indicating that some writers have not kept up with video game trends since the early 1990's.


Factual error: Many times in movies, we can see the hero running into a burning building or approaching a burning vehicle to save someone, then escape from the flames with only a few black coal spots on his face. In reality, the extreme heat would make it impossible for an unprotected person to get THAT close to fiercely burning fire. Even if he can overcome his natural instinct, the pain from hot air would be unbearable (it's nearly as excruciating as direct burning) and leave him with severe injuries.


Factual error: In movies including fighter jet battle scenes, the pilot bailing out from a terminally damaged plane can walk away immediately after touching ground. In reality, emergency ejection is very stressful to the human body, even if trained. The least you can expect is back pain, dizziness, ringing ears and numb legs for days, but the pilot can even fall unconscious from the sudden shock while descending. EE is much more unpleasant and less heroic than usually depicted in films.


Other mistake: In racing scenes, the protagonist usually has unfortunate disadvantages through the race (issues at the start, unplanned pit stops due to technical problems, etc...) and falls back drastically. Still, after having a sentimental flashback or hearing his girlfriend over the radio, the camera shows him changing into the top gear, pushing the throttle all the way down (the heck was he doing so far then?), and he catches the pack in a matter of seconds then overtakes all opponents with ease.


Factual error: Movies with trials in which the protagonist is on the verge of losing until a last minute whammy piece of evidence is brought up that ends up winning the trial in their favor (such as "Liar Liar"). In real life, lawyers have to add the evidence in before they are allowed to talk about it, and if the judge doesn't know where they are going with it, they will ask the lawyer to make a proffer.

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Deliberate mistake: Though characters have full-time jobs, they seem to have incredibly understanding bosses since their day and night hours are spent with people outside the workplace.

Mike Lynch

Factual error: When someone is burying a dead body, one person alone digs a hole big enough to bury a fully grown adult with a garden spade usually in about five minutes. There is also no sign of the earth that has been displaced by the body.

eric 64

Other mistake: When the "good" guys can easily kill someone wearing protective combat gear, bullet-proof vests, etc with just one shot, but the "good" guy can get shot multiple times and be OK.


Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: It depends on where the good guy was hit at and how bad the bullet wound is.

Factual error: Whenever an aircraft goes into some kind of nosedive, they will almost always make low-pitched whine that gets louder as the aircraft goes faster. But this is the Jericho Siren that was fitted to the Stuka dive bomber by the Germans in WWII for the purposes of psychological warfare. It's a specific device that has to be fitted, nothing else would make this sound on its own.


Other mistake: Characters that are standing outside in freezing cold weather, but their breath won't be visible. This is more common in TV shows, where the outdoor setting is just a set in the studio.

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Audio problem: A real-life band will be giving a live performance, but the audio is of the studio recording, such as Rammstein performing "Feuer Frei!" in xXx or Alice Cooper performing "Feed My Frankenstein" in Wayne's World.

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