WarGames (1983)

19 corrected entries

(5 votes)

Corrected entry: When David calls Jennifer from a pay phone where he claims he's at NORAD in Colorado, he asks her to buy him a plane ticket from Grand Junction to Goose Bay, Oregon. NORAD is located near Colorado Springs, that has a main airport. Grand Junction is a five hour drive west through the Rocky Mountains.

Correction: He's just escaped from NORAD. The Colorado Springs airport is probably the first place they'd watch for him. David's smart enough to think of that.

Captain Defenestrator

Correction: He said Salem Oregon when you watch the film that's what it sounds like his destination was.

Corrected entry: At the end, the suggestion to unplug W.O.P.R. to prevent the missiles from being launched was actually the right suggestion. Given that W.O.P.R. was guessing the launch code by brute force, the actual order to launch the missiles wouldn't be given until the launch code was determined and therefore the silos would not interpret anything until they received not only the order to launch but with the right launch code.


Correction: This was explained in the movie. Unplugging W.O.P.R. would trigger a failsafe that would launch the missiles automatically without needing the launch codes, on the assumption that the disconnection meant NORAD was no longer operational. Given all the ways communications could be interrupted this is a stupid failsafe but, in the context of the movie, this isn't a plot hole.

Corrected entry: There is a problem in this movie with time compression. They are racing against the clock to save the world, yet the two main actors manage to travel from Colorado to Oregon, play scenes with the scientist, and get back in what seems like a day or so.

Correction: It is approximately 2 days but that is well within a credible time frame for the film. When Joshua calls David the night David sees the TV news and calls Jennifer, the computer screen shows over 50 hours left in the game. The FBI grabs David the next morning based on that call from Joshua. The FBI immediately flies him from Seattle to NORAD (near Denver, CO); at most a 3-hour flight. David escapes NORAD a few hours later, hitchhikes and then flies to Oregon. The same afternoon he gets to Oregon and meets Jennifer, they find Falken within hours and spend no more than a few hours with him. Furthermore, just before Falken picks David and Jennifer up in his helicopter, we see a shot of the WOPR showing 9 hours left -- plenty of time to get back to NORAD around the time the game is ending, which is exactly what they do. Therefore, it not only is a plausible time frame, it is well executed by the filmmakers.

JW Pepper

Corrected entry: In the film, the DEFCON scale is treated with 1 being war-status and 5 being absolute peace. In real life, it's the other way round with 5 being war and 1 being absolute peace.

Correction: This is completely wrong. The movie had it right, this poster has it backwards. Googling DEFCON will give many results showing this.

Corrected entry: At one point the General suggests unplugging the system so the missiles won't go off. McKittrick says the WOPR would interpret that as a shutdown and launch the missiles anyway. But if that were the case then why didn't WOPR launch the missiles when David shut down the game from his home earlier in the film?

Correction: The General and McKittrick don't know the computer is simulating a game and think this is the real thing. The computer won't launch missiles even if they did unplug, even though McKittrick thinks that. That's why it didn't launch anything when David shut off the game either.


Exactly right. Joshua knows it's a game at the house. McKittrick thinks the whole thing has been real at the time je makes the comment - which actually raises the question: why didn't McKittrick put 2 and 2 together at that point and realise David was telling the truth about the game? (although in the narrative of the film it is, at that point, irrelevant and would likely be out of step to go there in the story).

JW Pepper

Corrected entry: The very first time when David connects to NORAD from his room and Jennifer is in the room with him she is wearing very short, shorts, but after they flash to the NORAD scene during the first simulated attack and we go back to David's room, Jennifer is now wearing long sweat pants.


Correction: In that scene Jennifer already enters the scene running with long dark sweat pants and from that moment on she remains with them. She is not wearing short pants at all in that scene not to mention from the beginning.

Corrected entry: McKittrick tells the General at one point that the missiles won't launch unless in DEFCON 1. However towards the end of the film, everyone in Norad is in a panic when seeing Joshua getting the code and about to launch the missiles itself. Why then wouldn't anyone in Norad just get out of DEFCON 1 and move to any other DEFCON number so Joshua could not launch the missiles even if finding the code? Nobody with NORAD intelligence thought of that?

Correction: Joshua had full control of the system, including controlling the defense condition.

Corrected entry: When David is trying to play the different games on the list before he finds out about Joshua, he types in "Armageddon", this game is not on the list he printed out.


Correction: He is not trying to play different games. He is trying to guess the backdoor password from Falken. He studies Falken to try and guess it. In the scene before, he finds an article that Dr Falken and McKittrick wrote and in the title is the word Armageddon. That is why he uses it.

Corrected entry: At the start a captain and lieutenant take up duty at the Launch Control Facility. Shortly after taking up duty an audio "Go to war" signal is received. Part of the signal is Tango, Tango, Lima, Alpha (T,T,L,A) in writing it down to confirm correctness the lieutenant writes down T,T,A,A.

Correction: If you look closely the lieutenant writes down correctly. The L is deformed but still readable as an L.

Corrected entry: At the end after the "missiles" hit the air force bases and they find it was all a bluff, they cannot stand down the missiles because they are locked out of the WOPR. When the general tells McKittrick to "just unplug the damn thing", he says they cannot because the silos would interpret the shutdown as a destruction of NORAD and they would carry out their last commands which would be to launch. When they play Tic_tac_toe and tell Joshua to play himself, he hits the code to launch (not that this would work, since the code would not be found one digit at a time, either it's correct or not), then blows up a stack of circuits due to overload. Based on what Mckittrick said earlier, the silos would have launched the missiles.

Correction: It would make sense if all power to WOPR had been shut down due to the overload. However, since WOPR comes back and "talks" to them, it is obvious that it is still in control even with the blown circuits. Since it is still in control, it can countermand the order to launch.

Zwn Annwn

Corrected entry: The whole point of playing tic-tac-toe in the end was so Joshua could learn that the game would always end a tie. But take a close look at the second game he plays in the war room. Two "X"s and two "O"s are played in boxes where all Joshua would have to do is put the next X in the top middle box, and he would've won that game. A human could conceivably miss that, but since it was just established that Joshua was playing himself (of players "zero"), a computer wouldn't have missed such an easy move, especially since the reason Joshua plays anything is "to win the game".

Correction: That is not right because the next move was done with an "O".

Correction: The 2nd game with the 2 X's and 2 O's, the X's are in to top left and middle square. Putting the X in the top middle wouldn't result in X winning and would leave the bottom middle open for O to win.


Corrected entry: As David and Jennifer sneak up the stairs to his room while his unaware dad is watching the news in the next room, listen carefully to the news anchor. The newsman says, "There has been an explosion in a prophylactic recycling plant." Obviously nobody recycles condoms, so this is probably an adlibbed joke by the fake news voice talent that stayed in the final cut.

Correction: Prophylactics are also rubber gloves, NOT exclusively condoms. There can be rubber glove recycling plants.

Damian Torres

Corrected entry: In the scene at NORAD when officials are trying to figure out what happened with the initial security breach, Paul says to McKittrick that the perpetrator broke in using a backdoor left in by the original programmer (i.e., Falken's password "Joshua"). That meeting also reveals that they took the backdoor out, but that the guy broke in again (note that David did not intentionally break in again - Joshua called David). The error comes when David is left alone in McKittrick's office in a later scene and proceeds to login using "Joshua." That password was gone by then (just as it is at the end when Falken tries to use it).

JW Pepper

Correction: While the original back door was removed, Joshua demonstrated remarkable initiative by contacting David. Joshua would certainly want to reinstall the back door if he wanted to give David access, and might have closed it down again himself later when he did not want to be distracted.

Good explanation and very possible.

JW Pepper

Corrected entry: At the beginning in the launch sequence, we see the officers enter the launch command sequence etc. into the computer. At the top of the display screen there is "WOPR Execution Order". The WOPR is the computer installed later to replace the missile launch personnel, and is a brand new device, so this screen display is a little too early.

Correction: WOPR is the real name for Joshua who authorized the strike and existed at this point in the film.

Corrected entry: Brodericks character first gets to class, his teacher is discussing the answer to question 2, when Broderick sits down, the teacher then asks Ally Sheedy's character the answer to question 4, bad editing has missed out a question.

Correction: Not necessarily. Teachers do not always review every question on a quiz. Question 3 may have been unimportant, or something everyone got right, so there was no need to review it.

Corrected entry: At the beginning, the missile silo launch officers are changing shifts. Both of the officers going off duty exit the control room before either of the two relieving officers enter, thus leaving the watch stations completely unmanned for ten seconds or more, not very likely for a strategic nuclear military facility. (00:02:20)

Correction: Though it's probably not officially a permissible procedure, it doesn´t mean there can't be a little "off-the-record" behavior. These experienced men know fully well that they are the only ones down there as always.


Corrected entry: Towards the end of the movie, when they are trying to get into NORAD, they crash their jeep into the fence and the jeep falls over. The next scene shows them running away from the jeep, and it's parked normally.

Correction: The jeep that is parked normally is not the jeep they were driving. It was already parked on the inside of the fence before the crash. They crashed their jeep on the outside of the fence. As they run inside the gate and past the normal jeep, the crashed jeep can still be seen laying on its side on the outside of the fence.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Matthew Broderick is brought in by the F.B.I. for questioning, they mention he had reservations for two to Paris. However, when he put the reservation into Pan Am's system, it was done under the name "Mack, Jennifer K." (00:29:15 - 00:58:55)

Correction: They traced his recent calls after he hacked into W.O.P.R. and found the reservation. That's why Dabney Coleman said "Who were you going to Paris with?" as they had nothing on Jennifer.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: At the end of the film when Prof. Falken is typing responses to Joshua you hear Joshua's voice. Speakers weren't hooked into the computer. Where is the voice supposed to becoming from?

Correction: The computer is hooked up to the building's PA system. Just because there are no speakers wired into the computer itself doesn't mean that it can't send sounds through the network connection.

But why is Norad's voice simulator the same as some high school kid?

This was 1983. All synthesized voice effects sounded the same. That was considered cutting edge, even.

THAT is the actual mistake. Being able to hear Joshua would make sense, but why would NORAD use the same off-the-shelf synthesizer as David?

There was a popular speech synthesis chip in the 1980s that was used in many consumer electronics to synthesize speech, the General Instruments SP0256. It was one of the earliest speech synthesis systems available to the general public. Actually I think I've heard that was what the producers actually used, and if you listen to the sample on wikipedia, it sounds a lot like the Joshua voice. It would be plausible (as far as plausibility goes in movie computer systems) that both the NORAD computer system and the home computer system had one installed. There simply is no need for NORAD to develop their own speech synthesis chip.

Plot hole: McKittrick says the computer will not accept the launch codes unless they are at DEFCON 1. At the end of the climax the computer is trying to guess the code while they are at DEFCON 1. So why couldn't they just go back to a different DEFCON before the correct code was guessed?

More mistakes in WarGames

David Lightman: [On the computer] Hello, are you still playing the game?
Joshua: Of course. I should reach Defcon 1 and release my missiles in 28 hours. Would you like to see some projected kill ratios?
David Lightman: Sixty-nine percent of the housing destroyed. Seventy-two million people dead. [Types into computer] Is this a game or is it real?
Joshua: What's the difference?

More quotes from WarGames

Trivia: Closely listen to the TV playing in the background, when Mathew Broderick comes home from school, before all his trouble starts with the Feds. The local news is on, and is saying "a fire broke out in a prophylactic recycling factory."

More trivia for WarGames

Question: Since David told McKittrick that he thought he was only playing a game and at the time didn't know that he hacked into WOPR, McKittrick tells him that they're still on Defcon 4. Why would it still be on Defcon 4 instead of it going back to Defcon 5 after David confessed everything?

Answer: The assistant to McKitrict explains that US is waiting to go back on DEFCON once the Russians do so.

Answer: McKittrick doesn't believe David. He thinks he's covering for accomplices...most likely Russian spies.

More questions & answers from WarGames

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