The Sum of All Fears

Corrected entry: When Ryan and Clark are flying to Russia to look for those missing scientists, Clark shows Ryan some satellite pictures of the remote area where they suspect the scientists to be located. The day old photo shows activity in the area but the most recent one doesn't. They then discover that the bomb is headed for the U.S. and Ryan phones the CIA to warn them, But the bomb is already there! How did the bad guys manage to get the bomb from that remote location in Russia to a freighter and sail it to the U.S. in one DAY! This is something that should have taken weeks, which would have given Ryan plenty of time to get home and prevent the attack.

Correction: When flying back to the US, Dillon tells Jack that the crate was flown from Kiev International to the Canary Islands ten days before, then put on a freighter headed to Baltimore, so it easily could have gotten there in time. The fact the camp went quiet in the last day or so doesn't mean the crate only left in the last day, just that by a day ago it must have gone. And Ryan shows the photos to Clark, not Clark showing them to Ryan.


Corrected entry: When Ryan finishes talking with Spinnaker before he goes to the docks, he leaves the car he borrows and heads out through the flames. In the background, you can see a stunt coordinator waiting to guide him through the flames. He waits, then follows him off the screen.

Correction: While the man may actually be a stunt coordinator, the man's presence and actions are not inconsistent with the film. We see Ryan pass three other people in this scene, and that this fourth man turns and follows Ryan may be him seeking to help the injured running man (Ryan), or him thinking maybe this guy knows how to get out of there. There is nothing visible about the man to show it is a film crew member.


Corrected entry: When Dressler's 'secretary' speaks 'German' it doesn't sound German or Austrian at all. In fact I am Austrian and If there weren't English subtitles I wouldn't have understood at all what he's talking about. Yes, there were German words, and maybe even the grammar was more or less correct but the pronunciation was that bad that the whole audience started laughing when they heard him talking in 'our' language.

Correction: The language being spoken, is actually Old German, which was drastically changed at the end of World War II. Currently, one would be hard pressed to find anyone living, that openly speaks the old language, which essentially became extinct by 1950...except for radical extremists who await the coming of the Fourth Reich.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the bomb was detonated, and Jack Ryan's helicopter is blown to bits, the laws of plutonium dictate that if Ryan was as close to the blast as he was, he would have been dead from radiation poisoning within a couple of hours.

Correction: His helicopter was destroyed by the explosion's shockwave, which would travel far beyond the range of the lethal pulse of radiation. In fact, considering that the bomb was detonated below ground level and inside a building, which would have absorbed most of that radiation anyway. In a later scene when Jack crawls out of the helicopter's wreckage and looks towards the Baltimore skyline, he's a few miles south of ground zero.

Corrected entry: At the end when Dressler's car explodes a piece of it ends up on top of a Jaguar, then when the camera pans back the Jaguar is not there.

Correction: The first shot shows the jaguar to the right of Dresslers car, the second shot shows Dresslers exploded car from the left, the smoke, fire, and remnants of Dresslers car make it impossible to see the jag from this angle.

Corrected entry: B2's never leave the middle of the United States unless they are in the air and are on their way to bomb something. The B2's would never have been stationed in Italy and could never have attacked Russia that quickly, as they would have to travel halfway around the world.

Correction: Wrong. While the B-2 Spirit is stationed at Whiteman AFB in Missouri they can be deployed where the Government sees fit. Andersen AFB Guam, Diego Garcia, and RAF Fairford are used as "forward operating locations". Also USAF has also flown missions from Whiteman all the way to Afghanistan. When USAF is in alert status aircraft are always in the air, simply awaiting the "Go Codes".


Corrected entry: I do not think that the B-2 Stealth bombers would flash their wing tip lights. Especially not on a combat mission.

Correction: The B-2, while a stealth aircraft, still has to make itself visible to commercial traffic. An all black plane with little to no radar signature would be almost invisible to a passenger plane without wingtip lights, hence its similarity to a UFO. And that also where a number of UFO stories come from.


Corrected entry: At the football game played at Baltimore when they show the score, the show a game score of Florida vs. Chicago. While there are three different teams from Florida (Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Miami) there is no team that has Florida as part of its name.

Correction: This is a fictional storyline, not even based on truth. There are fictional football teams in 'Any Given Sunday' as well (and a fictional league). Are we going to start posting factual errors on 'Star Wars' because Storm Troopers don't actually exist?

Corrected entry: During the scene at the end of the film where both presidents are sitting signing documents in front of an audience, both start signing left handed, but the Russian president signs the second document right handedly.

Correction: The Russian President might be ambidextrous, i.e. can write with either hand.

Corrected entry: In the sequence where Ryan's helicopter has been hit by the blast of the nuclear explosion, an acoustic alarm goes off during the tailspin. This wouldn't be possible, since every electronic equipment fails after a nuclear explosion due to the nuclear electromagnetic pulse.

Correction: A large portion of military and government vehicles, and aircraft are hardened against the affect of an electromagnetic pulse. This helicopter crashed because of the shock wave from the explosion.


Corrected entry: When Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman go to Russia and meet the president, he is getting his picture taken. The photographer puts in a new cartridge, doesn't take a picture, takes out the unused cartridge then puts a 2nd unused cartridge in and then takes a picture.

Correction: Professional photographers can be very picky about their equipment. He may have seen or noticed something he didn't like about the cartridge and switched it out to ensure professional quality photographs.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Senior Russian officials are entering the underground base of operations, the president is told that American nuclear submarines are pulling out of Norfolk and Kings Bay armed with Trident D3 weapons. This is a mistake for two reasons: a) I speak Russian and I heard them say Trident D5, not D3 and b) American nuke subs are no longer armed with D3 missiles, they have mostly D5's, some have C4's. Also, I'm pretty sure D3's aren't considered first strike weapons, whereas D5's are. (01:32:35)

Correction: A mistake on the part of the advisor, not being clear on his facts, not necessarily a movie mistake.

Corrected entry: When Affleck is driving the pick-up truck it is a GMC Sierra, but when he crashes into the old car, the tailgate says Silverado.

Correction: It is not a different truck. The tailgate says Sierra at the bottom left, on the right you can see GMC in red letters.

Corrected entry: When the bomb explodes at the Super Bowl in Baltimore it is daytime, but the Super Bowl is always held at night.

Correction: I don't remember the Super Bowl being played in the film. There was a football game, but it wasn't the Super Bowl. The scoreboard indicates that the two teams are called "Florida" and "Chicago". There are three NFL teams based in Florida (Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay). None of the aforementioned teams use the name Florida in their name. Therefore one of the teams does not play in the NFL, hence the game can not be the Super Bowl. Furthermore, there are no references to the NFL in the film. In conclusion the time the game is played is irrelevant, since American football games can be played in daylight.

Corrected entry: One thing that is created by a nuclear blast is an electromagnetic pulse. This radiates out of dozens to hundreds of miles at the speed of light. The pulse fries all electrical equipment whether they are on or not. Cabot's palm-pilot, and all cell towers in the city would have been destroyed so Ryan couldn't have used it to call Spinnaker. (01:29:15)

Correction: EMP is not certain to destroy all shut down electrical equipment. Some things may survive completely intact if turned off, other things which were on at the time may only be temporarily disrupted. The factors which determine EMP damage are very varied so with an instance of a PDA working it's too much to assume it would definitely have been damaged.

Corrected entry: Why does Clark find it necessary to cut the Ukrainian fence at all? When the guards discover the hole, we can see that Clark began the cut nearly a foot from the top of the fence. In fact, it is barely 8 feet high - with no barbed wire and a smooth bar at the top. Climbing over it (as opposed to cutting it) would have prevented the guards from detecting his presence. Maybe this is why they don't trust him with an email account.

Correction: A character's mistake is not a movie mistake.

shortdanzr Premium member

Corrected entry: The USAF aircrew flying aboard Air Force One are wearing their black, circular squadron patches above their right pocket on their flight suits. In the real USAF, the squadron patch is worn on the left shoulder.

Correction: The aircraft they are flying on is not Air Force One, and those are the correct patch placements for this particular aircrew.

Corrected entry: When the call comes for the bombing of the aircraft carrier, you think that there would be a chain of command with sort of checkpoints to ensure accuracy and to ensure something terroristic would not happen. They probably did this to keep the plot flowing, but it still seems illogical.

Correction: The commander of the airbase was paid to get his pilots to attack the aircraft carrier by the Germans, remember he lied to them about the Americans nuking Moscow, the pilots would assume that their base commander got his orders from his superiors. Also he was killed for this at the end of the movie.


Corrected entry: Shots that are intercut between the scene involving the President's attending the Super Bowl in the football stadium in Baltimore and the shots outside the stadium involving the explosion of the nuclear device and the resulting destruction and loss of life are clearly intended to occur during the same time frame. However, all shots set in the stadium are at night under a darkened sky, and all shots outside the stadium take place in the full afternoon sunlight.

Correction: There's no mistake here: the establishing aerial shot of the Super Bowl stadium (below the Budweiser blimp) shows a DOMED stadium well outside the city. That's where the Super Bowl is taking place. In the aerial shot just before the bomb goes off, you can see Raven Stadium, which is much closer to the center of Baltimore. It's not domed, and is not meant to be the same stadium as the computer-generated one the Super Bowl was held in.

Corrected entry: About an hour into the movie, when Ryan meets Clark after he is ambushed by the two Ukrainian officers, there are a number of mistakes. For one thing, the officers are not speaking Ukrainian, but pure Russian. Secondly, Clark asks Ryan to tell them to take their shoes off - but we've already seen that Clark knows Russian, when he talked to Spassky's mother. Why doesn't he tell them himself? After that scene, he remarks to Ryan, "You know Ukrainian?"... however Ryan too, just like the "Ukrainian" officers, was speaking Russian. (01:00:30)

Correction: Considering that Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union, it's not all that surprising that a majority of the Ukraine speaks Russian. I worked with two girls from Ukraine, and they both spoke Russian AND Ukrainian.

Correction: I work with a Ukrainian who is fluent in both Ukrainian and Russian, and showed her this scene. She said the Ukrainian guards were speaking pure Ukrainian, but Affleck/Ryan spoke Russian back to them, not any Ukrainian.

Factual error: A force of Russian Tu-22 Backfire bombers attacks the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) by sneaking in under the ship's radar. This is all well and good except that carriers usually don't use their own radar, they have Airborne Early Warning aircraft (E-2 Hawkeye's) that can see much further and not give away the carrier's position (let alone the F-14s which would be patrolling too) not to mention the fleet of destroyers other ships guarding the carrier. The whole point is, the US Navy practiced and planned for such a "carrier versus Backfire" battle for years. I guess in the interest of furthering the plot Hollywood has to ignore the immense measures the USN takes to protect those multi-billion dollar assets, not to mention the 5000+ sailors that man them.

More mistakes in The Sum of All Fears

Jack Ryan: I don't go on the, you know, missions, I just write reports for the CIA.
John Clark: Then write a report about it.

More quotes from The Sum of All Fears

Trivia: Ben Affleck is the third actor to play Jack Ryan. His predecessors are Harrison Ford (Clear & Present Danger, Patriot Games) and Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October).

More trivia for The Sum of All Fears

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