Hidden Figures

Factual error: The green car that the 3 ladies are always in has a shot where you can see the brand of tires being a Hankook Optimo. This was in 1961 and these radial tires didn't exist yet.

Factual error: The eight stripe IBM logo is shown on a portfolio. That logo did not exist until 1972.

Factual error: The movie takes place in 1961 but the police car escorting the women to work is a 1964 Galaxie 500.

Factual error: The truck that drives Neil Armstrong to the launch pad is an M939 series 5 ton, which did not go into service until 1982.

Factual error: During this era (I was there), nearly everyone (myself excluded) smoked like chimneys, and engineers in the office scene were no exception. All depictions of them laboring over their slide rules should have, realistically, been seen through a thick haze of cigarette smoke.

stevewaclo Premium member

Factual error: In one scene in the car (a 1957 Chevrolet), someone turns on the radio. The sound from the radio is heard immediately. This would only happen in a transistor radio. The radio in that year Chevy was a tube radio, and would need time to warm up before any sound was heard.


Factual error: When they are watching the video of Yuri Gagarin's space flight (April of 1961), the announcer describes the time as "UTC." The official abbreviation of UTC and the official English name of Coordinated Universal Time was not adopted until 1967. They would have described it as "GMT" (Greenwich Mean Time).


Factual error: They show a clip of JFK's Rice University speech on Sept. 12, 1962. Shortly afterwards, Paul Stafford makes a statement that JFK has ensured their job security by proposing to go to the moon. They should have shown the clip from his speech to Congress on May 12, 1961 when he actually first made the proposal to go to the moon. By the time of the Rice speech, two orbital flights had already taken place. In the movie, the first orbital flight (Glenn) doesn't happen until after the Rice speech.

Factual error: The signs in the hallway are made of blue plastic. Not in 1961. They became common later. (00:09:35)

Factual error: When Colonel Jackson comes to town to organize a National Guard unit, he is wearing the Army Green military uniform. It only has the branch insignia (infantry) and the US lapel. It has no name tag, no shoulder insignia showing what unit he was assigned to, no shoulder unit crests and no award ribbons. A person with that rank must have been in the Armed Forces at least 16-18 years and no ribbons?

Factual error: When the man takes a picture at the party, he holds the camera up to his face like a modern camera. The old style camera he is using would require you to hold it down at waist level and look down into the viewfinder.

Factual error: In at least two places in the film an IBM Selectric is used. They are: (a) A room at the beginning of the movie where typewriters are shown; (b) Near the end when Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is typing up her report. The Selectric was introduced on July 31, 1961 (the year most of the movie takes place). It is impossible for it to have been used during the first scene as that takes place prior to Shephard's flight, which was on May 5, 1961. Glenn's flight in Friendship 7 took place on February 2, 1962. So the Selectric may have been used by Johnson at that time, but it is extremely unlikely. IBM had expected to sell 20,000 in the first 6 months and had orders (not deliveries) for 80,000 of them by the end of 1961. They were rare. NASA would not have gotten one, as law offices and similar business were IBM's bread and butter.

Dennis LeRoy Dunn

Factual error: When John Glenn is in the van being transported to the launch pad, the van is being escorted by a police vehicle with Virginia markings. (The launch pad is in Florida).

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