Factual error: During the part where they're in NORAD and watching all of the Soviet "nukes" hit various bases in the US, a base in northern Maine is listed as, "Loring AFB 43 Bomb Wing." This was a real air force base, but it was the 42nd Bomb Wing that flew B-52s out of Loring. The 43rd Bomb Wing did exist, too, but it was based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in the North Pacific.
Continuity mistake: The tour group comes in and they trick the black lady into pressing the red "launch" button that displays the welcome on the screen. Just before she presses it she has a 35 mm camera hanging around her neck, but in the next shot of the group standing in front of the panel her camera is gone.
Revealing mistake: On the large screen at the end of the film, Joshua and Prof. Falken are 'writing' to each other. Falken types in "Hello Joshua"- he not only says it, but you can hear him typing it as well, however, on the screen, only the word "Hello" appears; the word "Joshua" doesn't.
Continuity mistake: Towards the end when the NORAD door is closing, they keep showing it opened further from shot to shot in order to delay how quickly the door actually is closing vs. how slow it really would have had to move in order to allow David and Dr. Falken to actually have still made it in.
Factual error: The beginning starts out with two Strategic Air Command officers in a Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Launch Control Facility (LCF) going through the strict procedures for launch of an ICBM. The crypto messages are being received by the LCF, the launch officers pull the launch sequence and confirm the crypto launch command (encoded message) matches that which is contained in the launch sequence - all very secret, and all very realistic. However, the missile they show in the movie powering up for launch is a Titan ICBM, and how you launch a Titan from a Minuteman LCF is beyond me.
Factual error: In the scene in which Prof. Falken shows David and Jennifer a dinosaur movie projected on a screen, Falken is between the projector and the screen, with portions of the image on his face, slightly blurry, just like it would be. But David and Jennifer aren't in the light path, so the only light on them would be reflected from the entire screen, but when they're shown, images from the dinosaur movie are perfectly focused on them, which would be impossible.
Factual error: While it makes for a great story for the movie, the reality is that all computer systems used by government agencies - especially in the DoD - are required to provide their source code for thorough inspection to ensure there are no back doors, hidden subroutines or other types of software code that are not relevant to the task designed for. Given the critical nature of this system being in control of launching nuclear missiles, the reality is that none of the games that Falken wrote - much less the whole routine to allow it to simulate a game like this - would still be in, for obvious reasons. Of course it could be argued Falken hid this, however given the lack of complexity for a computer of this era, it's highly unlikely.
Factual error: When Matthew Broderick sets up his computer to look for other computers by getting it to dial a number, check to see if it is a computer, record the number if it is, hang up, and repeat the sequence, the writers forgot one thing. With the type of modem he was using (a so-called "acoustic coupler"), someone would have to physically push the hangup button on the phone before it could dial another number. It could be entirely possible though to dial a number from the computer and send the acoustic coupler the instruction to generate DTMF tones, but this could only be done once; without an actual relay that will cut the line and get a new signal tone again, no looping (war dialing) could be done. The next generation of modems that hooked directly to the phone line could do all of the above, but with what the movie used, it was impossible.
Factual error: In two different scenes, Matthew Broderick lifts the phone receiver off his modem-once during the scene where it's dialing numbers in Sunnyvale, CA, and again when WOPR keeps calling his phone trying to reconnect. In both cases, the activity on the screen should have disappeared, since lifting the phone off the modem cradle disconnects the signal. Yet the computer somehow manages to keep dialing numbers, or display the running game clock on the simulation, without any interruption.
Add timeAndrew Bauer
Plot hole: Given the number of possible combinations the launch code could be (over 3600 trillion possibilities) it makes no sense that W.O.P.R cannot process that significantly quicker given how easily it's able to calculate thousands of ICBM impacts, damage inflicted, casualties, etc. for each "War Scenario" at the end as quickly as it does to determine a winner.
Plot hole: 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.
Continuity mistake: In the very beginning, when the Air Force brass land at SAC in the helicopter, they get into a 2 door Jeep Cherokee. After they enter the tunnel and stop to get out, they exit a 2 door Jeep Cherokee Chief - the wide wheel well model, not the standard one they first got into.
00:07:25 - 00:08:25serbiesnow
Other mistake: When David first logs into the system after finding the right password, it shows a phone # beginning with the prefix 936. The only problem was that earlier when his computer was dialing numbers, he had not gotten to 936 yet. That was the 4th prefix and he only got through the first 3. There is no way he could have dialed that number with his computer program.
Factual error: At the end of the movie WOPR tries to crack the launch-code using brute force. So far so good. When WOPR finds out one digit of the 10 digit code, the first digit locks and the search goes on with the remaining 9 digits. Then he finds the second one, it locks too and so on. Problem is, brute force doesn't work that way. It would be too easy (26 letters and 10 numbers = only 36 possibilities for one digit). Brute-Force works only "all or nothing", you can't sneak your way to the whole code one by one.
Continuity mistake: When Matthew Broderick is first at his computer the screen is large and has an external modem on top. Later there is a close up shot of the keyboard and the monitor. At this point the monitor is completely different and much smaller. Then shortly afterwards you can see the larger monitor again with the modem on top (behind Ally Sheedy) while it war dials numbers. Shortly after that, the monitor changes again. You can also see the changes with the color and the "side handles" used for carrying. I counted three different monitors being used.
Factual error: In the first scene with the computer (when Ally Sheedy visits) Matthew Broderick puts the handset on to the modem coupler with the cord toward him, then pushes the button on the modem which is facing him. A shortly while later he is at the computer and he puts the handset backwards with the cord away from him and pushes the button which is still facing towards him. The modem would not have worked properly, since it needs to send and receive through the respective ear and mouth pieces.
Continuity mistake: In the scene towards the beginning of the movie when McKittrick, the General and others are discussing the problem that numerous missile commanders failed to launch their missiles because they believed the order to launch was not a test. As the camera shot goes back and forth on the actors in the room as they are talking, you'll notice McKittrick's hair goes back and forth from neat and combed to messy and disheveled.
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